Question. Can you please explain the hadith in Sahih Al-Bukhari “God created Adam in His Own Image” or “Allah created Adam in His picture, sixty cubits (about 30 meters) in height….”
We also know from the Quran “And there is none like unto Him” how we can understand the hadith and the verse of the Quran?
Bismillah wal-Hamdulillah was-Salatu was-Salam ‘Ala Rasulillah
First, we need to know what are the texts on this matter, then we will look at their interpretation.
“Allah created Adam in His image, and he was sixty cubits tall.
When he created him he said, `Go and greet that group of angels who are sitting and listen to how they greet you, for that will be your greeting and the greeting of your descendents.’
So he said, Al-salamu alaykum (peace be upon you),’
and they said,
`Al-salamu `alayka wa rahmatullah (Peace be upon you and the mercy of Allah).’
So they added (the words) `wa rahmatullah.’
Everyone who enters Paradise will be in the form of Adam, but mankind continued to grow shorter until now.” (Bukhari, Muslim)
“When any one of fights his brother, let him avoid the face, for Allah created Adam in His image.” (Muslim)
The scholars differ about the interpretation of these texts.
The most common being that the pronoun refers to “Allah,” others say the pronoun refers to ‘Adam.’ If it is taken to refer to ‘Adam’ then there is no problem in understanding the meaning.
The problem arises if the interpretation is taken that the pronoun refers to ‘Allah.’ Let us see how they explain the meaning.
Before that, let us make sure we understand the basic rules of interpreting Allah’s Names and Attributes.
Allah is how He has described Himself and how His Nabi has described Him without any tashbeeh, tamtheel, takyeef, tahreef, or ta’teel.
When we read the verses and hadith describing Allah we do not liken Allah to His creation and we do not distort their original meaning.
The apparent meaning of the text that implies similarity to human beings and being like them in their attributes is not intended.
What is meant, according to these scholars, is that Allah created Adam with the ability to hear and see, and to speak when He wants. These are also attributes of Allah, for He is All-Hearing, All-Seeing, and He speaks when He wants, may He be glorified and exalted.
Just like Allah hears, sees and His other attributes are not like the creation’s, they are not like Adam’s, Allah’s “form” is not like the form of Adam as well. It does not mean that there is any resemblance or likeness. Rather the “image” of Allah is different from that of created beings.
The divine “form” or “image” is like other attributes. Any attribute which Allah has affirmed in the revelation, we must affirm it as well.
And Allah knows best.
Image Credit: Nicola