Islam provides us with the astonishing details about the creation of Adam.
Both Christian and Jewish traditions are remarkably similar yet importantly different to the Quran.
The Book of Genesis describes Adam as being made from “the dust of the earth,” and in the Talmud as being kneaded from mud.
But in Islam, there is astonishing details of that creation:
And God said to the angels:
Verily, I am going to place mankind generations after generations on earth.’
They said: ‘Will You place therein those who will make mischief therein and shed blood, while we glorify You with praises and thanks and sanctify You.’
God said: ‘I know that which you do not know. (2: 30)
So begins the story of Adam, the first man, God created him from a handful of soil containing portions from all its varieties on Earth.
Angels were sent to earth to collect the soil that was to become Adam.
It was red, white, brown, and black; soft, malleable, hard and gritty; came from the mountains and the valleys; from infertile deserts and lush fertile plains and all the natural varieties in between.
The descendants of Adam were destined to be as diverse as the handful of soil from which their ancestor was created; all have different appearances, attributes and qualities.
Throughout the Quran, the soil used to create Adam is referred to by many names, and from this we are able to understand some of the methodology of his creation. Each name for soil is used at a different stage of Adam’s creation.
The Soil, taken from the earth, is referred to as soil; God also refers to it as clay. When mixed with water, it becomes mud, or when is left to stand the water content reduces, and it is sticky clay (or mud).
If the soil is again left for some time, it begins to smell, and the color becomes darker – black, smooth clay, from this substance God molded the form of Adam. His soulless body was left to dry, and it became what is known in the Quran as sounding clay.
Adam was molded from something akin to potter’s clay. When the clay is rapped it produces a ringing sound.
(remember) when your Lord said to the angels: ‘I am going to create a human (Adam) from sounding clay of altered black smooth mud.
So when I have fashioned him and breathed into him (his) soul created by Me, then you fall down prostrate to him. (38: 71-2)
God honored the first human in countless ways. He blew his soul into him, and fashioned him with His own hands, ordered the Angels to bow down before him.
And We created you, then fashioned you, then told the angels: prostrate to Adam! They prostrated except Iblees (Satan), who was not of those who make prostration (7: 11)
While worship is reserved for God alone, this prostration by the Angels to Adam was a sign of respect and honor. It is said that, as Adam’s body trembled into life, he sneezed and immediately said ‘All praise and thanks is due to God;’ so He responded by bestowing His Mercy upon Adam.
Although this account is not mentioned in either the Quran or the authentic narrations of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), it is mentioned in some commentaries of the Quran.
Thus, in his first seconds of life, the first man is recognized as an honored creature, covered with the infinite Mercy of God.
God instructed Adam to approach a group of Angels sitting near to him and greet them with the words Assalamo Alaikom (May peace of God be upon you). The angels answered ‘and also upon you be God’s peace, mercy and blessings’. From that day forward these words became the greeting of those submitted to God. We, his descendants, were instructed to spread peace.
For a Purpose
God told mankind that He did not create them except that they should worship Him. He created everything in this world for Adam and his descendants, in order to aid us in our ability to worship and know God.
Due to God’s infinite Wisdom taught Adam what he needed to know in order perform this duty as the caretaker on earth.
God gave Adam the ability to identify and designate names to everything; He taught him language, speech and the ability to communicate. He imbued Adam with an insatiable need for and love of knowledge.
The Angels were given no specific knowledge or freedom of will, their sole purpose being to worship and praise God.
On the other hand, God gave Adam the ability to reason, make choices and identify objects and their purpose. This helped to prepare Adam for his coming role on earth. So Adam knew the names of everything, but he was alone in Heaven.
Adam & Eve
One morning, Adam opened his eyes and looked into the beautiful face of a woman gazing down at him. He was surprised and asked the woman why she had been created. She revealed that she was to ease his loneliness and bring tranquility to him.
Hawwa (Eve) in Arabic; it comes from the root word hay, meaning living. Eve is also an English variant of the old Hebrew word Havva, also deriving from hay.
Both Jewish and Christian traditions also maintain that Eve was created from Adam’s rib, although in a literal translation of the Jewish tradition, it is sometimes referred to as side.
And God said: ‘O Mankind! Be dutiful to your Lord, Who created you from a single person (Adam) and from Him He created his wife (Eve), then from them both He created many men and women. (4:1)