(1) (4:1) O men! Fear your Lord Who created you from a single being and out of it created its mate; and out of the two spread many men and women. *1 Fear Allah in Whose name you plead for rights, and heed the ties of kinship. Surely, Allah is ever watchful over you.
*1). What are the mutual rights of human beings, what are the principles on which a sound and stable family life can be established, are questions that are discussed a little further on in this surah. As an appropriate introduction to the subject, the surah opens by exhorting the believers to fear God and to avoid courting His displeasure, and by urging them to recognize that all human beings have sprung from the same root and that all of them are, therefore, of one another's flesh and blood. The expression 'Who created you from a single being (nafs)' indicates that the creation of the human species began with the creation of one individual. At another place, the Qur'an specifies that the one person from whom the human race spread in the world was Adam. (For Adam being the progenitor of mankind see Towards Understanding the Qur'an, Surah 2, verses 31 f. and Surah al-A'raf: 11, etc. - Ed.) The details how out of that 'being' its mate was created are not known to us. The explanation which is generally given by the commentators of the Qur'an and which is also found in the Bible is that Eve was, created out of a rib of Adam. (The Talmud is even more detailed in that it states that Eve was created out of Adam's thirteenth rib on the left side.) The Qur'an, however, is silent on the matter and the tradition which is adduced in support of this statement does not mean what it is often thought to be. It is thus better that we leave the matter in the same state of ambiguity in which it was left by God, rather than waste our time trying to determine, in detail, the actual process of the creation of man's mate.* 'The author alludes to, but does not quote, the text of the following tradition: Muslim, 'Rida'ah', 61 and 62; Tirmidhi, 'Talaq'' 12; Ahmad b. Hanbal, Musnad, vol. 2, pp. 428, 449, 497, 530 and vol. 6, p. 279 - Ed.