ISLAM NEWSROOM UPDATE - March 26, 2015 Thursday [Original question/answer was July 11, 2011]
Question to Yusuf Estes -
"Sir, I am sure you will be able to answer my question in a reasonable manner that can satisfy my curiosity...
In Sahih Bukhari Vol. 4, book 55, #543, narrated Abu Hurayrah:
"The prophet, peace be upon him, said:
'Allah created Adam, made him 60 cubits in height..'"
So, this is about 90 feet tall. And also people have been growing shorter and smaller right up to his time."
Here is the question:
How did the Prophet (peace be upon him) and his companions (May Allah Almighty be pleased with them) know about the effect known as "bottleneck," where animals get weaker if they have genetic exchanges that are too closely related?
This claim is found with some variations in many traditions. These narrations contain some more interesting details besides the height of Adam. The following are some of the hadiths that are found in the two most authoritative collections of Sunni Islam:
Narrated Abu Huraira:The Prophet said, "Allah created Adam, making him 60 cubits tall. .... People have been decreasing in stature since Adam's creation. (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 55, Number 543)
Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah's Apostle said, "The first group of people who will enter Paradise, will be glittering like the full moon and those who will follow them, will glitter like the most brilliant star in the sky... All of them will look alike and will resemble their father Adam (in statute), sixty cubits tall." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 55, Number 544)
Abu Huraira reported Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: The first group of my Ummah to get into Paradise would be like a full moon in the night... and their form would be the form of one single person according to the length of their father sixty cubits tall. by Ibn Abi Shaiba with a slight variation of wording. (Sahih Muslim, Book 040, Number 6796, cf. No. 6795)
Abu Huraira reported Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: Allah, the Exalted and Glorious, created Adam in His own image with His length of sixty cubits, .... he who would get into Paradise would get in the form of Adam, his length being sixty cubits, then the people who followed him continued to diminish in size up to this day. (Sahih Muslim, Book 040, Number 6809; cf. Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 8, Book 74, Number 246)
The above quoted sayings of Muhammad contain two statements that can be evalutated scientifically:
It is to believe the things Islam teaches without doubt and without concern for contradiction. When it is confirmed that Allah or His messenger say anything, then it is a fact.
This is what Abu Bakr "As-Sadeeq" became famous for on the occasion of Israa' wal Miraj.
Allah tells us in the Quran:
Exalted is He who took His Servant by night from al-Masjid al-Haram to al-Masjid al-Aqsa, whose surroundings We have blessed, to show him of Our signs. Indeed, He is the Hearing, the Seeing.
Quran 17, 1
After some of the disbelievers heard about the prophet's (peace be upon him) "Night Journey" they came to Abu Bakr and said: "Do you know what your companion is saying? He claims he went from here to Jerusalem and back, all in the same night..."
Without even looking up, Abu Bakr replied immediately, "If he said it - he did it"
How could he so quickly accept such a statement? Because he knew prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, never lied about anything. And "If he said it - he did it", was more of a confirmation of the sayings of the prophet, peace be upon him, than a statement of belief in teleporting or time traveling or super sonic speed. He knew the truthful one (As-Sadiq) and he was confirming anything he, peace be upon him, said.
Our prophet, peace be upon him, heard about this and from that time he called Abu Bakr "As-Sadeeq", meaning "The one who confirms the truth".
The form of the word here is not "As-Sadiq" (the truthful), it is "As-Sadeeq" (The verifier of the truth).
Do you know how important it is for iman in Islam to be able to grasp that concept? This is the beauty of iman. You have seen enough other proof from Islam, that you don't need to question anything more than this - "If he said it - he did it".
Our prophet, peace be upon him, told us Adam was 60 cubits.
1 cubit = 45.72 centimeters
An ancient measure of length, approximately equal to the length of a forearm. It was typically about 18 inches or 44 cm, though there was a long cubit of about 21 inches or 52 cm.
Are you with me so far?
If we use 18" X 60 = 1080 inches divided by 12 = 90 Feet
If we use 21" X 60 = 1260 inches divided by 12 = 105 Feet
So, if we understood correctly, the height of Adam, peace be upon him, is between 90 and 105 feet.
And we also know from our prophet, peace be upon him, that humans have been "evolving" downward in size until the size we are now. This could be from about 60 inches to 80 inches tall. We do have some people who are much smaller in parts of South America and some who may be much taller in Africa, but these are averages.