You are here: Home » Chapter 7 » Verse 24 » Translation
Sura 7
Aya 24
قالَ اهبِطوا بَعضُكُم لِبَعضٍ عَدُوٌّ ۖ وَلَكُم فِي الأَرضِ مُستَقَرٌّ وَمَتاعٌ إِلىٰ حينٍ

Muhammad Asad

Said He: "Down with you,1 [and be henceforth] enemies unto one another, having on earth your abode and livelihood for a while:
  • Sc., "from this state of blessedness and innocence". As in the parallel account of this parable of the Fall in 2:35-36, the dual form of address changes at this stage into the plural, thus connecting once again with verse 10 and the beginning of verse 11 of this surah, and making it clear that the story of Adam and Eve is, in reality, an allegory of human destiny. In his earlier state of innocence man was unaware of the existence of evil and, therefore, of the ever-present necessity of making a choice between the many possibilities of action and behaviour: in other words, he lived, like all other animals, in the light of his instincts alone. Inasmuch, however, as this innocence was only a condition of his existence and not a virtue, it gave to his life a static quality and thus precluded him from moral and intellectual development. The growth of his consciousness - symbolized by the wilful act of disobedience to God's command - changed all this. It transformed him from a purely instinctive being into a full-fledged human entity as we know it - a human being capable of discerning between right and wrong and thus of choosing his way of life. In this deeper sense, the allegory of the Fall does not describe a retrogressive happening but, rather, a new stage of human development: an opening of doors to moral considerations. By forbidding him to "approach this tree", God made it possible for man to act wrongly - and, therefore, to act rightly as well: and so man became endowed with that moral free will which distinguishes him from all other sentient beings. - Regarding the role of Satan - or Iblis - as the eternal tempter of man, see note 26 on 2:34 and note 31 on 15:41.