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An old image of a mausoleum attributed to Eve in Jedda, Saudi Arabia taken in 1918.

Eve or Ḥawwā (Arabic: حَوّا) was the first woman created by God, the wife of Adam (a), and the mother of all human beings. She is mentioned in Jewish and Christian scriptures, but she is mentioned in the Qur'an only as the "wife of Adam (a)". The name, "Hawwa", appears in Islamic sources of exegesis, history, and hadith, in which there are stories about her creation, the Forbidden Tree, the fruit of which was eaten by her and Adam (a), their Fall to the Earth, and their lives after the Fall. There is a dispute about where she was buried. There is a mausoleum in Jeddah in Saudi Arabia which is attributed to her.

Lexicology of "Hawwa"

In the Old Testament, Eve's name appears in Hebrew as "Ḥawwāh". In the Greek translation of the Bible, it appears as "Eva" and in Latin as "Heva". In Arabic, it appears as "Hawwa" and in western languages as "Eve". There is a disagreement about the root of the Arabic word "Hawwa" for which nine views have been proposed.

In sources of Arabic lexicology, there are accounts of the derivations of the word, "Hawwa". On these accounts, it is derived from the Arabic root, "ḥ-w-w" or "ḥ-w-y". However, for lexicologists, "Hawwa" is a proper noun and its meaning is said to be "the wife of Adam" only (without specifying its derivations).

In general, the written form of the word, "hawwa", in Arabic might have some meanings: under the root, "ḥ-w-w" (greenish black or blackish red), "Hawwa", as the feminine form of "Ahwa", is an adjective for a blackish or darkish thing or woman; and under the root, "ḥ-w-y" (meaning life or snake), which means a person who captures snakes.

Eve in the Jewish Tradition

The Creation of Eve

There are two narrations about the creation of the human being in the Old Testament. On the first narration, the human being was created as a man and a woman (male and female), and on the second narration, the man was created first, and then the woman. The scholars believe that the two narrations are concerned with two editions of the text of the Torah.

According to older accounts, after the creation of the man, God created terrestrial animals and birds from the soil. Adam (a) gave names to each of these creatures, but he could not find a good companion for himself from among them. Thus, God induced a state of deep sleep in Adam, picked one of his ribs, created a woman from it, and presented it to Adam.

The Fall of Adam (a) and Eve from the Heaven

According to the Old Testament, Adam (a) and his wife were both naked in the heaven, without feeling ashamed. A snake deceived the woman and tempted her to eat the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Right and Wrong, from which they were forbidden by God. The woman ate the fruit and gave some to Adam (a) well. Thus, they realized that they were naked. When God interrogated Adam (a) about the disobedience, he accused his wife, and she accused the snake. Thus, God punished Adam, the woman, and the snake because of their guilts. The woman was told: "We will intensify your pains and your pregnancy. You shall give birth with pains. You will be passionate to your husband, and he will in your control". Adam (a) and Eve were then ousted from the heaven lest they eat the fruit of the Tree of Life and enjoy an eternal life.

Eve's Name in the Old Testament

Eve was referred to with three names in the Old Testament, each of which found their own specific uses in the book. First, she and her husband were both called "Adam". Second, Adam (a) called her "Ishah" which referred to her role as a wife and partner. The name occurs in the story of creation and the Fall. The third name is "Hawwah" with which she was called after the Fall, once to mean the mother of all human beings, in general, and once again, as the mother of her first son, Cain (or Qabil).

Eve's Life after the Fall

There is information about Eve's life after her Fall from the Heaven in some appendixes of the Old Testament. For example, Adam (a) and Eve were looking for food after they were ousted from the Eden and they could not find anything like they had in the Eden. Thus, they tried to repent. Thus, Adam (a) decided that Eve immerse herself in Tigris for 37 days, and Adam (a) immerse himself in the Jordan River for 40 days. However, Iblis (the devil) appeared as an angel to Eve on the 18th day and deceived her by saying that God had accepted their repentance. Thus, she went out of the river earlier than planned. Adam (a) reprimanded her for breaking her promise, and Eve realized that she has been deceived again. Eve accepted both of her mistakes, left Adam, and went to the west while she was pregnant. When she was giving birth to the baby, she felt a lot of pain. She asked God for help, but her voice was not heard. Thus, she miserably called Adam. Adam (a) prayed to God, and then, angels helped her with her childbirth. She gave birth to Cain. Adam (a) took his wife and son to the east where Eve gave birth to Abel (Habil).

On this account, Eve saw in a dream that Cain's hand was stained with Abel's blood. She told Adam (a) about her dream. Thus, they decided to separate the two brothers. They assigned Abel with farming, and Cain with shepherding.

Eve in the Christian Tradition

The New Testament has only referred to the first woman as Eve in two cases. Once, it refers to Eve's being deceived as a warning for Christians, and once again, it refers to the creation of Eve after Adam (a) and her (and not Adam's) being deceived by the devil, and then states that a woman cannot be a teacher, should not monopolize her husband, and she can be saved from her sins provided that she is faithful and pious and brings children.

Eve in the Islamic Tradition

The Word "Hawwa" in the Qur'an and Hadiths

The word, "Hawwa", does not appear in the Qur'an. In verses regarding Adam (a), she is referred to as the wife of Adam.

However, "Hawwa" is mentioned in hadiths as well as sources of history and exegesis. It is said that she was called "Hawwa" because she was the mother of all living people or she was created from "hayy" (a living being, that is, Adam). There is a hadith according to which Adam (a) gave the name, "Aththā" (أثّا) to Hawwa, which means woman in the Nabataean language.

Creation of Adam (a) and Eve in the Qur'an

The Qur'an has emphasized that Adam (a) was created out of soil, and then it says: "[Allah]] created you from a single soul. From it He created its spouse."

Early exegetes of the Qur'an generally believe that the "soul" in this verse refers to Adam, and the "spouse" refers to Eve. According to hadiths, God created Eve from one of Adam's ribs—from the remaining soil from which Adam (a) was created.

According to some exegetes, the verse means that God created Adam's spouse from the same kind, as the phrase, "min anfusikum" (from your souls [or yourselves]) in other verses, means from your type. The latter interpretation is more consonant with verse 189 of Sura al-A'raf with the same content while adding "so that he might rest in her", since every creature is more inclined to members of its own type, and can rest in it.

According to some contemporary scholars, "single soul" in the verse does not refer to Adam. Rather, it refers to the origin of the human creation (both men and women), and so, they concluded that both men and women were created from a single origin.

Some people have interpreted the verse in terms of modern biological theories. They take the "single soul" to be the first animal from which homo sapiens is evolved. The animal initially reproduced in an asexual way, and then it mated with the female animal which was reproduced by itself, and then the human generation was created. According to this view, in the first stage of the human evolution, the mate was not created independently; rather it was reproduced by itself. Thus, the initial human reproduction in its evolutionary history was asexual.

The Fall of Adam (a) and Eve in the Qur'an

The Qur'an is silent on the creation of Eve. According to Quranic verses, Adam (a) and his wife resided in heaven by divine will. They were permitted to have every food in the heaven, except for the fruit of a certain tree. They would be wrong-doers if they approached the tree. The devil deceived both of them, and so, they ate the fruit of the Forbidden Tree. Their shameful parts were immediately apparent to them, and tried to cover those parts by heavenly leaves. They then asked God to forgive them. God told them that they had to descend to Earth and live there until they die there and go out of it.

Eve's Role in Adam's (a) Sin

The Qur'an does not refer to Eve's role in Adam's original sin. According to the Old Testament, the snake deceived Eve, and she deceived Adam, but according to the Qur'an, they were both deceived by the devil. Even according to the verse 120 of Sura Taha, the devil directly talked to Adam (a) and tried to tempt him, without pointing to the devil's talk with Eve. Therefore, Eve is introduced in the Jewish-Christian tradition as being deceived (by the devil) and misguiding (of Adam), but the Qur'an introduces both Adam (a) and Eve as being equally culprits and thus, the first human couple ousted from the Heaven.

Eve's Temptation in Hadiths

However, in some exegetical hadiths, there are details about the devil's temptations and the role of Eve in her and her husband's ouster from the heaven which seem to be originated from the narration of the Book of Genesis in the Old Testament. There is also a hadith according to which: "if there were no Hawwa, women would not cheat their husbands", where "cheating" is taken to refer to Eve's role in Adam's original sin. There is a hadith according to which Eve was tempted by the Devil after her fall from the heaven. According to this hadith, Eve became pregnant, but her baby was not born alive. The devil (which was known as Harith) went to her and tempted her to call her baby 'Abd al-Harith (the servant of Harith) so that the baby stays alive. They did so, while it was a Satanic temptation. Thus, Eve deceived Adam (a) again (Shiite and Sunni scholars have provided objections or interpretations of this hadith). Al-'Allama al-Majlisi believed that the hadith was issued by Shiite Imams (a) out of Taqiyya (dissimulation). 'Allama Tabataba'i believed that such hadiths are fabricated or Isra'iliyyat.

Eve in Books of History

Although there are few hadiths about Eve in Shiite and Sunni sources of hadiths, there are many various stories, similar to Isra'iliyyat, about Eve in books of history, biography, and stories of the prophets. According to these stories, when Adam (a) resided in the heaven at God's command, he was alone. Then God induced a deep sleep in him and created Eve from one of his left ribs. Adam (a) felt no pain during the operation; otherwise, he would not have any desires to the woman. Eve was clothed in heavenly dress, adorned, and sat beside Adam. When Adam (a) woke up, he saw her and called her Hawwa.

According to these sources, Adam (a) and Eve lived luxuriously in the heaven, but Iblis who spoke through snakes deceived them with the help of a peacock. The fruit of the Forbidden Tree (the Tree of Eternity) was first eaten by Eve, and then by Adam. According to a hadith, Adam (a) did not eat the fruit as long as he retained his consciousness. He just ate it when Eve gave him some wine and then took him to the tree.

When they ate the Forbidden Fruit, and disobeyed the divine command, Adam (a) and Eve were ousted from the heaven. In addition to their common punishments, Eve and all women after her were punished by pains, such as menstruation, pregnancy, and childbirth. When they were ousted from the heaven, Adam (a) fell in India and Eve fell in Jeddah. When they repented, they met each other in 'Arafat. They performed some rituals of hajj and Eve menstruated for the first time. Adam (a) strongly treaded on Earth and then the Zamzam water sprang, with which Eve washed herself. Out of her 20 pregnancies, Eve gave birth to 40 children. She died one year after Adam, and was buried near his grave.

Eve's Burial Place

There is a disagreement about where Eve was buried. Some people believe that Jeddah was where she both fell and was buried, and, they say, this is why the place was called "Jeddah" (meaning: grandmother). It seems that the first "Mausoleum of Eve" was built by Iranians. However, it was destroyed by the Saudi government. According to some hadiths and historical reports, Eve was buried in a cave in Mount Abu Qubays in Mecca near the burial place of Adam.


  • The material for this article is mainly taken from حوا in Farsi WikiShia.