Contrary to Christians, who hold that the root of all evil is in the woman owing to the belief that it was Eve who was tempted by Satan… as Muslims, we have always been taught that it was both Adam and Eve who were tempted.
In Surah Ta Ha, Ayah 120, the Qur’an tells us “… the Devil whispered to him: O Adam! Shall I show thee the tree of immortality…”.Â Then in the next Ayah (121), using the pronoun “huma,” it is clear that both Adam and Eve ate from the tree.
Ayah 121 then ends with “And Adam disobeyed his Lord, wo went astray.”Â In Ayah 123, Allah again speaks to both Adam and Eve: “Go down hence, both of you…” (Pickthall translation)
So it is clear that the directive is to both man and woman, but I am just curious to know your opinion about why only Adam is mentioned in Ayah 121 for disobeying Allah.Â
Did Satan just approach Adam?
Before I answer your specific question, I would like to clarify that the Qur’an generally does not narrate an incident only for the sake of narration or merely for the sake of providing information. Incidents have, generally, been narrated to support, emphasize or to give a historical evidence for the particular point being discussed in the context in which that event is being narrated.
Keeping the above point in mind, it should be clear why the Qur’an has referred to some incidents at more than one place. Such repeated references to an event are not merely a case of repetition. Normally, the particular aspect of the event that has a special significance with the context is stressed in the narrative of that event at each place.
The narrative of Adam, Eve and Iblees (satan) has been referred to at more than one place in the Qur’an . It has been referred to, in some detail, at Al-Baqarah 2: 30 – 39, Al-Aa`raaf 7: 11 – 25 and Ta Ha 20: 115 – 123. Although at each of these three instances the stresses in the narrative of the incident are slightly different, according to the requirements of the context, yet if anyone desires to draw a comprehensive account of the incident, as it has been mentioned in the Qur’an , all these three groups of verses should be analyzed simultaneously.
A close look at the three groups of verses brings to attention the following points (with reference to your specific question):
God directed both Adam as well as Eve to refrain from tasting the ‘fruit of the tree’ (Al-Baqarah 2: 35, Al-Aa`raaf 7: 19).
God informed both Adam as well as Eve that Iblees, being their enemy, will try to deprive them from the bliss that God had bestowed them with (Ta Ha 20: 117, Al-Aa`raaf 7: 22).
Satan tried to entice Adam and Eve to eat of the ‘fruit’ through various means. Sometimes he would approach them while they were together (Al-Baqarah, Al-Aa`raaf). While at other times, he would approach Adam (and Eve?) while they were alone (Ta Ha). He tried to convince them both that eating of the ‘tree’ shall make them angels or immortals (Al-Aa`raaf 7: 20). Sometimes he would try to convince them both of his honesty and sincerity toward both of them (Al-Aa`raaf 7: 21). At other times he would try to convince them that it was the ‘tree’ of immortality and everlasting rule (Ta Ha 20: 120).
Finally, satan succeeded in his enticements and trapped both Adam as well as Eve, as they both succumbed to his seductions and both of them ate from the prohibited ‘tree’ (Al-Baqarah 2: 36, Al-Aa`raaf 7: 22, Ta Ha 20: 121).
As a consequence of this slip, the private parts of both Adam as well as Eve became apparent to them and subsequently they tried to cover themselves with leaves (Al-Aa`raaf 7: 22, Ta Ha 20: 121). Later on, they were both directed to leave the blissful place in which they were allowed to live (Al-Baqarah 2: 36, Al-Aa`raaf 7: 24, Ta Ha 20: 123).
Considering your referred verses, in which Adam (pbuh) has been named to have made the slip, in the light of the above facts, it seems that Adam (pbuh) has been named as the representative and the head of the family of ‘man’. On the other hand, Adam may have been named in view of the, comparatively, more active role that Adam (pbuh) may have played in eating from the ‘tree’.
31st December 1999