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How Did Satan Tempt Adam & Eve From Outside Paradise?

18 October, 2017
Q It doesn't make any sense when Muslims say that Satan was kicked out of Paradise for refusing to bow to Adam (for his arrogance in thinking he is better than Adam and so shouldn't greet him with respect) and then say that it was Satan who tempted Adam & Eve in the Garden to eat from the fruit of the Tree that God had forbidden them to eat from. How could he speak to them and tempt them if he was thrown out of Paradise. Especially, how could it have been possible if Paradise is up in the Heavens???


Short Answer: There is a difference of opinion. Some scholars said that he spoke from within the mouth of the serpent who spoke to them, like what the Bible said. Others have said that he spoke to them from just outside the border of Paradise, or from just next to the gate of Paradise, for example. This assumes that Paradise was on Earth, not in the Heavens, which is a view much more in line with evolutionary theory– that human life began on Earth.

Peace be upon you, Andrea,

Thank you for this excellent question! Dr. Shabir Ally, from answers this question pretty thoroughly in the following video.


Aisha Khaja: Welcome back. Now we’ll take your questions. If you have a question yourself, send it to us at

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So, Dr. Shabir, the question for today… the viewer is asking “Satan refused to bow down to Adam so he was expelled from Paradise. How could he deceive Adam and Eve after he was expelled?”

Dr. Shabir Ally: The classical commentaries on the Quran actually treated this as a puzzle, and they came up with various solutions to this puzzle.

So, one suggestion is that even though he was expelled from Paradise, nonetheless he remained on the outside and from the outside he could still communicate with them… especially if they came to the border-line between Paradise and non-Paradise.

Or sometimes it is said that…. he came to the gate and he could speak to them from there.

One suggestion seems to follow from what is known… in the Bible: it is the serpent who comes and speaks to the woman and says, “Did God really tell you not to eat from that tree?”

Aisha Khaja: So the serpent took on the shape of Satan?

Dr. Shabir Ally: …the Bible doesn’t actually mention Satan, at this point, [it] just mentions the serpent.

So the Muslim scholars picking up on this said that maybe Satan came in the mouth of the of the serpent…

[…] And some said also that even though he was expelled, on his way out he used the opportunity to offer this last suggestion; That’s like his last strike before he goes out.

… I prefer, though, the idea that he could speak to them from outside of the garden and that makes better sense to me, on the assumption that it was a garden, right here on earth.

Because this, too, is another part of the puzzle about Adam and Eve and where they were.

Some had said it’s in the heavenly Paradise and some said it was a Paradise right here on earth, which actually accords with the Bible, as well.

But more, for me, it also accords with evolutionary theory to have human beings starting out right here on earth.

And it also makes better sense of the idea of the expulsion from Paradise, in that if they started out… in a garden right here on Earth, and then they’re being told to go forward out into the earth to cultivate the earth and to multiply.

It makes better sense than to say that they were expelled from a heavenly Paradise to come down here… to Earth.

Aisha Khaja: So you’re saying it’s possible that it was an earthly Paradise and Satan was expelled from the earthly Paradise, so therefore he still had access to them in some way?

Dr. Shabir Ally: Yes, especially if… he wants to talk to them from across the hedge.

In that case, it’s easier to understand than if he was expelled from a heavenly Paradise which we might understand to be such a fortified realm… that it’s hard to see how he could actually get back into there.

But if he was–there was a smaller enclosure, within the earth, and then he was expelled from there, he could still talk to them from across the hedge or from over the hedge.

I hope this answers your question. Check out more answers from Dr. Shabir Ally on

Read more…

Adam and Eve’s Sin: Paradise Lost?

Adam and Eve in the Bible and the Quran

Adam or Eve: Who Sinned First?

Do Muslims Believe in Original Sin?

About Dr. Shabir Ally
Dr. Shabir Ally holds a B.A. in Religious Studies from Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, with a specialization in Biblical Literature. He also holds an M.A. and a Ph.D. from the University of Toronto with a specialization in Quranic Exegesis. He is the president of the Islamic Information and Dawah Centre International in Toronto where he functions as Imam. He travels internationally to represent Islam in public lectures and interfaith dialogues. He explains Islam on a weekly television program called "Let the Quran Speak". Past episodes of this show can be seen online at: