Sunday, 25 August 2013
Man: The Special Creation
بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ
The following is a transcript of a talk by Mawlana Waffie Mohammed, on the 05th August 2013.
Human beings are special because their origin is different from the rest of Creation. First of all, when Allah (s.w.t.) decided to Create the universe, He Gave a Divine Command, “Be,” and 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 (s.w.t.) Tells us about this in the following verse of the Holy Qur’an. He Says:
Do not the disbelievers see that the heavens and the earth were joined together (as one unit of Creation), before We Clove them asunder? We Made from water every living thing. Will they not then believe? (Surah al-Anbiya’:30)
The cosmos and the earth were perfected in six periods called ‘days’ in the Holy Qur’an. The length of these ‘days’ varied greatly. When the earth was Perfected, and all the plants and animals were already Created, Allah (s.w.t.) 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:
He Who has Made everything which He has Created most Good. He began the Creation of Man with (nothing more than) clay. And Made his progeny from a quintessence of the nature of a fluid despised: But He Fashioned him in due proportion, and Breathed into him something of His Spirit. And He Gave you (the faculties of) hearing and sight and feeling (and understanding): little thanks do ye give! (Surah as-Sajdah:7-9)
The soul is 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 (s.w.t.) Says:
They ask thee concerning the spirit (of inspiration). Say: “The Spirit (cometh) by Command of my Lord. Of knowledge, it is only a little that is communicated to you (O men!)” (Surah al-Isra’:85)
All other forms of light were Created as part of the universe. Allah (s.w.t.) Tells us about this in the following verse:
In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
Praise be to Allah, Who Created the heavens and the earth, and Made the darkness and the light … (Surah al-An’am:1)
Perhaps, the light of the earth began when Allah (s.w.t.) Created the solar system. He Says:
Allah is He Who Raised the heavens without any pillars that ye can see; then He Established Himself on the Throne (of authority); He has Subjected the Sun and the Moon (to His law)! Each one runs (its course) for a term appointed ... (Surah ar-Ra’ad:2)
Regarding the soul of Man, it was only when Adam (a.s.) was Created and Perfected physically, that a special spark of refined light was Created and Commanded to enter into the chest of Adam (a.s.). Allah (s.w.t.) Tells us about this in the following verse:
“When I have Fashioned him (in due proportion) and Breathed into him of My Spirit, fall ye down in obeisance unto him.” (Surah al-Hijr:29)
With the entry of the soul into Adam (a.s.), Man became a unit with two dimensions in his personality; 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 (s.w.t.) tells us about this in the Holy Qur’an in many places. For example, He Says:
... And He is with you wheresoever ye may be ... (Surah al-Hadid:4)
When My servants ask thee concerning Me, I am indeed Close (to them); I listen to the prayer of every suppliant when he calleth on Me ... (Surah al-Baqarah: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 Judgement Day with a brightened countenance.
Allah (s.w.t.) 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 hath Created the heavens and the earth and Sendeth down rain from the skies and with it bringeth out fruits wherewith to feed you; it is He Who hath Made the ships subject to you that they may sail through the sea by His Command; and the rivers (also) hath He Made subject to you. And He hath Made subject to you the sun and the moon, both diligently pursuing their courses: and the night and the day hath He (also) Made subject to you. And He Giveth you of all that ye ask for. But if ye count the Favours of Allah never will ye be able to number them ... (Surah Ibrahim: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.
Allah (s.w.t.) 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:
Who say: when afflicted with calamity, “To Allah we Belong and to Him is our Return.” (Surah al-Baqarah: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 (s.w.t.) 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. (Surah al-Ikhlasw:4)
Even though we are creatures and cannot be like the Creator, we can behave like Him in some ways. He Says:
So set thou thy face steadily and truly to the faith: (establish) Allah’s handiwork according to the pattern on which He has Made mankind: no change (let there be) in the work (wrought) by Allah: that is the standard religion: but most among mankind understand not. (Surah ar-Rum:30)
The best of the Lord’s representative that have passed through the earth was Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.). Allah (s.w.t.) Tells us about this in the Holy Qur’an. He Says:
Nor does he say (aught) of (his own) desire. (Surah an-Najm:3)
Ye have indeed, in the Messenger of Allah, a beautiful pattern (of conduct) ... (Surah al-Ahzab:21)
And as one who invites to Allah’s (Grace) by His leave, and as a lamp spreading light. (Surah al-Ahzab:46)
If one should follow the example given to us by Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) he 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. 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.
A truly successful person in this world is one who can be defined as a blessed tree; that is a person who is able to ascend close to the Lord; is able to provide shade to passers-by; and is able to supply juicy, delicious fruits to the hungry.
Allah (s.w.t.) Tells us about such a person in the form of a parable in the Holy Qur’an. He Says:
Seest thou not how Allah Sets forth a parable? ― A goodly word like a goodly tree, whose root is firmly fixed, and its branches (reach) to the heavens ― It brings forth its fruit at all times, by the leave of its Lord. So Allah Sets forth parables for men, in order that they may receive admonition. (Surah Ibrahim: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.
Fasting in Ramadhan 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 tazkiyyah an-nafs, 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. Tazkiyyah has a physical, moral and spiritual programme 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 is one of the reasons for celebrating ‘Iyd, as the believer who kept the fast and did extra worship feels elevated in the Sight of Allah(s.w.t.).
Allah (s.w.t.) 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. (Surah an-Nahl: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 Rayyan, reserved for all those who kept the fast sincerely for the sake of Allah (s.w.t.). 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 (s.w.t.) Forgive us for our past mistakes and Guide and Protect us for the remainder of our lives.