The creation of Adam and the Garden

The eschatological counterpart to the creation of the human prototype, Adam, would be the idea of the new or second creation (khalq jadid) (14:39) which takes place at the resurrection. ''As He originated you, so you will return'' (7:29), and ''As We originated the first creation so We will bring it back again - a promise binding upon Us, so We shall do'' (21:104).

The doctrine of the resurrection of the body seems to have been difficult for the pre-Islamic Arabs to accept, as the Qur'an repeatedly asserts its reality and presents belief in it as a test of faith. Such incredulity did not vanish following the scripture's triumph: Avicenna took a psychological view of the resurrection, explaining that the return is to the same place whence one came, on the basis of the qur'anic verses

89:27-8, ''O contented soul, return to your Lord, pleased and pleasing.''4 The human soul (nafs) possesses many aspects. For some commentators the level of ''the contented soul'' (89:27) represents a reunion with the archetypal, pre-existing source of a person's essential reality. For other thinkers, resurrection is the physical reconstitution of the human body and identity. Many theologians understood human experience in this life as a contest between the higher elements of human nature and the lower desires, often figured as angelic and animalistic tendencies. This is based on qur'anic anthropology, where humans are described on the one hand as having been created from ''lowly mud'' or a ''clot of coagulated blood'', while at the same time they share in the divine spirit that God breathed into Adam (15:29; 38:72). The story of the creation of Adam implies this, since it incorporates his quick disobedience to God. Yet according to 2:37 a repentant Adam turned to God and received words of guidance. This not only initiates Adam as a prophet but is taken to indicate that there is no Fall into original sinfulness within qur'anic anthropology. There can be no original sin since ''every child is born with the sound original disposition (fitra)''.5 In fact God has created the human composite according to an ideal stature (95:4), and the words of guidance and modes of remembrance and God-consciousness (taqwa) received by humanity in the form of revelations and their elaboration into codes for life (shari'a) are means for restoring rather than inaugurating this felicity.

Every element of creation is measured out by God, and has a divinely ''determined term'' (ajal musamma, 6:2). Once death comes, the human soul will exist, according to traditions of the Prophet, in the barzakh until the time of collective resurrection (23:100). On the basis of these traditions theologians developed doctrines of how an individual in this intermediary state will initially be examined by the angels, who will ask about his or her religious affiliation, the consequence being an experience in the grave which anticipates one's eternal destiny. Medieval debates occurred as to whether the ''punishments of the grave'' to be experienced in this state were in fact, physical, or occurred in the imaginative faculty, through psychological forms such as dreams and images.6 Ash'arism and Maturidism insisted on belief in this intermediary state as an article of faith;while most Mu'tazilis, and perhaps the Kharijites, rejected it, the dispute hinging on the interpretation of the relevant scriptural passages.7

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