Monday, October 5, 2020

In The Way Of Abraham The Hanifa, Idolatry Is Made Clear

During Prophet Adam, there was no issue about people worshiping false gods. Adam was the first man. The rest of the people during his time were all his children. He taught them about tawhid and they followed him. The problems he faced during his time was not about faith, but about behavior. For instance, his second son, Cain, had killed his first son, Abel, due to jealousy. Although Cain had done terrible crime, he still believed in Allah, the One God. It was his behavior which is bad.

Then came Prophet Idris. During his time, there was not much problem with the faith either. People during his time still worshiped the One true God. It was when Prophet Idris died that people started to take false gods beside Allah.

Next came Prophet Noah. During his time, people had already forgotten about the One true God or tawhid. All of them were involved in idol worship. Prophet Noah spent many hundreds years to convince the people to worship only Allah. But he was not very successful. As a result, Allah sent great flood and drowned all disbelievers.

Then the correct faith was restored, because only the believers in the big ship were saved from getting drowned in the Great Flood. When the children of Prophet Noah multiplied, they spread all over the world. Gradually people forgot about the tawhid and started to worship false gods again.

When Prophet Hud and Prophet Shalih were sent to their respective tribes, the people were already indulging in the worship of false gods. And, as we have learned from previous lesson, Allah destroyed all these disbelievers.

After that Prophet Abraham came, along with his nephew, Prophet Lot. Like the previous generations, the people during Prophet Abraham also worshiped false gods.

But there is one important difference between Prophet Abraham’s period and the period before him. By the time Prophet Abraham came, human beings have started to record things, including the events and people involved. For that reason, we have more knowledge about the time of Prophet Abraham as compared to those prophets who came before him.

Prophet Abraham’s story is not only available in the Bible and the Quran, but also in historical books. Therefore, we can say that the prophets who came before Prophet Abraham had lived during prehistoric time, that is, the period when no history is recorded. Abraham is the first prophet who lived in historic era.

Most scholars say that Prophet Abraham was born about 4,000 years ago. When he was born, people had already forgotten about tawhid. All of them were idol worshipers.

We do not know much about the nature of idol worshiping during the time of Noah, Hud or Shalih, except that they made statues from stones, woods, etc., and they worshiped these statues/idols.

By the time of Abraham, we know much more about the nature and characteristic of idol worshiping, because he had encountered not only with one type of idolatry (idol worship), but many kinds.

The first type of idolatry is similar to the people of Noah, Hud and Shalih. This is the type of idols made of stones, woods, etc., to represent gods, and they worship these idols.

The second type of idolatry is taking people as gods. Usually these people are their kings, and they worship these kings.

The third type of idolatry is taking celestial or heavenly bodies as gods. These celestial bodies may be moon, sun, stars or spirit. And they worship these celestial bodies.

From this, Islam says that idolatry or idol worshiping is not just about bowing down to idols, like what the Hindus are still doing until now. It is also not just about worshiping the stars, the sun, the moon or the spirit. It means, if we idolize, worship, or revere anything other than one true God, then all of these are idolatry or idol worshiping. They are the type of idolatry that come in different forms.

Therefore, if we revere or idolize people more than we should, then it is a form of idolatry forbidden in Islam. If we idolize money, power or wealth more than what is considered proper, this is also a form of idolatry. If we idolize a particular idea or ideology more than necessary, such as saying capitalism, communism, socialism etc are better than Islam, this is also a form of idolatry. Even if we say that Islam is no longer fashionable, or Islamic syariah (Islamic Law) is outdated and no longer relevant to the modern world, this is also a type of idolatry.

From the story of Prophet Abraham, the concept of tawhid is made clear. This is because we are informed about his encounter with various types of people who did not actually bow down to idols made of stones or woods. Yet, they were also considered as idolaters. He rejected all of them and continue with his upright way. The upright way is called “hanifa” in the Quran.

In Islam, the word used for idolatry is “syirk.” “Syirk” means associate. The people of Makkah before their conversion to Islam were called “musyrikin.” “Musyrikin” means people who associate something with something else. They believed in Allah, but they also have other gods that they consider as the associates or the companions of Allah. These associates are their idols that they worship along with Allah.

Idolatry comes from the word “idol.” Idol is an image, an object, or something that people revere, salute, or worship. It can be the spirit, the moon, the sun, the ancestors, the people, the wealth, the power or the idea. Those who worship all these things are idolaters.

Here we have to make the distinction between the manifest and hidden idolatry. Manifest means clear or obvious. Manifest idolatry means the nature of this idolatry is clear and obvious. Hidden means unclear or not obvious. The nature of hidden idolatry is more difficult to detect.

The manifest idolatry refers to those who either reject Allah as the true God, or clearly associate other gods with Allah. Example of manifest or clear idolatry are the people in Makkah before they became Muslims. The believed in Allah, but along with Him, they also worship other gods. Currently, we may say the Hindus are the example of this type. The Hindus believe in the Supreme God although they do not call this as Allah, but they have thousands of other gods along with this Supreme God.

Those who do not believe in Allah at all but worship the spirit, the sun or anything that they consider as their god is another example of manifest idolatry.

Then there are a group of people who do not believe in the existence of God at all. They are known as atheists, and their belief is called atheism. Islam categorizes them as idolaters although they claim that they do not believe in any god. This is because they take their own thinking as their god. Atheism is another example of manifest idolatry.

The hidden idolaters are more complex, because it is less clear. These would include those who revere money, wealth, power, position or other people beyond what is right and reasonable.

For example, those who seek money for the sake of money, regardless whether it is acquired in the right or wrong way, where his mind is all the time obsessed with making money, and consider nothing else is more important, is an example of hidden idolatry. The distinction here is not whether one is rich or poor, because the rich may earn money in the right way and spend it rightly. The poor who are crazy about money, do not care how they earn it, whether halal or haram, and love money for money sake, could also be hidden idolater.

Prophet Abraham’s life provided this understanding. Our faith has to be pure and upright (hanifa). Quran mentions the word “hanifa” 12 times. Of that, eight times the word hanifa is associated with Prophet Abraham. He is the only prophet that the Quran associates with the word hanifa. In fact, Prophet Muhammad was asked to follow the upright way of Prophet Abraham, as in the Quran 16:123: Then, we revealed to you, “follow the way of Ibrahim, the upright, and he was not among the idolaters.”

Prophet Muhammad, the last of the prophet, or the last brick in the House of Prophethood, emulated the upright way (hanifa) of Prophet Abraham. From both of them, we learn the true meaning of tawhid.

Friday, August 21, 2020

I Hope That Allah Will Bring From Their Descendants People Who Will Worship Allah Alone

We have narrated that after spending hundreds of years calling people to tawhid without much success, Great Flood had been sent to drown all the disbelievers among the people of Noah.

Similar pattern can be seen with the subsequent prophets. After Noah, came Hud, Shalih, Abraham and Lot. Allah also destroyed the disbelievers among the people of these prophets. During Prophet Adam and Idris, who came before Prophet Noah, punishment like this did not happen.

When Prophet Noah did not know how else to convince his people to leave idol worshiping, Allah inspired to him that the hearts of his people were already sealed. Then Prophet Noah made doa, asking Allah to destroy them all. We can see this in the Quran chapter 71: verses 26-27:  "My Lord! Leave not one of the disbelievers on the earth. If you leave them, they will mislead Your slaves and they will beget none but wicked disbelievers."
And Allah granted his request.

After the great flood, the children of Prophet Noah started to multiply and spread all over the earth. One of his descendants was called Aad. He lived somewhere in the present day Yemen. His descendants became the people or the tribe of Aad. They worshiped the idols, so Allah sent a prophet among them named Hud.

After preaching for so many years without much success, Prophet Hud AS warned his people that if they do not believe in the One True God, he feared that Allah will punish them. Instead of taking his advice kindly, they mocked at him, calling him mad. Then Allah sent drought to them. Prophet Hud warned them, saying the drought is a warning that Allah is angry. If they repent, Allah will forgive and send them rain.

But, instead of believing in his warning, they mocked at Prophet Hud and became more stubborn. The drought increased, the trees turned yellow, and plants died. Then a day came when they found the sky full of clouds. The people were happy, thinking that the rain is coming. But it was not a rain. It was a storm that came to destroy everything. Only Hud and his followers remained unharmed.

Another of Noah’s descendant was called Thamud. He lived somewhere between north of Saudi Arabia and south of Jordan in the present day. His descendants became the people or the tribe of Thamud. Like the people of Aad, they also worshiped the idols, so Allah sent a prophet among them named Shalih.

Prophet Shalih was more successful as he had some followers. But, fearing that his followers would increase, the chiefs among his people then tried to discredit him. They asked him to perform a miracle. They said, if he can make a unique she-camel come out of a mountain rock, then they will believe in him.

Prophet Shalih then prayed to Allah to grant their request. Allah split the mountain rock and a great camel came out. The people were astounded with the wonderful event. Some people declared their belief, but most of them continued with their disbelief.

This camel did not only come out of the mountain rock miraculously. It was also a miraculous she-camel. She can produce more milk than all their camels combined. But she also drank a lot of water. When the she-camel drank, their well would run dry, so the people had to wait until tomorrow. They had to alternate between their day to use the well and the she-camel’s day. This situation made their leaders hated Shalih more. So they plotted a conspiracy. Offering great rewards and beautiful wives, they engaged some young men to kill the camel. And the camel was killed.

They celebrated the death of the miraculous camel but Prophet Shalih warned them: "Enjoy life for 3 more days then the punishment will descend upon you." Prophet Shalih was hoping they would repent, but instead of repenting, they mocked and challenged him: "Why three days? Let the punishment come as quickly as possible." Three days after the warning, thunderbolts filled the air, followed by severe earthquakes which destroyed the entire tribe and its homeland.

After that came Prophet Abraham and his nephew Prophet Lot. Allah had sent two angels to destroy the people of Lot in Sodom and Gomorrah. But before they went to Sodom and Gomorrah, the angels visited Prophet Abraham first who lived in the area of Canaan.

The visit was to tell Prophet Abraham about the good and bad news. The good news was that Abraham will have a son with his wife Sarah. Although very surprised because both of them were already very old, they were overjoyed with the good news.

After the good news, the angels told Prophet Abraham that they were on their way to destroy the people of Sodom and Gomorrah. Prophet Abraham was alarmed, saying that his nephew Lot was there. The angels told him that Lot and his family who believed in him will be saved. Except his wife, because she disbelieved in him.

Then Prophet Abraham tried to plead with the angels to spare the people of Lot. But the angels said the matter had been decided by Allah and told Prophet Abraham to stop pleading.

The angels then came to Prophet Lot’s house as handsome young men. This worried Prophet Lot immensely because his people indulged in homosexuality. So he hid them in his house. But his wife went out to tell people about the handsome young guests.

Soon people came to his house demanding him to surrender the two men so that they can satisfy their lust. Prophet Lot tried to reason with them, saying they can marry his two beautiful daughters as that would be more decent. But they only laughed at him, saying they are not interested in women, and demanded him to surrender the two guests. When they demanded more violently and Prophet Lot feared something really terrible would happen, the guests said: "Do not be anxious or frightened, Lot, for we are angels, and these people will not harm you."

On hearing this, the mob was terrified and fled from Lot's house, hurling threats at him as they left. The angels warned Prophet Lot to leave his house before sunrise, taking with him all his family except his wife. While fleeing from the town, Allah destroyed the town of Sodom and Gomorrah.

The Bible said that Prophet Lot also took his wife along, and warned her not to turn his face toward the town no matter what. While fleeing, an earthquake rocked the town and a storm of stones rained on the city, leaving horrifying sound behind. None of them turned their face to look at what happened, except his disbelieving wife. She turned to look at the terrifying event and was turned into a pillar of salt.

Some biblical commentators said that she was turned into a pillar of salt because, when the angels came and her husband hid them, his wife told him there was no salt in the house. Salt is very important in food preparation. Without salt, food would be tasteless, and that is not the way to treat special guests. So she told her husband she needed to go out to borrow some salt. In reality, she went out to tell the people about the guests. Since she lied about the salt, God turned her into a pillar of salt.

In the story of Prophet Lot, we saw that Prophet Abraham tried to appeal to the angels to spare the people of Lot. In the case of Prophet Noah, he himself had asked Allah to destroy all of the disbelievers. While Prophet Hud and Prophet Shalih did not directly ask Allah to destroy the disbelievers, they did not plead to Allah to spare or save them either.

Here, we see a similarity between Prophet Abraham and Prophet Muhammad. Aisha, the wife of the Prophet, asked him one day whether he had encountered worst day than the Battle of Uhud.

In the Battle of Uhud, the Prophet was very sad. Not only that the Muslims had lost the war, but 70 of his companions were also killed, and among them was his beloved uncle Hamzah, who was not only killed, but mutilated. His belly was cut open, his liver was taken, his nose and his ears were cut off. The Prophet also lost his tooth and got badly hurt.

Despite all that, the Prophet said he had a worse day than the Day of Uhud. In the Lesson “Humble Beginning,” we have narrated how his people had treated him and his followers badly for 10 years. Then he lost his protective uncle Abu Talib and his beloved wife Khadijah. As he did not know what else to do, he went to Taif with a high hope that the people in Taif would believe in his message.

But, instead of treating him kindly, they chased him. The elders told the foolish people and the kids to stone him. He ran away bleeding and felt the world was closing on him. Then the angels came, saying that if he like, they can make the mountain crushed and destroyed all the people in Taif. Instead of agreeing with the angels’ proposal, the Prophet said: “No, rather I hope that Allah will bring from their descendants people who will worship Allah alone without associating partners with him.”

Here we see the likeness between Prophet Muhammad and Prophet Ibrahim. When asked which prophet looked like him, the Prophet used to say: “I am the one who resembles Abraham the most amongst his children.” He was referring to physical resemblance, but we can see that their approach is also similar. Unlike other prophets, both Prophet Muhammad and Prophet Abraham tried the best they can to save the people from being punished.

It is not a coincidence, therefore, that among 124,000 prophets, these two are often single out as the greatest. Or, in the story of the Brick House of Prophethood, these are the two greatest bricks.

And We Made His Offspring The Sole Survivors

According to biblical story, Prophet Adam AS lived for 930 before he died.  After Adam, the next prophet the we know by name is Idris.  He is called Enoch in the Bible.  It was said that Prophet Idris AS was born when Adam was 622 years old.  This means that when Idris was born, Adam was still alive.  

In Arabic, Idris means “the instructor, the teacher.”  In Hebrew, he is called Enoch, meaning, “initiated, dedicated, disciplined.”  He was the first one who taught writing and reading, and also the first one who tamed horses for riding.  He was also the first to teach people mathematics and astronomy. 

According to both biblical and Islamic legends, Prophet Idris did not die but he was raised to the lofty place.  The legend said that he asked the Angel of Death to take his life so that he can taste death.  So the Angel of Death took his life and his soul went to the Paradise.  This took place when he was 365 years old, or after Prophet Adam had died for 57 years.

But when the Angel of Death came to him to make him alive again, he asked the Angel how many time people die.  The Angel said only once.  Then the Prophet Idris said that since he had already died once, he should not live and die again.  So the Angel did not revive him.

Since Prophet Idris was the great teacher and highly revered, his disappearance had caused great distress to his people and they had made a statue in his remembrance, that is, some kind of memorial.  From time to time, they bowed to the statue to show respect.

The later generations who did not live with him and did not know why the statue was made in the first place had turned to worship the statue instead of remembering Idris.  This is said to be the first instance of idol worshiping.

The third prophet is Noah (Nabi Nuh).  According to the Biblical account, Prophet Noah AS was born in the year 1,056 of the Jewish Calendar, or about 126 after the death of Adam.  This is equivalent to 69 years after the disappearance of Prophet Idris. 

By the time the third prophet appeared, people had forgotten the tawhid or the oneness of God.  All of them worshiped idols instead.

Quran said Prophet Noah lived for 950 years.  In spite of the length of his prophethood, however, he managed to convince only a few.  According to Islamic tradition, his followers, including the members of his family, numbered only 83 or so.  Even one of his sons did not believe in his message.

According to Bible, it was only his family who believed in him.  They were his wife, his three children, Ham, Shem and Japhet, along with Prophet’s Noah daughter in laws as well as his grandchildren.  Islamic tradition, meanwhile, said that even his wife did not believe in him.   In addition, one of his sons named Kanaan (also called Yam) also did not believe in him and was drown later on during the great flood.  This son who disbelieved in him was not mentioned in the Bible.

After long preaching without much success, in his doa (supplication) to God, Prophet Noah said that there was nothing more he can do. The people were beyond repair.  Allah then commanded Prophet Noah to build an ark (a ship).   It was very huge and was built on the land, far from the sea.  His people were laughing at him saying that he was mad to make a ship when there was no sea nearby.  They did not know that afterward, Allah had sent the great flood and destroyed all of them except Noah and his followers or families in the ship. 

According to the Bible and some Islamic scholars, he was the father of all nations through his three sons who had survived, namely, Ham, Japhet and Shem.  Japhet is said to be the father of white colored people such as the Europeans, the Turkish people and the Iranians; Shem is said to be the father of the Jews and the Arabs; and Ham to be the father of the rest of the people. 

Many Islamic scholars also believe that he was the Father of all nations.  This is based on their interpretation of the Quran chapter 37 verse 77: “And we made his offspring the sole survivors.”  This verse refers to the great flood that drown everyone except those in the ship.  Thus, people nowadays are all descended from him.

The evolution scientists treat the story of great flood as mere legend.  They do not consider Noah to be the Father of all nations.  They do not even consider Prophet Adam to be the Father of mankind.  They say human being evolved from monkey.  

The evolution scientists imagine that some monkeys must have gotten tired of swinging from one tree to another.  So some of them try to walk on the ground.  At first they walked on all four feet.  Then some of them got tired of walking on four feet and tried walking on two.  The other two feet became their hands.  At long last they did not know how to walk on four feet anymore.  So they became human beings. 

This version of the story is known as the Evolution Theory.  The theory says that in the beginning, there was only tiny bit of living matter like bacteria or amoeba.  After long time, these tiny creatures got bigger and evolved into fish.  Then some fish tried to crawl on lands.  After they got used to it, some of them became reptiles.  Some of these reptiles tried flying and evolved into birds, while others turned into mammals.  Some mammals became monkeys and later on some monkeys became humans.

We did not know exactly how Allah created all the creations, including humans.  As Muslims, we believe Allah made us special, to be khalifah on earth.  When we were created, Allah “breath” His soul into Adam.  He made us to be aware of Him, and we are held accountable to our belief/faith and actions.  Animals including monkey are not held accountable for their actions.

As Muslims, we believe there was great flood that drowned everyone on the face of the earth during Prophet Noah time because that is what Quran tells us.  The Christians and the Jews also believe the same, because similar story is written in the Bible.

If we read a bit more, actually it is not only the Jews, the Christians and the Muslims who believe in the great flood.  In fact, all cultures in the world have their legends about the Great Flood. 

The Malays who are Muslims would go with the story in the Quran, but our aborigines such as the Jakun also have their legend as well.

Their story goes something like this.  The ground that we stand on is merely a skin.  Underneath is all water. Long ago, the god Pirman broke up this skin.  As a result, the whole world was flooded.  But Pirman had created a man and woman and placed them in a completely closed ship. All mankind are descended from that first pair.

The Mandayas, a tribe in the Philippines, also have their stories.  A great flood once drowned all the world's inhabitants except one pregnant woman. She prayed that her child would be a boy, and it was. When he grew up, he wed his mother, and all Mandayas are descended from them.

Even the people in Tibet also have their story. Long time ago, Tibet was almost totally inundated, that is, covered with water, until the god Gya took compassion on the survivors, drew off the waters through Bengal, and sent teachers to civilize the people, who until then had been little better than monkeys. Those people repopulated the land. 

There are hundreds of other similar stories but we need not waste space here.   Over times, of course, the stories had changed considerably, but the memory of the great flood remained, even to people in Tibet, the highest place on earth.

One common theme about all these stories is that those who were saved from this great flood had repopulated the earth.  We the Muslims believe the great flood was during Prophet Noah.  And through his offspring developed many nations that repopulated the earth.

Friday, July 3, 2020

I Know What You Do Not Know - On Why Mankind Is Made Khalifah On Earth

Prophet Muhammad SAW stated that he was the last brick in the House of Prophethood.   If we imagine each brick represents one prophet, then about 124 thousand bricks were used to make this house. 

Furthermore, if we imagine a house of bricks, then we can see that some bricks may be bigger, more prominent and more shining than the others.  But all bricks are important.  The absence of any of those 124 thousand bricks would make the house incomplete.  Likewise with the prophets.  Some prophets are more shining and more prominent while others are more obscure. 

Of those 124 thousand prophets, 25 of them are very special as they are specifically mentioned by names in the Quran.  And of all the prophets, five are made most prominent.  These are the prophets that Allah singled them out as the Most Resolute Prophets (ulul azmi). 

Some prophets are more prominent than others in their own way.  Prophet Noah (Nabi Nuh) is special for being noted as the Father of Nations.  Prophet Abraham as the Father of Prophets.  Prophet Moses (Nabi Musa) as the Founder of Judaism.  Prophet Solomon (Nabi Sulaiman) as the prophet who can communicate with animals and can command the genies (jinn). 

In this episode, let’s briefly focus on Prophet Adam AS.  Prophet Adam is special because he was the first prophet and also the first man.  He was the father of mankind.  All other prophets, and in fact all human beings, come from him.  He was the first brick in the House of Prophethood.  All other bricks are actually made, fashioned or designed after him.

Unlike all other human beings, he was not born but created.  So those who claim that Jesus Christ is the Son of God because he was born without the father, do not seem to understand that, if such is the criteria to be the Son of God, then Prophet Adam is more qualified.   
Prophet Adam is more qualified not only because he did not have father or mother, but he was specially created by Allah.  Jesus Christ at least had a mother.  And he was born, not created.

When was he created?  Scholars say around 10,000 to 20,000 years ago.  But only God knows best.

In Hebrew (Ibrani), Adam means “human being,” or “man.”  This name is fitting since he is the first mankind.  Prophet Adam is significant in the bricks of prophethood in at least three aspects.

First, the purpose of human creation itself.

Why was mankind created?  Allah says in the Quran to be the khalifah/vicegerent on earth.   Khalifah or vicegerent means someone who acts on behalf of other.  In short, a representative.  So Allah made Adam to be His representative on earth.

But why mankind?  Why not angels.  Angels are lofty creature.  They make no wrong.  Why not genies.  Genies have bigger appetite.  Why not animals.  Animals are stronger.  Why not mountains.  Mountains are bigger.

Because, to fulfill the role as a vicegerent of God, that creature must have some godlike qualities such as free-will, creativity, drive or motivation and the ability to understand and make things.  Angels are lofty creatures, but they have no free will on their own, which means that they would not do anything on their own desire.  Animals have drives and desires and they are stronger, but they are not bestowed with creativity or ability to understand beyond their limited scope.  Genies resemble human beings in terms of intellect and desires, but they are made from fire and do not belong to material world. 
Only human beings, therefore, have the required characteristics.

When Allah communicated His intention to make Adam to angels, they asked why Allah wanted to make a creature that will create mischief on earth.  Allah replied:  I know what you do not know.  To illustrate His point, Allah asked angels to name certain things, but the angels replied that they only know what Allah had told them.  Allah then called Adam and asked him to do the same, and Adam elaborated on those names one by one. 

The significance of this story is that only man is capable of fulfilling the role as Allah’s vicegerent on earth.  Man can fulfill this role because he has some godlike qualities as mentioned above.  For instance, creating is God’s attribute.  Allah creates things.  Man also has some of this creative ability.  The difference is that Allah creates from nothing, while human beings create something new from what Allah had created.

Throughout history, man has harnessed the nature to create things for the betterment of their lives.  For example, man has no wings, but he is able to create a machine that flies; he cannot lift heavy stuff, but he has created tools to move mountains; he cannot run as fast as a leopard, but he has created a machine that run many times faster; he cannot swim like a fish, but he has created a ship and a submarine to swim in the ocean.  Man even creates a machine that enables him to communicate long distance simultaneously. 

No other creature can do what mankind can.  Birds may build nest, but there is no improvement on their nest since the time immemorial.  Yet mankind can make a house from as simple as a hut to a skyscraper. 

In addition, humans also have intellect and soul that enable them to think and “interact” with God like the angels or the genies. Animals have brain but do not think.  They act only on instinct.  In short, only humans have God-like qualities that enable them to be the vicegerents on earth.

Secondly, the story of Adam is important because what angels predicted have come true.  The angels had prophesied that man is the most destructive creature.  The qualities that make man great are also used to create mischief.  Man’s destructive nature shows its ugly head very soon in the history of mankind when Adam’s son, Cain (Qabil), killed his brother Abel (Habil), because of jealousy.

No other creature has caused greater bloodshed than man.  Animals also cause bloodshed, but animals only kill for food, or for self-defense, or at most for survival.  But man kills for many reasons, including for fun, for vengeance and for glory. 

Because of this dual nature of man, angelic and satanic, Allah sent His prophets to teach and guide them to the correct way of life.  In Arabic, man is called “insan” which also means forgetful.  It means that man tends to forget who he is.  To make mankind remember again, prophets have to be sent as reminders.

The third and last point about the important of Adam is that, because of their dual nature, good and bad, humans can and will make mistake.  Adam and his wife Eve were allowed to do anything they like in the heaven where they first lived, except to eat fruits from one particular tree.

Then the Devil (Iblis) seduced them to eat the fruit of that tree.  The Devil said it is the tree of life.  The only reason God prohibits them to eat the fruit is so that they will not live forever.  At first Adam and Eve resisted the temptation but at last they succumbed to it.  So they ate it. 

For disobeying God’s command, they were thrown out of heaven and had to live on earth.  Having realized they made great error, they repented and were forgiven.  What Adam showed here is not that we humans make mistakes, but that when we make mistake, we have to ask for forgiveness, and Allah will forgive.

This behavior is different from the behavior of the Devil or Iblis.  When Adam was created, Allah commanded both the angels and the Devil to bow down to Adam.  Angels quickly obeyed, but the Devil refused.  The Devil refused because he thought he was better than Adam, since he was made of fire and Adam was only made of soil.  Because of his refusal to obey Allah’s command and his refusal to admit mistake and repent, the Devil and all their kinds are condemned forever.

Here, the story of Prophet Adam illustrates that we should behave like him.  We will make mistake but we must ask for forgiveness.  We cannot behave like the Devil.  He refused to admit his sin and behaved arrogantly.  If we behave arrogantly like the Devil, then we also would be condemned forever. 

In conclusion, the important of Prophet Adam’s story, or the story of the first brick, is that we are special because mankind is made in the best of fashion.  But we also have bad qualities that can lead us to be the worst of creature.  And the best thing we can do is that when we make mistake, we ask for forgiveness.