There is no evidence in the Qur'an or Sunnah confirming that the earth was inhabited before Adam (peace be upon him). However, it was reported from some Salaf (righteous predecessors) that
the jinn were residents on earth before Adam (peace be upon him). Perhaps this report was taken from the People of the Book. Allah knows best.This point was widely discussed by
Al-Hafizh Ibn Kathir (may Allah be merciful to him) in his Tafsir (explanation/exegesis of the meanings of the Qur'an) when commenting on Allah's statement in Surah (Qur'anic chapter) Al-Baqarah:
And (remember) when your Lord said to the angels: “Verily, I am going to place (mankind) generations after generations on earth.”
You may refer to it.
Q 4: Was the Ka`bah built and knocked down before Abraham (peace be upon him) laid its basic foundation or was he the first one to build it?
There is no clear evidence in the Qur'an or Sunnah supporting that (Part No. 26; Page No. 413) Ka`bah was built before Abraham (peace be upon him). However, there are some Athar (narrations from the Companions) related from Salaf (righteous predecessors) and quoted from the Children of Israel indicating that the Ka`bah was founded since the time of
Adam (peace be upon him) and then was destroyed and later rebuilt by
Ibrahim (peace be upon him) by the Command of Allah (Exalted be He).
Al-Hafizh Ibn Kathir (may Allah be merciful to him) wrote in his book Al-Bidayah wal-Nihayah:There is no authentic report from the Prophet (peace be upon him) substantiating that Al-Bayt (the House: another name for the Ka`bah) was founded before Abraham (peace be upon him). The statement of Allah reads:
...the site of the (Sacred) House (the Ka‘bah at Makkah)
is not clear evidence on this point. This is because the text means that Allah showed Abraham the site of the Ka`bah as specified and predestined by the Knowledge of Allah and His Decree, and that all prophets venerated from
Ibrahim We previously mentioned that
Adam erected a dome over it, and the angels told him that they made Tawaf (circumambulation of the Ka`bah) before him and that the Ship of Nuh (Noah) circumambulated it for forty days. However, narrations of this nature are all related from the Children of Israel. It is stated that such narrations are neither trusted nor belied, so that they cannot stand as evidence. However, if such narrations are contradicted by what is established as the truth, they must be rejected.May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.