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 The status of man in Islam

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PostSubject: The status of man in Islam   Fri Jul 08, 2011 9:32 am

The status of man in Islam

There is a book entitled The civilisation of Islam, written by Von Grau Neebaum, an orientalist of Austrian origin and translated by Professor Abdul Aziiz Tawfiiq Jaawiid, within the project of "The thousand books", which is sponsored by the Directorate of General Culture" in the Ministry of Education and Instruction.

In this book there are many errors about Islam, its beliefs, legislation, civilisation and history. This is a situation that cannot be avoided when a book about Islam is written by an orientalist whose religion is not Islam, and who does not believe in the revelation of the Qur'an, and in the Prophet Mohammed. It is certain that such an orientalist will explain Islam and its heritage in accordance with what would suit his preconceptions about it.

The professor, who translated the book, made a few comments about these errors. But, first, he did not understand the book fully; second, his comments were not adequate, and third, he separated the comments from the parts commented upon and inserted the former at the end of the book. At this point, our object is not to criticise the whole book, suffice it to quote an example of the deviation of the author from the truth that the translator did not comment upon. The author said in the section entitled "The Perfect Man", (p. 283): "Since its beginning, Islam gave man only little consideration, and the Qur'an tends to convince him with the weakness of his bodily origin, thus it describes the creation of the individual and his evolution in detail as follows: "Verily, We created man from a product of wet earth; then placed him as a drop (of seed) in a safe of lodging; then fashioned We the drop a clot, then fashioned We the clot a little lump, then fashioned We the little lump bones, then clothed the bones with flesh, and then produced it as another creation'(Surah 23, verses 12,13,14.) .

So, man does not have any pride since his beginning. Not only is he made of insignificant matter, but is also weak and lacks all feeling from the time he comes into life. Only the will of God preserves his existence that is surrounded by dangers. He is also the aim of ills and pains, and is subject to hunger and thirst whether he likes it or not. In spite of the fact that he likes knowledge, ignorance is his only share. He likes to remember but always forgets. He might make all kinds of plans for his safety but he never reaches the point of certainty over his life or his place.

Al Ghazzali says as he contemplates his situation: "His end is nothing but death, which leads him to the quiet feeling that accompanies his beginnings and which turns him into a smelly corpse.

Minimal contemplation of the foundations of Islam responds to the allegations of the author concerning the little consideration that Islam gives to man, and invalidates the evidence he brings about what he alleged.

In order to make this point, and as clearly stated in his references, the author purposely used words that were mentioned by Imam Al Ghazali in his book " Al Kibr" in " Al Ihya". Words like the ones mentioned by Al Ghazali are inadequate as basic evidence for an extremely important principle which concerns the status of man in Islam. He only mentioned them in the context of exposing ways of curing arrogance, and that of addressing the arrogants, and as it is said, there is to each context an appropriate discourse.

He wants to remind the arrogant of his days of weakness when he was a foetus in his mother's womb, or even when he was nothing to speak of and could absolutely not do without his God: "Hath there come upon man (ever) any period of time in which he was a thing unremembered ? Lo! We create man from a drop of thickened fluid to test him; so We make him hearing, knowing. Lo! We have shown him the way, whether he be grateful or disbelieving" (. Surah 76, verses 1, 2, 3.) .

After quoting these verses (. Page 309 of his book Kibr rub'u al muhlikat, published by Mustapha Al Baabii Al Halabii, 1346 H.), Al Ghazali said: "This means that he brought him to life after he had been a dead object, in the form of dirt, first, then as a drop. He made him hear after he had been deaf, and made him see after he had been blind and made him strong after he had been weak, and taught him after he had been ignorant. He also created limbs for him, including all their amazing gifts and after he had not had them. He also made him rich after he had been poor, and clothed him after he had been bare, and led him to the right path after he had gone astray. Then, look how he created and made him, and He led him to the right path. When it comes to tyranny he becomes an idolater and when it comes to ignorance, he excels. "Hath not man seen that We have created him from a drop of seed ? Yet lo! He is an open opponent'. (Surah 36, verse 77.) "And of His signs is this: He created you of dust, and behold you human beings, ranging widely!'.( Surah 30, verse 20.)

Consider also how the favours of Allah upon him raised him from insignificance, ridicule and dirt (the dirt of the earth and the dirt of the sperm) and raised him to this glorification and honour. So, he became a being after void and became alive after death, and was bestowed with speech after he had been dumb, and with sight after he had been blind. He became strong after he had been weak, and knowledgeable after he had been ignorant, and guided after being astray, and capable after having been unable, and rich after being poor. So, in himself he was nothing and there is nothing less than nothing, and then became something by the will of Allah.

This is what Al Ghazali mentioned about man arrogance and the arrogant as triggered by the context of curing arrogance and the arrogant and that does not come up with the result the quoting author reached. Had the author intended to be fair, he would have quoted Al Ghazali's comments on many other occasions, where he showed the status of man in the universe, and his value in the eyes of Allah, and his noble spiritual characteristics. Suffiee it to mention here, what he mentioned in the book of Love in the section on " The safeguarding elements" in his book of "Al Ihyaa' . So after he mentioned that amongst the reasons of love are affinity and resemblance; because resemblance and affinity attract one to the other. He said: "This reason also requires the love of Allah of a latent affinity, not referring to resemblance in looks and shapes, but to underlying meanings, some of which may be mentioned in books, while others are not allowed to be mentioned" (. p. 263, of the book of love, in the section of "The Safeguarding Elements".).

What may be mentioned is the nearness of the subject to his God Almighty in the divine qualities which He ordered man to imitate and acquire to the point of assuming the morality of divinity. This is why it said: "Assume the morality of Allah, by acquiring the good qualities which are the divine ones, and those of knowledge, good deeds, virtue, the pouring of bounty on humans, giving them advice, and guiding them to truth, and preventing them from committing injustice, among other aspects of the rules of Islamic law". All this makes us nearer to Allah Almighty, not in the sense of nearness in space, but in qualities.

What is disallowed from appearing in books, concerns the special affinity which is special to the human being' is what Allah Almighty alludes to in His verse: "They are asking thee concerning the spirit. Say: The spirit is by command of my Lord" (. Surah 17, verse 85.). So He Showed that it is divine matter that is beyond the bounds of the human mind. And, even clearer than that is His verse: "And when I have fashioned him and breathed into him of My spirit". (Surah 38, verse 72.). And that is why He made His angels prostrate to Him. This is also referred to in His verse: "Lo! We have set thee as a viceroy in the earth" (Surah 33, verse 26, concerning the prophet Daawuud (Peace upon him), the first form of this verse is from Surah 2, verse 30 which stated "Lo! I am about to place a viceroy in the earth" and concerns the father of humanity Adam (Peace upon ), so he thought that is what Al Ghazalwas referring to. ). Meaning that Adam did not deserve being God's viceroy except on that affinity.

That is what the Prophet (PBUH) refers to in his saying: "God Created Adam on the basis of His Own image". Upon this, short-minded people thought that picture can only refer to the apparent picture that is perceived by the senses; so they made references to Allah's resemblance, in body and image. Allah is much greater than what the ignorant say.

That is the reference that we find in His saying to Moses (Peace upon him), "I was ill and you did not visit me. He said: "How is that my Lord ?" He said, "My subject so and so was ill and you did not pay him a visit. Had you visited him, you would havefound me there''(. See Sahiih Al Jaami' Al saghiir, 1916).

This affinity is created only thanks to perseverance on the supererogatory performance after insuring the obligations, as Allah Says - in the Hadith Qudsi -: "As long as my subject endeavours to be closer to me by observing the supererogatory performance I Keep loving him, when I Love him I become the hearing that he hears with, and the sight that he sees with... ", etc.

The verse used by the orientalist to make his point, and which shows the stages of the creation of man from a drop of sperm, into a clot, and then into a lump, etc..., does not aim at persuading man of the weakness of his bodily origin - as the author says - but like similar verses, it aims at replying to the people who denied the world of the hereafter, and the Day of Reckoning after death, and who have discarded as remote the possibility of man's resuscitation after death. These verses were revealed to draw the attention of the people who deny the resuscitation in the hereafter to the first creation, it also warns the sleepy minds to the power of Allah the Great, who Created man from a weak state, and turned that into strength as we can read in God Almighty's words: "And man saith: When I am dead, shall If orsooth be broughtforth alive ? Doth not man remember that We created him before, when he was naught" (Surah 19, verses 66,67) "Hath not man seen that We have created him from a drop of seed ? Yet lo! He is an open opponent. And he hath coined for Us a similitude, and hath forgotten the fact of his creation, saying: Who will revive these bones when they have rotted away? Say: He will revive them Who produced them at the first, for He is Knower of every creation " ( Surah 36, verses 77, 78,79).

So, how can a fair mind understand from the context of these verses that their object is to belittle man? And that Islam attributes to man little consideration. Islam has given man much consideration in scores of verses and in scores of surahs. It is sufficient to realise, that the first set of divine verses revealed on the heart of the Prophet (PBUH), which amount to five in number, did not ignore man and his relationship with his God: the relationship of the creation and being, the relationship of instruction and guidance to the right path. These verses selected the word God, as it gives the feeling of education, sponsorship, and promotion in the hierarchy of perfection: "Read: in the name of thy Lord Who createth, createth man from a clot. Read: And thy Lord is the Most Bounteous, Who teacheth by the pen, Teacheth man that which he knew not" (. Surah 96, verses 1, 2, 3, 4,5 )

The Qur'an has clarified the relationship between man and Allah in many verses. This relationship is that of close nearness, which destroyed the legend of the intermediaries, and mercenary agents dealing in religions :"We verily created man and We know what his soul wispereth to him, and We are nearer to him than his jugular vein" (Surah 50, verse 16). "And when My servants question thee concerning Me, then surely I am nigh (Surah 2, verse ]86. ) "and whithersoever ye turn, there's Allah's countenance' .( Surah 2, verse 115) "and He is with you wheresoever ye may be " (Surah 57, verse 4).

The Qur'an also showed the status of man at the level of the highly spiritual signs, and that status has made the angels crane their necks to reach it, but could not. The status referred to here is that of Allah's viceroy in the earth. "They said: Wilt Thou place therein one who will do harm therein and will shed blood, while we, we hymn Thy praise and sanctify Thee? He Said: Surely I know that which ye know not'" (Surah 2, verse 30). The status of he whom Allah has taught language, and commanded his angels to prostrate to him to greet and honour him: "When thy Lord said unto the angels: lo! I am about to create a mortal out of mire, and when I have fashioned him and breathed into him of My Spirit, then fall down before him prostrate, the angels fell down prostrate, every one, savinglblis" (. Surah 38, verses 71, 72, 73).

The fate of man's enemy, who rebelled against Allah's command of greeting and prostrating to His creations the curse and permanent exclusion from paradise. He Says: "Go forth from hence, for lo! thou art outcast, and lo! My curse is on thee till the Day of Judgement" ( Surah 38, verses 77, 78).

The Qur'an has also shown the position of man in the large and materialistic universe, it is the position of the Master to whom Allah made available all there is in the heavens and the earth: "Allah is He Who created the heavens and the earth, and causeth water to descend from the sky, thereby producing fruits as food for you, and maketh the ships to be of service unto you, that they may run upon the sea of His command, and hath made of service unto you the rivers; and maketh the Sun and the Moon, constant in their courses, to be of service unto you, and hath made of service unto you the night and the day. And He giveth you of all ye ask of Him" (. Surah 14, verses 32, 33, 34.).

What offered man this status in the universe - in spite of its huge galaxies? It is his readiness to carry the great trust, i.e. responsibility, which the Qur'an has described in such a great poetic manner: "Lo! We offered the trust unto the heavens and the earth and the hills, but they shrank from bearing it and were afraid of it. And man assumed it'' (.Surah 33, verse 72). A responsibility which puts the fate of every man in his own hands, leading himself either to heaven or to hell: "Oh, but man is a telling witness against himself " (Surah 75, verse 14) "Whosoever goeth right, it is only for (the good of) his own soul that he goeth right, and whosoever erreth, erreth only to its hurt '(Surah 17, verse 15).

This is part of what the Qur'an mentioned about the status of man, it is rich for those who want to look at it fairly, and the following two direct calls with the title of humanity are sufficient evidence: "O man! What hath made thee careless concerning thy Lord, the Bountiful, Who created thee, then fashioned, then proportioned thee? Into whatsoever form He will, He casteth thee" (. Surah 82, verses 6, 7, Cool "Thou, verily, O man, art working toward thy Lord a work which thou wilt meet (in His presence)" (Surah 84, verse 6.).
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