Written by K T Shamim
As already alluded to in the preceding note Adam was a Prophet and Messenger and Caliph of Allah. And to whom was he a messenger if there were not people to pass on the message to?
Al-Baqarah Chapter 2: Verse 214
Mankind were one community, (then they differed among themselves) so Allah raised Prophets as bearers of good tidings and as warners, …
Prophets were not raised unless there was a difference among the members of the community of men. The purpose of the Prophets was to unite the people of their community. If, indeed, Hazrat Adam was a Prophet of God then which community, exactly, was he sent to unite? So ponder over this argument and ponder over how the Quran says life started.
Al-Nisa’ Chapter 4 : Verse 2
O ye people! fear your Lord, Who created you from a single soul and created therefrom its mate, and from them twain spread many men and women; and fear Allah, in Whose name you appeal to one another, and fear Him particularly respecting ties of relationship. Verily, Allah watches over you.
Al-An`am Chapter 6 : Verse 99
And He it is Who has produced you from a single person and there is for you a home and a lodging. We have explained the Signs in detail for a people who understand.
Al-A`raf Chapter 7 : Verse 190
He it is Who has created you from a single soul, and made therefrom its mate, that he might find comfort in her. And when he knows her, she bears a light burden, and goes about with it. And when she grows heavy, they both pray to Allah, their Lord, saying: ‘If Thou give us a good child, we will surely be of the thankful.’
Al-Zumar Chapter 39 : Verse 7
He created you from a single being; then from that He made its mate; and He has sent down for you eight head of cattle in pairs. He creates you in the wombs of your mothers, creation after creation, in threefold darkness. This is Allah, your Lord. His is the kingdom. There is no God but He. Whither then are you being turned away?
And in all the above verses single soul is the translation of the words نَّفۡسٍ۬ وَٲحِدَةٍ۬ (Nafsinw Wahidatin).I used to state that the arabic word نَّفۡسٍ۬ (Nafs; soul) was always referred in the female in each of the above instances proving that according to the Quran the first being was not a male but rather a female (or was sexless). However, I was pointed out to in this regard by several friends and so I checked the dictionary of Lane. According to Lane the word could have both masculine and feminine forms. However, when I looked up each instance of the word in the Quran I found that it was always referred to in the feminine even if the soul belonged to a male. For example, “Allah does not burden any soul beyond its capacity …” [2: 287] where soul obviously refers to males and females. And there is even one instance, “And remember the time when you slew a person and differed among yourselves about it …” (2:73) where the person being referred to is male. Therefore, I must confess that the direct claim seems quite mistaken and so I should take it back until proven otherwise.
The most that can be said, then, is this:
The word نَّفۡسٍ۬ (Nafs) refers to all living beings and not only to humans. For example the verse [3:186] “Every soul shall taste of death …” in which the word refers to all living things.While it may not be inferred directly that the first living thing was a female from the above verse it can easily be inferred that in none of the above cases there is any positive evidence of it being a male. The word “single soul” could refer to a male, female, and even a sexless being. Both the latter cases are perfectly in line with abiogenesis. That is, life started as a single cell (sexless but also known as “mother” cell due to its ability to give birth … definitely not male).
The interesting point remains that in [4:2] above after relating creation of the single cell in “… created you from a single soul …” and subsequent asexual and sexual reproduction “… created therefrom its mate …” the Quran does use the specific words for men (رِجَالاً۬ Rijaalan) and women (نِسَآءً۬ۚ Nisa’) towards the middle of the verse. In this verse [4:2] despite the use of the Arabic word for “man” in the latter part of the verse the initial creation does not use the Arabic word for “man” and instead uses the Arabic word for “soul”. Why does the Quran in all verses that detail the creation of the first soul not use the word رجل (man) if a man was the first created? The Quran insists on refraining from the word رجل (Rajal; man) to describe the first creation in each instance preferring to use the word نَّفۡسٍ۬ (Nafas; soul).
In fact, in less than half a verse the Quran beautifully summarizes the entire process of evolution to human beings as we know them today. That we were created from a single living cell that underwent a long period of asexual reproduction until the “daughter” cell had a male sex and reproduced with another “daughter” cell beginning a long period of sexual reproduction from where the several men and women that exist today came. And where in the Quran, pray tell, is that fairy tale of Eve from Adam’s chest? Show one verse that alludes to that fairy tale. If that verse cannot be shown then why attribute fairy tales to Islam?
This note has already gone on long enough so I will leave it at that for now till my next note that is slightly related and negates the misconception among Muslims that Adam lived in paradise before coming to Earth.