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Islamic Ideology ( 27 Sept 2016, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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The Forbidden Tree in Paradise (Jannat-Ul-Khuld): Traditional Muslim Belief Debugged By the Quran

By T.O. Shanavas, New Age Islam

28 September 2016

          Almost every Muslim across the world now believe that Adam and Eve were created in Paradise (Jannat-ul-Khuld) but were expelled for eating fruit from the Forbidden Tree in the garden. Unorthodox as it seems for our time, more reasons lead us to believe that the garden was on Earth rather than in Paradise.

Evidence # 1

Many Qur’anic verses suggest that Paradise is a place the eyes of believers have never seen:

          “No living soul knows what comfort of eyes has been kept hidden from them as a recompense for their deeds.” (Qur’an 32:17)

Abul A’la Maududi, twentieth-century commentator on the Qur’an, tells us that Bukhari, Muslim, Tirmidhi, and Imam Ahmad, all most respected scholars in the field of the Prophet’s tradition, cited Abu Huraira’s text (a contemporary of the Prophet) that the Holy Prophet said: “Allah says: I have prepared for my righteous servants that which has neither been seen by eyes, nor heard by ears, nor ever conceived by any man.”1 If no human eyes have seen it, then Adam could not have seen it, and therefore the Garden of the Forbidden Tree could not have been in Paradise.

Evidence # 2

The contextual analysis of following verses also rules out the possibility of the garden being Paradise:  “And He taught Adam the nature of all things; then He placed him before the Angels, and said: Tell me the nature of these if you are right . . . And behold! We said to the angels: bow down to Adam and they bowed down. No, said Iblis (Satan).He refused and was haughty. He was of those who rejected the Faith.”(Qur’an 2:31 and 34)

When Satan refused to prostrate before Adam, God ordered him out of the garden. God said: “Get thee down from this: it is not for thee to be arrogant here: get out, for thou art of the meanest (of creatures).”(Qur’an 7:13)

Thereby in the presence of Adam and Eve, Satan requested and God replied:“Give me respite till the Day when they shall all be raised up from the dead.” Allah replied, “You are granted respite.”(Qur’an 7:14-15)

          According to the above verses, Adam learned “the nature of all existing things” (Qur’an 2:31). Therefore, when God granted Satan respite, Adam and Eve must have known that their lives in the garden with the forbidden tree were subject to imminent death and that they would be “raised up from death” on the Day of Judgment (Qur’an 7:14-15). For these reasons, the garden could not have been in Paradise but must have been on earth. It would make no sense for Adam to be promised Paradise as a reward for his good deeds if he were already there.

Evidence # 3

All Muslims believe that Satan deceived Adam and Eve by suggesting: “Your Sustainer has forbidden you this tree, lest you two become [as] angels, or lest you live forever.” (Qur’an 7:20)He whispered to Adam: “O Adam! Shall I lead you to the tree of eternity and to a kingdom that never decays?” (Qur’an 20:120). Thus, by describing the forbidden tree as a secret recipe for eternal life, Satan tempted Adam and Eve to partake of the fruit of the tree. When they consumed the forbidden fruit, they sought eternal life.

          The Qur’an states that Paradise is eternal. If Adam and Eve were actually in it, then they too would be eternal. The desire to acquire a thing develops in the human mind only when the desired object or state is not available. Adam was in an environment where death and decay, not immortality, were the facts of life. Adam and Eve would not have become victims of temptation if they had already been immortal beings in Paradise.

Evidence # 4

The following verse adds more support to the falsity of the notion that the forbidden tree was in Paradise.  “And I have secured it (Heaven) against every rebel Satan. These Satans cannot hear the words of the exalted ones; they are darted at and driven off from every side, for them there is a perpetual torment. However, if someone snatches away something, a flashing flame follows him.” (Qur’an 37: 7-10)

Abul A’la Maududi explains the above verse as follows: “The Satans have no access to Heaven and no power to hear the angels’ conversations . . . if by chance a little of its news enters the ear of a devil, and he tries to bring it down, he will be followed by a flashing flame.”2

Based on verses 20:120, 7:20, 37:7-10, and 7:22, we can conclude the following: First, Adam was allowed to stay in the Garden of the Forbidden Tree after Satan’s expulsion from it. Second, although Satan did not have access to Paradise, he succeeded in entering and deceiving Adam. Third, Adam and Eve believed Satan and ate from the tree in the hope of becoming immortal. Thus, the Garden of the Forbidden Tree was a place where all that existed had a transient, decaying nature into which Satan was able to enter. How could it be the Garden of Eternity?

Evidence # 5

Qur’anic verses repeatedly disprove the idea that the garden of Forbidden Tree was in Paradise.

One verse reads: “There [Paradise] they call for every kind of fruit in peace and security: Nor will they there taste death. . . .”(Qur’an 44:55-56) Thus the presence of a forbidden tree bearing the fruit of immortality and the commandment that Adam and Eve not eat of that fruit contradict the location of the Garden of Forbidden Tree in Paradise.

Evidence # 6

Throughout the Qur’an, Paradise is described as a place where peace prevails: “There they shall hear no idle talk, but only ‘Peace’” (Qur’an 19:62),where sin, lies, and vanity do not exist (Qur’an 56:25-6; 78:35, and 88:11).If we accept the Qur’anic description of Paradise, then we also read that it could not be the place where Satan makes the false, vain claim that he is better than Adam: He (Iblis) said: “I am better than he [Adam]; You have created me of fire and created him [Adam] of clay.”(Qur’an 7:12)

If Satan’s claim were true, God would not have asked the angels and the Jinn to prostrate before Adam--thus Satan lied. In Paradise, Satan would not have been able to tempt Adam to commit sin. Such egoism, lying, and deception could not have taken place in Paradise--a place where fruits are not forbidden, where peace and justice prevail, and where sin, lies, and vanity are unknown.

Evidence # 7

Adam could not have been thrown out of Paradise because it is the place of final return:

“. . . and verily, for the righteous, a beautiful place of (final) return.” (Qur’an 38:49).Thus, Adam, Eve, Satan, and the forbidden tree could not have been in Paradise (Jannat-ul-Khuld). The Garden of the Forbidden Tree is a place for human trial and error, while Paradise is a place for reward. Since the Qur’an does not support the notion that the garden was Paradise, where then was it? The following verses offer clues.

Evidence # 8

After God presented Adam to the Angels, He said to Adam: “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 (ﻲﺣﻀ).” (Qur’an 20:118-119)

God provided Adam and Eve with food, water, and shelter “to protect them from the heat of the sun.” From among the billions of stars in our universe, why would the Qur’an mention the sun’s heat if the garden was Paradise? Moreover, in every context, the word ﻲﺣﻀ (daha) or its derivatives are used in the Qur’an only in situations related to the sun. Thus, the Garden of the Forbidden Tree must have been within the solar system in order for it to be affected by the heat of the sun, which could be felt only on planets close to it.

The Garden of the Forbidden Tree could not have been on Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, or Pluto because their surface temperatures are so low that mention of the protection from the sun’s heat would be illogical. The surface temperatures of Mercury and Venus are extremely high, too high for plants and animals to exist as living creaturesand as sources of food for Adam. The only place in the solar system where DNA-based life exists and where humans need protection from the sun is Earth. Based on our present-day knowledge of the solar system and on the above verses, we can conclude that Adam and Eve were in a garden that was located on Earth.

Evidence # 9

The Qur’an also informs us that God created Adam and Eve on the earth with earthly material and granted a fixed term of life there: “Behold, thy Lord said to the Angels: I will create a vicegerent (Khalifah) on earth”(Qur’an 2:30)and “It is He who created you from clay, and then decreed a stated term [of life] for you. . . .”(Qur’an: 6:2)

Evidence # 10

          Finally, the name bestowed by the Qur’an on the first perfect human being is highly significant. The name “Adam” is derived from two Arabic root words, Adim and Udama. Adim means surface of the earth, and Udama means dark-complexioned.3The literal meaning of Adam, therefore, is a dark-skinned person who lives on the surface of the earth. This, too, supports the idea that Adam was created on earth and not in Paradise, and was of African origin.

For more evidence to unravel the location of the Garden of Forbidden Tree, read my recent article, “The Creation of Adam and Human Species: A New Study” at:

Notes to Chapter 9

1        Maududi, Abu A’la S. Notes on The Meaning of the Qur’an, Verse 32:17.

2        Maududi, Abu A'la S.Notes onThe Meaning of the Qur’an, Verses 7:14-15.

3.       Lane, Edward William.An Arabic-English Lexicon, Part 1, p. 37.

T.O. Shanavas is a native of Kerala, but is now based in the USA.He is the author of “Islamic Theory of evolution of Evolution the Missing Link between Darwin and The Origin of Species.” Co-author of the book, And God Said, "Let There Be Evolution!": Reconciling The Book Of Genesis, The Qur'an, And The Theory Of Evolution. Edited by Prof. Charles M. Wynn and Prof. Arthur W. Wiggins.


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