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Last Updated: 2009/06/22
Summary of question
Were ancient cavemen also descendants of Prophet Adam (pbuh)?
Were ancient cavemen also descendants of Prophet Adam (pbuh)?
Concise answer

Adopting caves as homes by the descendants of Prophet Adam (pbuh) is something the Quran confirms. Yet, since there is substantial evidence that there have also been people before him and we are sure there have been ancient people who have lived in caves, it is up to different clues, their remains and the drawings and writings they have left behind to exactly determine in what era they lived in.

What is for sure is that Prophet Adam’s (pbuh) time doesn’t belong to a very long time back.

Detailed Answer

In order to answer this question, a few points need to be made:

1- There is a lot of evidence that before Prophet Adam (pbuh), there were humans living on the face of the planet.

Allamah Tabatabai says: “Verse 3 of surah Baqarah somewhat suggests that before the creation of Prophet Adam (pbuh), there were humans living, giving rise to the question the angels asked Allah (swt) [when He “announced” that He was appoint Prophet Adam (pbuh) as His vicegerent on earth]: “Will You set in it [earth] someone who will cause corruption in it, and shed blood…?”[1]

In the book Tawhid of Sheikh Saduq, Imam Sadiq (as) has been narrated saying: “You think that Allah (swt) hasn’t created humans other than yourselves; but He has. He has created a thousand thousand [a million] “Adams”, and you are the descendants of the final “Adam”.[2]

2- With help from writings and drawings found in caves, it can be proven that humans from this race also lived in caves.[3] The question is, do all of these drawings and writings belong to those who came after Prophet Adam (pbuh)?[4]

Of course, according to what verses of the Quran say, all of those on earth today are descendants of Prophet Adam (pbuh).[5] For instance, Allah (swt) says: “O Children of Adam! Do not let Satan tempt you, the same way he expelled your parents from paradise”[6], and as we all know, the Quran is a book to all of humanity, so when it addresses all children of Adam (pbuh), it is actually addressing all people, hence the children of Adam being equal with all the people being addressed by the Quran.

In another verse, He says: “O mankind! Be wary of your Lord who created you from a single soul, and created its mate from it, and, from the two of them, scattered numerous men and women [across the earth]”.[7]

Therefore, if the things found in caves date back to millions of years ago, one must say that they do not belong to people from our race, but from races before Prophet Adam (pbuh), because Prophet Adam (pbuh) lived about 7000 years ago.[8]

But if they belong to after such a date and time, it can be said that even people of this race and descendants of Prophet Adam (pbuh) have lived as cavemen as well.

Of course, comparing buildings today with buildings of that time gives us the conclusion that back then, the building process was a very simple one and people would abide in very simple homes to protect them from the cold, heat and wild animals; these homes being caves or gaps and cleavages between mountains; this being pointed to in the Quran as well.

The Quran says: “وَ جَعَلَ لَکُمْ مِنَ الْجِبالِ أَکْناناً[9] (…and [He] granted you resorts in the mountains). “أکنان is the plural form of “کن” (pronounced “kinn”) which denotes a means of concealment and protection, and that being the reason for why hiding places and caves and refuges in the mountains are all called “کن”.

In this verse, we see that resorts in the mountains have been considered blessings by Allah (swt).[10] Living in caves and in the hearts of mountains even after the advancement of building methods, was common and a sign of civilization, as the Quran says that some would hew homes out of the mountains, enjoining themselves therein by wining and dining!”[11]

Therefore there are great chances that people from the race of Prophet Adam (pbuh) actually did live in caves and there is nothing wrong with such a claim.

[1] Translation of Al-Mizan, vol. 4, pg. 223.

[2] Ibid, pg. 231.

[3] Some believe that there is no doubt about people living in caves from this race. Da’eratul-Ma’arefe No (The New Encyclopedia), vol. 4, pg. 331.

[4] Translation of Al-Mizan, vol. 4, pg. 223.

[5] Translation of Al-Mizan, vol. 4, pg. 223.

[6] A’raf:27

[7] Nisa’:1 “یا أَیُّهَا النَّاسُ اتَّقُوا رَبَّکُمُ الَّذی خَلَقَکُمْ مِنْ نَفْسٍ واحِدَةٍ وَ خَلَقَ مِنْها زَوْجَها وَ بَثَّ مِنْهُما رِجالاً کَثیراً وَ نِساء

[8] For further information, see index: The lifetime of man according to the Quran, Question 701.

[9] Nahl:81.

[10] See: Tafsir Nemouneh, vol. 11, pg. 346.

[11] See: Shu’ara:149.

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