‘Name him ‘Abd al-Ḥārith’: Eve’s Fall from monotheism, and ascent into motherhood
The ‘Abd al-Ḥārith story (henceforth ‘ ‘Abd al-Ḥārith’) is an Islamic narrative which relates a second Fall of Eve, and sometimes of Adam as well. It narrates how, after the expulsion from Paradise, Eve’s first pregnancies led her (or sometimes her and Adam) to subjugate their newborn child to Satan. The present paper argues that within its main Islamic context, which is Qur’anic exegesis, the function of ‘Abd al-Ḥārith is to promote monotheism and human gratitude to the one God. This function, however, proves problematic, as the narrative does not ref lect the verses to which it is connected. An alternative reading of ‘Abd al-Ḥārith in relation to other Near Eastern Fall and/or fertility texts, reveals an alternative message, of human, and particularly feminine, fertility and ascent, and highlights the contrast between motherhood and monotheism.