Be Like Adam's Son: Foreword

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Praise be to God; may peace be upon His chosen prophets, and upon those who call to justice and mercy.

I take up here an approach to the main dilemma of human life on this planet; I tackle this issue in the light of the story of Adam's two sons, as related by God in His Scripture, the Qur'an (5:27-31). In that parable, we have two distinct methods of dealing with life's problems, since one of Adam's sons tried to get over the problem by killing the other, like a doctor trying to get over the disease by killing the patient; and the other held back his hand, and affirmed that killing could not be the right solution.

I may mention here that it is fortunate that I propound my idea at this juncture in time, when mankind happens to be primed for comprehending the method of Adam's son. Humankind has almost understood, through lots and lots of suicidal trials, that violence is just not the way. For my part, I have devoted all my humble effort to bringing this fact to the notice of humankind. I have no doubt that later studies will greatly overshadow my effort. My only accomplishment would be then that I have shaken the sleepers to open their eyes and see things from a vantage point that they had never suspected to exist.

So let us start with this point. One big hurdle that prevents Arabs and Muslims from probing their dilemmas is Israel. But they seem to forget in this respect that our real problem is not Israel, nor the imperial powers. A more basic problem that lurks behind our tragic conditions is that we suffer from certain mental drawbacks for which neither Israel, nor any imperial power, are responsible. Long ago the Qur'an warned us to look for our troubles in the right place: " Say: 'It is from yourselves.'" (3:165) If any still have doubts that our basic ills lie within our souls, let them remember the Second Gulf War, when we forgot about Israel, and were sure that more important than Israel were the disputes among us – we even summoned those same imperial powers to help us defeat our domestic 'enemy.'

Just make peace among yourselves, with each other, and you will see, Arabs and Muslims, how the world will respect you, will try to win your favor; and you will see how America will turn its back on Israel; because America has always changed sides when it proved more profitable to do so.

The point here is that no one can subjugate us unless we agree to be subjugated. But if we still refuse to learn, then more catastrophes and more scourge will force us one day to learn, though after we have paid for our failure to open our ears and eyes earlier. We shall have to learn, if not through learning from history, then from more pain and catastrophes. The Qur'an is replete with exhortation to look and listen and think, as in this verse, "And how many signs in the heavens and earth do they pass by? Yet they turn their faces away from them." (12:105)

Can we for instance envision a future situation in which we have really established peace among ourselves, peace whereby no one will have to jeopardize anything, neither territory, nor position? Can our intellectuals perceive that? It will be clear then that what we need is not the great hero that comes forth and forces us by might into a unified body. For as long as we keep waiting for the one man to come and draw us out of the abyss we shall never find our way.

But I am sure that the light of day is coming, because of what God has promised, "Their intention is to extinguish Allah's Light by blowing with their mouths; but Allah will complete the revelation of His Light," (61:8) and on the basis of what I have seen and heard in this world.

Beer Ajam (a village southwest of Syria), 6/11/1996