[Al-Quran 50:6-8] Have they not looked at the heaven above them - how We structured it and adorned it and how it has no rifts? And the earth - We spread it out and cast therein firmly set mountains and made grow therein [something] of every beautiful kind, Giving insight and a reminder for every servant who turns [to Allah].

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Adam's Attempt to Improve upon Allah's Creation

Outcome: Mutated, Non-Functional Genes 
No change should there be in the creation of Allah [Quran 30:30]  

Upon eating the forbidden fruit, Adam and his wife were repentant that they had wronged themselves. Adam had tried to change creation in pursuit of Immortality and A Kingdom that Never Decays. This makes it the earliest known attempt at genetic modification!    

This study revisits the narration of Adam’s trial in the Qur'an to understand the lesson in it, along with with the signs in nature and the latest discoveries in genomics. It appears that, like other animals, humans also have the software to grow a coat on their skin, but that these genes have mutated and are no longer functional in humans.

Full Text
The Qur'an states that the pursuit of Immortality and A Kingdom that Never Decays overcame Adam’s sense of duty, and thus, Satan was able to mislead Adam into not keeping his covenant with God.  

Just before commencing the narration of Adam’s trial in Surah Taha, Qur'an 20:113 informs us that explained in detail, in the Qur'an, are some of the warnings, so that we keep our duty, or remember what happened. The next verse informs us the Allah is the Real King, and that we should not be in haste with the Qur'an… but pray that ‘O my Lord, advance me in knowledge’.

The story of Adam’s creation and trial is presented in several places in the Qur'an. The purpose of his creation, he being given knowledge, and then being honoured above the angels are mentioned. We are also informed that a covenant was taken from him, prior to placing him in the Garden and then he was tried through the forbidden Tree. Desire overcame his sense of duty, and in his attempt to change himself, he caused harm and brought shame upon himself.

Clothing: a Sign! 
Al-Qur'an 7:26 informs us that clothing is a sign:  O Children (of) Adam! Verily We have sent down to you clothing, it covers your shame and (as) an adornment. But the clothing (of) [the] righteousness - that (is) best. That (is) from (the) Signs of Allah so that they may remember.

The next few verses warn us against Satan's deception and immorality, and then Al-Quran 7:29 informs us: Say, "My Lord has ordered justice and set your faces at every masjid and invoke Him (being) sincere to Him (in) the religion. As He originated you (so) will you return."

Notice that Al-Qur'an 7:29 exhorts being sincere in religionAl-Qur'an 30:30, which is the basis of this series of posts Mission of the Messengers also states that the right religion means that there should be no change in the creation of Allah:

Al-Qur'an 7:29
قُلْ أَمَرَ رَبِّي بِالْقِسْطِ وَأَقِيمُوا وُجُوهَكُمْ عِندَ كُلِّ مَسْجِدٍ وَادْعُوهُ مُخْلِصِينَ لَهُ الدِّينَ كَمَا بَدَأَكُمْ تَعُودُونَ

Al-Qur'an 30:30
فَأَقِمْ وَجْهَكَ لِلدِّينِ حَنِيفًا فِطْرَتَ اللَّهِ الَّتِي فَطَرَ النَّاسَ عَلَيْهَا لَا تَبْدِيلَ لِخَلْقِ اللَّهِ ذَٰلِكَ الدِّينُ الْقَيِّمُ وَلَٰكِنَّ أَكْثَرَ النَّاسِ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ

Al-Qur'an 30:43
فَأَقِمْ وَجْهَكَ لِلدِّينِ الْقَيِّمِ مِن قَبْلِ أَن يَأْتِيَ يَوْمٌ لَّا مَرَدَّ لَهُ مِنَ اللَّهِ يَوْمَئِذٍ يَصَّدَّعُونَ

Al-Qur'an 7:26 asserts that Clothing is from the Signs of Allah. In Surah Ta-Ha, after relating the trial of Adam, the subsequent ayaat discuss the fate of those who do not believe in and heed to the Signs of Allah, and then Q20:127-128 state: And thus We recompense (he) who transgresses, and not believes in (the) Signs (of) his Lord. And surely (the) punishment (of) the Hereafter (is) more severe and more lasting. Then has not it guided [for] them how many We (have) destroyed before them, of the generations, (as) they walk in their dwellings? Indeed, in that surely (are) Signs for possessors (of) intelligence.

The following explains my understanding behind why I believe that corruption of the genome was the reason why Adam was expelled from the Garden:

Clothed in the Garden
Al-Qur'an 20:118 informs us that there was enough in the Garden for Adam and his wife to neither go naked nor hungry
The popular belief across religions is that Adam and his wife were naked, but only unaware of it. The Al-Qur'an clearly states that they were not naked. I think this is a key to understanding what happened and the lesson for us in the story of Adam.  

Satan’s Deception: Desire and Temptation
Al-Qur'an 20:120 informs us of Satan (Iblis)’s attempt to seduce Adam: Then whispered to him Shaitaan, he said, "O Adam! Shall I direct you to (the) tree (of) the Eternity and a kingdom not (that will) deteriorate?"  

The verses of the Al-Qur'an are very clear that Adam sought Immortality and A Kingdom that Never Decays. According to scientific knowledge, we now know that changes in the genome cause fundamental changes in the organism. Modern science promises to increase longevity and eradicate disease by making sufficient advances in genomics.  Eugenics, Transhumanism, Posthuman and eventually Posthumanism all seek to transcend the human into a utopian superbeing, who will then no longer be a ‘human’. However, as illustrated by Adam’s example, efforts in this direction can only cause depletion and loss. God’s perfect creations cannot be improved upon!

Clothing Stripped Off
[Al-Qur'an 20:121, Translation: Sahih International]  And Adam and his wife ate of it, and their private parts became apparent to them, and they began to fasten over themselves from the leaves of Paradise. And Adam disobeyed his Lord and erred.

When Adam and his wife were placed in the Garden, they were not naked. When they ate the fruit of the forbidden tree, their clothing was stripped off them and thus their nakedness became apparent. Consequently, they started covering themselves with leaves, repentantly praying that they had wronged themselves. They were forgiven and clothing was then again bestowed upon humans to cover themselves. 

Natural Clothing
The key phrase in Al-Qur'an 20:121 is ‘their private parts became apparent to them’. The Arabic word used sawātuhumā [root: sīn wāw hamza] for private parts is variously translated. According to Lane’s Lexicon, page 1458, column 2, bottom: 
  • the primary significance of the word is that it refers to the pudendum …, so called because its becoming exposed to men displeases (or shames) the owner thereof, or because of its unseemliness
  • the secondary significance is dead body or corpse, because it is deemed unseemly to be seen 
and variation of the same root in form maswaatun, page 1459, column 1, bottom denotes:
  • evil, vices, faults, defects, imperfections, diseases and acts of disobedience
The next clue in Al-Qur'an 20:121 is that they began to cover themselves with the leaves of the Garden. Why would they do that? 

On Earth, humans are among the rare creatures whose skins are bare and not covered with fur, feather, shell or some other form of covering to hide their body.

Scientists have discovered pseudogenes (mutated, inactive genes) in humans, which indicate that perhaps sometime in the distant past, human skin was covered in fur or feather.

Regarding the Hereafter, the Al-Qur'an provides imagery of clothes made of silk and brocade, and adornments of gold and silver: the ‘libas-ut-taqwa that Allah designed for humans. After all, nothing can excel Allah’s design – it has to be the best!  

Before Adam and his wife ate of the cursed tree, perhaps the clothes were growing upon or glowing off their body, and were shed off due to mutation caused in the genes upon eating the forbidden fruit? Or perhaps, the clothes were not connected to their body, but were to be worn externally like we do here on Earth.  However, the bioluminescencementioned in the Al-Qur'an, its function appears to be in the context of lightingthe path. Also, Al-Qur'an 7:27 informs us that the clothes were stripped off, and then they started covering themselves with the leaves of the Garden, Al-Qur'an 20:121. Noteworthy is the fact that the imagery given of the clothing of the Hereafter is of only one kind of dress, that the ‘muttaqi’ will be adorned with in the Garden. There is no mention of any fancy wardrobe to pick and choose from. Therefore, I infer, that the ‘libas-ut-taqwa’ mentioned in Al-Qur'an 7:26 is referring literally to the clothing that the ‘muttaqi’ will be wearing in the Garden, which will be part of their body, covering and attached to their skins.

The following five mentions describe the kind of clothes of those who will dwell in the Gardens of the Hereafter. Interesting to note is that the kind of clothes vary according to the level of piety in this world and the grade of dignity in the Hereafter:    

Verses mentioning Clothes of Green Silk
[Al-Qur'an 18: 30-31, Translation by: Yusuf Ali] As to those who believe and work righteousness, verily We shall not suffer to perish the reward of any who do a (single) righteous deed. For them will be Gardens of Eternity; beneath them rivers will flow; they will be adorned therein with bracelets of gold, and they will wear green garments of fine silk and heavy brocade: They will recline therein on raised thrones. How good the recompense! How beautiful a couch to recline on!

[Al-Qur'an 76:20-22, Translation by: Yusuf Ali] And when thou lookest, it is there thou wilt see a Bliss and a Realm Magnificent. Upon them will be green Garments of fine silk and heavy brocade, and they will be adorned with Bracelets of silver; and their Lord will give to them to drink of a Wine Pure and Holy. "Verily this is a Reward for you, and your Endeavour is accepted and recognised."

Verses mentioning Clothes of Silk but not specifying the colour of the silk
[Al-Qur'an 22:23-24, Translation by: Yusuf Ali] Allah will admit those who believe and work righteous deeds, to Gardens beneath which rivers flow: they shall be adorned therein with bracelets of gold and pearls; and their garments there will be of silk. For they have been guided (in this life) to the purest of speeches; they have been guided to the Path of Him Who is Worthy of (all) Praise.

[Al-Qur'an 35:32-35, Translation by: Yusuf Ali] Then We have given the Book for inheritance to such of Our Servants as We have chosen: but there are among them some who wrong their own souls; some who follow a middle course; and some who are, by Allah's leave, foremost in good deeds; that is the highest Grace. Gardens of Eternity will they enter: therein will they be adorned with bracelets of gold and pearls; and their garments there will be of silk. And they will say: "Praise be to Allah, Who has removed from us (all) sorrow: for our Lord is indeed Oft-Forgiving Ready to appreciate (service): "Who has, out of His Bounty, settled us in a Home that will last: no toil nor sense of weariness shall touch us therein."

[Al-Qur'an 44:51-53, Translation by: Yusuf Ali] As to the Righteous (they will be) in a position of Security, Among Gardens and Springs; Dressed in fine silk and in rich brocade, they will face each other;

Warning for the Progeny of Adam
Al-Qur'an7:27 warns us that: O Children (of) Adam! (Let) not tempt you [the] Shaitaan as he drove out your parents from Paradise, stripping from both of them their clothing to show both of them their shame. Indeed, he sees you - he and his tribe from where not you see them. Indeed, We have made the devils friends of those who (do) not believe.  

Adam tried to achieve Immortality and A Kingdom that Never Decays. Instead, he ended up corrupting his genome. Iblis and his progeny continue to use the same temptations to mislead Adam’s progeny into tampering with creation, which only causes loss to us, both in this life and in the Hereafter.  Adam disobeyed and erred. If we disobey, we will also err!

The Quran warns us repeatedly against corruption, and gives examples of nations who were destroyed for their corruption. We must pay heed, lest we become the tools for our own destruction and loss!   

[Al-Qur'an 30:41, 30:42, 30:43] Has appeared the corruption in the land and the sea for what have earned (the) hands (of) people, so that He may let them taste a part (of) that which they have done so that they may return. Say, "Travel in the earth and see how was (the) end (of) those who (were) before. Most of them were polytheists." So set your face to the religion right, before [that] comes a Day not (can be) averted [it] from Allah. That Day, they will be divided.

Can God’s Creation be Improved?
It is not permissible to tinker with Allah’s creation:  
[Al-Qur'an 30:2930:30, Translation: Literal (Word by Word)] Nay, follow those who do wrong, their desires, without knowledge. Then who (can) guide (one) whom Allah has let go astray? And not for them any helpers. So set your face to the religion upright. Nature (made by) Allah (upon) which He has created mankind [on it]. No change (should there be) in the creation (of) Allah. That (is) the religion the correct, but most men (do) not know.

Immortality and A Kingdom that Never Decays are for the Hereafter, while decay and death are decreed for this world. 

Prophet’s Prayer
In the context of the correction of the genome, the prayer of Prophet Solomon asking to be included among the ‘salaiheen’ takes on a new meaning:
[Al-Qur'an 27:19] So he smiled - laughing at her speech and said, "My Lord! Grant me (the) power that I may thank You (for) Your Favor which You have bestowed on me and on my parents and that I may do righteous (deeds), that will please You. And admit me by Your Mercy among Your slaves righteous."

The root ‘S-L-H’ for the word ‘alssaliheena’, generally translated as righteous, is defined in Lane’s Lexicon page 1714 as  … it, and he, was, or became, good, incorrupt, right, just, righteous, virtuous or honest; it was, or became, in a good, incorrupt, right, sound or proper, state, or in a state of order; …

A revisit of the verses of the Quran which employ various forms of root ‘S-L-H’ is also instructive in this regard:
http://corpus.quran.com/qurandictionary.jsp?q=SlH - (27:19:24)   

Scientific Terms and Concepts
With improved technology, rapid advances are being made in the study of genomes. There is plausible reason to believe that humans once had a coat covering their bodies. Pseudogenes are genes mutated into inaction. 

The following are some relevant concepts:

A genome is an organism’s complete set of DNA, including all of its genes. Each genome contains all of the information needed to build and maintain that organism. In humans, a copy of the entire genome—more than 3 billion DNA base pairs—is contained in all cells that have a nucleus.

A copy of a gene that usually lacks ... essential DNA sequences necessary for function. Pseudogenes, though genetically similar to the original functional gene, are not expressed and often contain numerous mutations.

A pseudogene is a DNA sequence that resembles a gene but has been mutated into an inactive form over the course of evolution. A pseudogene shares an evolutionary history with a functional gene and can provide insight into their shared ancestry.

Whether processed or non-processed (duplicational), it has become clear that pseudogenes are almost as abundant as genes ('classical' or otherwise) in the human genome, with ~20 per cent of known pseudogenes being transcribed.

Humans have relatively hairless bodies when compared to our other great ape relatives, even to the 5,000 or so other mammalian species out there. This is curious phenomenon — we seem to defy the very classification of being a mammal.

In addition to nine functional genes, the human type I hair keratin gene cluster contains a pseudogene, ϕ hHaA (KRTHAP1), which is thought to have been inactivated by a single base-pair substitution that introduced a premature TGA termination codon into exon 4. Large-scale genotyping of human, chimpanzee, and gorilla DNAs revealed the homozygous presence of the ϕ hHaA nonsense mutation in humans of different ethnic backgrounds, but its absence in the functional orthologous chimpanzee (cHaA) and gorilla (gHaA) genes. Expression analyses of the encoded cHaA and gHaA hair keratins served to highlight dramatic differences between the hair keratin phenotypes of contemporary humans and the great apes. The relative numbers of synonymous and non-synonymous substitutions in the ϕ hHaA and cHaA genes, as inferred by using the gHaA gene as an outgroup, suggest that the human hHaA gene was inactivated only recently, viz., less than 240,000 years ago. This implies that the hair keratin phenotype of hominids prior to this date, and after the Pan-Homo divergence some 5.5 million years ago, could have been identical to that of the great apes. In addition, the homozygous presence of the ϕ hHaA exon 4 nonsense mutation in some of the earliest branching lineages among extant human populations lends strong support to the "single African origin" hypothesis of modern humans.

In genetics, a founder mutation is a mutation that appears in the DNA of one or more individuals who are founders of a distinct population. Founder mutations initiate with changes that occur in the DNA and can be passed down to other generations.

Humans have artificially selected some domesticated mammalian species to have breeds that are hairless. There are several breeds of hairless cats, perhaps the most commonly known being the Sphynx cat. Similarly, there are several breeds of hairless dogs. Other examples of artificially selected hairless animals include the hairless guinea-pig, nude mouse and the hairless rat.

Atavism is the tendency to revert to ancestral type. In biology, an atavism is an evolutionary throwback, such as traits reappearing which had disappeared generations before… Evolutionarily, traits that have disappeared phenotypically do not necessarily disappear from an organism's DNA. The gene sequence often remains, but is inactive. Such an unused gene may remain in the genome for many generations. As long as the gene remains intact, a fault in the genetic control suppressing the gene can lead to it being expressed again.   

The human body literally glimmers. The intensity of the light emitted by the body is 1000 times lower than the sensitivity of our naked eyes. Ultraweak photon emission is known as the energy released as light through the changes in energy metabolism.

In biology, moulting or molting … also known as sloughing, shedding, or in many invertebrates, ecdysis, is the manner in which an animal routinely casts off a part of its body (often, but not always, an outer layer or covering), either at specific times of the year, or at specific points in its life cycle.
Moulting can involve shedding the epidermis (skin), pelage (hair, feathers, fur, wool), or other external layer. In some groups, other body parts may be shed, for example, wings in some insects or the entire exoskeleton in arthropods.

Last updated on: August 6, 2016

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