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Forbidden Tree

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The Forbidden Tree or al-Shajara al-Mamnū'a (Arabic: الشَجَرة المَمنوعة) refers to a tree the fruits of which were forbidden by God for Adam (a) and Eve when they resided in the heaven. However, they were deceived by the temptations of Iblis (Satan) and ate the fruits of the Forbidden Tree. Because of their disobedience, Adam (a) and Eve lost their clothes and were ousted from the heaven. The story of the Forbidden Fruit appears three times in the Qur'an. The story also appears in the Torah though with differences. There are different views about the nature of the Forbidden Fruit. Some people take it to be the tree of jealousy and others take it to be the tree of knowledge.

The Story

When Adam (a) and Eve resided in the heaven, God gave them the permission to eat the fruits of every tree in the garden. He only forbade them from approaching a certain tree and being deceived by the devil. God warned Adam (a) and Eve that if they eat the fruit of the tree, then they will be wrong-doers. Adam (a) and Eve were tempted by Iblis (Satan) and ate the fruit of the Forbidden Tree. Iblis deceived them by saying that if they eat the fruit of the Forbidden Tree, then they will turn into angels or will have eternal life. When they ate the fruit of the Forbidden Tree, the shameful parts of their bodies became apparent, and they were ousted from the heaven.[1]

Nature of the Tree

The story of the Forbidden Tree appears in the Qur'an 2 (verses 35-38), Qur'an 7 (verses 19-23), and Qur'an 20 (verses 120-122), but the type of the tree is not specified in these verses. However, there are two sorts of views about the Forbidden Tree in Islamic hadiths and exegetical sources:

Literal Interpretations

Some exegetes of the Qur'an take the "tree" in these verses at face value. They have thus developed different views about the kind of the tree, such as wheat,[2] grape,[3] fig,[4] palm,[5] bergamot orange,[6] camphor,[7] and jujube.[8]

Esoteric Interpretations

  • The Tree of Jealousy</