The Story of Adam (part 4 of 5): Life on Earth
Description: Adam, his children, the first murder and his death.
By Aisha Stacey (© 2008 IslamReligion.com)
Published on 07 Apr 2008 - Last modified on 13 Mar 2013
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Category: Articles > Beliefs of Islam > Stories of the Prophets
Adam and Eve left Paradise and began their life on earth. God had prepared them in many ways. He gave them the experience of struggling against the whisperings and schemes of Satan. He taught Adam the names of everything and instructed him in its properties and usefulness. Adam took up his position as caretaker of the earth and Prophet of God.
Adam, the first Prophet of God 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’s First Four Children
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. A group of the companions of Prophet Muhammad including Ibn Abbas and Ibn Masud related that inter-marriage of the male of one pregnancy with the female of another had been the practice among Adam’s children. Therefore we know that God’s plan to fill the earth included each of Adam’s sons marrying the twin sister of the other.
It seems that beauty has played a part in the attraction of men and women since the beginning. Cain was 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 over come our baser instincts is part of His test for us.
God commanded that each son was to offer a sacrifice. His judgement would favour 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.’” (Quran 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.’” (Quran 5:27-28)
The First Murder
“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.” (Quran 5:30)
Prophet Muhammad informed us that Cain became angry and hit his brother over the head with a piece of iron. It was also said in another narration that Cain hit Abel over the head while he was sleeping.
“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.” (Quran 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.
All of mankind are the children of Adam. In one narration, the 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. Adam 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)
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. The Angels descended and washed the body of Prophet Adam an odd number of times; they dug the grave and buried the body of the father of mankind, Adam.
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. Adam appointed as his successor his son Seth.