Thursday, 22 August 2013

Man: A Special Unit In Creation

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّ حِيْمِ

Human beings are special as their origin is different from the rest of creation. First of all when Allah decided to create the universe, He gave a divine Command, “be”, and the whole of the universe began as a single cell, which grew until it burst open forming the skies and the earth. Man was not a part of what became the skies and the earth. Allah tells us about this in the following verse of the Holy Qur’an. He says:

Do not those who disbelieve know that the skies and the earth were a closed up mass? Then He opened them out? And We made from water every living thing. Will they not then believe? (21:30)

The skies (cosmos) and the earth were perfected in six periods called days in the Holy Qur’an, with each period varying in length of time, from 1000 years to 50,000 years of our reckoning.

When the earth was perfected, and all the plants and animals were already created, then Allah created Adam. The creation of man is therefore different from the creation of the rest of the creatures on the earth, as they were all created from water, but man from clay. He says:

(Allah is He) Who has made perfect everything that He created; and He began the creation of man from clay; then He made his progeny from an extract of despised fluid; then He fashioned him, then breathed into him his soul; and He gave you hearing, sight and hearts. (32:7-9)

The Soul: Refined Light

Man is a combination of a physical element - the body; and a non-physical element - the soul created from a very form of refined light not available in the universe. As a result it is very difficult to know much about the nature and capacity of the light of the soul.  Allah says:
And they will ask you (O Muhammad) about the ruh (i.e. the soul); Say: it is from the Command of the Lord, and you (O man) have been given very little knowledge about it. (17:84)
All other forms of light were created as part of the universe. Allah tells us about this in the following verse:
All praise is due to Allah Who created the skies and the earth and caused to come into existence darkness and light. (6:1)
Perhaps, the light of the earth began when Allah created the solar system He says:
Allah it is Who raised up the skies without any visible support; then He established Himself on the Throne; and He pressed the sun and moon into service; each pursuing its course, until an appointed term. (13:2)
Regarding the soul of man, it was only when Adam was created and perfected physically, that a special spark of refined light was created and commanded to enter into the chest of Adam. Allah tells us about this in the following verse:
So, when I (Allah) have fashioned him (Adam), and have breathed into him the soul which I created for him; then all of you (i.e. Angels and Jinns) acknowledge his superiority over you. (by prostrating in front of him). (15:29)
Man: Physical and Spiritual Elements.

With the entry of the soul into Adam man became a unit with two dimensions in his personality; viz. a physical and a spiritual.
Some people believe that the physical man cannot access the spiritual world, except through a particular channel, but Islam teaches that in every human being both the physical and spiritual are so created that they can work together for upholding the mission for which man was sent on earth. As a result there is no need for an intermediary to get to God. Allah tells us about this in the Holy Qur’an in many places. For example, He says:
He is with you where so ever you may be. (57:4)
And when My servants ask you concerning Me, I am indeed close (to them). I listen to the prayer of every suppliant when he calls on Me. (2:186)
The physical body is like a vehicle for the soul. It can impact upon it in a negative way, by doing what is prohibited; or in a positive way by doing what is permissible. It can keep the soul bright and shinning, or it can put stains on the soul, thereby preventing its light from penetrating the cells of the body. When the light of the soul reaches all the cells of the body, and that person dies, he or she will be resurrected on Judgment Day with a brightened countenance.
Man’s Capacity:
Allah has given man a tremendous capacity and capability, as His Representative on earth; and has made available for his use and benefit, all that is in the skies and the earth. He says:
It is Allah Who has created the skies and the earth, and sends down rain from the skies; and with it brings out fruits wherewith you are fed. It is He Who has made the ships subject to you; that you may sail through the sea by His Command; and the rivers has He made (also).  And He has made subject to you the sun and the moon, both diligently pursuing their courses; and the night and the day He has also made subject to you. And He gives you all that you ask for; but if you were to count the favors of Allah, never will you be able to number them. (14:32-34)
Regarding the spiritual dimension of the personality, if properly managed and maintained, man can ascend as a person above the skies and can have experiences of what has been described in the Holy Qur’an as the “Unseen”. Every single person can have religious experiences of the “Unseen” if he or she lives a righteous life.
Man’s Mission:

Allah appointed man as His Khalifah, (Vicegerent) on the earth. He is supposed to always keep in mind that he is a traveler here, as the earth is not his permanent abode. One needs to constantly remind himself that he is on a journey back to his Lord. Muslims says this very often. It is mentioned in the Qur’an in the following verse:
(Those who have patience) when they are affected with a calamity remind themselves that they came from Allah and to Him is the returning. (2:156)
While on earth, man has been given certain responsibilities. The most important is to acknowledge the fact that we are all creatures and there is only one Creator. And the creatures are not in any way like the Creator. Allah tells us about this in a very simple statement He made in the Holy Qur’an. He says:
and there is none like unto Him. (112:4)
Even though we are creatures and cannot be like the Creator, we can behave like Him in some ways. He says:
So set thy face steadily and truly to the Faith; the nature of Allah is the Nature He has given man, there is no change in the law of Allah, that is the Upright way, but a lot of people cannot understand. (30:30)
The best of the Lords representative that have passed through the earth was Prophet Muhammad (pboh). Allah tells us about this in the Holy Qur’an. He says that:
The Prophet (pboh) never said anything of his own desire. (53:2-3)
He had the most perfect personality. (33:21)
He is the lamp that gives light. (33:46)
He continuously invited the people to Allah (33:46)

If one should follow the example given to us by Prophet Muhammad (pboh) he or she would become a friend of the Lord and an asset in society. He will spread peace in the earth; he will demonstrate love and compassion; he will be a trustworthy, sincere person, he will not be a hypocrite; and will not harbor hate, malice, jealousy, selfishness, greed, etc. He will receive from his Lord special guidance in all his undertakings.

Muslims are specially blessed as they have the opportunity to read and recite the unadulterated Words of the Lord, in the form of the Holy Qur’an.

The Blessed Tree:

A truly successful person in this world is one who can be defined as a blessed tree; that is a person who:

(a) Is able to ascend close to the Lord
(b) Is able to provide shade to passers-by.
(c) Is able to supply juicy, delicious fruits to the hungry.

Allah tells us about such a person in the form of a parable in the Holy Qur’an. He says:

Don’t you see how Allah sets forth a parable? A goodly world is like a goodly tree, whose roots are firmly fixed (in the earth) and its branches reach the skies. It brings fruits at all times, by the leave of the Lord. (14:24-25)

Every human being should try to be a goodly tree that is capable to provide help to the weary, thirsty, hungry, tired passer-by; and at the same time observing high moral principles.

How fasting helps?

Fasting in Ramadan is one of the Institutions in Islam that is designed to nurture and cultivate the qualities that will make a person fit to stand happily in the presence of the Lord on one hand, and to become a useful, sincere and truthful member of society on the other.
It impacts upon the individuals through what is called Tazkiyah-e-Nafs i.e. by trimming out all the unwanted qualities and desires in the individuals; in other words by pruning our trees, so that we can grow and bear sweet juicy fruits. Tazkiya has a physical, moral and spiritual program for making the individual a true and reliable representative of the Lord here on the earth.
In addition it is one of the opportunities to have all of one’s past sins forgiven, and it also helps the individuals to ascend higher on the way back to the Lord.
Perhaps, this one of the reasons for celebrating Eid, as the believer who kept the fast and did extra worship feels elevated in the sight of Allah.
The Way Forward:
Allah has given us a beautiful example of how we should conduct ourselves in this life, even if the environment is harsh and oppressive. He says:
and Verily In cattle (too) will ye find an instructive sign. from what is within their bodies between excretions and blood, we produce, for your drink, milk, pure and agreeable to those who drink it. (16:66)
Let us endeavour to continue to improve our lives, through submission and worship on one hand; and by dedicated service to humanity on the other. When this is done we all will become beautiful blessed trees in this world, and very important persons in the next, as we all will enter Paradise  by a special gate called Rayyaan, reserved for all those who kept the fast sincerely for the sake of Allah.
And let us all this day make a firm resolution that we will keep our milk pure by doing what is good and staying away from the evil.
May Allah forgive us for our past mistakes and guide and protect us for the remainder of our lives.
Maulana Dr. Waffie Mohammed


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