Metaphors and Allegories in
«Scenario of Adam Descending from Heaven (The Garden)»
Translation from Farsi by Muhammad Rashad
Story of Adam and its spouse is revealed / brought down in humans level of
understanding for every era, with very different cultures in three chapter(The
cow 30 to 39, Heights of knowledge 11 to 27 and Taha 116 to 126).
Most will take the conventional and known meanings from the terms and
expressions mentioned in this story, however the everyday words that people use
have taken shape in centuries and are produced for everyday needs, for
explaining scientific and metaphysical and that which deals with spiritual
world, there's no other way except to use these everyday terms and the language
of the people.
For this very reason metaphors, allegories, examples, and the likes of it have
been used a lot in poetry and mysticism.
A) Metaphorical meaning of
Shajara which is mentioned 27 times in the Quran is always translated as "Tree".
Of course the real meaning is Tree and in majority cases in the book it's used
as it's real meaning, however half of the time which this word is used it has
been used as its metaphorical meaning. Tree is a known example of "Shajar" in
nature it consist of roots, body, branches, and leaves and fruits and crops.
However, Shajara has more comprehensive meanings then just a particular one (a
Shajara, also contain in its meaning anything that's working like a network be
it from material stuff or immaterial. From these in the Quran, it's verses talks
about Shajara Taiba(good tree), Shajara Khabeesa(bad tree), Tree(Shajara) of
Zaqum, Blessed tree (Shajara Mubarakan) and Shajara Meluna (cursed tree) which
none of it is a plant.
Take a look at these examples:
1-«MuShajara», an example for getting closer to meaning of «Shajara»!
MuShajara (quarrel) between two or more people has «a root» in selfishness, «a
body» and a real cause, «some branches» and leaves from borders of differences,
and «fruits» and product when it's over.
Take a look at this verse,
4:65: By your Sustainer, they (hypocrites) do not really believe unless they
make you (O Messenger) a judge in all their disagreements (Shajar), then find no
hesitation in their hearts in accepting your judgment, and submit with full
2- «Shajarat Al Melouna» (The cursed tree)!
It's obvious that trees don't have will to be termed as blessed or «cursed»!
Cursed (ones) must have choice and be responsible.
«LaNat (Curse/ Withdrawal): in Arabic it means deprivation from God's mercy. A
person, who by his wrong doings has distanced himself from other people or
angels, is deprived of God's mercy and is under the curse of God.»
Those who are cursed are mentioned many times in the Quran which they all belong
to «the evil network of Shirk» and Iblees is their leader, many times they are
mentioned to be cursed for long terms (Chapter 4 verse 118, valley of rocks 35,
and Saad 87).
Shirk grows it's «roots» in about everything that got to do with (excessive)
love of 'wealth' (that they don't regard the rights of God and other people) and
following one's vain and low desires and lust, builds a «body» from playing god
/ being tyrant and commit excess(cross the limits and claim to be
self-sufficient), take «branches and leaves» with those who are affected of
tyranny, and begs «fruits and crops» with acts of a tyrannical polytheistic
God has shown its prophet in a vision, the future 'trial' of (his) nation which
will come true (shortly) after his death. Interpreters say this «cursed tree» is
that dynasty of Bani Omayad which ruled 83 years over prophet's nation.
However, that's only a particular example in a specific time and space, and the
matter addressed in the verse is much wider.
Take a look, chapter the night journey verse 60 -«And lo! We said unto thee, [O
Prophet:] "Behold, thy Sustainer encompasses all mankind: and the vision which
We have shown thee as also the(introduction of) tree cursed in this Qur´an -
shall be but a trial for men . NowWe convey a warning to them: but [if they are
bent on denying the truth,] this [warning] only increases their gross,
overweening arrogance." »
3- «Memnoa» (The banned tree)!
Much has been related and said about the «forbidden tree» which adam and its
spouse ate from. Some said it was apple and others have said it to be wheat; our
father sold the heaven for few wheats, I would not be a man(of my father) if I
don't sell it for barley!
It appears that the tree which Adam and its spouse were banned from getting near
was that «network of Shirk» and disobedience of God with deception of Satan
which is source of every deviation.
In six verses of the Quran (2:35, 7:19-22, Taha 120) it has been addressed.
Below is the most detailed of them all.
The heights of knowledge, from verse 19 till 23: «"O Adam! Dwell, you and your
spouse, in the Garden and eat from whatever you may wish; but do not approach
this one TREE (network), lest you become wrongdoers." Then Satan deceived them
in order to reveal their imperfections and fallibility that was hidden from
them. He said, "Your Sustainer forbade this TREE lest you become angels or
become immortals." And he swore to both, Adam and its spouse, "I am a sincere
advisor to you." So by deceit he brought about their (first) downfall. They
tasted of the TREE. Soon their imperfections became obvious to them and they
tried to conceal them with «LEAVES» from the garden. Then came a reminder from
their Sustainer, "Did I not forbid you that tree and tell you that Satan is your
open enemy?" They said, "Our Sustainer! We have wronged ourselves. Unless You
forgive us and have mercy on us, we will certainly be lost." »
4- «Shajarat Mobarakeh» The blessed tree of oneness (of God)!
In the face of the tree or network of Shirk, stands the tree of oneness which
called Moses from the blessed right (auspicious) side of highs and drew him near
In the following it's more likely that most of these words have been used
Chapter histories (28), verse 30- «But when he came close to it, he was called
from the right side of the valley in the blessed field, from the tree, "O Moses!
Certainly, I am God, the Sustainer of the Worlds."»
It's more interesting that in chapter The Light (Al-Noor) in describing the
example of God as being the light of the all the universe, a blessed tree has
been mentioned which indicates nothing but metaphorical description of the
oneness network :
24:35: «God is the Light of the heavens and earth. The example of His Light is
that of a lamp that is placed inside a niche enclosed in glass that shines like
a radiant star. This lamp is kindled from a BLESSED TREE (from network of
oneness)- olive - neither of the East nor of the West. Its light issues forth in
all directions. The oil glows by itself even though no fire has touched it.
Light upon Light. God guides to His Light anyone who seeks guidance. And God
sets forth allegories for mankind. God is Knower of all things.»
5- «Zaqom» The bitter tree!
In three verse «the bitter tree» has been mentioned, which is the opposite of
what «people of right(hand)» and «the sincere and purified servants of God» will
be enjoying from; it's for those Satan like people which eat orphan's money
unjustly (4:10) and for those lazy clerics who gain from religion and eating
people's money and selling them religious stories - spiritual frauds (2:174), in
way of example, they feed their their bellies and their very cells fire which
will become intense in future ! Although they think eating people's money
effortlessly is sweet, yet in reality they are making their own personality fat
from the bitter tree (Shajarat al Zaqoom) which indeed is like taking bitter
bites with hardship and above it boiling water !
Worthy of this ending from the these verse are: unjust and wayward deniers and
those who take their desire as their lord and selfish and fanatics (Aseem-أثيم)
which is clear from the humiliating address «Taste! You considered yourself so
mighty, so noble.» that they are lords of worldly might and staff of honor, in
example they are the triangle of «Money and power and fraud or capitalism and
despotism and priesthood».
Moreover, the word «Betun-bellies» which has been repeated three times in the
intended verses is worth considering and looking into. «Baten- inside» is always
comes opposite of what's «apparent - Zaher», therefore Betun in addition to
meaning bellies, it also refers to other metaphorical Betun(bellies) in humans
psyche which is getting stuffed from the tree of Zaqum(bitter) and burns in its
The word «R'as - head» which is repeated two times in below verses «رُءُوسُ
الشَّيَاطِينِ - فَوْقَ رَأْسِهِ مِنْ عَذَابِ الْحَمِيمِ» - «over his head the
anguish of burning despair! - heads of Satans» shows the point and that it
refers to despot heads / unjust leaders of society which metaphorically
retribution is pouring above their head!
Springing of the bitter tree in the very bottom / heart of blazing fire
37:64(for, behold, it is a tree that grows in the very heart of the blazing
fire) also contains subtle sign, interpreters understand «Asle Jaheem - اصل
جهيم» as bottom of hell, however «Asl- اصل» is the real/main body/trunk of «the
tree» (Ibrahim : 24) which is a symbol of the body of oneness and good word or
Shirk and bad word of tyrants in societies. Now take a look at the three pieces
regarding the bitter tree and the issues related to it:
56:51-53 «Then you, O You that go wrong and deny the truth! You will eat from
the tree of bitter. Then you will fill your bellies with it.»
37:62-67«Is this better as a welcome, or the tree of bitter? We have appointed
it as a torment/trial for the oppressors. It is a tree that springs in the body
of the Blazing Fire. Its growth is like Satan heads. From it they must eat, and
fill their bellies with it. Above all this they have a drink of boiling water
44:43-46 «The tree of bitter. It (will be) the food of one who hampered progress
of the 'self'. Like molten brass will it boil in the belly. As the boiling of
hot water, burning despair.»
6- Galaxies network
First seven verses of chapter «Al-Rahman», seven topics have been mentioned
[Rahman(merciful over all - general mercy of God i.e sustaining the world),
joining (of elements of the universe), Humans, mode of expression, programming
(computation), prostration (total submission to laws), balance)], in the midst
of this grouping beside prostration of the sun and the moon and stars and
spreading of heavens and balance in between these it talks about prostration of
«The tree - Shajar». Taking in consideration the harmony of these subjects it
looks like tree here in this verse, points to network of stars galaxies I.e
«galaxy» (God knows best).
Rahman 1-7: Ar-Rahman, the Beneficent, the Instant Source of all mercy and
Kindness. He is the One Who has made known (guided) and taught Quran - the
joining(of elements(1)] (Then) He has created the human being (and taken care of
his mental and physical needs). He has distinguished him with the ability to
clearly express his feelings and thoughts.
The sun and the moon run by a mathematical design. The stars and the trees all
adore Him (and follow His laws). The sky (atmosphere) He has raised high, and He
has kept perfect balance in the Universe.»
B) Tasting and Eating from the Tree!
What God advised Adam and its spouse, was that not getting near to the tree (لا
تَقْرَبَا هَٰذِهِ الشَّجَرَةَ), however they not only approached it but they
tasted (Zaqu) and ate from it (Akela menha). «Tasting» (Zaeaqa- ذائقه) in the
Quran very few times has been used as its normal meaning and 63 usage of this
word in the Quran most of the times has been metaphorical, like: tasting
retribution/mercy/outcome of one's doings / death/ bad / smite / clothes of
hunger and fear / what you've done and...
C) Approaching the Tree!
God has used in the Quran the Commad of "don't get near" for other matters as
well which we can deduct more then just getting closer in space like in getting
near to shameful deeds, wealth of orphan, adultery, intoxication, limits set by
God and ....
The cattle 151 and 152 - don't come near immodest or indecent deeds .... don't
come near orphan's wealth; Isra 32 - and don't come near adultery; Nesa 43 -
don't come near Salat while intoxicated; 2:187-theses are bounds set by God so
don't come near them , and ...
Akel (eating) also many times has been used as its metaphorical meaning, like :
eating orphan's money, people's wealth, usury, inheritance, bribe and the likes
of which has the meaning of consuming and spending.
Eating orphan's (those who have no one) wealth in the Quran has been described
as filling one's belly with fire which become intense soon: 4:10 - Those who
unjustly consume the wealth of orphans, are filling their bellies with fire and
will be exposed to burning Flame.
Also clerics and self proclaimed authorities of religion who sell religious
teachings for a trivial gain and eating people's money are described as eating
fire in their bellies : 2:174 - Those who conceal the Book of God, and barter it
away for a trifling gain, they eat into their bellies nothing but fire. God will
not even address them on the Day of Resurrection, nor will He make their own
'self' grow. Theirs will be an awful suffering. [Those who conceal the Book =
The ones who start making their own lists of the lawful and unlawful, and thus,
usurp the Divine Right of law-making. ]
Those who eat orphans and other people's wealth think of it to be sweet and
easy, but actually they fill their very being with something which in the
language of the Quran from its intensity of bitterness is called «Zaqum-زقوم»:
«Is this better as a welcome, or the tree of bitter? We have appointed it as a
torment/trial for the oppressors. It is a tree that springs in the body of the
Blazing Fire. Its growth is like Satan heads. From it they must eat, and fill
their bellies with it. Above all this they have a drink of boiling water (of
Then you, O You that go wrong and deny the truth! You will eat from the tree of
bitter. Then you will fill your bellies with it.
With the above details and descriptions can we not take tasting and eating from
the tree of garden to mean disobedience of God and doing bad things?
D) Becoming Conscious of Nakedness!
It's related in stories that as Adam and its spouse are from the tree, they
became aware of their nakedness and tried to cover it with the leaves from the
tree of the garden.
Yes, at first look it appears to be implying like the above story when you scan
the verses a quick scan, but with a full skimming of its metaphorical meaning of
the words, a deeper understanding from this incident comes to surface. First of
all, when they were settled in the garden God has told them that you'll never
get hungry nor get naked(unsheltered) in there (20:118 - "Indeed, you are living
the life of Paradise - where you are guaranteed never to go hungry, nor go
Secondly, children of Adam have been warned lest they don't get deceived by
satan as he droves their forefathers from the garden and removed their clothes
in order to reveal their imperfections for them:
O Children of Adam! Let not your selfish desires/Satan deceive you as it
deceived your ancestors, caused them to lose their Paradise, and exposed their
imperfections. A host of selfish and rebellious desires lurk within you. You
can't even see them but these Satans see you and befriend those who do not
believe (in higher values).
On the other hand, right in the previous verse of the above verse children of
Adam have been addressed that «The clothes of Self-control / showing restraint /
inner police is the best (of all clothes):
«O Children of Adam! We have provided you with garments to cover your bodies as
well as to adorn you. The best garment for you to wear, in addition, is good
conduct / self - control. (Your character decorates you inside out.) These are
the verses of God that they must take to heart.»
Can't we now conclude after the above specification, that when Adam and its
spouse become conscious of their nakedness after eating from the forbidden tree
(bad usage of their will and committing injustice), to mean awareness of that
their clothes of Taqwa(self -control) has been plucked / teared apart and sense
of shame before their lord?
E) Manifestation of Evil!
Most people tend to picture that when Adam and its spouse ate from the tree
their private parts came under light and most interpreters also used the word
«awarat» regarding this matter, whereas the Quran used the word «Sawa'at» which
points to something that when it appears is considered shameful and private
parts is only one of the cases and the metaphorical usage / cases includes all
those bad and shameful things. Take a look :
The heights of discernment / knowledge verses 20-27
«Then Satan deceived them in order to reveal their imperfections and
fallibility(Sawa'at) to them... they tasted of the tree soon their imperfections
(Sawa'at) became obvious to them and they tried to conceal them with leaves of
the garden ...O CHILDREN of Adam! Indeed, We have bestowed upon you garments to
cover your bodies(Sawa'at), and as a thing of beauty: but the garment of
God-consciousness / self control is the best of all. ... O Children of Adam! Let
not Satan / your selfish desires deceive you as it deceived your ancestors,
caused them to lose their Paradise and exposed their imperfections(sawa'at) by
removing their clothes(of self-control) ....»
They both ate of the Tree. This exposed the flaws [Sawa'at (in their character).
They tried to hide them with the leaves of the garden. Thus did Adam-mankind
disobeyed their Sustainer, and fell into error. [Sauaatuhuma = The vices in
both, men and women = Erroneously translated as 'nakedness'. 2:34-39, 2:213,
7:11, 7:19-26 15:28-29, 17:61, 18:50, 38:72-73]
And in story of children of them
God then sent a raven scratching up the soil, to show him that he might have
concealed and ignored the imperfections(Sawa'at) of his brother / show him how
to hide his brother body(Sawa'at) . He said, "Oh, I failed even to be like this
raven to conceal my brother's imperfections (sawa'at), (and hide his body under
the ground)!" Then he became full of regrets. [Sauaat = Imperfections, faults.
Uwaari Sawa'at = Conceal others' faults = Cover a naked body. 7:20-22]
It's very interesting as to why the Quran uses Sawa'at (fault/error/bad)
referring to the dead body, when you think that his brother body was without
life / energy and seeing it people would be ashamed and would be a proof against
him and also it's smell would make people disgusted, therefore, it really is a
fault(the dead body), then, what would happen if God's energy 'depart' from
people by doing bad things for a while ? Would that not make them prone to
become disgusting and make them ashamed of themselves? Can you now understand
what Sawa'at means regarding the story of Adam?
F) Leave of the Garden!
Among the other metaphorical words in this story, is «leave of the garden -
Waraq Al Janna» which is usually translated and imagined as leaves of the tree
from the garden, but «Waraqa» to mean leave is only used one time in the Quran
(The cattle 59) and it's metaphorical meaning is money or a price you must pay
for making something.
The cave 19 ... Let one of you go with these «Waraq / money» to the town, and
look for the best available food, and bring you some provisions. But let him
exercise caution, and by no means make anyone aware of you."
Adam and its wife violate God's directions, now they just wanted to pay the
price and to redeem their faults with doing some heavenly work. How? Through
receiving and finding some some truths from their sustainer (lord): The Cow 37 -
Then Adam received Words of guidance from his Sustainer and He accepted his
repentance. Certainly, He is the Acceptor of repentance, the Most Merciful.
G) Going Down from the Garden!
Usually it's imagined and understood that the fall of Adam from the garden, was
a movement from paradise to the planet earth, although, this is the real meaning
of falling down, but one can see the same word used four times in chapter The
Cow the people of Moses who were not in paradise or any other place other then
the planet earth. It talks about their desire to go to Egypt(city) from the
desert and eat from every kinds, and the Quran calls this as Hubut; downgrade,
coming lower in rank, change in condition(from better to hard one):
Chapter The Cow 61:
(At one stage you demanded Moses to provide you with a great variety of edibles,
although you were living in the Sinai desert.) You said, "O Moses! We are weary
of the same kind of food, so ask your Sustainer on our behalf to bring forth for
us plant food such as herbs, cucumbers, garlic, lentils and onions." He said,
"Would you exchange something superior (good) for something inferior? (Return to
slavery for petty desires instead of achieving higher goals?) Go back / go down
(Arabic: IHBiTu) in shame to Egypt and you will get what you demand." So,
humiliation and misery were stamped upon them and they had to face God's
requital. That was because they kept rejecting God's messages. And they
persisted in opposing and even killing some Prophets against all right. They did
all this, because they chose to rebel and went on transgressing.
God Knows Best!