Narrated by Sayyidina Abu Hurairah, the Beloved Messenger said: “Allah created Adam, making him 60 cubits tall. When He created him, He said to him, ‘Go and greet that group of Angels & listen to their reply, for it will be your greeting (salutation) and the greeting of your offspring.’ So, Adam said (to the Angels), ‘Assalamu Alaikum’ (peace be upon you). The angels said, ‘Assalamu alayka wa rahmatullah’ (peace and Allah’s Mercy be upon you). Thus, the angels added to Adam’s salutation the expression, ‘Wa rahmatullah’. Any person who will enter Paradise will resemble Adam (in appearance and figure). People have been decreasing in stature since Adam’s creation.” [Bukhari]
Creation of the First Man
Prophet Adam, may Allah’s peace be upon him, was the first man created by Allah and he was also the first Prophet.
The Holy Qur’an tells us that he was created from clay: “The similitude of Jesus before Allah is as that of Adam; He created him from dust, then said to him: “Be”. And he was.” [Qur’an 3:59]
And, “When your Lord said to the angels, “I will create a human being out of clay from an altered black mud.” [Qur’an 15:28]
And he was created to rule on Earth: “Behold, your Lord said to the angels, ‘I will create a vicegerent on earth.’ They said, ‘Will You place therein one who will make mischief therein and shed blood? – whilst we do celebrate Your praises and glorify You?’ He said, ‘I know what you know not.’” [Qur’an 2:30]
Shaytan’s Pride & Arrogance
When Prophet Adam had been created & appointed, Almighty Allah ordered the angels to bow down before him as a Prophet and thus, accept his superiority. All of them obeyed Allah’s command willingly, except Shaytan (also called Iblees) whose pride caused him to rebel and refuse the Divine Command. Instead, he said proudly, “I refuse to bow down before this man of clay; I was created from fire, thus I am better than he.”
The Qur’an relates: “We said to the angels, “Prostrate before Adam”; so they prostrated, except for Iblees. He refused and was arrogant and became of the disbelievers.” [Qur’an 2:34]
And “[Allah] said, ‘What prevented you from prostrating when I commanded you?’ [Satan] said, ‘I am better than him. You created me from fire and created him from clay.’” [Qur’an 7:12]
Almighty Allah disapproved of such rebellious attitude from Shaytan and his disrespect towards His Prophet, so Shaytan was expelled from Allah’s Presence and cursed by Him till the end of time. Shaytan will continue to be cursed till the Day of Judgement, when eventually he and all his accursed followers will be thrown into Hell.
“Surely, Shaytan is an enemy to you, so take (treat) him as an enemy. He only invites his followers that they may become the dwellers of the blazing Fire.” [Qur’an 35:6]
Tricks of the Accursed One
Allah also created a wife for Prophet Adam called Hawa (or Eve), who he was to live in companionship with. Allah sent both of them to Paradise amidst many luxuries including fresh delicious fruit and other great sources of comfort, where they could eat and drink as they wished. However, there was one condition; He forbade them to approach one particular Tree, and instructed them that this was beyond the limits set for them.
“And We said, ‘O Adam, dwell, you and your wife, in Paradise and eat therefrom in [ease and] abundance from wherever you will. But do not approach this Tree, lest you be among the wrongdoers.’” [Qur’an 2:35]
Meanwhile, the accursed Shaytan was bitter over his expulsion and his resentment grew increasingly fierce. He did not accept his faults, nor did he lower his head in shame and seek Allah’s Forgiveness. Instead, he became stubborn, consumed by anger and arrogance. Alas, it is pride which destroyed Shaytan and ultimately took him from an honorable rank amongst the Angels of Heaven, to the most despised and lowliest state amongst all creation. Let us take heed!
“Except Iblees (Shaytan); he was proud and was one of the disbelievers.” [Qur’an 38:74]
Shaytan, in his stubborn ignorance, believed that Prophet Adam and his wife Lady Hawa were the reason for his expulsion from Allah’s Presence, so he sought vengeance. Aware of the Forbidden Tree, he cunningly planned to deceive them and lure them into eating its fruit, that Allah’s Wrath would descend upon them too.
Eventually, he approached them both with an air of innocence and lied to them about the Forbidden Tree, its powers and its benefits for whoever ate from it. It was an invitation to ill, in the guise of friendly counsel.
“Then Shaytan whispered to him saying, ‘O Adam! Shall I lead you to the Tree of Eternity and to a kingdom that will never waste away?’” [Qur’an 20:120]
“Then Shaytan whispered suggestions to them both in order to uncover that which was hidden from them of their private parts (before); he said, ‘Your Lord did not forbid you this Tree save you should become Angels or become of the immortals.’” [Qur’an 7:20]
Deceived by this innocent pretense, Prophet Adam and Lady Hawa proceeded to eat the fruit of the Forbidden Tree. As soon as they did so, their bodies were stripped of their heavenly attire and they were left exposed, ashamed.
“Let not Satan seduce you, in the same manner as he got your parents out of the Garden, stripping them of their clothing, to expose their shame…” [Qur’an 7:27]
Prophet Adam’s Repentance
After the incident of the Forbidden Tree, Almighty Allah sent Prophet Adam and his wife away from the Heavens, and they were sent down to Earth.
“Then Shaytan did make them slip from the (garden), and get them out of the state (of felicity) in which they had been. We said, ‘Go down, [all of you], as enemies to one another, and you will have upon the earth a place of settlement and provision for a time.’” [Qur’an 2:36]
Remorseful and full of sorrow, Prophet Adam and his wife immediately repented, realizing that they had made a mistake which had displeased their Lord. In total humility, they began to seek Allah’s Forgiveness – and indeed, this act of tawba, or sincere repentance, is an act loved dearly by Allah.
“They said, ‘Our Lord, we have wronged ourselves, and if You do not forgive us and have mercy upon us, we will surely be among the losers.’” [Qur’an 7:23]
In his eagerness to please Almighty Allah, Prophet Adam soon learnt about the exalted status and supreme existence of the Beloved Messenger of Allah, Muhammad, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him. And so he became inspired to ask for Allah’s Mercy using this precious new knowledge, through which Allah forgave him and his wife.
“Then Adam received from his Lord [some] words, and He accepted his repentance.” [Qur’an 2:37]
About this incident, a narration reported by Sayyidina ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab tells us that the Beloved Prophet, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, said: “When Adam committed his mistake, he said: O my Lord, I am asking you to forgive me for the sake of Muhammad. Allah said: O Adam, and how do you know about Muhammad, whom I have not yet created? Adam replied, O my Lord, after You created me with Your Hand and breathed into me of Your Spirit, I raised my head and saw written on the heights of the Throne, ‘La ilaha illallah Muhammadur RasulAllah’. I understood that You would not place next to Your Name but the Most Beloved One of Your creation. Allah said: O Adam, I have forgiven you, and were it not for Muhammad, I would not have created you.” [Imam Baihaqi’s Dala’il al-Nubuwwa, Imam Tabarani in his al-Mu’jam al-Saghir (2:82, 207), Imam Ibn Asakir on the authority of `Umar ibn al-Khattab etc. See Tawassul article for more references.]
About the above narration, Qadi Iyaad says, “It is said that this Hadith explains the verse: ‘Then Adam received from his Lord [some] words, and He accepted his repentance.’” [Qur’an 2:37]
Duration on Earth
“And He taught Adam the names of all things…” [Qur’an 2:13]
Thereafter, Prophet Adam and his wife, may Allah’s peace be upon them, lived on the Earth in a righteous manner dedicated to His Pleasure. Almighty Allah taught Prophet Adam from His knowledge, and warned him that Shaytan is indeed an open enemy never to be trusted.
Thus Prophet Adam was the first Messenger of Allah.
It is reported that he died on a Friday, and his wife Lady Hawa passed away a year after him. He is thought to have lived for a total of one thousand years – 957 years on Earth and 43 years in Paradise. And Allah knows best.