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Adam.pdf ADAM: A STUDY OF SOME LEGENDS IN TAFSIR AND HADIT LITERATURE* M. J. KISTER To my wife Zahava Stories and tales about the prophets, and about pious, ascetic, and righteous people of bygone days, the so called qisas al-anbiya', circulated widely in the Muslim community already in the first century of Islam. The origin of these stories, as stated by T. Nagel, must be traced back to pre-Islamic Arabia; they were disseminated in that period by Jews and Christians. i The recently published papyrus of Wahb b. Munabbih,2 the papyri edited by the late Nabia Abbott3 and the papyri of Hirbet Mird edited by A. Grohmann bear evidence to the fact that already in that early period of Islam there were elaborate stories about prophets, sages, and saints which were widely circulated. The Tafsfr of Muqatil b. Sulayman5 and the Tafsfr of 'Abd al-Razzaq6 contain valuable material of the qisas al-anbiya', and reflect the way in which these stories were absorbed and incorporated into the exegetical compilations of the Quran. The important work ofIshaq b. Bisr(d ..206 H.) Mubtada' al-dunyawa-qisasal-anbiya', until recently considered lost,7 has been rediscovered and, I am told, is • One part of this pafer was published in A. Rippin (ed.), Approaches to the History 0f the Interpretation of The Qur'an, Oxford 1988. I T. Nagel, ~Kisasal-anbiya', Ef. 2 Raif Georges Khoury, Wahb b. Munabbih, Der Heidelberger Papyrus PSR Heid Arab 23, Wiesbaden 1972. 3 Nabia Abbott, Studies in Arabic Literary Papyri I (Historical texts) and II (Quranic Commentary and Tradition), Chicago 1957, 1967. 4 Adolf Grohmann, Arabic Papyri from Hirbet Mird, Louvain 1963. 5 Muqatil b. Sulayman, Tafsir al-Qur'an, MS Saray, Ahmet Ill, 74, I-II: idem, op. cit. vol. I, ed. 'Abdallah Mahmud Sahata, Cairo 1969 (including the first six suras). 6 'Abd al-Razzaq b. Hammam, Tafsir al-Qur'an, MS Cairo, Dar al-kutub tafsir 242. 7 See Nabia Abbott, op. cit., 1,46 sup.: (Document 2, Story of Adam and Eve) " ...there is a strong possibility that the papyrus with its rather 'unique'text could belong to this somewhat discredited and lost work ... " 114 M.J. Kister now being prepared for a critical edition.8 The importance of this early compilation was pointed out by T. Nagel in his Inaugural Dissertation, Die Qisas al-anbiya';9 Nagel devoted five pages to an examination of the personality of Ishaq b. Bisr and to a detailed scrutiny of the sources of the Mubtada'.10 The MS, which contains the first part of the composition, consists of 218 folios, and ends with the death of Abraham. Nagel's high view of the significance of this rich early source is entirely justified. The Quran contains a great many reports concerning prophets and sages, but these are usually formulated in vague terms and frequently do no more than mention an event or refer to a person who is not further specified. The transmitters of the tales aimed at widening the scope of the stories; they availed themselves of the lore contained in local traditions current in the Arab Peninsula in the period of the Gahiliyya, in Christian narratives concerning the life of Jesus, the Apostles, the martyrs and the monks, in Jewish Biblical legends, and in the utterances of sages and ascetics. 11 This huge mass of material started to infiltrate into the realm of /Jadi! and ta/sfr very early on in the Islamic period, and from the terse reports and utterances, combined with the additional material derived from other sources, a rich tapestry of lively and plastic narrative was woven. As the advent ofIslam and the mission of the prophet Muhammad were, according to the concepts of the Muslim community, part of God's predestination, as Mley were contained in God's prior knowledge and heralded by the prophets of all ages, the stories of the prophets became an integral part of the books of history, and were duly embedded in the preamble (the mubtada" bad', or ibtida') with which, as a rule, these compilatons began. The Muslim community was eager to learn of the biographies of the prophets, of the past, because the Prophet was identified I Bodleian Library. MS Huntingdon 388. For using this MS lowe thanks to Mrs. Ruth Lieber. who is working on its edition. 9 Tilman Nagel. Die Qi~~ al-anb~I'ii'. Ein Beilrag zur Arabischen lileralurgeschichle. Bonn 1967. 10 Nagel. Die Q~% pp. 113-118; and see additional details about Is\1aq b. Bisr: Ibn 'Adiyy. al-Kamil ft t!u'ajii' al-rigal, MS Saray. Ahmet III. 2943. I. fols. 118b-119a; Ibn J:libblin aI-Busti, al-Magrul;tfn. ed. Ma\1miid Ibrlihim Zliyid. Cairo 1976. I. 135-137; Ibn 'Asiikir. Ta'ri1} Dimasq (Tah Another tradition says that God revealed to him 40 17 See e.g., Nar aI-DIn al-Haytamt, Magma' al-zawii'id wa-manba' al-fawii'id, Beirut 1967, 1, 196, 197, VIII 198: ...a-nabiyyan kana adam? qiila: na am; al-Suyutl, Gamri1J. Bodley., Marsh 288, p. 27. MS 31 AI-Mas'iidr. AlJblir al-zamlin, ed. 'Abdallah Ismen aI-~awi. Cairo 1357/1938. p. 51. 26 27 Adam 119 after his disobedience and expulsion he spoke Syriac.P These injunctions and prohibitions seem to have formed the sari at Adam, the binding law of Adam. The Prophet is said to have acted before his Call according to the sarra of Adam.33 Before his death Adam summoned SIt, ordered him to hide his will (wa~iyya) from the progeny of QiibTland instructed him as to the injunctions and penalty laws enjoined by God, (al-sarii't" wa-/l)udud).l4 The Sri version of the transfer of the will is slightly more detailed. According to it, God ordered Adam to hand over to SI1 (=l;IibatulUih) the True Name of God tal-ism al-a'zami, the Ark of Covenant (rabur) in which the Knowledge (al-'ilm) and the Will (wG.,I"iyya) had to be deposited. Adam enjoined SI1to avoid contact with the progeny of QabI1.3s There are many reports about the ginn and the angels who ruled on earth before Adam and who had to be replaced by the rule of Adam. We have mentioned above the view that the announcement made by God that He was installing a halifa was directed at the angels who were in the company of Iblis. Abu Hayyan indeed says that God addressed the angels who fought the ginn on the side of Iblis: God intended to lift them to Heaven and replace them by Adam and his progeny. Abu Hayyan gives a short report about the rule of the ginn on earth and says that a force of angels was dispatched under the command of Iblis to fight them;" The reports recorded by Ishaq b. Bisr in his M ubtada' contain interesting details about the role of Iblis and give us an idea as to the notions concerning the ginn that were current in the early period of Islam. An account given on the authority of Ibn 'Abbas tells the following story about angels and ginn. The ginn were inhabitants of the earth, the angels were in the Heavens. Every heaven had its angels, who performed their special prayers and glorifications of God; the higher the Heaven, the more powerful was the worship, the glorifications, and prayer. According to some they inhabited the earth for 2,000 years, according to others, for only 40 years and "God knows the truth. "37 The other report recorded by Ishaq b. Bisr is also given on the authority of Ibn 'Abbas and contains some new details about the classes of the ginn and their activities. When God created Sawrna, the father of the ginn - it was he who was created from the smokeless fire (marig) - God said to Anonymous, Siyar al-anbiyd', MS Br. Mus. Or. 1510, fol. 19b. Ibn l;Iagar al-HaytamI. al-Faliiwii al-lJadiJiyya, Cairo 1390/1970. p. 153. J4 Anonymous, Siyar al-anbiyiP, MS Br. Mus. Or. 1510, fol. 22a. J5 AI-Mas'udI, I!biil al-wasiyya, Najaf 1374/1955, pp. 16-17. J6 Abu l;Iayyan, op. cit., I, 140 ult.-14I,1. I; al-SuYU!, 1.44--45; al-Kisii'i, 'Agii'ib al-malakia, MS Hebrew Univ., AR 8° 63, fol. 39b. 37 Is1,1aq Bisr, Mublada' al-dunyii wa-qisas al-anbiyii', MS Bodl. Huntingdon 388, fol. b. 38b. J2 JJ 120 M.J. Kisler him: "(say) what is your desire?" Sawmi answered: "I wish that we should see but remain unseen, that we should disappear in moist ground (al-lart1) and that our people of ripe age should be turned young." These wishes were granted: ginnfs see but remain unseen, the dead disappear in moist ground, a ginnf of ripe age never dies before being turned into a young ginn.)8 This report is followed by a short passage: When God created Adam He asked him about his desire; Adam said that he desired horses (al-l.Jayl), which were indeed granted to him.39 The story about the revolt of the ginn on earth and about the expedition of warriors from heaven against them is given in the following passage: God created the ginn and ordered them to inhabit and build up the earth. They did so and worshipped God for a very long time. But afterwards they became disobedient toward God and shed blood; amongst them was an angel called Ynsuf; they killed him. Then God dispatched against them a military force of the angels who dwelt in the Lower Heaven isamd' al-dunyii); this force was of the division of the l;rinn.40 Among them was Ps. A~ma'I, Qila~ al-anbiyii', MS Br. Mus. Or. 1493, fol. 5b; al-SibIr, Akam ai-margan, 18 p.85. 39 ls~liq b. Bisr, op. cit., fol. 38b; this and the following are recorded in Muhammad b. 'Abdalilih al-SibJrs Akom ol-morgon ji gorii'ibi l-olJbor wo-oJ.!komi I-gonn, ed. 'Abdalllih Muhammad al-Sadiq, Cairo 1376, pp. 9-11; the author quotes the source: Abu ~uqayfa Is~aq b. Bisr's al-Mubtada". The name of the "father ofthejinn" is given as Sawmayo; the editor remarks that Burhan al-Halabt records the name in his 'lqd al-margiin (see Brockelmann, GAL, II, 307, SIl, 82) as Sawmayli. And see al-Qalyubi, Nawadir, Cairo 1371/1955, p. 125 (whether the creation of the horse preceded the creation of Adam). And see al-$affuri, Nuzhat ol-magolis wa-muntahab al-na/ii'is, Beirut n.d., p. 227: when God showed Adam all the creations He allowed him to choose one of them; Adam chose the horse. Then he was told that he had chosen glory and power ('izz) for himself and for his progeny. And see Ibn ~agar al-Haytami, al-Fatowa al-I)adiliyya, p. 65. Some reports stress the differences between the ginn and the angels; the angels do not eat, drink or copulate; the ginn eat, drink and copulate (al-Haytamt, op. cit., p. 63). And see al-Haytami, op. cit., p. 71 (the ginn die like human beings; Iblis grows old, but turns to be young like a person of 30 years) . • 0 Isl)aq b. Bisr, op. cit., fols. 38b-39a; The hinn are defined as the lowest class of the ginn; they are nicknamed kiliib ai-ginn; al-SibIr, Akiim, p. 6 inf. and see al-FayriizabadI, al-Qomiis al-mul)f{, Cairo 1371/1952, IV, 218, s.v. I,Inn: wa-l-hinn bi-l-kasr hayyun mina I-ginni minhumu I-ki/obu l-sildu l-buhmu aw safilatu I-ginni wa-tfu