Ask any Muslim, and they will passionately recount the divine act of creation how Allah uttered the powerful command, “Be.” With that word, Adam came into existence, marking the profound beginning of humanity.
The phrase “Kun fayakun,” translated as “Be, and it is,” encapsulates the essence of instantaneous creation. However, delving into the narratives within the Quran, it becomes evident that Adam’s creation wasn’t a mere snap of the divine fingers or the utterance of a word. Instead, it unfolded over a series of stages, a meticulous process that I invite you to explore.
Creating a cake involves a systematic process that cannot be undermined. To begin, I would meticulously combine ingredients such as flour, eggs, butter, sugar, and more in a bowl. Following this, I’d pour the mixture into a pan before placing it in the oven to bake. After a designated time, I would open the oven to reveal the finished cake.
It would be illogical for me to claim that uttering the word “Be” magically brought the cake into existence. The reality is that the cake’s creation is the result of a methodical sequence of steps. It didn’t materialize simply because I spoke the word “Be.”
The Quran doesn’t explicitly mention the phrase “Be” in the creation process of Adam.
Surah Sad (38:71-72): “When your Lord said to the angels, ‘I am creating a human being from clay, from molded mud.'”
Surah Al-A’raf (7:11-12): “And We created you, then We fashioned you…
First, Allah created clay. Then he moulded it as mud. The he fashioned and shaped it into a man. Furthermore, 38:75 explicitly states Adam was “…created with both My hands…” It was not an instantaneous creation as the word “Be” implies.
There is a humorous commentary in Tafsir Ibn Kathir (17:11) relating to the creation of Adam:
Salman Al-Farisi and Ibn `Abbas mentioned the story of Adam, when he wanted to get up before his soul reached his feet. When his soul was breathed into him, it entered his body from his head downwards. When it reached his brain he sneezed, and said, “Al-Hamdu Lillah” (praise be to Allah), and Allah said, “May your Lord have mercy on you, O Adam.” When it reached his eyes, he opened them, and when it reached his body and limbs he started to stare at them in wonder. He wanted to get up before it reached his feet, but he could not. He said, “O Lord, make it happen before night comes.”
It seems that Adam was eager to stand on his own two feet, even before he was fully operational. However, Allah’s creation process seemed to be testing Adam’s patience, prompting him to implore Allah to hasten the proceedings. Yet, this isn’t the only amusing twist in the narrative.
The comedic sequence begins when Adam’s first act is to sneeze and miraculously speak in Arabic! Now, that’s a curious start. Allah’s response raises eyebrows, “May your Lord have mercy on you, O Adam.” The perplexity deepens. Who is speaking here? Why would Allah wish for mercy upon Adam? Is Allah uncertain about showing mercy, or is this a dialogue representing another entity, the Lord of Adam, who may or may not extend mercy?
Adam’s amazement at his own limbs follows, which is understandable—after all, it’s his first sight of them. However, the plot thickens as he urges Allah to expedite the completion of his creation before nightfall. The irony is apparent; Adam, who has never laid eyes on his arms or legs, somehow comprehends the concept of night and day. These peculiar tales are just a glimpse into the whimsical narratives encountered when exploring Islam. One cannot help but question why it took Allah so long to finish creating man, leading even Adam to express his impatience. Where, one wonders, was the effectiveness of the word “Be” in this prolonged process? It seems that uttering the command was futile, achieving nothing of consequence.
In the pages of the Bible, the power of God’s spoken word is unmistakable. A mere utterance brought about instantaneous transformations. “Let there be light,” and light flooded existence (Genesis 1:3). The very breath of God turned dust into a living being, shaping the essence of humanity (Genesis 2:7). Jesus, wielded this divine authority and power, as demonstrated when he commanded a turbulent storm to be still with just a word (Mark 4:39).
There are numerous instances where Jesus simply speak and miracles that defy physical limitations take place. To a paralyzed man, he issues a command to walk, and the man rises and walks. To a blind man, he declares sight, and vision is restored. He commands the ears of a deaf man to be opened, and he receives his hearing. Even in the face of death, Jesus commands a lifeless body to rise, and it does, returning to the realm of the living.
These instances in the Bible serve as powerful testaments to the instantaneous and transformative nature of God’s word, echoing through creation and history alike. This is not the case with Allah’s “Be”.
Early in his career, Muhammad had a profound encounter with a ethereal presence in a cave, claiming to be from Allah. This phantom entity commanded him to “Read!” However, Muhammad found himself in a predicament – he couldn’t read. The apparition persisted, causing distress by suffocating him and continuously demanding that he read.
The question arises: what was the purpose of subjecting Muhammad to this ordeal when he lacked the ability to read? Was it an attempt to miraculously instill literacy in him? Moreover, why the insistence on repeating the command three times? Was the expectation that literacy would be magically conferred after the third attempt? Regardless of the rationale, the endeavor proved futile and ineffective. In contrast, Jesus could command a blind man to “See!” and many witnessed the miraculous restoration of sight to the blind. In Muhammad’s case, despite Jibreel, on behalf of Allah, urging him to “Read!” three times, Muhammad struggled and failed to read. The relentless pressure from Jibreel resulted in such torment that Muhammad, feeling demon-possessed, sought solace with his wife and even contemplated suicide. In retrospect, Allah’s command for Muhammad to “Read” proved as ineffective as commanding Adam to “Be.”
According to Allah, Adam was formed from various elements—clay (15:28), mud (38:71), dust (3:59), and water (21:30). These are the ingredients, as per Allah’s account, that were combined to shape Adam. It wasn’t as straightforward as a simple “Be!”
In line with 3:59, “The similitude of Jesus before Allah is as that of Adam; He created him from dust, then said to him: ‘Be.’ And he was.”
However, this presents another apparent contradiction within the Quran. While it asserts that Adam was created from dust and then brought into being by Allah’s command “Be,” the same verse suggests that Jesus underwent a similar process—formed from dust and then spoken into existence. Yet, contradictory assertions arise when considering other Quranic passages, such as 4:171 and 66:12 which challenge the accuracy of this claim. No Muslim believes that Jesus was created in the similitude of Adam, yet this is what 3:59 suggests.
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