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Offline AbbsRay

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Verse 2:34
« on: January 26, 2014, 12:41:11 AM »
Salaam Brother Joseph,

I am wondering if you have anything on verse 2:34 when Allah tells the angels and Iblis to Prostrate before Adam.
It starts at 2:30-2:39.

As Allah is the knower and Wise of the unseen on heaven and earth, was it the reason He had the angels prostate before Adam, because Angels duty would to serve men, they are the angelic beings, who Allah created to serve the development of man kind, and Iblis which did not listen to Allah, who was going to be the enemy of human kind? Serving humans to do evil things. That is why humans nafs are to use their moral choices? Good is the angelic beings and bad is the satins influences?


Sorry if this is confusing

Salaam


Offline Joseph Islam

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Re: Verse 2:34
« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2014, 11:17:08 PM »
Wa alaikum assalam Abbsrayray,

As I am sure you will no doubt appreciate, other than what can be readily deduced or inferred from the information presented by the Quran, it is only within God's wisdom why He gave that command. We can only best infer in the absence of any explicit statements with the proviso, God knows best.

Thus, I have shared my humble opinion discussing my response by elaborating on three main areas initially.


(1) A SPECIAL CREATION WITH A SPECIAL PURPOSE

It seems evident from the Quran that Adam and his progeny (humankind) had a special designated purpose on earth as vicegerents (2:30) and given verse 38:26, such an honour was arguably tied with the need to establish truth and justice on earth.

038:026 (part)
"O David! Indeed, (We) have made you a vicegerent / ruler (Arabic: khalifatan) on earth: so judge between men in truth..."

Humankind had received the breath of God, His Divine energy (His ‘Ruh’ – 15:29, 32:9) [1] which infers the granting of many attributes which may not be present in other of His creation such as an enlightened conscience (91-8), innate balance - sawwaha (91:7), certain faculties, knowledge (2:31) etc.

Even the angels felt the need to ask the question only inferring what would happen if such a creation was given vicegerency on Earth (2:30), but it was clear that they did not possess complete knowledge nor wisdom of God's plans and insights. (2:33).

The fact that ‘humankind’ received special status is also given by explicit verses of the Quran.

017:070
“And We have certainly (walaqad) honoured (karrama) the children of Adam and carried them on the land and sea and provided for them of the good things and We preferred them over much of what We have created, with preference (tafdilan – verb: faddala)”


(2) UNDERSTANDING THE MEANING OF 'SUJUD' IN THE COMMAND GIVEN TO THE ANGELS

As you know, the Arabic word 'sujud' (SJD) does not exclusively mean physical prostration. Its primary meaning is "to become submissive, humble, to make obeisance, to pay respect". For example the Arabic phrase 'sajadati'nakhlatu' means the 'the palm-tree bent or inclined' possibly due to its fruits or ‘al-safinatu tasajadu'larihi' means the ship bends or inclines by the influence of winds, or 'sajada lahu' means he saluted or paid respect, honoured him. The word 'sajada' is also used with camels implying that it lowered its head to be ridden or a direct inference to the rider. [2]


(3) ANGELIC TASKS

Angelic forces were also being asked to carry out tasks such as with decrees (97:4) and governance (ranks 37:164-166, exalted assembly 37:8, guardians in life 13:11, in felicity 16:32 and in punishment 74:31) of mankind and the Jinn. There were also many other tasks they were expected to carry out. [3]


IN CONCLUSION

Therefore, given that humankind had being created with marked preferment and honour, for a special intended purpose on Earth and that the ‘malaika’ were to become part of carrying out certain tasks, God had asked for His servants to show 'respect' for His new creation. Furthermore, given that the angels were to govern certain tasks they were asked to become 'submissive' which is again well within the nuance of the term 'sujud'.

Finally, it is important to remember that although the 'sujud' was to be made to Adam, this was more crucially a matter of obedience to God ‘s command and acknowledgement of His wisdom and insight into His creation and intended purpose.

I hope that helps, God willing
Joseph



REFERENCES:

[1] WHAT IS THE QURANIC RUH (SPIRIT)?
http://quransmessage.com/articles/ruh%20FM3.htm

[2] WHAT IS THE QURANIC SUJUD (PROSTRATION)?
http://quransmessage.com/articles/sujud%20FM3.htm

[3] Angels (Mala'ikah)
https://www.facebook.com/joseph.a.islam/posts/284730018330799

[4] Was Iblis (Satan) a Jinn or a Fallen Angel?
http://quransmessage.com/forum/index.php?topic=489.0

[5] Why Did God ask the Angels to 'Prostrate' to Man When Prostration is for God?
http://quransmessage.com/forum/index.php?topic=526.msg1737#msg1737
'During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act' 
George Orwell

Offline Wakas

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Re: Verse 2:34
« Reply #2 on: January 27, 2014, 05:48:27 AM »
peace/salaam Abbsrayray,

Everything in the universe, willingly or unwillingly, is in islam/surrender to God. The only difference is whether one chooses to actively acknowledge this and thus follow through with this acknowledgement, e.g. accountability, servitude etc. "iblees" acknowledges the existence of God, this can clearly be seen in The Quran, but does not follow through and act in harmony with this. It is like when a part of you knows doing XYZ is wrong, but you do it anyway. When "iblees" like the other controlling forces / malaika was asked to "sujud" to adam/mankind, "iblees" refused, thus mankind will struggle being in conrol of "iblees", and "iblees" is that part of ourselves which acknowledges but refuses to "sujud" within us. It is an eternal struggle, that is why mankind and "iblees" are described as enemies of one another.

Offline Duster

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Re: Verse 2:34
« Reply #3 on: January 27, 2014, 09:17:48 AM »
"iblees" is that part of ourselves which acknowledges but refuses to "sujud" within us.

Shalom / peace br. Wakas. I am little confused by this? What do you mean Iblees is part of ourselves? Isn't Iblis a separate entity and in Arabic a proper noun as referring to an entity?

Offline adam

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Re: Verse 2:34
« Reply #4 on: January 27, 2014, 12:51:21 PM »
Salam All,

The problem with understanding this particular verse is that, before the bowing down to adam event took place, God had already told the angels that he was going to place a vicegerent on earth with the angels questioning  God if He was going to place someone that will shed blood and spread mischief on earth. but then, the second event which caused adam to be thrown out of heaven was when he ate from the forbidden fruit. Did God not already determined before adam ate the fruit that he was to be placed on earth? Then why the need of adam to sin against God in order for this to happen? Hence causing all humans up till now, to suffer the consequences of that single action by adam and eve? are the sins of our father's really our's to shoulder?


Offline Duster

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Re: Verse 2:34
« Reply #5 on: January 27, 2014, 09:28:38 PM »
Shalom / peace Adam

Pls see brother Joseph's article>>>  They were created on earth for earth. They were not thrown out of some other place. It is a misunderstanding of what Jannah means.

http://quransmessage.com/articles/adam%20and%20jannah%20FM3.htm

So>> man was created, on earth for earth - then they sinned and were removed from the state they were in.

Offline Wakas

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Re: Verse 2:34
« Reply #6 on: January 28, 2014, 01:33:58 AM »
peace Duster,


Shalom / peace br. Wakas. I am little confused by this? What do you mean Iblees is part of ourselves? Isn't Iblis a separate entity and in Arabic a proper noun as referring to an entity?

I see "the story of adam/mankind" as a parable. It is essentially giving us the intro to this life as the test, e.g. how it came about, the parameters, how to succeed etc etc.

There are many interesting points to consider, here are some:

Quote
I actually reflected on the story of "adam" recently, and I began to see connections with humans becoming the khalif/successor on earth (i.e. the evolutionary peak, and the transition from our previous ancestor to a human being and all that comes with it: free choice, responsibility, speech, communication, power, weakness, God-awareness, revelation, beginning of the test and its rules etc). I believe this important transition phase is strongly represented in the story of "adam", or at least, this is my working hypothesis at the present time.

iblees (~ego) is a malaika (controlling force) that is jinn/hidden.

iblees was designed to respond exactly as "he" did, i.e. not SuJuD, thus did not break the rule that malaika do as commanded.

adam in Classical Arabic also means mankind, pattern/exemplar, means of access.

Ba-Lam-Siin (root of iblis) = despair, give up hope, become broken (in spirit), mournful, become silent/confounded/perplexed unable to see right way or course, repent/grieve.

Shiin-Tay-Nun (root of shaytan) = become distant/far/remote, enter firmly / become firmly fixed therein / penetrate and be concealed, turn away in opposition (from direction/aim), devil, one excessively proud/corrupt, unbelieving/rebelious/insolent/audacious, rope, deep curved well, it burned, became burnt, serpent, any blamable faculty or power of a man.

The same word "whisper" is used when the soul whispers to us as does shaytan whisper to us, see:
http://corpus.quran.com/wordmorphology.jsp?location=(50:16:6)

Chapter 10:
http://www.scribd.com/doc/37354743/Understanding-Quran-Themes-and-Style-by-Abdel-Haleem

Quote
From my understanding, Adam was taught (learned) the description of things, he was able to describe things and thus express ideas. This was a paradigm shift in human evolution.

Certainly, Adam was not living alone; he was a member of a community of what we consider now as primitive humans. When acquiring such ability, he and his community possessed a great advantage over other communities and thus flourished while the others declined.

With ideas comes knowledge, but also nonsense; so truth and falsehood had to co-exist. I think before that period, only the truth existed, falsehood needs a medium which is language to propagate.

Quote
Note that there is no mention of Iblis existing prior to the creation of man. The "rebellion" did not occur until man was endowed with free-weill, and hence, Iblis/Shayten is a direct consequence of free-will.

Quote
I'm not sure what adam felt in the garden was akin to nudity, but it certainly was to one of embarrasment. You see, in my opinion, adam had become aware that they were naked before God, i.e. all of their thoughts and deeds were clearly apparent to God. God had no problem with adam being naked from the fore, nor did God command adam to cover. When adam had done a wrong against itself, it tried to cover this deed, it did not want to be naked before God, but God could see adam's fault. God then said that the best garment was that of righteousness. Thus adam should cover itself with the goodness that God has called for. This was best.


Hope this helps.

Offline Sword

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Re: Verse 2:34
« Reply #7 on: January 28, 2014, 01:51:56 AM »
Salam Alalykum.


Brother Joseph, I would like to know if you have any objection against Wakas' understandings / comments regarding Adam and his wife.



Regards.

Offline Joseph Islam

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Re: Verse 2:34
« Reply #8 on: January 28, 2014, 02:15:17 AM »
As-salam alaykum brother Wakas,

You say: "Note that there is no mention of Iblis existing prior to the creation of man. The "rebellion" did not occur until man was endowed with free-weill, and hence, Iblis/Shayten is a direct consequence of free-will."

As you probably know, I accept Iblis as a proper noun too as do well attested lexicons and grammar literature in Arabic.

However, particularly from a Quranic perspective, I would like to respectfully ask, how would you respond to my contention that if Iblis was simply a "consequence of free-will", how could 'Iblis' then form an opinion by way of an assumption (zann)?  How can something which is a direct consequence of another entity with 'free-will' have its own free-will?

"And Iblis certainly found true his assumption / conjecture (zann) concerning them, so they followed him, except for a party of believers." (34:20)

I know you will know what 'zann' means but for the wider readership who may be interested, the verb 'zanna' is to think, suppose, to assume, surmise, suspect, have an opinion (without knowledge) or one who actually thinks and assumes regarding a particular matter. It is a well-known word in the Arabic language. It is something which comes by way of independent thought.

Other verses also imply 'Iblis' had his own volition, where he waxed proud, became haughty, 'istakbara' (38:74; 2:34) and also was termed a 'disbeliever' (2:34), something which is tied with independent thought.

I would love to hear your view on my particular contention.

Regards,
Joseph.
'During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act' 
George Orwell

Offline Joseph Islam

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Re: Verse 2:34
« Reply #9 on: January 28, 2014, 02:28:58 AM »
Salam Alalykum.

Brother Joseph, I would like to know if you have any objection against Wakas' understandings / comments regarding Adam and his wife.

Regards.

Dear Sword,

Wa alaikum assalam.

With utmost respect to brother Wakas and others who may have a similar opinion on such matters, I do not take the story of Adam as simply a 'parable'.

I have shared my humble thoughts in many different articles and posts where I have argued my reasons why. I simply do not accept that clear Arabic narratives presented literally without any intention of a reform of understanding, which clearly confirm the mainstay beliefs of the followers of previous scriptures when dealing with their narratives, need to be re-interpreted 'metaphorically' when there is no clear warrant to do so.

For the sake of brevity, I will simply conclude, that this is a matter of a difference in approach and how we study the Quran. I also find some to lean to a metaphorical interpretation when they encounter a difficulty in harmonising Quranic verses with their own understanding of the Quran or their world-views. This is an opinion I respect, but wholly disagree with.

This is also why I differentiate between the terms 'Quran-centric' and 'Quranist' or 'Quran-only' which again, from my perspective is a matter of differences in approach. [1]

I trust that clarfies, God willing.

Regards,
Joseph

RELATED ARTICLES:

[2] The Danger of the "Qur'an only" Approach
http://quransmessage.com/forum/index.php?topic=1123.msg4728#msg4728
[2] ARE MUTASHABIH VERSES ALLEGORICAL?
http://quransmessage.com/articles/mutashabih%20FM3.htm
'During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act' 
George Orwell

Offline Wakas

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Re: Verse 2:34
« Reply #10 on: January 28, 2014, 04:12:47 AM »
w/salaam brother Joseph,

Thanks for the question.

Re: 34:20
You ask: How can something which is a direct consequence of another entity with 'free-will' have its own free-will?

Couldn't the same thing be said for a human being, i.e.
How can something (e.g. human being) which is a direct consequence of another entity with 'free-will' (God)  have its own free-will?

Also, it is similar to the question about malaika, do they have free-will? I have not studied Quran with regard to this topic.

Let's say I regard "iblees" as a figurehead representing "ego": if there are different parts of our psyche can what we call/know as "ego" think for itself? I'm not sure, probably not. But if we think of egotistical thoughts as a chain reaction, e.g. arrogance as the start point, I can see where this might lead. Thus, if "ego" is engaged (i.e. becomes active) it has a chain of events, and can lead to X Y Z. I'm not sure if I'd call this independent thought however.

Granted that since I regard it as a parable (or fable? I'm not sure what term is most apt, or if it is a bit of both) it gives some leeway to how I understand the story, for example, not everything is literal.

I assume you take the story of adam/mankind as literal in its entirety?

Offline Wakas

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Re: Verse 2:34
« Reply #11 on: January 28, 2014, 04:14:46 AM »
I simply do not accept that clear Arabic narratives presented literally without any intention of a reform of understanding, which clearly confirm the mainstay beliefs of the followers of previous scriptures when dealing with their narratives, need to be re-interpreted 'metaphorically' when there is no clear warrant to do so.

I forgot to comment on this bit. The link to the book I referenced discusses the Arabic to show it is not meant to be taken literally, or perhaps not as literally as The Biblical version.

Offline AbbsRay

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Re: Verse 2:34
« Reply #12 on: January 28, 2014, 06:03:39 AM »
Salaam Alikium Brother Joseph,

Thanks for your explanation.

This subject actually out of curiosity more than anything. I only was very interested and curious to how Allah does things and there is a trillion questions, but we all know there is stuff that Only Allah knows and we will never know.  More of an awww, subhannah Allah,  for me to know more on the Higher Power of Allah Almighty.

Fascinating actually all the stuff that is found in the Quran.

I first heard about what I asked, and was more curious...
Here is the Video of Jeffrey Lang speaking about it starting @13:20; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MRmGb_sIong


p.s. Just saw the Hebrew Huroof, in front of the verses,  that is similar to the Qur'an. That also is very fascinating.
Thanks for taking the time tho to answer...

Salaam

Offline Joseph Islam

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Re: Verse 2:34
« Reply #13 on: January 28, 2014, 08:52:15 AM »
Dear Wakas,

As-salam alaykum

Please see my responses to your comments in blue Italics.

“Couldn't the same thing be said for a human being, i.e.
How can something (e.g. human being) which is a direct consequence of another entity with 'free-will' (God)  have its own free-will?”


Adam is a living entity in its own right, created by God to make decisions as part of his free-will.  From what I understand you are respectfully implying, 'Iblis' is not understood as a living, breathing entity or species in its own right with the ability to do right and wrong similar to humans.

“Also, it is similar to the question about malaika, do they have free-will? I have not studied Quran with regard to this topic.”

This is actually a very important question. The angels clearly made their opinion known in the form of a question as to why God was to create such a creature that would cause bloodshed when they in comparison extoled His glory (2:30).

If they simply had no free-will, the question and opinion arguably would not have arisen. Hence, the popular concept of 'angels' does appear to be in conflict with the Quran's perspective. Yes, of course, angels obey orders but that does not mean they have absolutely no 'free-will' or at least an extent of free-will where they can question and present opinions.

“I assume you take the story of adam/mankind as literal in its entirety?”

My view of the story of Adam is a literal interpretation from a Quranic perspective. However it differs with many traditional perspectives in key areas which I have discussed. Of course, the story has much wisdom on multifaceted levels which for the purposes of this post is outside the scope of enquiry as you can appreciate.

From my humble perspective of the Quran, before Adam could come into being, the physiology of his species was evolved through a process of God guided evolution.

Humans were evolved through diverse stages.

071.014
"And indeed, He created you in diverse stages"
 
Although many do argue that this is a reference to man's short period in the mother's womb and its diverse stages during the gestation period, this view is somewhat difficult to sustain if we note the very next verse which within context seems to be referring to a long evolutionary process where an analogy of the heavens is presented.
 
071.015
"Do you not see how God has created the seven heavens one above another"?

One cannot simply overlook the comparison made with the heavens which elsewhere is given as 6 long stages (periods / aeons / epochs)
 
Then we read the following only a couple of verses later.
 
071.017
"And God has produced you from the earth growing (gradually) (Arabic: Anbatakum)"
 
The Arabic word 'anbatakum' is formed from the root word nun-ba-ta which means to grow, germinate, to sprout like a plant or to grow up like a child.
 
026:007
"Do they not see the earth, how many of every noble kind We have caused to grow in it (Arabic: Anbatna)"?

Once the species had reached a specific physiological state of advancement (bashar), God chose two creatures from this species and 'blew' His spirit in them which gave them 'human' attributes (ins). They were now a distinct species.

As you know, 'Ins' points to such attributes as faculties, perception and knowledge. It means to be companionable, or to show an inclination to have company or make conversation. It means sociable, conversable, amicable and cheerful.  'Bashar' on the other hand, refers to the more physical, physiological attributes of a human being. It refers to the skin, complexion, beauty, elegance of form, physical intimate relationships, contact of the skin etc.

The time lapse in the creation of man is clearly presented by the Quran and I have discussed this comprehensively in my article [1] below.

Adam and his spouse remained distinct from the remainder of their parent species and were 'technically' a new creation in the sense they were now part of 'ins'. It can only be surmised as to what happened to the remainder of the parent species over succeeding generations. However two new 'humans' came into being as distinct creations at a particular point God intervened. (After He blew His spirit).

015:028-29
"And when your Lord said to the angels: Surely I am going to create a mortal (Arabic: basharan) of the essence of black mud fashioned in shape. So when I have made him complete (fashioned him) and breathed into him of My spirit, fall down prostrating to him'

Iblis as a separate entity refused to submit to the command, after the 'bashar' had been completed and the spirit of God had been blown to turn the creature into a human (ins).

Furthermore, this process of guided evolution did not occur anywhere but planet Earth. It is a difficult proposition to accept that despite Adam being created for the Earth, he was instead introduced into another location such as 'heaven', especially when there is no direct evidence in the Quran for such an assertion. Furthermore, it is difficult to accept that he was then given volition to sin to carry it out so that he could be banished to the Earth, the intended location of his abode in the first place.  The term 'jannah' simply means a 'garden' irrespective of whether it is an abode in the afterlife or elsewhere. It takes its meaning from the dense trees which conceal the ground. [2]

A more plausible explanation given the text and the context of the narratives of the Quran is that Adam was raised from his parent species on Earth, the intended location and therein given volition to make choices.  Indeed, the state Adam was introduced into was one where he would neither have to toil to gather necessary provisions for sustenance, felt the heat or thirst, nor would he have felt ashamed of his nakedness (much like the animal kingdom). For all intent and purposes, this was a state of felicity irrespective of being an Earthly abode.
 
020.118
"Surely it is (ordained) for you that you shall not be hungry therein nor to go naked"
 
020.119
"And that you shall not suffer from thirst nor shall you feel the heat of the sun"

It was this state that he was removed from after he had sinned.

002:036
Then did Satan make them slip from it (garden), and get them out of the state (of felicity) in which they had been. We said: "Get down, (all of you), with enmity between yourselves and for you in the earth will (is) a dwelling-place and your means of livelihood for a time."

It was this state on Earth which was removed and a trial established.

As you can see, the account is literal but quite unlike the traditional Muslim perspective and from usually understood 'creation' stories.

I hope that clarifies my perspective, God willing.

Regards,
Joseph


REFERENCES:

[1] THEORY OF EVOLUTION AND THE QURAN
http://quransmessage.com/articles/evolution%20FM3.htm
[2] ADAM (pbuh) AND JANNAH  - AN EARTHLY ABODE OR PARADISE?
http://quransmessage.com/articles/adam%20and%20jannah%20FM3.htm
'During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act' 
George Orwell

Offline Duster

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Re: Verse 2:34
« Reply #14 on: January 28, 2014, 09:15:09 PM »
Shalom / peace br. Joseph >>>> Thank you for sharing your views. Very informative and I really liked your thoughts!!!