Surah 7, Ayah 23 says, “They prayed [Adam & Eve] ‘Our Lord, we have oppressed our own souls, and if You do not forgive us and have mercy upon us, most certainly we will be of the losers.’”
There are varying opinions about the event when Adam (AS) slipped from the Garden. Some exegetes are of the opinion that he committed a sin by approaching the tree while others stated that he made an error by forgetting the command of not going towards the tree. Also debated is whether he was a prophet at the time in which he made his error, or did Allah (SWT) commission him to be a prophet after his fall.
Whether this action is viewed by theologians as a major sin or minor, the Qur’an states that Adam and Eve wronged/oppressed themselves. The root of this verb to wrong or to oppress in this ayah means to take something outside of its natural and intended place.
From the very beginning of humankind, it is (wo)man who has been the first or primary oppressor of her own soul. As much as others infringe upon our rights, most of us suffer more from self-oppression than others oppressing us. This form of oppression is done when we disobey Divine commands and the Natural Law or are negligent and reckless with our lives.
Though there are issues of outward oppression that can take over lives of human from wars to structural oppression, it is the oppressor from within that needs to be struggled against on a daily basis. This oppressor is the ego (nafs) that is not aligned with the Divine commands and decrees.
May Allah (SWT) forgive us, have mercy upon us, make us not be from the losers on the Day of Reckoning. AMEEN.