In your translation of Surah Al-Baqarah you have pointed out that the ‘tree of temptation’ seems to indicate the sexual act. Can you clarify?
The Qur’an also speaks of how Shaytan [i.e. Satan] deceived man into believing this tree as possessing the keys of eternity and the kingdom that never fails. This seems to demonstrate man’s main desire, no fear of both death (eternal life) and loss of possessions (the kingdom that never fails), which of course are the qualities of Paradise.
How does the sexual act relate to man’s desire for eternal life and never ending aspects of a good life?
Some of the major points, which indicate that the forbidden tree was, in fact, the sexual act are as follows:
In Surah Ta Ha (20:120) the forbidden tree has been referred to with the words “Tree of Eternity”. It is an indication that the word ‘tree’ has been used figuratively;
The implication of the ‘Tree of Eternity’ seems to be that by tasting of its fruits, man can perpetuate his existence (through his progeny);
Another important indication is the fact that in all the instances of reference to the tasting from the tree, both Adam as well as Eve are portrayed to be involved in it simultaneously. There is not a single instance, in which it has been informed that any one of the two (Adam or Eve) tasted from the tree before the other, although it was a pertinent information. It seems that whatever the fruit, it was tasted simultaneously by the two;
According to Ta Ha 20:121, as soon as Adam and Eve tasted of the tree, they became conscious of their shame and, thereafter, they started covering themselves with leaves. This seems to indicate that before tasting of the ‘tree’, both Adam and Eve, as children, were unconscious of their private parts (Al-A’raf 7:20);
In Al-A’raf 7:27 the Qur’an has warned the progeny of Adam that as in the referred incident, one of Satan’s most effective attacks against them is from the same frontier, from which he succeeded in leading their parents (Adam and Eve) astray. It has been clearly stated in this verse that Satan will do his utmost to lead man toward lewdness and, thereby, try to disqualify them from the eternal bliss of the hereafter1.
These are some of the points, which indicate that the tree from which Adam and Eve were forbidden to taste from was actually the sexual act.
Nevertheless, it should remain clear that the above is my opinion, which is based on the stipulated points. A difference of opinion, in this regard can, obviously, exist.
I hope the above explanation would answer all your questions.
December 26, 2000
- It should be kept in mind that the relationship between a husband and a wife has been termed by the Qur’an as a ‘dress’ and a ‘garment’. A ‘dress’ which covers man’s nudity from the rest of the world. The correct way prescribed by God for satisfying our sexual needs is in the state of wearing the ‘dress’ of marriage; yet man’s past, present and future bears witness that Satan has most effectively led man into eating of this tree, without the cover of this ‘dress’ of marriage. This is precisely what Al-A’raf 7:27 had warned us against. [↩]