Explaining the Hadits: Adam's (a.s.) Repentance through the Prophet (s.a.w.)

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

Imam ath-Thabarani (r.a.), in his Mu’jam al-Awsath, recorded that ‘Umar ibn al-Khaththab (r.a.) narrated that the Prophet (s.a.w.) said, “When Adam committed the error, he submitted, ‘O Lord, I beg You to Forgive me through the mediation of Muhammad.’

Then Allah (s.w.t.) Said, ‘O Adam!  How did you recognise Muhammad as I have not Created him yet?’

He replied, ‘O Lord, when You Created me with Your Divine Hand and Breathed Your Soul into me, I raised my head and saw, ‘Laa Ilaha illa Allah Muhammadar Rasulullah’ inscribed on each pillar of the Throne.  I discovered that with Your Name, the name of only Your Most Beloved of all the creatures can be associated with you.’

At this, Allah (s.w.t.) Said, ‘O Adam, you have said it correctly.  Of all the creatures, I Love him the most.  When you offered your prayer through his mediation, I Forgave you.  And if Muhammad were not there, I would not have Created even you.’”

Imam al-Bulqini (r.a.) declared this hadits of Adam’s (a.s.) tawaswswul to be sound in his Fatawa.  Imam Taqi’ ad-Din as-Subki (r.a.) confirmed Imam al-Hakim’s (r.a.) authentication in Shifa’ as-Siqam fi Ziyarat Khayr al-Anam.  Shaykh ibn Taymiyyah’s (r.a.) rejection and criticism of this hadits was known to Imam as-Subki (r.a.) but he rejected it, saying that his extreme weakening of Shaykh ibn Zayd (r.a.) as a narrator was exaggerated.

Qadhi ‘Iyadh (r.a.) considered it swahih and famous because he recorded it in his ash-Shifa’ under the chapter, “Swahih & Famous Narrations,” and he said that Imam Abu Muhammad al-Makki (r.a.) and Imam Abu al-Layts as-Samarqandi (r.a.) mentioned it.  Qadhi ‘Iyadh (r.a.) wrote, “It is said that this hadits explains the verse: ‘And Adam Received words from his Lord and He Relented towards him.’”

Then learnt Adam, from his Lord, Words of Inspiration and his Lord turned toward him ... (Surah al-Baqarah:37)

Imam ibn al-Jawzi (r.a.) also considered it swahih as he cited it in the first chapter of al-Wafa’ bi Ahwal al-Muswthafa, in the introduction of which he wrote, “I do not mix the sound ahadits with the false.”

Although he knew of Shaykh ‘Abd ar-Rahman ibn Zayd’s (r.a.) weakness as a narrator; he also mentioned the version of Shaykh Maysarah al-Fajr (r.a.) whereby the Prophet (s.a.w.) said, “When Satan deceived Adam and Eve, they repented and sought intercession to Allah with my name.”

Imam ibn al-Jawzi (r.a.) also wrote, in the chapter concerning the Prophet’s (s.a.w.) superiority over the other prophets, in the same book, “Part of the exposition of his superiority to other prophets is the fact that Adam asked his Lord through the sanctity of Muhammad that He Relent towards him, as we have already mentioned.”

Imam as-Suyuthi (r.a.) cited it in his Qur’anic commentary, ad-Durr al-Mantsur, in al-Khaswa’isw al-Kubra’ and in ar-Riyadh al-Aniqa fi Sharh Asma’ Khayr al-Khaliqah, where he said that Imam al-Bayhaqi (r.a.) considered it sound.  This is due to the fact that Imam al-Bayhaqi (r.a.) said, in the introduction to the Dala’il, that he only included sound narrations in his book, although he also knew of and explicitly mentioned Shaykh ‘Abd ar-Rahman ibn Zayd’s (r.a.) weakness.  Hafizh ibn Katsir (r.a.) mentioned it after Imam al-Bayhaqi (r.a.), in al-Bidayah wa an-Nihayah, where he also pointed the weakness of Shaykh ‘Abd ar-Rahman ibn Zayd ibn Aslam (r.a.).  Imam al-Haytsami (r.a.), in Majma’ az-Zawa’id; Imam al-Bayhaqi (r.a.) himself; and Mulla ‘Ali al-Qari (r.a.), in Sharh ash-Shifa’; show that its chains have a weakness in them.  The weakness of Shaykh ‘Abd ar-Rahman ibn Zayd (r.a.) was known by all of them, including Imam ibn al-Jawzi (r.a.), Imam as-Subki (r.a.), Imam al-Hakim (r.a.) and Imam Abu Nu’aym (r.a.), and yet all these scholars retained this hadits for consideration in their books.

Three scholars did reject it outright.  They are Shaykh ibn Taymiyyah (r.a.), in Qa’idah Jalilah fi at-Tawaswswul, and his two students, Shaykh ibn ‘Abd al-Hadi (r.a.) and Imam adz-Dzahabi (r.a.).  Imam al-‘Asqalani (r.a.) reported Imam ibn Hibban’s (r.a.) saying that Shaykh ‘Abd ar-Rahman ibn Zayd (r.a.) was a forger in Lisan al-Mizan.  At the same time, Shaykh ibn Taymiyyah (r.a.) quoted it elsewhere and the version through Maysarah (r.a.) and said, “These two are like the tafsir of the authentic ahadits.”

The Makkan ahadits scholar, Shaykh ibn ‘Alawi al-Maliki (r.a.) said, “This indicates that ibn Taymiyyah found the hadits sound enough to be considered a witness for other narrations, because the forged and the false are not taken as witness by the people of ahadits.”  Shaykh al-Maliki (r.a.) also quoted Imam adz-Dzahabi’s (r.a.) unrestrained endorsement of the ahadits in Imam al-Bayhaqi's (r.a.) Dala’il an-Nubuwwah, “You must take what is in it, for it consists entirely of guidance and light.”

The hadits of Maysarah (r.a.) is as follows.  Maysarah (r.a.) narrated, “I asked, ‘O Messenger of Allah, when were you first a prophet?’

He replied, ‘When Allah Created the Earth, then Turned He to the Heavens, and Fashioned it as Seven Heavens, and Created the Throne.  He Wrote on the leg of the Throne, ‘Muhammad the Messenger of Allah is the Seal of Prophets.’  Then Allah Created the Garden in which He made Adam and Hawa dwell, and He Wrote my name on the gates, its leaves, its domes and tents, at a time when Adam was still between the spirit and the body.  When Allah Ta’ala Instilled life into him, he looked at the Throne and saw my name, whereupon Allah Informed him that, ‘He is the liege-lord of all your descendants.’  When Satan deceived them both, they repented and sought intercession to Allah with my name.’”

Imam Muhammad ibn Yusuf al-Swalihi (r.a.), a student of Imam as-Suyuthi (r.a.), said, in Subul al-Hadi wa ar-Rashad, “This hadits is narrated by ibn al-Jawzi and the chain is strong and there is nothing wrong in it.”

It is evident that Shaykh ibn Taymiyyah (r.a.) considered the meaning that the Creation of everything is for the sake of the Prophet (s.a.w.) as true and correct.  He declared, in his Majmu’at al-Fatawa, in the volume on taswawwuf, “Muhammad is the Chief of the Children of Adam, the Best of Creation, the noblest of them in the Sight of Allah.  This is why some have said that ‘Allah Created the Universe due to him,’ or that, ‘Were it not for him, He would have neither Created a Throne, nor a Footstool, nor a Heaven, earth, sun or moon.’  However, this is not a hadits on the authority of the Prophet, neither is it swahih nor is it weak and it has not been narrated by any person of knowledge in hadits either from the Prophet or swahabah but it may be explained from a correct aspect.

Since the best of the righteous of the children of Adam is Muhammad, Creating him was a desirable end of Deep-Seated Purposeful Wisdom, more than for anyone else, and hence the completion of Creation and the fulfillment of perfection was attained with Muhammad (s.a.w.).  The Chief of the Children of Adam is Muhammad (s.a.w.), Adam and his children being under his banner.  He said, ‘Truly, I was Written as the Seal of the Prophets with Allah, when Adam was going to-and-fro in his clay,’ that is that his prophethood was Decreed and Manifested when Adam was Created but before the breathing of the Spirit into him, just as Allah Decrees the livelihood, lifespan, deeds and misery or happiness of the slave when He Creates the embryo but before the Breathing of the spirit into it.

Since Man is the seal and last of all Creation, and its microcosm, and since the best of man is thus, the best of all Creation absolutely, then Muhammad, being the Pupil of the Eye, the Axis of the Mill, and the Distributor to the Collective, is as it were the Ultimate Purpose from amongst all the purposes of creation.  Thus, it cannot be denied to say that, ‘Due to him, all of this was Created,’ or that, ‘Were it not for him, all this would not have been created,’ so if statements like this are thus explained according to what the Book and the sunnah indicate, it is acceptable.”

Imam ath-Thabarani (r.a.), Imam al-Bayhaqi (r.a.), Imam ibn al-Mundzir (r.a.) and Imam as-Suyuthi (r.a.) narrated this tradition, through ‘Umar ibn al-Khaththab (r.a.) and ‘Ali (k.w.), that the Prophet (s.a.w.) said, “Adam was just about to repent for his act of disobedience that he suddenly recalled in his state of anxiety that he had seen ‘Laa ilaha illa Allah Muhammadar Rasulullah’ Inscribed on the Throne at the time of his birth.”  It obviously meant that the distinction the Prophet (s.a.w.) possesses is denied to others.  That is the reason his name was Inscribed along with Allah’s (s.w.t.) Own name.  At this, he added these words of intermediation to his prayer for Divine Forgiveness: “O Allah, I beg Your Forgiveness through the mediation of Muhammad (s.a.w.).”

The tradition related by Imam ibn al-Mundzir (r.a.) has the following words: “O Allah, I beg Your Forgiveness through Your beloved and most honoured servant, Muhammad and through his distinction You have Blessed him with.”


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