Mar 13, 2012

The Story of Shaytaan, Aadam and Hawwa

By Hiba Khan


Our beginning

“And surely, We created you (your father Aadam) and then gave you [human] shape. Then We told the angels, ‘Prostrate to Aadam’; so they prostrated, except for Iblees. He refused to be of those who prostrate.

[Allaah] said, ‘What prevented you that you did not prostrate, when I commanded you?’ [Iblees] said: ‘I am better than him. You created me from fire, and You created him from clay.’

[Allaah] said: ‘Get down from this (Paradise); it is not for you to be arrogant here. So get out, for you are of those humiliated and disgraced.’

[Iblees] said: ‘Allow me respite till the Day they will be resurrected.’

[Allaah] said: ‘Indeed, you are of those allowed respite.’

[Iblees] said: ‘Because You have led me astray, I will surely sit in wait against them on Your straight path.

Then I will come to them from before them and behind them, from their right and from their left, and You will not find most of them grateful [to You].’

[Allaah] said, ‘Get out from this (Paradise), disgraced and expelled. Whoever follows you among them - I will surely fill Hell with you, all together.’

And ‘O Aadam! Dwell you and your wife in Paradise, and eat from wherever you wish, but do not approach this tree, lest you be among the wrongdoers.’

Then Shaytaan 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, except that you become angels or become of the immortals.’

And he swore [by Allaah] to them [saying]: ‘Indeed, I am one of the sincere well-wishers for you both.’

So he misled them with deception. Then when they tasted of the tree, that which was hidden from them of their shame (i.e. private parts) became manifest to them and they began to stick together the leaves of Paradise over themselves (in order to cover their shame). And their Lord called out to them [saying]: ‘Did I not forbid you that tree and tell you [that] indeed Shaytaan is to you an open enemy?’

They said: ‘O our Lord! We have wronged ourselves. And if You do not forgive us and have mercy upon us, we shall certainly be among the losers.’

[Allaah] said: ‘Get down, some of you being enemies to others. 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 forth (i.e. resurrected).’”

[Soorat-ul-A’raaf 7: 11-25]

When a saint becomes a sinner…

First of all, it is said that Iblees used to be one of the most pious jinns – he would strive hard in worship, and since he was so upright, he moved around in the company of the noble angels who never disobeyed their Lord.

It is well-known that pride comes before a fall, and such was the case of Iblees.

Lessons learnt from this story

Allah has narrated this story in such a simple manner, and yet there are many profound lessons to be found when reflecting upon the characters’ actions and choices of words.

1. Arrogance – The cause of Iblees’s downfall

“‘I am better than him.’”

How many times have we said this, or thought this way when comparing ourselves to someone? This is the attitude of Iblees, the very words of Shaytaan!

On the surface, Iblees was justified in saying this. How? First of all, he had made a position for himself – he was very pious, did a lot of ’ibaadaat (worship), and hence he deserved to be treated accordingly. Also, the stuff he was made of – fire - was of far superior quality than clay (according to him, at least). So why in the world would he bow down to something that was just newly made, had no experience, no virtues to its credit, and was made of such lowly raw material?

The self-deception here is obvious, as Iblees was simply jealous - and that is because he was arrogant. And Allah wanted to expose this. The command to prostrate to Aadam was not that of worship, but it was more so of veneration, and to test who would obey.

Iblees’s problem was that he was solely depending on his intellect. Instead of focusing on the fact that it was Allah’s command, he chose to focus on Aadam (a.s.) – where he was coming from, what he was made of...

We need to ask ourselves – do we sometimes exhibit this trait of Shaytaan in our lives? Do we refuse to humbly accept the decree of Allaah when he gives someone who is apparently inferior, a superior position to us? Do we refuse to obey a command of Allaah, just because it refuses to gel with our intellect?

2. Blaming it all on Allaah – The attitude of ingratitude

“‘Because YOU have led me astray...’”

The truth is - Allah leads noone astray. But he who wants to go astray, Allah lets him. There’s no compulsion in Deen. Here Shaytaan is blaming none other than his own Creator for misguiding him! It was he who chose to disobey, and yet he is acting as if Allah compelled him to! This is the highest form of ingratitude, because he knew that Allah had guided him – until he chose to disobey.

We need to take a look at our behaviour – do we blame Allah for the sins that we do, claiming that it’s His will, and that if He wanted, we would be better guided?

3. Shaytaan is lying in ambush for us, ready to attack from all directions

“‘I will surely sit in wait against them on Your straight path.
Then I will come to them from before them and behind them, from their right and from their left, and You will not find most of them grateful [to You].’"

So, being a Muslim on the Straight Path does not mean Shaytaan won’t be able to reach us. No, he’s going to try even harder. A thief’s eyes are always most focused on where the treasure is.

Shaytaan has declared that he will most definitely attack us from:
- The front – by beautifying the dunyaa (worldly life) for us
- The back – by making us forget the aakhirah (hereafter)
- The right – by ruining our intentions when we do good deeds
- The left – by giving evil deeds beautiful names, making them seem fair and insignificant.

On a personal level, we need to identify which direction Shaytaan is attacking us the most from, and try to reform it.

But with the devil hounding us from all sides, we cannot help but feel defeated already. Fear not! Because Shaytaan forgot to mention two places – above and below!

How do we make use of this?

Allah’s Mercy descends on us from above, and so we must make du’aa; and below us is the ground we make sajdah (prostration) on, upon which we are closest to Him; the ideal opportunity to return to Allaah with a humble heart.

Still, Shaytaan doesn’t let it stop there. He works on our attitude. Remember the last part of what he said?“And You will not find most of them grateful [to You]."

We need to check ourselves. How often do we complain? And when we do, do we realize that we are letting Shaytaan succeed in his mission? Being ungrateful is a trait of Shaytaan, and in doing so we are only following his footsteps.

4. Shaytaan promises us nothing but lies

“And he swore [by Allah] to them [saying]: ‘Indeed, I am one of the sincere well-wishers for you both.’
So he misled them with deception...”

Whenever we choose Dunyaa over Deen, or sin over righteousness, it’s because Shaytaan has convinced us that we’re doing the right thing. He promises us that there will be no loss if we obey him - only gain. He tells us that it’s necessary to earn a haraam income if we want to earn a respectable living. He tells us we don’t need to wear the hijaab, or else we’ll look like losers and may not even get marriage proposals. He tells us to lie and cheat, because that’s the only way anyone can get anywhere in the world. How sincere and well-wishing he is - always thinking for our benefit!

But it’s nothing but lies; this so-called success in this world, will only lead to failure in the hereafter.

We need to look inside ourselves - do we inadvertently take Shaytaan as an advisor rather than an enemy?

5. To err is human – forgiveness is possible

“They said: ‘O our Lord! We have wronged ourselves. And if You do not forgive us and have mercy upon us, we shall certainly be among the losers.’”

And Allah forgave them.

Everyone slips. No human is free of sin, free of falling into Shaytaan’s traps. But to realize and accept one’s mistake humbly, and to repent to Allah, is what earns Allah’s Mercy.

This beautiful du’aa of Aadam and Hawwa (a.s.) is the eptiome of humility, fear (of Allaah’s punishment) and hope (of Allaah’s Mercy and Forgiveness). This is the balance we must strive to strike.

In a nutshell:

Shaytaan is “humiliated and disgraced” till the Day of Resurrection. Why? Because 1) he was arrogant, 2) he didn’t accept his fault, and 3) he didn't seek forgiveness.

What do we do when we sin? Do we defiantly persist in disobedience? Or do we humble ourselves soon thereafter and turn to Allaah for forgiveness?

What character are you?

While reflecting on these lessons, which attitude do you find resembling your own the most - that of Shaytaan, or that of Aadam and Hawwa (a.s.)?

I'd love to hear your views on this topic. Please post in the comments section below! :)


Masha'Allaah ! very well written...JazakAllahu Khaiyr

MashaAllah, very well summarized sis! Really things we need to ponder over and ask ourself!

Jazakallahu Khair!! 

mashaAllah!! very important points mentioned here!!! JazakumAllahu khayran for this powerful reminder!

Ma sha Allah sis, thank you for such a beautiful and knowledgeable reminder, may Allah subhanahu wata'ala reward you with firdausi.

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