الآية رقم (19) - وَيَا آدَمُ اسْكُنْ أَنتَ وَزَوْجُكَ الْجَنَّةَ فَكُلاَ مِنْ حَيْثُ شِئْتُمَا وَلاَ تَقْرَبَا هَـذِهِ الشَّجَرَةَ فَتَكُونَا مِنَ الظَّالِمِينَ

(19) - (And "O Adam, dwell, you and your wife, in Paradise and eat from wherever you will but do not approach this tree, lest you be among the wrongdoers.")

( وَيَا آدَمُ) (And “O Adam): The Quran comes back to the story of Adam (PBUH) after telling us about the story of damned Satan.

(اسْكُنْ أَنتَ وَزَوْجُكَ الْجَنَّةَ) (dwell, you and your wife, in Paradise): Adam and Eve were created and destined for the earth. The assumptions that say they were created for Paradise are untrue and are taken from the books of the people of Israel. We rely only on what is mentioned in the Holy Quran and in the Sunnah of the Prophet Mohammad (saws), not on what is mentioned in the books of the people of Israel or in fables which talk about Adam and Eve, eating the apple, and blaming Eve alone for the disobedience; all these stories are not true. The truth is presented to us when Allah (swt) says:

( وَيَا آدَمُ اسْكُنْ أَنتَ وَزَوْجُكَ الْجَنَّةَ فَكُلَا مِنْ حَيْثُ شِئْتُمَا وَلَا تَقْرَبَا هَٰذِهِ الشَّجَرَةَ فَتَكُونَا مِنَ الظَّالِمِينَ ) (And “O Adam, dwell, you and your wife, in Paradise and eat from wherever you will but do not approach this tree, lest you be among the wrongdoers.”). There are no commands nor prohibitions in Paradise, for it is the reward people receive for their good deeds. The Paradise of the Hereafter which Allah (swt) describes is an eternal residence, so how is it that Satan was allowed to enter it? As aforementioned, Allah (swt) tells us with a clear statement that Satan is one of the jinns: (He was of the jinn and departed from the command of his Lord). So, how did Adam and Eve leave Paradise? To answer this question, we should first examine the meaning of the word (Paradise) in the verse: (And “O Adam, dwell, you and your wife, in Paradise). When we hear the word (Paradise), we immediately think of the Paradise in the Hereafter which Allah (swt) prepared for believers and the obedient, and because Allah (swt) called it (Paradise), then it is the first thing we think of whenever we hear that word. However, if the same word is mentioned with an indication that it has a different linguistic meaning, then in that case, the verse would not be talking about the eternal Paradise. Allah (swt) says:

 وَاضْرِبْ لَهُم مَّثَلًا رَّجُلَيْنِ جَعَلْنَا لِأَحَدِهِمَا جَنَّتَيْنِ مِنْ أَعْنَابٍ وَحَفَفْنَاهُمَا بِنَخْلٍ وَجَعَلْنَا بَيْنَهُمَا زَرْعًا (32) كِلْتَا الْجَنَّتَيْنِ آتَتْ أُكُلَهَا وَلَمْ تَظْلِم مِّنْهُ شَيْئًا ۚ وَفَجَّرْنَا خِلَالَهُمَا نَهَرًا (33)

((32) And present to them an example of two men: We granted to one of them two gardens of grapevines, and We bordered them with palm trees and placed between them [fields of] crops. (33) Each of the two gardens produced its fruit and did not fall short thereof in anything. And We caused to gush forth within them a river.) (Al-Kahf)

In these verses, the Arabic word (Paradise) is used to indicate (gardens) and (trees). It is not the eternal Paradise but rather the linguistic meaning of the word is used here. Allah (swt) also says:

 أَيَوَدُّ أَحَدُكُمْ أَن تَكُونَ لَهُ جَنَّةٌ مِّن نَّخِيلٍ وَأَعْنَابٍ تَجْرِي مِن تَحْتِهَا الْأَنْهَارُ لَهُ فِيهَا مِن كُلِّ الثَّمَرَاتِ وَأَصَابَهُ الْكِبَرُ وَلَهُ ذُرِّيَّةٌ ضُعَفَاءُ فَأَصَابَهَا إِعْصَارٌ فِيهِ نَارٌ فَاحْتَرَقَتْ ۗ كَذَٰلِكَ يُبَيِّنُ اللَّهُ لَكُمُ الْآيَاتِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَفَكَّرُونَ

(Would one of you like to have a garden of palm trees and grapevines underneath which rivers flow in which he has from every fruit? But he is afflicted with old age and has weak offspring, and it is hit by a whirlwind containing fire and is burned. Thus does Allah make clear to you [His] verses that you might give thought.) (Al-Baqara: 266)

The meaning here is also gardens, not the Paradise of the Afterlife. The same thing is in the following verse:

لَقَدْ كَانَ لِسَبَإٍ فِي مَسْكَنِهِمْ آيَةٌ ۖ جَنَّتَانِ عَن يَمِينٍ وَشِمَالٍ ۖ كُلُوا مِن رِّزْقِ رَبِّكُمْ وَاشْكُرُوا لَهُ ۚ بَلْدَةٌ طَيِّبَةٌ وَرَبٌّ غَفُورٌ

(There was for [the tribe of] Saba’ in their dwelling place a sign: two [fields of] gardens on the right and on the left. [They were told], “Eat from the provisions of your Lord and be grateful to Him. A good land [have you], and a forgiving Lord.”) (Saba: 15)

It also means gardens. So, does it refer to the Paradise of the Afterlife in this verse: (And “O Adam, dwell, you and your wife, in Paradise). This takes us back to a very important issue mentioned at the beginning of Surah Al-Baqara where Allah (swt) says:

 وَإِذْ قَالَ رَبُّكَ لِلْمَلَائِكَةِ إِنِّي جَاعِلٌ فِي الْأَرْضِ خَلِيفَةً ۖ قَالُوا أَتَجْعَلُ فِيهَا مَن يُفْسِدُ فِيهَا وَيَسْفِكُ الدِّمَاءَ وَنَحْنُ نُسَبِّحُ بِحَمْدِكَ وَنُقَدِّسُ لَكَ ۖ قَالَ إِنِّي أَعْلَمُ مَا لَا تَعْلَمُونَ

(And [mention, O Muhammad], when your Lord said to the angels, “Indeed, I will make upon the earth a successive authority.” They said, “Will You place upon it one who causes corruption therein and sheds blood, while we declare Your praise and sanctify You?” Allah said, “Indeed, I know that which you do not know.”) (Al-Baqara: 30)

Adam was created to be Allah’s (swt) vicegerent on earth. But what does descending to earth have to do with disobedience? And how can Adam (PBUH) be in Paradise when he is created for earth? This is an indication that the (paradise) mentioned in this verse is the place for preparation and not that of the Afterlife. Allah (swt) wants to prepare Adam and Eve for the experience of faith, following commands and prohibitions, and for the nature of the worldly life for which Adam and Eve were created as Allah’s vicegerents on earth. This resolves the aforementioned problematic question because as long as Adam and Eve were together with Satan in a garden, or a paradise for preparation, then it is obviously not the eternal Paradise of the Afterlife. They did not get out of the eternal Paradise and Satan was never in that Paradise at all. We have already mentioned three verses in the Holy Quran that prove that not every use of the word (Paradise) refers to the Paradise of the Afterlife. It could have several meanings including a regular garden, or a garden for preparation as was the case in this verse.

( فَكُلَا مِنْ حَيْثُ شِئْتُمَا ) (eat from wherever you will): (Eat) is a command, (from wherever you will). Many things are permissible and this is a place to prepare them for the worldly life. The general rule is that things are lawful, except for that which has a clear text prohibiting them, as the case with the flesh of swine. So, the paradise they were in is only the place for preparation. Allah (swt) does not inform us about its exact place, whether it was in the sky or on earth, this is not necessary to be known, what is more important for us are the information revealed to us by Allah (swt) about the story of Adam and Eve.

( وَلَا تَقْرَبَا هَٰذِهِ الشَّجَرَةَ فَتَكُونَا مِنَ الظَّالِمِينَ ) (do not approach this tree, lest you be among the wrongdoers.”): There is no direct order for unlawfulness and prohibition issued in this verse, meaning it does not say: (this tree is prohibited for you, lest you be among the wrongdoers), instead it says: (do not approach). We are instantly reminded with another verse where Allah (swt) says:

 وَلَا تَقْرَبُوا الْفَوَاحِشَ مَا ظَهَرَ مِنْهَا وَمَا بَطَنَ

(And do not approach immoralities – what is apparent of them and what is concealed) (Al-An’aam: 151)

And when Allah (swt) says:

 فَاجْتَنِبُوا الرِّجْسَ مِنَ الْأَوْثَانِ وَاجْتَنِبُوا قَوْلَ الزُّورِ

(So avoid the uncleanliness of idols and avoid false statement,) (Al-Haj: 30)

And regarding alcohol, Allah (swt) says:

 يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِنَّمَا الْخَمْرُ وَالْمَيْسِرُ وَالْأَنصَابُ وَالْأَزْلَامُ رِجْسٌ مِّنْ عَمَلِ الشَّيْطَانِ فَاجْتَنِبُوهُ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُفْلِحُونَ

(O you who have believed, indeed, intoxicants, gambling, [sacrificing on] stone alters [to other than Allah], and divining arrows are but defilement from the work of Satan, so avoid it that you may be successful.) (Al-Maaida: 90)

Which means do not approach. Not to approach something is a much stronger command than to prohibit it, as it means not to go near the realm of what is impermissible. It is similar to prohibiting, for example, the drinking from a glass of water, though a person is allowed to hold it in his hand without having committed an unlawful deed. But if the order was to avoid that glass of water, then it would not even be possible to sit near it, nor to hold it in one’s hand; that’s the difference.

Allah (swt) says: (do not approach this tree, lest you be among the wrongdoers.”): which means do not go near its realm, not just plucking its fruits. It is indeed a paradise for preparation.