According to the Qur’ān, Eve was not created from
Adam’s rib. The first verse of Sūrah Nisā explicitly states that the first man
and woman (Adam and Eve) were created directly by the Almighty:
O mankind! Fear your Lord who created you from a single
soul and of like nature his mate and from the two scattered [like seeds]
countless men and women. (4:1)
Some people translate this verse as ‘It is he Who has
created you from a single person (Adam) and then He created from him his wife
(Eve)’. They explain this verse by saying that Eve was created from the rib of
Adam. This misleading translation has probably arisen because of the Arabic
words khalaqa minha zawjaha, which if literally translated mean ‘created from
him [-- the initial soul--] his wife’. Actually the word minha (from the soul)
does not imply that ‘Eve was made from Adam’; they rather imply that Eve was
made from the same species as Adam, meaning that both were human. A similar
verse points to this interpretation:
It is God who has made from your species your mates.
A literal translation of the words ja‘ala lakum min
anfusikum azwājā of the above quoted verse (which are very similar to khalaqa
minha zawjaha) would mean ‘it is God which has created your mates from you’
implying that every wife is made from her husband as Eve was. This of course is
incorrect; the word anfus (plural of nafs) in this verse means ‘genre’,
‘species’ and not ‘physical being’.
As far as the Hadīth you have quoted is concerned, it needs
to be appreciated that in Arabic the words ‘created from’ do not necessarily
refer to the substance of creation; they can also refer to the nature of
something. For example the Qur’ān says: ‘Man has been created from hastiness’,
(21:37). This does not of course mean that man’s substance is hastiness; it only
refers to his nature.
Secondly, if all the texts of the Hadīth you have referred
to are collected and analyzed, it becomes evident that the Prophet (sws) has
compared the nature of a woman with a rib. The comparison subtly alludes to the
fact that a woman’s nature is very delicate and tender as well as a bit adamant.
The Prophet (sws) has advised men to treat them tactfully keeping in view this
nature. Instead of forcing them to accept a particular point of view which will
only bring out their obduracy, men should try to convince and persuade them.