Is the prohibited tree the tree of knowledge?
Our basic instinctints, perceptions, emotions and feelings had to be “given” to us throug our first model. Through that model we keep on passing those characterestics to our next generation and so on. I copied the following Q&A from a website choosing it to be better than other “ready made” commentaries.
Question: In the lessons of the history of religions we read as follows:
What is the forbidden fruit?
As the Old Testament writes in detail and the Holy Quran says in suggestive way. (Forbidden fruit) is insight because on the basis of Quranic verses the Almighty used to call Adam and Eve and without feeling any kind of shame for their nakedness they used to reply. But after eating the forbidden fruit they began to feel ashamed of their nakedness and hid themselves.
In the past they used to see the Lord without any kind of shame. Now after eating the forbidden fruit they are feeling ashamed of their nakedness. The proof is that the condition in which they were till yesterday (nakedness), they were not able to see it and now by eating the forbidden fruit they have received insight and the forbidden tree is the tree of insight.
What did the Almighty desire?
Should man eat the forbidden fruit or not?
We should not view this problem like human stories. That the Almighty did not want that Adam should eat the forbidden fruit. Because if it had been unacceptable to Allah He would not have allowed Adam (‘a) to eat the fruit. (Because the intention of man has no value before the intention of Allah and only that comes to pass which the Almighty desires). Thus the Almighty Allah desired that man should eat this fruit. Because he could not had come into existence without eating this fruit. And it is such a plan that was arranged for by the Almighty Himself. So that man can come into existence and the man who is present now and who with the passing of times will continue to come.
1. As mentioned in the above-mentioned discussion does the forbidden fruit only constitute knowledge and insight?
Answer: We have been asked many questions regarding the points mentioned in those lessons. The above-mentioned is an example of the same. For a satisfactory reply it is necessary for us to mention a few points.
1. As we have mentioned before one clear proof of the interpolation of the present Bible is that in the story of the Creation of Adam it states unequivocally that the forbidden tree was the tree of knowledge and insight or the tree of good and evil on realization explanatory or recognition. (In all the translations of the Bible, give only one meaning. Thus according to clean words of the Bible the first and the greatest sin of man was the sin of knowledge and insight. And probably it is the reason that the church leaders in the middle used to battle against the intellectuals, scientists and writers of their time and they used to dread the spread of this sin. They used to believe that on the first day Adam (‘a) was ignorant that he was not ashamed of his nakedness but when he ate of the forbidden fruit (knowledge and intellect) or became rational being, he became a sinner and he was expelled from Paradise and the proximity of the Lord.
Without any doubt these concocted stories of the historical age. On the contrary the Holy Quran says that before setting in Paradise, Adam (‘a) possessed a vast knowledge and intellect and was to a great extent needless of the tree of knowledge and insight. So much so that he had become the teacher and instructor of the angels.
‘We taught Adam all the names’
Therefore this Adam is absolutely different from the Adam who is described by the Bible. The greatest source of this power of Adam (‘a) is knowledge and insight. And the greatest sin of that Adam is knowledge. This Adam is Adam in the proper sense and that Adam is ignorant from all aspects. This Adam was created for realization and that Adam is commanded that he should not let knowledge and insight enter his mind. In such circumstances it is really a strange thing that the logic of the Quran and the altered Bible should be considered at par.
2. According to Taurat Adam and Hawwa were nude and they did not feel any shame of their nudity. It is right but where does Quran say that both of them were naked and were not ashamed of their nakedness? Rather, on the contrary the Holy Quran clarifies that they had clothes on their bodies even before eating the forbidden fruit and this dress fell away from their bodies after eating the forbidden fruit and they became naked.
…he (Shaitan) expelled your parents from the garden, pulling off from them both their clothing that he might show them their evil inclinations…”
It is also said that:
…the Shaitan made an evil suggestion to them that he might make manifest to them what had been hidden from them of their inclinations….
On the basis of this in the 22nd verse of the same Surah it says:
…their evil inclinations became manifest to them, and they both began to cover themselves with the leaves of the garden…”
This is also in the meaning of the loss of their clothes. It does not mean that they were naked and were not aware of it.
Thus when Quran introduced Adam it says that he was a dressed and respectable person who became naked due to disobedience. (This point is worth noting).
On the contrary the Adam introduced by the Bible was naked from the beginning like animals. So much so that he was not even ashamed of his nakedness. In spite of this clarification of the Holy Quran is it proper that such a thing should be associated with and it should be brought on par with Taurat?
3. The most interesting thing is to interpret “Don’t eat” to mean “You should eat.” Can there be greater fraud in logic? That negative should be taken as positive and evil should be considered good? If the fruit was for eating, why was it named the prohibited tree?
What is this method of interpretation and explanation of meaning. If this method is correct it would be better to judge in the same all the things that are prohibited in the Quran and it should be said that the Almighty had desired thus that this prohibited should be acted upon. And if He had not desired thus He would have prevented the people from acting upon it. We are helpless regarding our actions?
The Almighty described that we should remain free. He gave free will to men and left them on their own but side-by-side he has formulated many rules and regulations for his training.
Thus this comparison is absolutely incorrect that if Allah did not desire that Adam (‘a) should eat the prohibited fruit He would have stopped him. Because in the same way this comparison will come true for the sinners. Actually here there is a misunderstanding regarding freewill and compulsion. (Please note).
Respected readers! Whatever has been stated above, in your view is it not better that before expression such an opinion in the form of a lesson it should be shown to the experts of Islamic problems and published later so that such kinds of misunderstandings are not created.
Please ponder upon it. If a person reads this book and concluded that this tree was the tree of knowledge and wisdom and Adam and Hawwa were naked like the animals and they were not knowing this and after eating the prohibited fruit of the tree of knowledge they came to know and they hid from the sight of Allah and later as the punishment for acquiring knowledge of wisdom they were expelled from there, then who would be responsible for this belief of his?
The facts learnt from the sources of guidance is that the prohibited tree “tree of jealously and a kind of adversion.” Or there was something similar to this and Adam was involved in this. (Although it was not the jealously that could tantamount to jealously or due to it, the hands should be smeared with sins):
This statement could be explained in the way that Hazrat Adam (‘a) was informed of the condition of his descendants and he saw among them such exalted prophets who were having higher grades than him. On this juncture he desired that the position of these personalities would have been achieved by himself even though in spite of his merits he had not reached to that position. This same desire distanced him from the Paradise and that was his tree of prohibition. Though in some traditions wheat is mentioned as the prohibited tree whose prohibition had an aspect of trial.
 Surah Baqarah 2:31