Stories of the Pious: Hazrat Adam (as), Hazrat Idris (as)

It is necessary for us to learn about the biography of the pious people like the Prophets (a.s.) and the companions of the Holy Prophet (s.a.). Through this study, we can learn about the characteristics of a leader and the conditions of his people. We can also pick valuable lessons from the mistakes committed by the past nations that we may refrain from them.

Consider the following questions:

  1. Is there absolute concurrence in the parables of the Prophets (a.s.) as mentioned in the Holy Quran and other divine scriptures?
  2. Have these incidents been tampered with in these scriptures?
  3. If so, then what was the reason for these alterations and how much does this influence our belief in the infallibility of the Prophets (a.s.)?
  4. What is our responsibility in a situation when the facts relating to the Prophets (a.s.) have been misrepresented?

We shall discuss these queries hereunder.

Except for the Holy Quran, all other scriptures, have been altered radically so far as the lives of Prophets (a.s.) are concerned. Regarding the third question, as to why and how had all these changes been incorporated, history has recorded the various machinations of the power hungry, who doctored the changes in the divine texts to suit their selfish motives. They wished to dominate the populace taking considerable and of course, undue advantage of their ignorance.

The Torah (Old Testament) and the Bible (New Testament) are a case in point. The Jews and the Christians after the passing away of their Prophets (a.s.), completely altered their scriptures. Consequently, they reverted to their disbelief.

The present Torah and Bible are replete with lewd descriptions of fornication and actually attribute lying, consumption of wine, adultery and other vices to the divine messengers, thereby advocating the evils. The parables mentioned in these books would completely baffle a lay Muslim, putting a big question mark in his mind as far as the infallibility of the Prophets (a.s.) is concerned.

The following incident from the present Bible will illustrate the aforementioned point.
“Now Lot (Hazrat Lut ) went up out of Zo’ar, and dwelt in the hills with his two daughters, for he was afraid to dwell in Zo’ar; so he stayed in a cave with his two daughters. The elder said to the younger, “Our father is old. Now there is none from the progeny from our father who will become his heir. Come, let us make our father drink wine and we will sleep with him that his progeny may continue.” So they made their father drink wine that night; and the elder went in and lay with her father, he being completely unaware about it. And on the next day, the elder said to the younger, “Behold, I lay last night with our father; let us make him drink wine tonight also; then you go in and lie with him that we may preserve offspring through our father.” So they made their father drink wine that night too; and the younger slept with him, with he being totally ignorant about it. Thus, both the daughters of Lot bore children through their father. The first born bore a son, and called his name Moaab; he is the father of the Moabites to this day. The younger also bore a son, and called his name Ben-ammi; he is the father of the Ammonites to this day.”
(Book of Genesis 20 Verse 30-37)

This incident is as ridiculous as it is inconceivable. What conclusion would a lay Muslim or for that matter a lay Christian draw from the incident of Lot and his daughters? Can a divine Prophet who had been raised for guidance allow himself to be intoxicated and become so senseless so as to commit adultery with his very daughters? Is it conceivable that a Prophet, who was sent to reform the people, stoop to a filthy act of incest? Allah can never send such an individual for man’s guidance. Human intellect simply does not permit him to accept this humbug. Such interpolations that have found their way in the Bible are nothing short of sacrilege.

Similar myths have been recorded in connection with Hazrat Yaqoob (a.s.) and Hazrat Isa (a.s.). Hazrat Yaqoob is credited with undertaking a wrestling match with God Himself and Hazrat Isa (a.s.) is attributed with the position of God’s son. Such beliefs are in stark contrast with the principles of monotheism that was propagated by these Prophets. Therefore, one harbouring such beliefs would actually qualify as a polytheist.

The divine intent in raising Prophets (a.s.) was to establish justice and equity among the people and to establish an attachment between the creatures and their Creator. However, if the Prophet himself becomes a slave of his carnal desires, he can hardly be expected to realize this divine aim. Therefore, all such references alluding adultery and falsehood are nothing but a figment of imagination of a few incestuous and self-seeking opportunists. Prophet Lut (a.s.) and the other divine messengers were absolutely sinless.

They were infallible as is testified by the Quran,
“And (as for) Lut, We gave him wisdom and knowledge and We delivered him from the town which wrought abominations; surely they were an evil people, transgressors; And We took him into Our mercy; surely he was of the good.”

Hazrat Adam (a.s.)
“And when your Lord said to the angels, “I am going to place in the earth a Caliph,…”
(Baqarah : 30)

Allah, the Almighty, created the earth, skies, sun, moon, stars and planets and furnished all other necessities for man’s survival. He created the angels for His worship and obedience and bestowed them with all the bounties. He taught them the method of His obedience and veneration. After this Allah, the Wise, created Adam (a.s.) and his progeny so that they may reside in the earth. Then He informed the angels that He intended to appoint man as His emissary on earth. He would permit him to partake of the earthly bounties and unearth the treasures hidden in its womb.

The angels found this untenable that Allah should prefer some other creature over them for the Caliphate on earth. Hence they said, “What! Will Thou place in it such as shall make mischief in it and shed blood, and we celebrate Thy praise and extol Thy holiness?” He said: “Surely I know what you do not know.” (Baqarah : 30).

“I know the wisdom behind appointing Adam and his sons as My vicegerents. You cannot comprehend this. I will shortly create Adam. As soon as I create him and blow My spirit into him, you all prostrate before him.” (All the Islamic scholars are unanimous that the prostration of angels to Adam was not a prostration of worship for it would have been an act of polytheism. The prostration was for Allah and Adam was like a qiblah (the center of attention) and the angels prostrated simply in consonance with divine decree.

Allah created the body of Adam from special clay and blew His spirit into him (a.s.). The Holy Spirit began to circulate in his body and he became a perfect human being, ready to inhabit the earth. All the angels prostrated before him in conformity with the Divine order except Iblis, who refused to comply. Allah sought the reason for his disobedience. Iblis replied haughtily, “I am superior to Adam. You have created me from fire and him from clay.”
Shaitan displayed his disdain to the divine mandate and disobeyed Allah. Though Allah had created Adam by His power, Iblis did not submit, thereby turning into an infidel and being liable for eternal chastisement.

Allah ordered Iblis out of His presence and said, “Now you have become very far from Our Mercy and the halter of curse has been put around your neck till the day of Judgment.” Iblis , thereafter called as Shaitan, requested the Almighty to give him reprieve till the day of reckoning and begged to be kept alive. Allah gave him reprieve till the “appointed hour.” But Shaitan did not thank his Lord even for this obligation. Instead, he showed his ungratefulness by threatening, “I will forever misguide them all except Your sincere servants.” Allah replied, “Go! Do as you wish and trouble whomsoever you can with your instigation. Involve the people in your falsehood and deceit and make them false promises and show them your mirages. But remember well, those of my servants who are sincere with firm beliefs and an unshakable faith, will not be misled by you. You will never be able to deviate them. Their hearts and ears will never submit to you whisperings.”

The Almighty bestowed knowledge upon Adam (a.s.) and illuminated him with His light and taught him the Names.

“And He taught Adam all the names…”
(Baqarah : 31).

According to the traditions of the infallibles, the ‘Names’ were those of the beloved personalities of Allah. (Tafseer-e-Ithna Ashari, v. 1, p. 111). When the angels came to know that Allah had taught Adam (a.s.) the names, they realized that Adam (a.s.) was superior to them.

“They exalted Him: Glory be to the Thee! We have no knowledge but that which Thou has taught us; surely Thou art the All Knowing, the Wise. Allah commanded: O Adam ! Inform them of their names. Then when he had informed them of their names, He said : Did I not say to you that I surely know what is hidden in the heavens and the earth and (that) I know what you manifest and what you hide?”
(Baqarah : 32-33).

The angels were absolutely ignorant of what Adam (a.s.) knew.

Allah placed Adam (a.s.) and his spouse, Janaab Hawwa (a.s.) [Eve] in Paradise and warned,
“O Adam ! Dwell you and your wife in the garden and eat from it a plenteous (food) wherever you wish (but) do not approach this tree, for then you will be of the unjust.”
(Baqarah : 35).

Adam (a.s.) began to reside in Paradise and partake of its bounties. This did not go down well with Shaitan and he planned to deprive them both of this lavishness. Shaitan disguised himself as a sincere and righteous personality and befriended Adam (a.s.). Later, he whispered, “Actually Allah has not really prohibited this tree from you for if you eat from it you and Eve will become angels and dwell forever in this place.” But his instigation had no effect on Adam and Eve. When Shaitan realised that Adam and Eve were not being influenced by his stratagems, he executed his last trick and swore that he was their sincere friend and assured them that no harm would befell them. He succeeded in entrapping Eve with his sweet talk who convinced Adam (a.s.) to eat from the prohibited tree. Such a contravention is termed as ‘Tark-e-Awla‘ which means neglecting the preferred course of action. It is actually an action that is better avoided. But it is not prohibited (haraam), i.e. it is not accounted as a sin. The expulsion of Adam (a.s.) from paradise to earth was a punishment for this Tark-e-Awla.

Actually Adam (a.s.) had been created for this earth (and not Paradise). The verse of Sura Baqarah (2:30) quoted above is a pointer to this fact. Allah declares (to the angels) even before the creation of Adam that He was going to appoint a Caliph on earth. Therefore, when Adam (a.s.) was finally ordered to dwell on earth, it was not a punishment for a sin. Therefore it has not affected the infallibility of Adam (a.s.). He had simply performed a Tark-e-Awla due to which Allah expelled him from the bounties of Paradise. Adam (a.s.) and Eve supplicated for forgiveness and implored: “Our Lord ! We had been unjust to ourselves and if you don’t forgive us, we shall be deprived of Your Mercy. Then surely we shall be among the bereaved.” Allah commanded, “Get forth, some of you being the enemies of others, and there is for you in the earth an abode and a provision for a time.”
(Baqarah : 36)

The supplication of Adam (a.s.) and Eve was accepted by Allah when they beseeched him for the sake of Muhammed (s.a.w.s) and his Purified Progeny (a.s.). Allah made man subservient to needs and necessities. He made inherent despair and hope in man’s nature so that he may strive for his necessities and wants.

Allah also informed that the life of Paradise was a great bounty and Adam (a.s.) was being deprived of it and was being sent to a place where there are two paths – salvation and deviation, faith and infidelity. One who shall remain faithful to the prescribed path and wards off satanic provocation, will be successful in this world as well as the hereafter.

Hazrat Idris (a.s.)
“And mention Idris in the Book; surely he was a truthful man, a prophet, And We raised him high in Heaven.”
(Mariam : 56-57)

A brief sketch of Hazrat Idris (a.s.) is being presented hereunder.

Hazrat Idris (a.s.) was the grandson of Hazrat Adam (a.s.). and the successor of Hazrat Sheeth (a.s.). Hazrat Adam (a.s.) had appointed Hazrat Sheeth (a.s.) as his successor. When Qabeel (Kane) learnt of this, he came to Sheeth (a.s.) and threatened to kill him like he had done to Habeel (Abel). It is narrated by Ibne Athir and Tabari, both renowned Sunni historians, that Hazrat Adam (a.s.) cautioned Hazrat Sheeth (a.s.) to conceal his knowledge and his appointment as successor, lest Qabeel murders him out of his jealousy as he had done to Habeel. Hazrat Sheeth (a.s.) followed his father’s counsel and continued to guide the people in dissimulation (Taqaiyya). The Almighty revealed fifty scriptures upon him. According to Mas’oodi, the famous historian, twenty nine of these were replete only with glorification and praises of Allah, the Almighty. He lived for 912 years.

The prophethood of Hazrat Idris (a.s.) was marked with tireless endeavours of inviting the people towards the worship of Allah and restraining them from evil deeds. He also prophesied the raising of prophets in the future, especially the advent of the seal of prophets, Hazrat Muhammed al-Mustafa (s.a.w.s) about whom he said, “He (s.a.) will be an epitome of every virtue and excellence and his religion will be such that it will reform humanity and secure salvation for the people.”

The period of Hazrat Idris’s prophethood witnessed the rule of a tyrant and oppressive king who exercised complete power over the life and property of his subjects. One day he came out of his palace for a stroll and after a while reached a beautiful garden. He liked what he saw and was overwhelmed with greed to possess that piece of land. He inquired from his ministers about the owner of that place. They informed him that it belonged to a religious person, giving his name and whereabouts. The King ordered that he be brought to him at once. As it turned out that individual was Hazrat Idris (a.s.) When the latter was summoned before him, the tyrant demanded, “Give your land to me!” Hazrat Idris (a.s.) replied, “My family needs it more than you.” But the king persisted, “If you cannot give it free, sell it to me.” But Idris (a.s.) declined. The king returned, infuriated and incensed by the fact that Idris (a.s.) did not submit to his demand. He resorted to his evil machinations to occupy that land.

The King’s consort was an evil, profane woman, with no regard for scruples. When she witnessed the King in a disturbed state of mind, she sought the reason. He told her about his encounter with Idris (a.s.). That vile woman’s scheming mind conjured up a plan. She summoned some evil-minded persons and told them to go to the King to testify falsely that Idris (a.s.) had betrayed the religion of the King and had turned a renegade.
With this, she anticipated that Idris (a.s.) would be punished with death and the piece of land would then come to the King.

Allah is Omnipotent
The evil designs of the king and his consort displeased the Almighty Allah. He informed Idris (a.s.) (through revelation) of the plot to eliminate him. Allah ordered Idris (a.s.) to tell the tyrant on His behalf, ‘How dare you (conspire to) kill my (Allah’s) servant? Beware! I will take revenge from you and deprive you of your kingdom. I will turn your palace to ruins and feed the flesh of your evil wife to dogs. My patience has made you proud and arrogant.’
Hazrat Idris (a.s.) conveyed the divine message to the king. The king, however, was under the influence of the devil who had woven a false sense of security around the former. He rebuked Idris (a.s.), “Go away before I have you killed!” Idris (a.s.) went back. But the Queen again instigated her husband saying, “Have no fear of the divine directive conveyed by
Idris (a.s.). I will send some soldiers to have him killed.”

None can harm the one whom Allah protects
Degradation and Disaster are the consequences of oppression. The king’s soldiers came to seize Idris (a.s.). But the Almighty Allah had already informed his Prophet (s.a.) about their plan and ordered him to abandon the place and hide himself from the people. Hazrat Idris (a.s.) raised up his hands in prayer and beseeched, “O Allah! Deprive this city of Your mercy!”

His prayers were accepted. He sought refuge in an obscure cave with the angels providing him with means of sustenance.

The prayer of Idris (a.s.) became the central theme of all discussions in his nation. Soon, the King was deposed and ultimately death overtook him while he was unjust. Of no use was his kingdom and his riches. In fact, these turned out to be the root causes of his doom.. The queen was devoured by the dogs (as prophesied). Their dominance was completely routed and another despot replaced them.

Hazrat Idris (a.s.) had spent twenty years in solitude. During this period, his nation was afflicted with famine and there was absolutely no rain. The riverbed had dried up completely. There remained no means of irrigating the fields.

The people could not bear a chastisement of such proportions and started reproaching themselves for their predicament. They said, ‘This is definitely a direct consequence of Idris’ curse. And now even he has deserted us. If only he had been with us in this moment of distress!’ When Hazrat Idris (a.s.)’s nation realized their folly and repented for their sins, Allah, the Almighty once again showered His blessings on them and sent Idris (a.s.) back (to them). The people were contrite and sought forgiveness from Idris (a.s.). Hazrat Idris (a.s.) raised his arms to pray for rain. Dark clouds began looming in the horizon and soon the sky disappeared behind these clouds. There was lightning and thunder. All of a sudden, the heavens opened up and it began raining heavily. The dead and barren earth was revived and there was greenery all over. Allah’s mercy was evident in that nation.

The people once again reverted to their religious and Allah-fearing ways. They were submissive to Allah and obeyed His Prophet. And this condition persisted till Allah called Hazrat Idris (a.s.) towards Himself and bestowed on the latter an august rank in Paradise.