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Did Humanity Begin with Brothers and Sisters Marrying?

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Intro

In the quest to unravel the origins of humanity, a question that has perennially intrigued scholars, theologians, and the curious alike is whether humans descended from an initial pair of siblings. This inquiry not only probes the depths of human ancestry but also challenges the moral and ethical frameworks that govern our understanding of creation. Central to this discussion is the narrative of Adam and Eve, traditionally regarded as the progenitors of the human race. However, this interpretation faces scrutiny when aligned with the principles of what is considered lawful and pure.

The teachings of the Ahlulbayt, the family of the Prophet Muhammad, offer profound insights into this debate. Imam Sadiq, a revered figure within this lineage, provides a perspective that challenges conventional narratives. He asserts that the notion of humanity originating from a brother and sister is not only unlawful but also impure. According to him, Allah, in His infinite wisdom and purity, would not initiate human creation through means that He Himself has forbidden. This statement is a critical point of reflection, especially against the backdrop of arguments suggesting that certain actions, though initially deemed permissible, were later prohibited.

Imam Sadiq’s stance invites us to reevaluate the foundations of our beliefs regarding human origins. It encourages a deeper exploration of divine will and the ethical principles that underpin the creation narrative. This exploration is not just a scholarly pursuit but a journey toward understanding the essence of divine law and morality.

As we delve into Islamic teachings and the wisdom of the Ahlulbayt, it becomes imperative to consider their perspectives on matters of both historical and ethical significance. With a legacy of knowledge and guidance, the Ahlulbayt offers a lens through which we can seek clarity and understanding. So, before we draw conclusions on the debated origins of humanity, let’s see what the Ahlulbayt of the Prophet say about this matter.

The Imam answers

Zararah reported that he asked Abu Abdullah, peace be upon him, how the progeny began from the descendants of Adam, peace be upon him. He said, “There are people among us who say that Allah, the Blessed and Exalted, revealed to Adam, peace be upon him, to marry his daughters to his sons, and that all of creation originated from brothers and sisters. What is the truth of this matter?”

Abu Abdullah Imam Sadiq (A.S) replied:

“Exalted is Allah, far above such a thing. How can those who say this claim that Allah, the Mighty, and Majestic, made the origin of His chosen creation, His beloved, His prophets, His messengers, His proofs, and the believing men and women, from what is unlawful?

Could He not have created them from what is lawful, having taken their covenant upon purity and cleanliness? Indeed, I have been informed that some animals recognize their kin to the extent that if a male descends upon its sister and then realizes her identity, he withdraws, bites himself, and then dies from it.”

Zararah then asked about the creation of Eve and mentioned that some people believe that Allah, the Mighty, and Majestic, created Eve from Adam’s left rib.

Abu Abdullah Imam Sadiq (A.S) exclaimed:

“Exalted is Allah, far above such a thing. Do they not think that Allah, the Blessed, and Exalted, had the power to create Adam’s wife from other than his rib, thereby giving an opening for those who seek to mock? They claim that if she was created from his rib, it implies a form of self-mating. May Allah judge between us and them?”

He continued:

“Indeed, when Allah created Adam from clay and commanded the angels to prostrate to him, He cast upon Adam a deep sleep. Then, He created [Eve] in a unique way, placing her at the side of Adam, so that the woman would be a companion to the man. When Adam awoke to her movement and saw her, he saw a beautiful creation resembling his form but female. He spoke to her, and she replied in his language. Adam asked, ‘Who are you?’ She said, ‘A creation created by God as you see.’ Adam then said, ‘O Lord, who is this beautiful creation that has brought me comfort and joy at the sight of her?’ God replied, ‘This is Eve, your companion. Would you like her to be with you, to comfort and converse with you, and to be at your command?’ Adam said, ‘Yes, O Lord, and for that, all praise and thanks are Yours as long as I live.’ God then said, ‘Ask for her hand in marriage from me, for she is your companion, and she is also fit for passion.’ And God cast passion upon him, having already taught him knowledge.

Adam said, ‘O Lord, I ask for her hand in marriage, so what would you take for that?’ Allah said, ‘What I would accept  is that you teach her the landmarks of My religion.’ Adam replied, ‘That I shall do, O Lord, if You so wish.’ God said, ‘I do wish it, and now I have married her to you. Embrace her.’

Adam said, ‘Come closer,’ and she said, ‘No, you come closer to me.’ Then God commanded Adam to approach her, and he did. Were it not for this, women would go to the men to propose themselves. This is the story of Eve; blessings of God be upon her.”

In a different account, when Imam Sadiq was once again posed with the same inquiry, his response mirrored the earlier one, yet he expanded on the narrative with additional details. This time, he delved into the origins of Adam and Eve’s descendants, providing a more comprehensive exploration than the initial hadith, which focused primarily on the creation of Adam and Eve themselves. The hadith is presented as follows:

From Al-Hassan ibn Muqatil, from one who heard Zurarah say: Abu Abdullah Imam Sadiq, peace be upon him, was asked about the origin of progeny from Adam and how it began, and about the beginning of the offspring from Adam’s descendants. For there are people among us who say that Allah, the Exalted and Glorious, inspired Adam to marry his daughters to his sons, and that all of creation originated from siblings.

Abu Abdullah Imam Sadiq, peace be upon him, said:

“Exalted is Allah above such a claim, a great exaltation. Those who say this, assert that Allah, the Exalted and Glorious, created His chosen creation, His beloveds, His prophets, His messengers, the believing men and women, and the Muslim men and women from what is unlawful, and that He did not have the power to create them from what is lawful. He took their covenant upon the lawful, the pure, the clean, the wholesome.

By Allah, it has become clear that some beasts even recognize and reject their sisters; when one descended upon its sister and then it was revealed to him that she was his sister, he withdrew his intention and then bit itself with its teeth until he dies. Another beast recognized its mother and acted in the same manner. So, how about humans, in their humanity, their virtue, and their knowledge?

Yet, a generation among this creation, which you see, turned away from the knowledge of their prophets’ households and took from where they were not commanded, and thus, they became as you see them now, in misguidance and ignorance of knowledge in how were things in the past when Allah created and what will exist forever?”

Then he said:

“Woe to these people, where are they from what the jurists of Hijaz and the jurists of Iraq have not differed upon—that Allah, the Exalted and Glorious, commanded the pen to write on the preserved tablet what will happen until the Day of Judgment, two thousand years before He created Adam, and that all of Allah’s scriptures, as the pen has written in them, prohibit siblings to each other among what is prohibited.

And we see from these four famous books in this world: the Torah, the Gospel, the Psalms, and the Quran, revealed by Allah from the preserved tablet to His messengers, peace be upon them all. From these, the Torah was revealed to Moses, peace be upon him, the Psalms to David, peace be upon him, the Gospel to Jesus, peace be upon him, and the Quran to Muhammad, may Allah bless him and his family and peace be upon the prophets, peace be upon them. And in them, there is no legalization of any of such acts.

Truly, I say that those who say this and its likes only seek to strengthen the arguments of the Magians, so may Allah fight them.’

Then he began to tell us about the beginning of the progeny from Adam and how the lineage from his descendants began.

Abu Abdullah Imam Jaffar Al-Sadiq said:

“Adam’s wife, peace be upon them, had seventy pregnancies, in each pregnancy a boy and a girl, until Cain killed Abel. When Cain killed Abel, Adam grieved over Abel so much that it prevented him from approaching his wife. He remained unable to approach Eve for five hundred years, then he was relieved of his grief over him and approached Eve, and Allah granted him a gift (son) that has no second, and that is Seth, and his name ‘was the gift of Allah’, and he was the first to whom the will (succession) was bequeathed among the earth’s inhabitants.

Then after Seth, he had Yafith, without a second. When they came of age, Allah, the Exalted and Glorious, wanted to extend the progeny as you see and to enact what has been written by the pen concerning the prohibition of what Allah, the Exalted and Glorious, has prohibited of sisters to their brothers, He sent down after Asr on Thursday a Houri from Paradise named (Nuzlah) and commanded Adam to marry her to Seth, which he did. Then, He sent down after Asr a Houri from Paradise named (Manzilah) and commanded the Exalted Allah Adam to marry her to Yafith, which he did. Seth had a boy, and Yafith had a girl. Allah, the Exalted and Glorious, commanded Adam when they came of age to marry Yafith’s daughter to Seth’s son, which he did, thus originating the elite of prophets and messengers from their offspring. And God forbid that it was as they said, from siblings.”

Reflection:

Based on the narratives explored, it becomes unequivocally clear that the origins of the human race do not trace back to a mere brother, sister, and sibling relationship. This insight diverges significantly from the beliefs held by many within the Muslim community, beliefs that are heavily influenced by hadiths, which themselves often draw from Jewish traditions. Such a revelation underscores the critical importance of returning to the teachings of the Ahlulbayt for genuine enlightenment. The Ahlulbayt, with their profound wisdom and insight, serve as the beacon of knowledge in a sea of misinformation. It is from them that one must seek guidance; for those who choose to source their understanding from elsewhere fall risk to being led astray, ensnared in the webs of misguidance and confusion. This journey back to the Ahlulbayt is not just a return to a source of knowledge, but a pilgrimage to the very heart of truth and enlightenment.

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2 Comments
  1. Anonymous says

    very informative and impressive information. kindly provide Book No. Hadith No. so that one can verify.
    Thanks

    1. Sayyid Abdullah Al-Musawi says

      Illāl al-Sharā’ī’ by Sheikh al-Saduq, vol. 1, p. 17

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