The Blog

First Man

So begins the story of Adam, the first man, the first human being.  God created Adam 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.

Soil or Clay?

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 colour becomes darker – black, smooth clay.  It was from this substance that God moulded 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 moulded from something akin to potter’s clay.  When it is rapped it produces a ringing sound.[2]

The First Man is Honoured

And God said, to the Angels:

“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.” (Quran 38:71-72)

God honoured the first humman, 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:

“….Prostrate to Adam and they prostrated except Iblees (Satan)….(Quran 7:11)

While worship is reserved for God Alone this prostration by the Angels to Adam was a sign of respect and honour.  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, may the mercy and blessings of God 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 honoured creature, covered with the infinite Mercy of God

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