Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Original Forgiveness – Did Original Sin Really End with Adam?

Refuting Another Muslim Lie Pt. 1  
By Sam Shamoun

It is typical for Muslim polemicists to argue that Islam doesn’t believe in “Original Sin,” but in “Original Forgiveness.” By that they mean that Allah supposedly forgave Adam and Eve for their sins, as opposed to the biblical teaching which states that God punished them for their disobedience by handing both of them, along with their offspring, over to the influence and dominion of sin and Satan: 

Therefore as sin came into the world through one man and death through sin, so death has spread to all men, because all have sinned. For until the law, sin was in the world. But sin is not counted when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of Adam’s sin, who was a type of Him who was to come. But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if through the trespass of one man many died, then how much more has the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to many. The gift is not like the result that came through the one who sinned. For the judgment from one sin led to condemnation, but the free gift, which came after many trespasses, leads to justification. For if by one man’s trespass death reigned through him, then how much more will those who receive abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ. Therefore just as through the trespass of one man came condemnation for all men, so through the righteous act of One came justification of life for all men. For just as through one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the obedience of One the many will be made righteous.” Romans 5:12-19

But now is Christ risen from the dead and become the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came by man, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the first fruits; afterward, those who are Christ’s at His coming.” 1 Corinthians 15:20-23

We know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin. For what I am doing, I do not understand, for I do not practice what I will to do, but I do the very thing I hate. But if I practice what I do not will to do, I agree with the law that it is good. So now it is no longer I that do it, but sin that dwells in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) dwells no good thing, for the will to do what is right is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. For the good I desire to do, I do not do, but the evil I do not want is what I do. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who does it, but sin that lives in me. I find then a law that when I desire to do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God according to the inner man, but I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then, with my mind, I serve the law of God, but with my flesh, the law of sin.” Romans 7:14-25

But avoid foolish and unlearned debates, knowing that they create strife. The servant of the Lord must not quarrel, but must be gentle toward all people, able to teach, patient, in gentleness instructing those in opposition. Perhaps God will grant them repentance to know the truth, and they may escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.” 2 Timothy 2:23-26

“So then, as the children share in flesh and blood, He likewise took part in these, so that through death He might destroy him who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver those who through fear of death were throughout their lives subject to bondage.” Hebrews 2:14-15

These polemicists will often cite the following Quranic text to prove their assertion:

Then Adam received from his Lord Words . And his Lord pardoned him (accepted his repentance). Verily, He is the One Who forgives (accepts repentance), the Most Merciful. S. 2:37 Hilali-Khan

The following blog posts are illustrative of the way that these Muhammadans argue:

We have chosen to respond to this rather blatant misrepresentation and distortion of what Islam actually teaches concerning this issue, since the facts will show that Muhammad DID INDEED believe in “Original Sin,” e.g., that Adam’s sin plunged humanity into despair and misery, yet with one added caveat. Muhammad also proclaimed that Adam was predestined to cause all mankind to be expelled from the garden since he was basically forced into sinning against Allah by Allah himself!


The Quran is emphatically clear concerning the role that Adam and Eve played in bringing about all of the sinfulness and misery that mankind has been plunged into. Pay carefully attention to the following passage which uses the Arabic plural, which refers to more than two, to describe the fall of the first human couple:

But the Satan made them both fall from it, and caused them to depart from that (state) in which they were; and We said: GET DOWN, ALL OF YOU (ihbitoo), with enmity between YOURSELVES (ba’dukum), and there is for YOU (wa lakum) in the earth an abode and a provision for a time. Then Adam received from his Lord words (of revelation), and He relented toward him. Lo! He is the relenting, the Merciful. We said: GO DOWN, ALL OF YOU (ihbitoo jami’an), from hence; but verily there cometh unto YOU (yatiyannakum) from Me a guidance; and whoso followeth My guidance, there shall no fear come upon THEM (alayhim) neither SHALL THEY GRIEVE (hum yahzanoona). S. 2:36-38

The following verse also uses the plural:

God said, ‘GO FORTH (ihbitoo), SOME OF YOU (ba’dukum) will be enemies of others. And for YOU (wa lakum) there is an abode on the earth and a provision for a time.’ S. 7:24

The words that we have capitalized and italicized are all in the plural, not in the dual. This shows that Adam’s sin had a negative impact on all future generations of mankind.

Here is another version which actually uses both the dual and the plural together!

We had already, beforehand, taken the covenant of Adam, but he forgot: and We found on his part no firm resolve. When We said to the angels, "Prostrate yourselves to Adam", they prostrated themselves, but not Iblis: he refused. Then We said: "O Adam! verily, this is an enemy to thee and thy wife: so let him not get you both out of the Garden, so that thou art landed in misery. There is therein (enough provision) for thee not to go hungry nor to go naked, Nor to suffer from thirst, nor from the sun's heat." But Satan whispered evil to him: he said, "O Adam! shall I lead thee to the Tree of Eternity and to a kingdom that never decays?" In the result, they both ate of the tree, and so their nakedness appeared to them: they began to sew together, for their covering, leaves from the Garden: thus did Adam disobey his Lord, and allow himself to be seduced. But his Lord chose him (for His Grace): He turned to him, and gave him Guidance. He said: "GET YE DOWN, BOTH OF YOU (ihbita), - all together (jami’an), from the Garden, with enmity ONE TO ANOTHER (ba‘dukum liba‘din): but if, as is sure, there comes to you Guidance from Me, whosoever follows My Guidance, will not lose his way, nor fall into misery. S. 20:115-123 Y. Ali

The word ihbita is a 2nd person masculine dual imperative verb whereas ba‘dukum is a 2nd person masculine plural possessive pronoun.

The context makes it certain that Satan cannot be included in the use of the plural since he had already been expelled from paradise and stands condemned to hell. He will, therefore, not follow the guidance which will come from Allah to those who have fallen from his favor. In light of this fact, the plural must be referring to the entire human race, to all of Adam’s offspring, thereby implying that Adam stood in the place of all mankind as their father and representative.

In other words, according to the Quran when Adam sinned his unborn offspring also sinned. And when he was expelled from the garden they were expelled as well.

In fact, this is precisely how some of the expositors explained the use of the plural in these passages. For instance, here is the commentary of Ibn Kathir regarding Q. 2:38-39:

Allah informs of His warning to Adam, his wife and Satan, THEIR OFFSPRING, when he ordered THEM to descend from Paradise. He says he will send messengers with Scriptures, signs and proofs… (Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Part 1, Surah Al-Fatiah Surah Al-Baqarah, ayat 1 to 141, Abridged by Sheikh Nasib Ar-Rafa‘i [Al-Firdous Ltd., London: Second Edition 1998], pp. 109-110; capital emphasis ours)

The late Abdullah Yusuf Ali said something similar in reference to Q. 2:36:

“… Note the transition in Arabic from the singular number in ii. 33, to the dual in ii. 35, and the plural here [2:36], which I have indicated in English by ‘All ye people.’ Evidently Adam is the type of all mankind, and the sexes go together in all spiritual matters. Moreover, the expulsion applied to Adam, Eve, and Satan, and the Arabic plural is appropriate for any number greater than two.” (SOURCE; Bold and capital emphasis ours)

And here is what Ibn Kathir wrote concerning Q. 2:34:

This Ayah mentions the great honor that Allah granted Adam, and Allah reminded Adam's offspring of this fact. Allah commanded the angels to prostrate before Adam, as this Ayah and many Hadiths testify, such as the Hadith about the intercession that we discussed. There is a Hadith about the supplication of Musa, "O my Lord! Show me Adam who caused us and himself to be thrown out of Paradise." When Musa met Adam, he said to him, "Are you Adam whom Allah created with His Own Hands, blew life into and commanded the angels to prostrate before?" (Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Abridged) (Surat Al-Fatihah to Verse 252 of Surat Al-Baqarah), abridged by a group of scholars under the supervision of Shaykh Safiur-Rahman Al-Mubarakpuri [Darussalam Publishers & Distributors, Riyadh, Houston, New York, Lahore; First Edition: January 2000], Parts 1 and 2, Volume 1, p. 193; bold and underline emphasis ours)

We will have more to say about this alleged confrontation between Adam and Moses in the next part of our rebuttal.

These scholars weren’t the only ones to interpret the plural in relation to Adam, Eve, and their offspring:

Then Satan, Iblīs, caused them to slip, he caused them to be removed (fa-azallahumā: a variant reading has fa-azālahumā: he caused them to be away from it) therefrom, that is, from the Garden, when he said to them, ‘Shall I point you to the tree of eternity’ [cf. Q. 20:120], and swore to them by God that he was only giving good advice to them, and so they ate of it; and brought them out of what they were in, of bliss; and We said, ‘Go down, to earth, both of you AND ALL THOSE COMPRISED BY YOUR SEED; some of you, of your progeny, an enemy to the other, through your wronging one another; and in the earth a dwelling, a place of settlement, shall be yours, and enjoyment, of whatever of its vegetation you may enjoy, for a while’, [until] the time your terms [of life] are concluded. (Tafsir al-Jalalayn, Q. 2:36; bold and capital emphasis ours)


Said He, ‘Go down, that is, Adam and Eve, WITH ALL THOSE YOU COMPRISE BY YOUR SEED, each of you, each seed, an enemy to the other, on account of the wrong each does to the another. There will be for you on earth an abode, a place of settlement, and enjoyment for a while’, [until] your terms [of life] are fulfilled. (Tafsir al-Jalalayn, Q. 7:24; bold and capital emphasis ours)

Moreover, note what Ibn Kathir wrote,

Commenting on this Ayah (7:172), At-Tirmidhi recorded that Abu Hurayrah said that the Messenger of Allah said…

((… So Adam denied that and HIS OFFSPRING FOLLOWED SUIT (denying Allah's covenant), Adam forgot and HIS OFFSPRING FORGOT, Adam made a mistake and HIS OFFSPRING MADE MISTAKES.))

At-Tirmidhi said, "This Hadith is Hasan Sahih, and it was reported from various chains of narration through Abu Hurayrah from the Prophet. Al-Hakim also recorded it in his Mustadrak, and said; Sahih according to the criteria of Muslim, and they did not record it."

These and similar Hadiths testify that Allah, the Exalted and Most Honored, brought forth Adam's offspring from his loins and separated between the inhabitants of Paradise and those of the Fire…

(Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Abridged) (Surat Al-A‘raf to the end of Surah Yunus), First Edition: May 2000, Volume 4, pp. 201-203; bold and capital emphasis ours)

Concerning this verse,

And (remember) when your Lord brought forth from the Children of Adam, from their loins, their seed (or from Adam's loin his offspring) and made them testify as to themselves (saying): "Am I not your Lord?" They said: "Yes! We testify," lest you should say on the Day of Resurrection: "Verily, we have been unaware of this." S. 7:172 Hilali-Khan

Adam’s offspring are forced to suffer from forgetting, making mistakes and denying their oaths solely because of Adam’s own forgetfulness, mistakes and denials! Thus, whether a Muslim likes it or not this narration clearly affirms that Adam’s offspring share in the guilt and responsibility of Adam’s transgressions. 
As such, this should sufficiently put to rest the oft-repeated lie that the Quran teaches “Original Forgiveness.” After all, if Allah truly did forgive Adam then why didn’t he allow him to stay in, or at least bring him back to, Paradise? Why did he still go ahead and expel him and his offspring to the earth? Is it truly an act of forgiveness when someone, who has thrown his/her child out of the house as punishment for some kind of disobedience, tells his/her offspring that they have been forgiven if the parent never allows the child to stay or return back home?

The Muslim woes are far from over, as we shall see in the next part of our rebuttal.

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