Mankind continues to commit mistakes and through them we only harm ourselves; our sins and mistakes have not harmed, nor will they harm God.
Part 2
In Islam, the Christian concept of original sin and the notion that all humans are born sinners due to the actions of Adam, doesn’t exist:
{And no bearer of burdens shall bear another’s burden.} (35: 18)
Every human being is responsible for his or her actions and is born pure and free from sin. Adam and Eve committed a mistake, they repented sincerely and God in His infinite wisdom forgave them.
{Then they both ate of that tree, and so their private parts appeared to them, and they began to stick on themselves the leaves from Paradise for their covering. Thus did Adam disobey his Lord, so he went astray. Then his Lord chose him, and turned to him with forgiveness and gave him guidance.} (20: 121-22)

Early Experience

Mankind has a long history of committing mistakes and forgetting. Even so, how was it possible for Adam to have committed such a mistake?
The reality was that Adam did not have any experience with the whisperings and ploys of Satan. Adam had seen the arrogance of Satan when he refused to follow the commands of God; he knew that Satan was his enemy but had no familiarity with how to resist Satan’s tricks and schemes: {So he (Satan) misled them with deception.} (7:22)
God tested Adam so that he could learn and gain experience. In this way God prepared Adam for his role on earth as a caretaker and a prophet of God. From this experience, Adam learned the great lesson that Satan is cunning, ungrateful and the avowed enemy of mankind. Adam, Eve and their descendants learned that Satan caused their expulsion from heaven. Obedience to God and enmity towards Satan is the only path back to Heaven:
{Get you down (upon the earth), all of you together, from Paradise, some of you are an enemy to some others. Then, if there comes to you guidance from Me, whoever follows My Guidance shall neither go astray, nor fall into distress and misery.} (20: 123)

The Quran tells us that Adam subsequently received from his Lord some words; a supplication to pray, which invoked God’s forgiveness. This supplication is very beautiful and can be used when asking for God’s pardon of your sins.
{Our Lord! We have wronged ourselves. If you forgive us not and bestow not upon us Your Mercy, we shall certainly be of the losers.} (7: 23)
Mankind continues to commit mistakes and wrong doing, and through them we only harm ourselves; our sins and mistakes have not harmed, nor will they harm God. If God does not forgive us and have mercy on us, it is we who will surely be among the losers. It is we who need God:
{On earth will be a dwelling place for you and an enjoyment, for a time.’ He said: ‘Therein you shall live and therein you shall die, and from it you shall be brought out (resurrected).’} (7: 24–5)
Thus, the experience was an essential lesson and demonstrated free will; if Adam and Eve were to live on earth, they needed to be aware of the tricks and schemes of Satan; they also needed to understand the dire consequences of sin, and the infinite mercy and forgiveness of God. God knew that Adam and Eve would eat from the tree. He knew that Satan would strip away their innocence.
This denotes that although God knows the outcome of events before they happen and allows them, He does not force things to happen. Adam had free will and bore the consequences of his deeds. Mankind has free will and thus is free to disobey God; but there are consequences.

On Earth

Adam and Eve left heaven and descended upon earth. Their descent was not one of degradation; rather it was dignified. In the Arabic language there is singular, then an extra grammatical number category denoting two. Plural is used for three and more. So when God said: {Get you down, all of you} He used the word for plural indicating that He was not speaking to Adam and Eve alone but that He was referring to Adam, his wife and his descendants – mankind.
With the experience of struggling against the whisperings and schemes of Satan Adam and Eve left paradise and began their life on earth.

The first Prophet of God, Adam, was responsible for teaching his wife and offspring how to worship God and seek His forgiveness. Adam established the laws of God and set about trying to support his family and learning to subdue and care for the earth. His task was to perpetuate, cultivate, construct and populate; he was to raise children who would live according to God’s instructions and care for and improve the earth.
Adam and Eve’s first children, Cain and his sister, were twins; Abel and his sister, another set of twins, soon followed. Adam and his family lived in peace and harmony. Cain ploughed the earth while Abel raised livestock. Time passed and the occasion came for the sons of Adam to marry as God’s plan to fill the earth included each of Adam’s sons marrying the twin sister of the other.

The First Murder

Not pleased with the partner chosen for him, Cain began to envy his brother and refused to obey the command of his father and, in doing so, he disobeyed God. God created man with both good and bad tendencies, and the struggle to overcome our baser instincts is part of His test for us.
God commanded that each son was to offer a sacrifice. His judgment would favor the son whose offer was the most acceptable. Cain offered his worst grain, but Abel offered his best livestock. God accepted Abel’s sacrifice, so Cain became enraged, threatening to kill his brother.
{And (O Muhammad) recite to them (the Jews) the story of the two sons of Adam (Abel and Cain) in truth; when each offered a sacrifice to God, it was accepted from the one but not from the other. The latter said to the former; ‘I will surely kill you.’} (5: 27)
Abel advised his brother that God would accept good deeds from those that fear and serve Him, but reject the good deeds of those who are arrogant, selfish and disobedient towards God.
{The former said: ‘Verily God accepts only from those who are pious. If you do stretch your hand against me to kill me I shall never stretch my hand against you to kill you, for I fear God; the Lord of mankind, jinn, and all that exists.’} (5: 27-8)
{So the self (base desires) of the other (latter one) encouraged him and made fair seeming to him the murder of his brother; he murdered him and became one of the losers.} (5:30)

Prophet Muhammad informed us that Cain became angry and hit his brother over the head with a piece of iron.
{God sent a crow who scratched the ground to show him to hide the dead body of his brother. He (the murderer) said: ‘Woe to me! Am I not even able to be as this crow and to hide the dead body of my brother?’ Then he became one of those who regretted.} (5:31)
Adam was devastated; he had lost both his first and second born sons. One had been murdered; the other was won over by mankind’s greatest enemy – Satan. Patiently, Adam prayed for his son, and continued to care for the earth. He taught his many children and grandchildren about God. He told them of his own encounter with Satan and advised them to beware of Satan’s tricks and schemes. Years and years passed, and Adam grew old and his children spread out across the earth.

Oneness of God

All mankind are the children of Adam. In one narration, Prophet Muhammad informed us that God showed Adam his descendants. Adam saw a beautiful light in Prophet David’s eyes and loved him, so he turned to God and said: “Oh God. Give him forty years from my life.” God granted Adam his request, and it was written down and sealed.
Adam’s life span was supposed to be 1000 years but after 960 years the angel of death came to Adam who was surprised and said “but I still have 40 years to live”. The angel of death reminded him of his gift of 40 years to his beloved descendant Prophet David, but Adam denied it. Many, many years later, the last Prophet, Muhammad, said:
“Adam denied so the children of Adam deny, Adam forgot and his children forget; Adam made mistakes and his children make mistakes.” (At-Tirmidhi, 3076)
In Arabic the word for mankind is insan and it comes from the root word nisyan; to forget. This is part of human nature, mankind forgets, and when we forget we deny and reject. Adam forgot (he was not lying), and God forgave him. Adam then submitted to the will of God and died.
Before his death Adam reminded his children that God would never leave them alone or without guidance; he told them God would send other prophets with unique names, traits and miracles, but they would all call to the same thing – the worship of the one true God.

ByAisha Stacey

Source: The Religion of Islam web site –
First Published: June 2011