Does the Hadith Regarding the Dispute Between Adam and Moses Justify Sinning?


 Bassam Zawadi



Some try to use the following hadith to justify committing sins: 

Saheeh Bukhari

Volume 8, Book 77, Number 611:

Narrated Abu Huraira:

The Prophet said, "Adam and Moses argued with each other. Moses said to Adam. 'O Adam! You are our father who disappointed us and turned us out of Paradise.' Then Adam said to him, 'O Moses! Allah favored you with His talk (talked to you directly) and He wrote (the Torah) for you with His Own Hand. Do you blame me for action which Allah had written in my fate forty years before my creation?' So Adam confuted Moses, Adam confuted Moses," the Prophet added, repeating the Statement three times. 

They would claim that Adam used predestination as an excuse to justify his sin. 

This is taken from "Divine Will and Predestination: In The Light of the Quran and Sunnah" by Umar S. al-Ashqar, pp.115-116:

There is no evidence in the hadith to support those who use predestination as an excuse for evil actions and sins. Adam did not use the Divine Will and Predestination (Qadaa' wal-Qadar) as an excuse to justify his sin, and Moosa did not blame his father Adam for a sin from which he had repented and Allah has forgiven him, and subsequently chosen him and guided him. What Moosa was blaming for, was the disaster which had led Adam and his progeny to be expelled from Paradise.

Adam cited predestination as the cause of the calamity, not the sin, because predestination is an acceptable explanation for callamities, but it is not a reasonable justification for sins. (Sharh at-Tahaawiyah, p. 154. This was also the response of Shaykh al-Islam. See Shifaa' al-'Aleel, p. 35)

Ibn al-Qayyim responded differently to those who misunderstood the hadith about Adam defeating Moosa in argument. He said: "Using predestination as a reason for sin is useful in some cases and is harmful in others. It is useful when it is cited after one has fallen into sin then repented and given up the sin, as Adam did. In such cases, mentioning predestination is part of Tawheed and acknowledging the names and attributes of Allah in a manner that benefits both the one who mentions them and the one who hears them, because predestination should not be used as an excuse to cancel out a command or a prohibition, or to cancel out shari'ah, it should be mentioned as pure truth and to demonstrate the concept of Tawheed, and to show that one has no power and strength of one's own.

What makes this clear is that fact that Adam said to Moosa: "Are you blaming me for doing something that Allah had decreed I would do before I was created?" If a man commits a sin, and then repents, and the matter is settled as if it never happened, then someone blames him for that, it is acceptable in such case to cite predestination as a reason and say, "This is something which was decreed before I was created," because here he is not using predestination to cancel out the rulings of Allah or as a justification for falsehood or wrongdoing. (Shifaa' al-'Aleel, p. 35) 

Imam Baji said in his commentary on Malik's Muwatta:  

ولكن آدم عليه السلام إنما أنكر على موسى أن لامه فقال أتلومني على أمر قد قدر علي وآدم عليه السلام قد كان تاب من معصيته قال الله عز وجل وعصى آدم ربه فغوى ثم اجتباه ربه فتاب عليه وهدى التائب من المعصية إذا تاب وحسنت توبته فلا يحسن أن يلام عليه 

However, when Adam rebuked Moses for blaming him, he said: "Are you blaming me for doing something that Allah had decreed"?Adam already had repented from his sin. Allah said: "And Adam disobeyed his Lord, so went astray. Then his Lord chose him, and relented toward him, and guided him." and guided the one who repented from his sin (Adam). If he repented and his repentance was good then there is no blaming him. (Abû al-Walîd Sulaymân ibn Khalaf al-BâjîAl Muntaqaa Sharh Muwata'a Maalik, Kitab: Al Jaami', Bab: Al Nahy 'An Al Qawl bil Qadar, Commentary on Hadith no. 1394, Source)


There have been different opinions regarding the understanding of this hadith. However, what everyone agrees on is the fact that Adam did not use predestination to justify the act of disobedience he committed against God when he ate from the tree, and that is all that matters, and this is enough to put this argument to rest.

Readers may refer to the following links to understand the Islamic concept regarding Predestination:



I also encourage people to buy this book.



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