Islam provides us with the astonishing details of 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, Adam is described as being kneaded from mud.
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, the first human being; 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; it was soft and malleable, hard and gritty; it 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.
Soil, taken from the earth, is referred to as soil; God also refers to it as clay. When it is mixed with water it becomes mud, when it is left to stand the water content reduces and it becomes sticky clay (or mud).
If it 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 it is rapped it produces a ringing sound.
And (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, Adam, in countless ways. Allah blew his soul into him, He fashioned him with His own hands and He ordered the Angels to bow down before him. And God said to the Angels:
And We created you, then fashioned you, then told the angels: prostrate to Adam! And 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 God 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.
Adam was instructed to approach a group of Angels sitting near to him and greet them with the words Assalamo Alaikom (May God’s peace be upon you), they 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. From the moment of Adam’s creation, we, his descendents, were instructed to spread peace.
For a Purpose
God told mankind that He did not create them except that they should worship Him. Everything in this world was created for Adam and his descendants, in order to aid us in our ability to worship and know God. Due to God’s infinite Wisdom, Adam and his descendants were to be the caretakers on earth, so God taught Adam what he needed to know to perform this duty.
God gave Adam the ability to identify and designate names to everything; He taught him language, speech and the ability to communicate. God imbued Adam with an insatiable need for and love of knowledge:
He taught Adam all the names of everything. (2: 31)
The Angels were given no specific knowledge or freedom of will, their sole purpose being to worship and praise God. Adam, on the other hand, was given 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. Adam 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.
Eve is Hawwa 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. Adam informed the Angels that Eve was so named because she was made from a part of him and he, Adam, was a living being.
Both Jewish and Christian traditions also maintain that Eve was created from Adam’s rib, although in a literal translation of the Jewish tradition, rib 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 (Adam) He created his wife (Eve), and from them both He created many men and women. (4:1)