Our knowledge about Prophet Adam and his wife Eve, unlike our knowledge about other prophets, is very little. There are so many books written and so many films made about different prophets, but when it comes to Adam and Eve, we usually face a bunch of jokes about them; most common is that they were lucky not have any in-laws! And after all the jokes we end up blaming them for having sinned and having brought the human generation on earth in this miserable, sinful world.
It is a shame that we usually speak less about the status of Adam and Eve and there is not much information about them, available to the public, to show their status.
In this article, we will study the status of Adam and Eve and compare the Christian view on the concept of original sin with the Islamic viewpoint on the same topic.
In Christianity original sin is the rebellion of Adam and Eve in Eden, mainly in consuming from the forbidden tree, which resulted in the fall of man (from the state of innocent obedience to the state of guilty disobedience).
After huge discussions on the topic of original sin which was first raised by St. Augustine who stated “the deliberate sin of the first man is the cause of original sin”, Christian Catholic theologists accepted two main ideas about human condition in this world, believing in the fact that humans were supposed to live eternally in Eden; 
1. ‘Adam by his sin caused the fall of human generation on earth, and therefore as a result of this worldly life, he caused death for human generations.
2. Adam by his fault transmitted sin to human generation.’ 
According to Christian opinion, death and sin are transmitted to the human race by generation, "for as by the disobedience of one man, many [i.e., all men] were made sinners" (Romans 5:19). 
Now, let’s see how the story of Adam and Eve is explained in the Quran.
There are four major parts from the story of Adam and Eve described in the Quran:
1. The creation of Adam, ordering the angels to prostrate before him and Satan’s disobedience. (20: 61, 18:50)
2. Adam and Eve’s settlement in paradise, their temptation by Satan, tasting from the forbidden tree. (20: 120-3)
3. Adam, Eve and Satan’s fall on earth where “In it you will live, and in it you will die, and from it you will be raised [from the dead].” (7: 25)
4. Adam and Eve’s repentance and choosing Adam by God. (20: 122)
“When your Lord said to the angels, ‘Indeed I am going to set a viceroy on the earth,” (2:30) then He thought “the Names” to Adam and old the angels to prostrate for Adam, “they prostrated, but not Iblis: he refused and acted arrogantly, and he was one of the faithless.” (2: 34) Then God said: “O Adam, dwell with your mate in paradise and eat thereof freely whence so ever you wish, but do not approach this tree, lest you should be among the wrongdoers.” (2: 35)
Then Satan tempted them as he had sworn to tempt human generation, “Then Satan caused them to stumble from it, and he dislodged them from what [state] they were in.” (2: 36) Adam and Eve returned to God and asked for forgiveness based on their divine nature and “Then his Lord chose him, and turned to him clemently, and guided him.” (20: 122)
Unlike Christianity that discusses the concept of original sin from a theological aspect, almost all Muslim scholars discuss the issue based on the exegesis of the Quranic verses. It is also important to keep in mind that Muslims believe in the infallibility of prophets and to find out how the concept of original sin comes along with Prophet Adam’s infallibility.
Most important points about the concept of original sin from Muslim scholars’ viewpoint are as follows:
“When your Lord said to his angels, Indeed I am going to set a viceroy on the earth,” (2:30)
Based on the above verse and other similar verses, Fakhr-e Razi claims that Adam’s rejection from paradise was not because he sinned. Since God’s order to prevent them from tasting from the tree was not an obligation, but He said: “do not approach this tree, lest you should be among the wrongdoers.” (7: 19) And therefore they did not do a forbidden act.
In reply to those who admit the repentance of Adam shows that he committed a sin and therefore cannot be infallible, Fakhr-e Razi says that “prophets not only do not commit any sins but if they make a mistake they would repent from it as they know that these little mistakes would make the way broader for real sins” .
“Then Adam received certain words from his Lord, and He turned to him clemently. Indeed, He is the All-clement, the All-merciful.” (2:37)
As mentioned before, Allah (SWT) Accepted Adam and Eve’s repentance and turned to them. As Tabatabaei puts it, the necessity of accepted repentance is that the person would return to his/her previous situation, while Adam and Eve instead of returning to paradise stayed on earth and Adam was chosen and guided to be the guidance for his generation. 
Therefore according to Jawadi -Amoli tasting from the forbidden tree has been a part of the plan for Adam and Eve to be treated and prepared for living on earth where they have enemies, and they should not trust everyone as they trusted Satan; “He said, ‘Get down both of you from it, all together, being enemies of one another! Yet, should any guidance come to you from Me, those who follow My guidance will not go astray, nor will they be miserable.” (20: 123) 
Tabataei strongly disagrees with those who claim that the original sin made committing sins a necessity for the human generation. He states that the lordliness of God makes a space to order the right and forbid from wrong. Therefore, there will be punishment for wrongdoers and reward for righteous people.
He can also, based on His lordliness, bless those who commit a sin and repent of it. He continues that it is not logical to accept that human sin will go through generations and one’s sin will make others sinful as well.  As it is also mentioned in the Quran “, Every soul is hostage to what it has earned”, (74: 38) and not to what Adam (PBUH) or other human generations have done.
From the verse mentioned above, the concept of human free will is also concluded. Human beings will be punished or rewarded based on their acts. If human beings are forced to sin according to the concept of original sin, then the whole concept of human free will would be undermined. And as a result, the promises that God gives us about the hereafter and facing the results of our deeds will be meaningless. As Imam al-Sadiq (AS) mentions “God is more just than to force a servant on a (wrong) task and then punishes him because of that.” 
The story of Adam and Eve is not for us to find out if Adam was sinful or not. It is rather a symbolic story that should teach us lessons for having a successful life in this world. Our story from birth to death has a lot in common with the story of our father, Adam. We were born innocent. We grew up and started tasting from different forbidden fruits. We gradually descended from our human status, instead of ascending towards God; “We certainly created man in the best of forms; then We relegated him to the lowest of the low, except those who have faith and do righteous deeds. There will be an everlasting reward for them.” (95: 4- 6)
Every day is the time for us to repent of our sins and to beware of not being deceived by Satan.
‘O Children of Adam! Do not let Satan tempt you, like he expelled your parents from paradise, stripping them of their garments to expose to them their nakedness. Indeed he sees you—he and his hosts—whence you do not see them. We have indeed made the devils friends of those who have no faith.’ (7:27)
- original sin
- Fakhr-e Razi, Muhammad ibn Amr, Mafatih al-Ghayb, p. 17
- Tabatabaei, Muahmmad Hossein, Al-Mizan, vol. 8. P.46
- Jawadi – Amoli, Abdullah, Tasneem, vol. 3, p. 328
- Tabatabaei, Muahmmad Hossein, Al-Mizan, vol. 1. Pp.133-137
- Sadouq, al-Tawhid, Section al-Qadha wa al- Qdar, Narration No. 28
In the first part of the story, we went through Prophet Moses in Islam and his childhood events, his youth and his journey to Midian (Madyan), where he met Prophet Shu’ayb (PBUH) and married his daughter, and after a few years, he decided to return to Egypt to help his people.
On the way to Egypt Moses and his family got lost in the desert. Suddenly “he descried a fire on the side of the mountain. He said to his family, ‘Wait! Indeed, I descry a fire! Maybe I will bring you some news from it, or a brand of fire so that you may warm yourselves’” (28: 29).
When Moses reached the fire, he was called, “‘O Moses! Indeed, I am your Lord! So take off your sandals. You are indeed in the sacred valley of Tuwa. I have chosen you; so listen to what is revealed” (20: 11-3).
So he became a messenger and was given certain miracles. Then he was ordered to “Go to Pharaoh” as “He has indeed rebelled” (20:24). Moses asked God to appoint a minister for him from his family; his brother, Aaron from his biological mother. And God accepted (20: 29-36).
Still, Moses and Aaron were afraid to go Pharaoh as they knew him and his power very well. It sounded impossible for both of them to go to Pharaoh and try to guide him to the right path and to ask him not to torture Children of Israel (Bani-Israel) anymore. But as God was aware of their fear, so He revealed to Moses: “We will strengthen your arm by means of your brother, and invest both of you with such authority that they will not touch you. With the help of Our signs, you two, and those who follow the two of you, shall be the victors” (28: 35).
One crucial point that the Quran emphasizes is that God even tells Moses and Aaron about how to speak to Pharaoh to make their words effective. God said to them: “Speak to him in a soft manner; maybe he will take admonition or fear” (20: 44). From this verse and the depiction of Moses in Islam, one can learn that if he/she wants to have an influential chat or speech with others, he/she should speak softly and with kindness so that the listener can hear and think in peace of mind .
Moses and Aaron meet Pharaoh and Aaron turns his rod into a snake. Culture Club / Contributor / Getty Images
Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and said: “We are the apostles of your Lord. Let the Children of Israel go with us, and do not torture them! We certainly bring you a sign from your Lord, and may peace be upon him who follows guidance!” (20: 47)
As mentioned in the verses of chapter Taha, Moses started a discussion with Pharaoh, mostly based on issues about the unity of God and believing in the hereafter (20: 48 -55). And God “showed him all Our signs. But he denied [them] and refused [to believe them]. He said, ‘Moses, have you come to us to expel us from our land with your magic?” (20: 56-7)
Pharaoh decides to compete with Moses’ miracles with magic. So they set a date to compete (20: 58 -9).
On the day of competition, the magicians said: “O Moses! Will you throw first, or shall we? He said, ‘No, you throw first’” (20: 65 -6). “So they threw down their sticks and ropes, and said, ‘By the might of Pharaoh, we shall surely be victorious!” (26: 44) “Thereat Moses threw down his staff, and behold; it was swallowing what they had faked” (26: 45).
Since the magicians were the best magicians from around Egypt that Pharaoh had gathered, and they had complete magic trainings, as soon as they saw the act of Moses, they realized that it could, by no means, be magic.  “There at the magicians fell down prostrating. They said, ‘We have believed in the Lord of Aaron and Moses!’” (20: 70)
After the magicians believed in God of Moses and other people also became believers, the elite of Pharaoh’s people said: “Will you leave Moses and his people to cause corruption in the land, and to abandon you and your gods?” (7: 127)
It can be driven from the above verse that after Moses’ victory against magicians, Pharaoh might have given Children of Israel (Bani-Israel) some sort of freedom in which they had the chance to spread the religion of Moses. Therefore, the elites of Pharaoh’s people warned him about this issue, and Pharaoh replied: “…We will kill their sons and spare their women, and indeed we are dominant over them” (7: 127) .
As Pharaoh threatened Children of Israel (Bani-Israel), Moses advised his people that in case they wished to overcome the enemy they should “Turn to Allah for help and be patient” and to make sure that “the outcome will be in favor of the Godwary” (7: 128) .
As followers of Moses complained to him about Pharaoh’s torments, he said: “Maybe your Lord will destroy your enemy and make you successors in the land, and then He will see how you act” (7: 129). It seems that they wished by the arrival of their savior, everything would be changed at a glance and they would have no hardship anymore, while Moses informed them that for reaching the success they had to go through hard times, and have patience and piety.
And in the latter verse it mentions that “maybe” your Lord will help you by destroying your enemy, and if He does so, He will do it to test you and see what you will do if you come to power .
During the years that Moses and his people were living in Egypt, God tested People of Pharaoh by many different challenges [ii], so that they might return to God. But they never believed.
They kept saying that all the signs were magic
As the first wave of incidents did not bring about a change in the heart of People of Pharaoh, and they said to Moses “Whatever sign you may bring us to bewitch us, we are not going to believe you” (7: 132), God sent down to them harder challenges such as “a flood and locusts, lice, frogs and blood, as distinct signs. But they acted arrogantly, and they were a guilty lot” (7: 133).
It is said in the exegesis of the above verse that People of Pharaoh kept denying Moses and kept calling his miracles as magic. Therefore, God sent them a flood. They went to Moses and said if he stopped it, they would believe in him. But when the flood stopped, they turned their back on Moses. The same happened by sending locusts, lice, frogs, and blood and they kept denying .
After many years that Moses tried to convey God’s messages to Pharaoh and his people, they still kept denying him.
So, Allah Ordered Moses to take his people out of Pharaoh’s land; “We revealed to Moses, [saying], ‘Set out with My servants at night, and strike out for them a dry path through the sea. Do not be afraid of being overtaken, and have no fear [of getting drowned]” (20: 77).
In the next part of this article, we will follow the story of Moses in Islam from the time they were saved from Pharaoh.
[i] Children of Israel (Bani-Israel) were the generation of Prophet Jacob or Israel (PBUH), who at the time of Prophet Joseph (PBUH), migrated to Egypt and settled there for years. (12: 93-9)
[ii] “Certainly We afflicted Pharaoh’s clan with droughts and loss of produce, so that they may take admonition. But whenever any good came to them, they would say, ‘This is our due.’ And if any ill visited them, they took it for ill omens attending Moses and those who were with him. (Look! Indeed the cause of their ill omens is from Allah, but most of them do not know)” (7: 130-1)
- Makarem –e Shirazi, N. Tafseer-e Nemouneh, vol. 13, p. 209
- Makarem –e Shirazi, N. Tafseer-e Nemouneh, vol. 13, p. 247
- Makarem –e Shirazi, N. Tafseer-e Nemouneh, vol. 6, p. 309- 310
- Makarem –e Shirazi, N. Tafseer-e Nemouneh, vol. 6, p. 311
- Makarem –e Shirazi, N. Tafseer-e Nemouneh, vol. 6, pp. 312 – 13
- Makarem –e Shirazi, N. Tafseer-e Nemouneh, vol. 6, pp. 321-3
Imam Hussain (AS) is one of the important figures in Islam whose brilliant and lofty character together with his inspiring movement has been praised by many famous characters of the world. In this regard, Mahatma Gandhi said that: “My admiration for the noble sacrifice of Imam Hussein (AS) as a martyr abounds, because he accepted death ..., but did not submit to unjust authorities. I learned from Hussain how to attain victory while being oppressed.” . Antoine Bara, a thinker, scholar, Christian and Syrian who wrote a book titled, “Imam Hussein in Christian ideology,” said that: “I am a Christian but call on humanity to follow the holiness of Imam Hussein as he is the conscience of all religions.” . These quotes and others indicate that Imam Hussain (AS) is not an exclusive role model for Shi’a or Muslims, but belongs to the whole world. One might ask in what ways is Imam Hussain’s (AS) uprising an inspiration for human beings. We try to explain that through the following lines.
Yazid’s reign was corrupted and illegitimate from the beginning. According to the peace treaty made between Imam Hassan (AS) and Mu’awiyah, the latter was forbidden to designate anyone as his successor after his death. But after the martyrdom of Imam Hassan (AS), Mu’awiyah broke the treaty. He appointed his son Yazid as his successor because he thought no one would be courageous enough to object to the decision of caliph. Hence, Yazid became caliph illegally after the death of Mu’awiyah . Besides, according to historical resources, Yazid had a corrupted immoral character. He dared to act against Islamic rulings openly and perform forbidden deeds (Haram) in Islam publicly .
Imam Hussain (AS) was observant and aware of Yazid’s acts and intention. So, he refrained from pledging allegiance to Yazid. Moreover, oppression, tyranny, unjust use of public property, etc. had made life miserable for people . Imam Hussain (AS) believed that Yazid’s manner and governing style was obviously against Islamic teachings and would eventually alter and spoil Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH&PH) Sunnah. Hence, he stood up against Yazid to prove that his reign was illegitimate and to unravel the truth. Therefore, he (AS) said that he would never take the oath of allegiance to Yazid, even if there would be nowhere safe on the earth for him to go . He never intended to take on the leadership and come to power, instead aimed at eliminating injustice and corruption.
One might wonder why Imam Hussain (AS) did not pledge allegiance to Yazid to calm down his hostility so that he would have more time to make plans and find more companions to defeat Yazid. The reason was that Yazid’s behavior and deeds were too far from true Islamic principles and moral values such that Imam (AS) could not ignore them. Moreover, he (AS) did not want to play a trick as it is denounced in Islam.
Imam (AS) had other possibilities to defeat Yazid and take over the leadership, but he (AS) refused to do so. Through his missionary in Kufa, Muslim ibn Aqil, Imam (AS) could kill Ubayd Allah ibn Ziyad [i] before the battle of Karbala and before the enemy declared war against them. But, as a man who had stood up for justice, he did not act unfairly. Imam’s (AS) reaction was in the same manner as well; before the battle started when the enemy was fewer in number and easier to defeat, one of his (AS) companions recommended fighting them. He (AS) replied that he would rather defend if a war were imposed on him instead of initiating it. Moreover, when the enemy was impatient to start the battle, he (AS) did his best to prevent it by negotiating and bringing awareness to them by revealing the truth .
These examples demonstrate that Imam (AS) did not want to reign at any price; the same was true for other Infallible Imams (AS). This is of the traits of true divine leaders; unlike oppressive unjust powers. They never take the lead, whatever the cost.
Up to now, we found out about two reasons that make Imam Hussain’s (AS) uprising a worldwide inspiration. Firstly, one should be alert and sensitive to what happens around him\her. Then, to take the right action for the sake of justice and humanity. Secondly, even if one holds a noble intention, it does not mean that he\she is allowed to achieve that by any means; the end does not justify the means.
Imam Hussain’s (AS) movement has other lessons for human beings that we will discuss in the second part of this title.
[i] The governor of Kufa during the reigns of Yazid, who executed Aqil, sent troops to intercept Imam Hussain (AS) when he arrived near Kufa and was one of the leaders of the battle against Imam (AS) in Karbala.