Adam, Eve, And Who Else?

Question and answer details
Salam dear consultants. I would like to know more of the meaning of an Ayah in the Quran. From Surah Baqara, Ayah 38:(2:38) We said, "Now go down, all of you from here. Henceforth there shall come to you Guidance from Me now and again: whoever will follow it shall have neither fear nor sorrow I am wondering what it means when the word "all" is used which seems to indicates that Allah is referring to more then two beings. Does this mean that Adam and Eve had children already in paradise with them or that there were other humans and they were all sent down to earth? Thank you
Ahmad Saad

Salam dear sister,

Thank you for your question and for contacting Ask About Islam.

The Quran speaks about Adam and Eve and their story in various places of the Quran; probably the first story mentioned in the Quran is the story of Adam and Eve and this is a very significant feature, since this story symbolizes the eternal enmity between man and Satan and this relates directly to reminding man of the main purpose of his existence which is to worship Allah and find his way on earth through protecting himself from the traps of Satan.

Since man cannot do that alone, Almighty Allah has taught us to seek refuge in Him from the accursed Satan. This mindfulness of the readiness of Satan to mislead and misguide puts man on the alert all the time and makes him recognize his ultimate and continues need of Allah’s assistance in his fight with Satan and his own ego.

It is through this awareness of his eternal enemy that man will find an impetus to forgive others, to coexist with them and to unite with any other human beings to face the evils that plague all human kind and all inhabitants of the earth. Some people try to simplify this issue and read the story of Adam and Eve in a very naive way; just confining it to the events to a refusal of Iblis to prostrate to Adam.

The Quran came to teach us lofty morals and to deliver lessons for life and the Quranic story are very didactic and practical at the same time. The whole story of Adam and Eve represent the honor Allah has placed on man by creating him from clay and elevating this clay to the level of humanness, blowing the soul into it, gifting him with mind and heart and teaching him.

As we are reminded in the Quran that Allah taught Adam all the names i.e. granted him special knowledge which even Angels could not compete with him in. They prostrated in front of Adam as a form of, firstly, compliance with the Divine command and confirming Adam’s superiority. Satan, driven by his envy, haughtiness and arrogance, refused to obey and did not prostrate and therefore, he was kicked out of Paradise to wander elsewhere in the heavens.

The symbols that we can read behind the words here include, the honor of knowledge and the high status of those who are learned, the importance of knowledge in helping man in his fight with Satan. Knowledge here does not refer only to what we call secular sciences because there is a difference between sciences and knowledge; rather, it refers to the divinely gifted knowledge whose Source is Allah and which is granted to those who obey Allah and establish eternal link with Him.

Another symbol here is the defining man’s duty as a vicegerent of God; that is to obey and fulfill the commands of Allah, since this is the way of success. The struggle with Satan, although eternal, but reflects another struggle with the ego. In other words, what has prevented Satan from obeying God’s commands is his egoism and this carries a lesson to the sons of Adam to avoid satanic characteristics like envy, malice, hatred, arrogance and deceit in order to enjoy divine closeness and protection. These are some hints in that important story that guide man’s path of earth and shows him his way to Divine pleasure and love.

As far as the question is concerned and the verse you referred to, which reads what is translated as:

{We said: Go forth from this (state) all; so surely there will come to you a guidance from Me, then whoever follows My guidance, no fear shall come upon them, nor shall they grieve.} (Al-Baqarah, 2:38)

The address is to Adam and Eve only since they did not have children at that time as there is no mention of any children during Adam’s stay in Paradise. The word ‘all’ is actually a confirmation and has nothing to do with their being two.

However, Sheikh Ahmed ibn Ajibah in his tafsir ‘Al-Bahr Al-Madid’ (The Huge Ocean) tells us that the word ‘all’ is addressed to Adam and Eve but with an indication that same goes for their progeny who will be born on earth; it is as if it refers inherently that the fight between man and Satan is not a personal fight between Adam and Satan; rather, it will continue till the end of time with Adam’s children.

Hence, the word ‘all’, although addressing Adam and Eve, covers their children; a lesson that makes people alert all the time about the snares of Satan and seek refuge in Allah from him.

May Allah protect us all from Satan and I hope this helped answer your question.

Salam and please keep in touch.

Useful Links:

Adam and Eve in the Bible and the Quran

Adam & Eve: Who Sinned First?

Adam & Eve's Sin: Paradise Lost?

Adam & His Sin