Tafseer Taha : Ayat 121-123

Link to video on Muslimmatters


  • Previously, in one ayat, Allah says that He had given responsibility to Adam a.s. but he overlooked for a moment that responsiblity but We didn’t find any deliberation on his part [an honest mistake]
  • Allah addresses, acknowledges that it’s an honest mistake but Allah mentions it because of the higher standard accorded to someone of a higher caliber
  • then Allah told us that story and what transpired
  • it started with Allah telling the angels to make sujud to Adam a.s.
  • Iblies refused
  • in Ayat 117, Allah made Adam a.s. aware of the fact that Iblies is an enemy for him and his wife,so be careful so that Adam a.s. and his wife don’t fall into suffering
  • Allah told Adam a.s. not to go near the tree
  • Iblies came to Adam a.s. through different avenues from different angles to make Adam a.s. fall into this mistake
  • we talked about responsibility of husband and that’s why Allah solely addressed Adam a.s. when warning him
  • Iblies came through various means to try to confuse, delude, distract Adam a.s. from the command of Allah
  • the Quran itself shows us these different means
  • here, Iblies uses 2 means :
  1. if you eat from this tree you get to enjoy all of this forever
  2. you will have a kingdom that will never expire
  • so he comes from this motivation to live in jannah forever
  • the human ambition [don’t you want to achieve more?}
  • spiritual ambition [the only reason why Allah told you not to take from this tree is so you don’t become angels and become incapable of disobeying Allah]
  • these are deep profound ayaat because they show us so many natural inclinations of the human
  • the test a human being is born with
  • no one wants hardship, everyone wants ease forever as long as possible
  • to want, achieve, accomplish more
  • that motivation is built within the human being, no need to fight it but channel it towards achieving the akhirah
  • you can’t move forward n achievement of your goals of akhirah through the disobedience of Allah
  • analogy => robbing a bank to build a masjid
  • sounds like the most foolish thing you’ve ever heard in your life? It is foolish
  • Shaytaan is that tricky
  • this is subtly implied in story of Adam a.s.

Ayat 121

Sahih International

And Adam and his wife ate of it, and their private parts became apparent to them, and they began to fasten over themselves from the leaves of Paradise. And Adam disobeyed his Lord and erred.

  • فَأَكَلَا مِنْهَا = so they both ate from it
  •  فَبَدَتْ لَهُمَا = it became exposed to them
  •  سَوْآتُهُمَا = their private parts (awrah- part of body that you natural cover and need to cover when you go outside, that you feel inappropriate if not covered)
  • generally speaking, vulgarity is not acceptable within the deen
  • it’s not appropriate
  • there’s no khayr in being vulgar
  • it doesn’t make you cooler or more real
  • Prophet saw wasn’t vulgar
  • the Quran teaches us a lot about etiquette, when it talks about private parts, it doesn’t use a vulgar term
  • سَوأَة = is that something that you don’t want to disclosing, uncovering it in public or in front of others would be bad
  • when Quran talks about intimacy between spouses it uses appropriate terms, it literally translates into ‘intimate embrace’
  • when Quran talks about going to bathroom, it doesn’t even mention what passes through your body, it says ‘when someone needs to relieve themselves’ إذَا جَاءَ احَدُُ مِنُكُم إلاَ غَاءط
  • there may be need to talk about these things for purpose of education and certain demographics, but when we address the community as a whole, it’s prophetic in nature to be more appropriate and that’s from the Quran
  • this is brought up only because look at how the Quran presents this
  • immediately their clothes were gone
  • the blessings started to depart as disobedience of Allah began
  • we’re in no position to criticize His prophet, this is Allah talking about His prophet
  • any human being understands that disobedience of Allah doesn’t give you any advantage of the life of the hereafter
  • but at same time, the reason why people are sometimes willing to compromise their hereafter is for some type of immediate gratification in this dunya
  • what Allah is telling us here is that the second you commit disobedience of Allah, not only will you benefit in hereafter but you won’t benefit in this world either
  • whether you realize/see/know it or not, the blessings of Allah slip away as disobedience of Allah kicks in
  •  وَطَفِقَا = this verb is specifically used in Arabic to precede another verb
  • it’s called افعَالُ شُرُوع, => e.g. أخَذَ جَعَلَ
  • the purpose of افعَالُ شُرُوع is you put them before another verb (like in front of a present tense verb)
  • if I’m talking about Zayd leaving, يَذَهَبُ زَيد, but I don’t want to say that [Zayd is leaving/Zayd leaves] I want to say Zayd started to leave right away, all of a sudden, immediately ;- اخَذَ زَيد يَذهَبُ/َخَذَ يَذهَبُ زَيد، جَعَلَ يَذهَبُ زَيد/طَفِق يَذهَبُ زَيد
  • so here, they both (Adam and Hawa a.s.) started to do
  • الخَصَف = to join, patch together
  •  يَخْصِفَانِ= they both started to join and patch together
  •  عَلَيْهِمَا مِن وَرَقِ الْجَنَّةِ= upon themselves from the leaves of the Garden of Paradise
  • the only thing they could find within their grasp were the leaves and they started to rip them and patched them together to cover their private parts
  • the fitrah of the human being regardless of female or male, that the second their private parts are exposed, in broad daylight, outside, their immediate reaction was to get whatever they could get their hands on to cover themselves
  • dressing appropriately, hiding one’s own private is part of the fitrah of the human being
  • no double standard here
  • this is what Allah speaks about here
  • Allah says ‘they immediately started to cover themselves up’
  • it’s something for us to ponder
  • unfortunately we live in a time where it increasingly becomes more and more common place/prominent to not cover oneself properly
  • maybe someone has gotten out of touch with their own sense of decency where it no longer bothers them, but if this person comes in front of others, aren’t the others naturally uncomfortable?
  • here it’s just Adam and Hawa, in Jannah, no shariah yet even, it’s a private Paradise and no one else is there
  • but it’s their immediate reaction, even if it be from leaves
  • وَعَصَىٰ آدَمُ رَبَّهُ = and Adam a.s. disobeyed his lord
  • Allah uses the word ‘disobey’ but we understand that as Allah saying that
  • from one of primary point of aqeedah, we believe that prophets are protected by Allah from falling into sin
  • so when Allah says it, this is Allah saying it to His prophets and it’s based on level of His prophets
  • Allah already said ‘he forgot’ and forgetfulness is not a sin
  • so this is not as how we understand it as a sin but this is a ‘sin’ for the level of Adam a.s.
  • hadith  narrated by Abu Hurayrah “Musa a.s. debated/argued/had a heated discussion with Adam a.s.. So he said, ‘Because of you people are no longer in Jannah, and you put humans in a lot of difficulty [these are brothers talking to each other, so that’s how we would take this]’. Adam responds ‘Oh Musa, you’re the one who Allah chose for His to be a messenger and to speak to Him. [look at how Adam a.s. responds] [now he’s building a premise, he compliments Musa a.s. first] And then after that you’re actually going to criticize me on something Allah had already written for me to do before I was even created?’ [Sunan Nasai and many books of Imam Ahmad]
  • Allah destined for Adam a.s. to commit this because it has a lesson fo all of humanity
  • this is part od divine plan of Allah
  • then prophet saw gave verdict at the end ‘Adam won the debate’
  • insight of playful fraternity moment between prophets
  • when someone make their own mistake, they shouldn’t use qadr as an excuse
  • Adam a.s. didn’t use qadr as an excuse for making the mistake which we will see later
  • what we are being taught through this hadith is that no other human being is in any position to come up to anyone and say “Oh you’re a terrible person because you made this mistake,etc” and the Qadr of Allah CAN be used to refute that
  • no one can judge a person based on his past because that is between him and Allah
  • it happened to Musa a.s. too, and Firawn was the one who did it
  •  =  فَغَوَىٰ
  • in general usage, غَوَى is used to mess up/making a mistake but it’s also contextually used as to be deprived/lack a blessing
  • Imam Qurtubi and many other mufasiroon and scholars have gone this route that غَوَى here means ‘to be deprived’
  • so Adam a.s. ‘disobeyed’ Allah (based on his status near Allah), so he was deprived [food, thirst, heat, clothing]


Ayat 122
Sahih International

Then his Lord chose him and turned to him in forgiveness and guided [him].

  • ثُمَّ اجْتَبَاهُ = then after that (will be explained in following ayat) He selected him (Adam a.s.)
  • but something will transpire in middle that will be explained in next following ayat, but now a lesson needs to be mentioned
  • the Quran explains other parts of the Quran
  • in Surah A’raaf and even in Al Baqarah
  • 2:37
    Sahih International

    Then Adam received from his Lord [some] words, and He accepted his repentance. Indeed, it is He who is the Accepting of repentance, the Merciful. [ Al Baqarah 2:37]

  • what were those specific words that Allah received from Allah to beg forgiveness?
  • from Surah Al A’raaf :- رَبَّنَا ظَلَمنَا انفُسَنَا وَِن لَم تَغفِرلَنَا وَتَرَحَمنَا لاَ نَكُونَّنَا مِن الخَاسِرِين
  • this is one of the most powerful Quranic supplications
  • whenever Dua begins with Rabb, it means we are acknowledging all blessings that Allah has given us up to this point right here, implying that we;re not ignorant of those blessings that have brought us to this point
  • ظُلم means misappropriation but it can mean oppression as well
  • ظَلَمنَا = we have committed oppression against ourselves because when you disobey Allah you are harming yourself
  • وَِن لَم تَغفِرلَنَا وَتَرَحَمنَا = and if (conditional statement) You have not forgiven us and showers Your mercy upon us
  • if You have already not forgiven and showered Your mercy upon us
  • لاَ نَكُونَّنَا مِن الخَاسِرِين = we will definitely be from among those who are total losers
  • خَسَارَ is used in Arabic and Quranic context for loss of this world and more importantly of hereafter
  • مِن in Arabic means ‘from amongst’ = > we will be from among those people who will be the complete losers
  • not only are we losers but we are surrounded by other losers/in company of other losers
  • like a barrier of the disobedience of neglect from Allah that can’t even see the truth anymore
  • like mentioned in Yaasin 36:9
  • 36:9
    Sahih International

    And We have put before them a barrier and behind them a barrier and covered them, so they do not see.

  • the neglect of Allah is built around them
  • Allah puts a wall right in front of them and then right behind them, a portion on top open but then Allah covered that too => plunge them into total darkness spiritually
  • in another place Allah says, رَبَّنَا ارِنَا الَّذَينِ اضَلاَّنَا مِن الجِنِّ وَلإِنس نَجعَلهُمَا تَحتَ اقَدَامِنَا لِيَكُونُ مِن الأَسفَلِين
  • the people of hellfire will want to stomp on each other
  • it’s like an unsupervised wild unkept prison yard where the prisoners were set loose on one another
  • So Allah selected Adam a.s. :- that selection is that Allah gave him the words to make taubah with
  • when Allah makes you cognizant of the mistakes you made and Allah teaches you on how to make up for that mistake, that’s selection from Allah
  • we need to understand that
  • secondly, scholars Allah mention that اجْتَبَاهُ رَبُّهُ can also refer to the fact that Allah made him into a prophet
  • because Allah uses the words إجَتِبَا إصطِفَا when selecting someone for prophethood
  • فَتَابَ عَلَيْهِ = Allah accepts his repentance
  • repentance = to make a  U-turn back to Allah
  • bumper sticker = God allows U turns
  • the wisdom of Prophet saw :- when someone has a lot of mistakes in their past, we say ‘they have a lot of baggage’. The Prophet saw says that the gate of Taubah is as vast as the distance from the east to the west
  • no matter how many baggage yo have, it will fit through that door
  • hadith Qudsi – Allah said “Oh human being, even if your sins were to reach the limit of the skies, and then after doing all of that, you ask Me for forgiveness sincerely once, I have forgiven you and it’s no big deal”
  • that’s who Allah is
  • وَهَدَىٰ = and then He guided him
  • this can mean a number of sins:-
  • from there on, Allah protected him from falling into sin or committing any type of forgetfulness or mistakes
  • some scholars say that this further establishes the fact that he is a prophet from here on now
  • some scholars say that then Allah gave him a code of life to be able to live this existence


Ayat 123
قَالَ اهْبِطَا مِنْهَا جَمِيعًا ۖ بَعْضُكُمْ لِبَعْضٍ عَدُوٌّ ۖ فَإِمَّا يَأْتِيَنَّكُم مِّنِّي هُدًى فَمَنِ اتَّبَعَ هُدَايَ فَلَا يَضِلُّ وَلَا يَشْقَىٰ
Sahih International

[ Allah ] said, “Descend from Paradise – all, [your descendants] being enemies to one another. And if there should come to you guidance from Me – then whoever follows My guidance will neither go astray [in the world] nor suffer [in the Hereafter].

  • here Allah fills in context when in Ayat 122 in ثُمَّ, it was mentioned that something happened here that will be explained later
  • اهْبِطَا مِنْهَا = both of you come down from it[Jannah]
  • هَبَط إهبِط is a command to come down
  • we don’t necessarily have to understand this to physically climbing down the ladder of Paradise
  • but it’s used figuratively as coming down to a lower existence in the dunya
  • جَمِيعًا = every single one
  • some scholars explain that this includes the progeny to come
  • in another place Allah says”قُلْنَا اهْبِطُوا مِنْهَا جَمِيعًا
    Sahih International

    We said, “Go down from it, all of you. And when guidance comes to you from Me, whoever follows My guidance – there will be no fear concerning them, nor will they grieve. [Al Baqarah 2:38]

  • so it’s plural there but here it’s dual
  • so who is Allah talking to?
  • when plural is used, scholars say that Allah is talking to Adam a.s. and his wife, Hawa, and why Hawa is mentioned there is because she’s mentioned frequently and so Allah includes her in the address, and the third-party is shaytaan
  • but hasn’t shaytaan been kicked out already? it means that all of them will cohabit and co-exist in the dunya
  • so, here Allah is talking to Adam a.s. and Hawa and Adam a.s. and Shaytaan => both are valid
  • the second part of this ayah :بَعْضُكُمْ لِبَعْضٍ عَدُوٌّ = some of you all will be enemy to others
  • if this is talking to Adam a.s. and Shaytaan, it’s understandable => there will be shaytaan amongst your progeny (shaytaan’s) that will be in complete opposition to Adam’s progeny
  • majorit of Mufasiroon say this is an address to Adam a.s. and Shaytaan
  • but Allah kept the wording very general so we have to take all possibility into consideration unless there is something in the context that restricts that
  • some say this is Allah talking to Adam and Hawa a.s.
  • this is Allah letting them know that because of the all the difficulty [فَتَشقَى] they will face in this dunya in arranging for food, drink, shelter, clothing, this effort will naturally result in a constant struggle and it will manifest itself when not managed properly and if the right spark is there, this can end up in an open all out conflict between people = People vs people
  • Allah is letting Adam and Hawa know that some of their progeny will be enemies of one another
  • this is a test for the human being
  • from the context of the surah we also see that => Musa a.s. vs Firawn , Firawn vs his people, Musa a.s. vs Bani Israel, Musa a.s & Harun a.s. & believers  vs Samiri and his followers,
  • Prophet saw & believers vs Quraysh & disbelievers
  • how do you manage this?
  • فَإِمَّا يَأْتِيَنَّكُم مِّنِّي هُدًى = if ever guidance arrives from Me
  • guidance doesn’t just come, but arrives
  • Allah doesn’t use the word يَجِي [it will come -> a heavier word for coming] but Allah uses the word إتيَان which is a lighter word for coming => for something to very gently generously arrive
  • guidance will be presented to you on a silver platter
  • it comes from Allah (from ME)
  • in the Arabic it makes sense to put the object before the extra additional parts of the sentence  فَاعِل before the مُتَعَلِّق
  • here :- فَإِمَّا يَأْتِيَنَّكُم مِّنِّي هُدًى
  • if we normally construct a sentence in Arabic by the book => فَإِمَّا يَأْتِيَنَّكُم  هُدًى مِّنِّي
  • but here it’s reversed
  • when that type of reversal happens, it’s usually to emphasize what is put our of sequence
  • this guidance, pay attention to where it’s coming from
  • a prophet and messenger will speak this guidance
  • sometimes a khateeb or YouTube video or book will tell you about this guidance but don’t lose sight where it originally comes from :- from Allah and solely from Allah
  • فَمَنِ اتَّبَعَ هُدَايَ= so whoever closely follows My guidance
  • in other places in Quran it says تَبِعَ هُدَايَ
  • تَبِعَ means to follow
  • اتَّبَعَ means to very closely follow
  • اتَّبَعَ is like tailgating someone
  • فَلَا يَضِلُّ = that person will never go astray (in dunya or akhirah)
  • in dunya => they go off track, loses sight , focus, forget what’s important, become distant and disobedience to Allah
  • in hereafter => will be manifestation or outcome of losing way in dunya
  • Allah speaks about this in surah Hadeed where Allah talks about people losing their way in the hereafter
  • 57:13
    Sahih International

    On the [same] Day the hypocrite men and hypocrite women will say to those who believed, “Wait for us that we may acquire some of your light.” It will be said, “Go back behind you and seek light.” And a wall will be placed between them with a door, its interior containing mercy, but on the outside of it is torment. [alHadeed 57:13]

  • 57:14
    Sahih International

    The hypocrites will call to the believers, “Were we not with you?” They will say, “Yes, but you afflicted yourselves and awaited [misfortune for us] and doubted, and wishful thinking deluded you until there came the command of Allah . And the Deceiver deceived you concerning Allah . [alHadeed 57:14]

  • this conversation continues even though there is a door between them
  • “weren’t we with you?”
  • you distracted yourselves
  • that procrastination turned into doubt about the religion
  • and then when you were shaken up/told, you engaged in wishful thinking “ahh…it;ll be okay”
  • وَلَا يَشْقَىٰ = this person will not suffer [dunya nor akhirah]
  • isn’t suffering a part of life in dunya ? there is a difference between suffering and test from Allah
  • test of Allah has respite, reprieve, huge blessing waiting for you even in this dunya
  • إنَّ مَعَ العُسرِ يُسرََا إنَّ مَعَ العُسرِ يُسرََا
  • we see that from the life of the Prophet saw and sahabah
  • Abu Hurayrah would be so hungry that at times he would pass out from waiting for people to give him food
  • there were times when he wold sit wiping his nose with a handkerchief saying “look at you now Abu Hurayrah” بَخَّا بَخَّا يَا ابَا هُرَيرَه
  • suffering is a punishment from Allah, but for believers there are tests and trials but those tests always end with reprieve
  • suffering lasts throughout this world and permeates through every cell in the body
  • when a person suffers, it’s not just physically but also emotionally, psychologically, spiritually
  • tests and trials do not take away the tranquility of the person
  • so this person who will follow Allah’s guidance will not suffer in this dunya nor hereafter
  • this is the promise of Allah to the person who follows the guidance of Allah

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