Adam’s Return to Allah (SWT) – Commentary of the Quran (Chapter 2:37) By: Mohammad Sobhanie

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Commentary of the Quran (Chapter 2:37)
By: Mohammad Sobhanie

Adam’s Return to Allah (SWT)
بِسْمِ اللَّـهِ الرَّحْمَـٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ
فَتَلَقَّىٰ آدَمُ مِن رَّبِّهِ كَلِمَاتٍ فَتَابَ عَلَيْهِ ۚ إِنَّهُ هُوَ التَّوَّابُ الرَّحِيمُ ﴿٣٧﴾
Translation: Then Adam received certain words from his Lord, and his Lord turned to him [with His mercy]. Indeed He is All-forgiving and All-merciful.
Commentary:  Adam and Eve eventually fell into the deceptive trap of Iblis and tasted fruits of the forbidden tree. As a consequence, they were stripped of their heavenly garment1, which made them to realize the injustice (wrong) that they had committed against themselves.
Afterwards, Allah (SWT) admonished them for ignoring the divine advice2 by calling out to them and saying3:
وَنَادَاهُمَا رَبُّهُمَا أَلَمْ أَنْهَكُمَا عَن تِلْكُمَا الشَّجَرَةِ وَأَقُل لَّكُمَا إِنَّ الشَّيْطَانَ لَكُمَا عَدُوٌّ مُّبِينٌ ﴿٢٢﴾
Their Lord called out to them (from a distance), “Did I not forbid you from that (forbidden) tree, and tell you, Satan is indeed your manifest enemy?”
There are two points in this verse; first: the verb [نَادَا] means to call from a distance; thus [وَنَادَاهُمَا رَبُّهُمَا] it means: their Lord called them from a distance. This implies that Adam and Eve’s wrongdoing deprived them immediately from God’s nearness which previously they used to enjoy. Second, the pronoun “that” is used in conjunction with the tree: “Did I not forbid you from that tree…” It suggests that Adam and Eve were in distance from the tree, or the garden in general, when their Lord called them.
Hence, after Adam and Eve tasted fruits of the forbidden tree, they immediately lost their closeness to Allah (SWT) and were expelled from the garden to its outskirts before their descent to Earth.
Adam’s Return to Allah (SWT): Adam and Eve naturally felt deep remorse and immediately declared their servitude to Allah (SWT) and asked for His forgiveness4:
قَالَا رَبَّنَا ظَلَمْنَا أَنفُسَنَا وَإِن لَّمْ تَغْفِرْ لَنَا وَتَرْحَمْنَا لَنَكُونَنَّ مِنَ الْخَاسِرِينَ ﴿٢٣﴾
They said, “Our Lord, we have wronged ourselves! If You do not forgive us and have mercy upon us, we will surely be among the losers.”4
Nevertheless, the divine decree was manifested; and at last Adam and Eve descended from the outskirts of the garden5.
On Earth, Adam and Eve embraced certain “words” which they had received from their Lord. They sought divine forgiveness through them. Allah (SWT) welcomed them with His mercy, since He is All-forgiving and All-merciful.
The Quran does not reveal the nature of the words. Some commentators hold the opinion that they were the words of prayers which were mentioned earlier:
“Our Lord, we have wronged ourselves! If You do not forgive us and have mercy upon us, we will surely be among the losers.”4
However, the sequence of verses in chapter 7:19-25 implies that Adam and Eve made that plea in the outskirts of the garden before their descent. Then, what were the “words” which paved the way for their repentance?
Many narrations assert that Adam and Eve asked Allah (SWT) to forgive them by the right/status of Prophet Mohammad (AS) and his Ahlul-Bayt, whom are Ali, Fatimah, Hasan and Hussain (AS). This class of narration suggests “the word” in the above verse are referred the Prophet and his Ahlul-Bayt6 (AS). Three narrations are cited in the Appendix for reference.
Usually “word” means a verbal statement. However, the Quran had used “word” for an individual being as well, as for example, the “word” in the verse 3:45 is referred to Prophet Isa (AS).
إِذْ قَالَتِ الْمَلَائِكَةُ يَا مَرْيَمُ إِنَّ اللَّـهَ يُبَشِّرُكِ بِكَلِمَةٍ مِّنْهُ اسْمُهُ الْمَسِيحُ عِيسَى ابْنُ مَرْيَمَ وَجِيهًا فِي الدُّنْيَا وَالْآخِرَةِ وَمِنَ الْمُقَرَّبِينَ ﴿٤٥﴾
When the Angels said, O Maryam, Allah gives you good news of a word from Him whose name is the Messiah, ‘Isa son of Maryam, distinguished in the world and the Hereafter and one of those brought near [to Allah].
This latter interpretation is in harmony with the knowledge of names which Allah (SWT) taught Adam and Eve, right after their creation and before placing them in the garden7:
وَعَلَّمَ آدَمَ الْأَسْمَاءَ كُلَّهَا
Allah (SWT) taught Adam all the names!
As explained earlier, the named ones were intelligent, alive and sublime beings hidden from the heavens and the earth; they were intermediaries to convey the grace and bounties of Allah to His creation; no creature would be able to attain perfection without their assistance. These sublime beings, according to some traditions, were none but the light of the Prophet and His Ahlul-Bayt (AS). See the third narration in the appendix.
Tafseer-e-Namoona, Vol. 6, P. 117, L 14, The Quran Al-A’raf 7:20
The Quran Al-Baqara 2:35
The Quran Al-A’raf 7:22
The Quran Al-A’raf 7:23
The Quran Al-Baqara 2:36
Al-Mizan, Vol. 1, P. 223 L.3, Tafseer-e-Namoonah Vol.1 P. 199 L.1, Tasneem Vol. 3 P. 430
The Quran Al-Baqara 2:31
Appendix-1: Narrations Cited in the text (English Translation)
First Narration: “When Adam committed oversight, he said: O my Lord!  I ask you by the right/status of Mohammad that you forgive me.  Allah said: “And how did you come to know Mohammad?”  Adam replied: When you had created me with your Hand and breathed into me of Your spirit, I raised my head and saw that it was written on the base of the throne: there is no god except Allah and Mohammad is His messenger.  So I knew that you would not place a name along with yours unless that was (the name of) your most beloved creation.  Allah said: “You have spoken truthfully, O Adam, and had it not been for Mohammad, I would not have created you.” [Al-Mustadrak, Vol.2, P. 615, Al-Durr Al-Manthur, Vol.1, P. 59, and Ruh al-Ma’ani Vol.1 , P. 217]
Second Narration: Al-Kulayni has written in al-Kafi: “And another tradition says in respect of this verse: (Adam) had asked forgiveness from (Allah) by the right/status of Mohammad, Ali, Fatimah, al-Hasan and al-Hussain.” [Usul al-Kafi, Vol. 8, P. 305, Narration No. 472]
Third Narration: When Allah (SWT) created Adam and breathed His soul into him, Adam sneezed and Allah (SWT) inspired him to say “All praise belongs to Allah, Lord of all the worlds.” Then, Allah (SWT) replied to Adam, “May your Lord have mercy on you.”
When the Angels prostrated before Adam, Adam became proud and said “O My Lord have you created any creature which you love more than me? Allah (SWT) did not reply. He asked for the second and third time and Allah did not respond to him.
Then, Allah (SWT) said: “Yes, I have. And if it was not for them, I would not create you.” Adam said: “O My Lord, show them to me.” Allah (SWT) asked the angels to remove the curtains. When the curtain was removed, Adam saw five figures before the divine throne. Adam inquired as to who they were. Allah (SWT) replied they are My Prophet Mohammad, his cousin and deputy Ali, his daughter Fatimah, and Hassan and Hussain, two children of Ali and the grandchildren of the Prophet. Then Allah (SWT) said: “O Adam, they are your children.” Adam became very delighted.
When Adam committed oversight, he said: O my Lord!  I ask you by the right/status of Mohammad, Ali, Fatimah, Hassan and Hussain to forgive me. Allah (SWT) forgave Adam through this supplication. Then Ibn-Abbas, added “This is the meaning of the verse in which Allah says “Adam received certain words from his Lord” [Bahr-al-Anvar Vol.11, P. 175, Narration # 20]
Appendix-2: Arabic Text of Narrations Cited in the Above
First Narration:
قال رسول اللّه صلّی اللّه علیه و سلّم: لما اقترف آدم الخطیئة قال: یا رب أسألک بحق محمّد لما غفرت لی. فقال اللّه تعالی: یا آدم و کیف عرفت محمّدا و لم أخلقه؟ قال: یا رب لأنک لمّا خلقتنی بیدک و نفخت فیّ من روحک رفعت رأسی فرأیت علی قوائم العرش مکتوبا لا إله إلّا اللّه محمّد رسول اللّه، فعرفت أنک لم تضف إلی اسمک إلّا أحب الخلق إلیک. فقال اللّه: صدقت یا آدم إنه لأحب الخلق، إذ سألتنی بحقه فقد غفرت لک و لو لا محمّد ما خلقتک
Second Narration:
عَلِيُّ بْنُ إِبْرَاهِيمَ عَنْ أَبِيهِ عَنِ ابْنِ أَبِي عُمَيْرٍ عَنْ إِبْرَاهِيمَ صَاحِبِ الشَّعِيرِ عَنْ كَثِيرِ بْنِ كَلْثَمَةَ عَنْ أَحَدِهِمَا ع‏ فِي قَوْلِ اللَّهِ عَزَّ وَ جَلَ‏ فَتَلَقَّى آدَمُ مِنْ رَبِّهِ كَلِماتٍ‏ قَالَ لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا أَنْتَ سُبْحَانَكَ اللَّهُمَّ وَ بِحَمْدِكَ عَمِلْتُ سُوءاً وَ ظَلَمْتُ نَفْسِي فَاغْفِرْ لِي‏ وَ أَنْتَ خَيْرُ الْغَافِرِينَ لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا أَنْتَ سُبْحَانَكَ اللَّهُمَّ وَ بِحَمْدِكَ عَمِلْتُ سُوءاً وَ ظَلَمْتُ‏ نَفْسِي فَاغْفِرْ لِي‏ وَ ارْحَمْنِي‏ وَ أَنْتَ أَرْحَمُ الرَّاحِمِينَ‏ لا إِلهَ إِلَّا أَنْتَ سُبْحانَكَ‏ اللَّهُمَّ وَ بِحَمْدِكَ عَمِلْتُ سُوءاً وَ ظَلَمْتُ نَفْسِي فَتُبْ عَلَيَ‏ إِنَّكَ أَنْتَ التَّوَّابُ الرَّحِيمُ‏ وَ فِي رِوَايَةٍ أُخْرَى فِي قَوْلِهِ عَزَّ وَ جَلَّ- فَتَلَقَّى آدَمُ مِنْ رَبِّهِ كَلِماتٍ‏ قَالَ سَأَلَهُ بِحَقِّ مُحَمَّدٍ وَ عَلِيٍّ وَ الْحَسَنِ وَ الْحُسَيْنِ وَ فَاطِمَةَ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِمْ.
Third Narration:
– شف، [كشف اليقين‏] مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ عَلِيٍّ الْكَاتِبُ الْأَصْفَهَانِيُّ عَنْ عَلِيِّ بْنِ إِبْرَاهِيمَ الْقَاضِي عَنْ أَبِيهِ عَنْ جَدِّهِ عَنْ أَبِي أَحْمَدَ الْجُرْجَانِيِّ عَنْ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ بْنِ مُحَمَّدٍ الدِّهْقَانِ عَنْ إِسْحَاقَ بْنِ إِسْرَائِيلَ عَنْ حَجَّاجٍ عَنِ ابْنِ أَبِي نَجِيحٍ عَنْ مُجَاهِدٍ عَنِ ابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ قَالَ لَمَّا خَلَقَ اللَّهُ تَعَالَى آدَمَ وَ نَفَخَ فِيهِ مِنْ رُوحِهِ عَطَسَ فَأَلْهَمَهُ اللَّهُ الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ فَقَالَ لَهُ رَبُّهُ يَرْحَمُكَ رَبُّكَ فَلَمَّا أَسْجَدَ لَهُ الْمَلَائِكَةَ تَدَاخَلَهُ الْعُجْبُ فَقَالَ يَا رَبِّ خَلَقْتَ خَلْقاً أَحَبَّ إِلَيْكَ مِنِّي فَلَمْ يُجِبْ ثُمَّ قَالَ الثَّانِيَةَ فَلَمْ يُجِبْ ثُمَّ قَالَ الثَّالِثَةَ فَلَمْ يُجِبْ ثُمَّ قَالَ اللَّهُ عَزَّ وَ جَلَّ لَهُ نَعَمْ وَ لَوْلَاهُمْ مَا خَلَقْتُكَ فَقَالَ يَا رَبِّ فَأَرِنِيهِمْ فَأَوْحَى اللَّهُ عَزَّ وَ جَلَّ إِلَى مَلَائِكَةِ الْحُجُبِ أَنِ ارْفَعُوا الْحُجُبَ فَلَمَّا رُفِعَتْ إِذاً آدَمُ بِخَمْسَةِ أَشْبَاحٍ قُدَّامَ الْعَرْشِ فَقَالَ يَا رَبِّ مَنْ هَؤُلَاءِ قَالَ يَا آدَمُ هَذَا مُحَمَّدٌ نَبِيِّي وَ هَذَا عَلِيٌّ أَمِيرُ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ ابْنُ عَمِّ نَبِيِّي وَ وَصِيُّهُ وَ هَذِهِ فَاطِمَةُ ابْنَةُ نَبِيِّي وَ هَذَانِ الْحَسَنُ وَ الْحُسَيْنُ ابْنَا عَلِيٍّ وَ وَلَدَا نَبِيِّي ثُمَّ قَالَ يَا آدَمُ هُمْ وُلْدُكَ فَفَرِحَ بِذَلِكَ فَلَمَّا اقْتَرَفَ الْخَطِيئَةَ قَالَ يَا رَبِّ أَسْأَلُكَ بِحَقِّ مُحَمَّدٍ وَ عَلِيٍّ وَ فَاطِمَةَ وَ الْحَسَنِ وَ الْحُسَيْنِ لَمَّا غَفَرْتَ لِي فَغَفَرَ اللَّهُ لَهُ بِهَذَا فَهَذَا الَّذِي قَالَ اللَّهُ عَزَّ وَ جَلَّ فَتَلَقَّى آدَمُ مِنْ رَبِّهِ كَلِماتٍ فَتابَ عَلَيْهِ فَلَمَّا هَبَطَ إِلَى الْأَرْضِ صَاغَ خَاتَماً فَنَقَشَ عَلَيْهِ مُحَمَّدٌ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ وَ عَلِيٌّ أَمِيرُ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَ يُكَنَّى آدَمُ بِأَبِي مُحَمَّد

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