Be Like Adam's Son: A Human Between Purity and Murkiness

From Jawdat Said

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A human can come to a state when he/she no longer can benefit from events that happen before his/her very eyes. This is a human, who can rise to have everything bend to his/her will, and can fall to a point when he/she is less worthy than the humblest of animals.

So do we have the means to have a human opt for the better way? Can we purge spirits that have been tarnished? It is basically the prophets' duty, but we have to take it up, and do not say who am I to do it? There has been Bilal to teach you not to underrate yourself.

Do not say that it must come from God, for God has willed that we start before His guidance comes. There are precedents enough, and examples enough, and the way of the prophets is with us. The world, too, is primed for it, and millions of unsullied spirits are ushered into the world all the time. But we need to present things with so much vividness that no sane person affords to ignore them.

Hence my example about the European Union. For here we have a union that was brought about without any party patronizing or rising above others; it was done on a footing of equality. It is not a stain on it that people have sought material benefit, for the Prophet, peace be upon him, says: "Much good will good money do for a good man." (Reported by Ahmad, and by al-Bukhari in his al-Adab al-Mufrad). It is a big problem, however, if money or status is used to subdue and intimidate others. All the prophets, from Noah until Muhammad, would not accept any charges for their service (as the Qur'an tells us in for example 26:109; 52:40). It must be crystal clear to people that you, the reformer, do not expect any material gain for your advice. On the other hand, the Gulf War was for nothing but material gain. Well, let those who wage such wars not do it in the name of the prophets, for the prophets were not so base. You see what happens to a people who have the wealth but not the knowledge – their money goes down the gutter. So please, reformers, do not try to gain money through your guidance; let the other feel that you are more likely to help with your money than to covet his/her money. That is what one learns from the Qur'an.

I do realize how tremendous the challenge is, but I hope to put right, with all those who accept to take part in the effort, all that has been corrupted. And every time the endeavor will have to start with changing the attitudes and concepts, particularly pride and aggression. This much we learn from the Qur'an. It is something like rediscovering agriculture, for what happens now is something like cutting off the trees, and we need to plant them. It is hard, but feasible.

Let me say here that my job is breeding bees for their honey. And I well remember how, not a very long time ago, the way to collecting honey used to be by killing the bees. It is not a human who taught the bees to produce honey; and then a human came and killed the bees for the honey. But man learned that he does not need to kill the bees, for he can get the honey without killing. Is not this change admirable? But when can we deal with a human in the same way; when can we get a human's honey without having to kill him/her? Did not humankind take control of electricity, not an easy task, and subdued it for serving his purposes?

If the reader does not get the message here, then it must be my fault. I do have a glimpse of the fascinating other world, but maybe I have not succeeded in bringing it to the notice of the reader.

I do see how greatly honored by God a human is! Can you imagine more honoring than enabling a human to have a say in determining the shape of things in the world? The whole world has been put at the service of man. By studying the past, a human is endowed with unlimited potentials and abilities. This much I have learned from history. Those who think that the world has been created for no purpose are not being fair to God; that is what we learn from the Qur'an, "Men who … contemplate the wonders of creation in the heavens and the earth, with the thought: 'Our Lord! You have created all this not for nothing.'" (3:191) And it is our duty to remove the scales from people's eyes. That is the kind of change of souls that is our duty, and it is feasible. Remember that, according to the Qur'an, despair is coupled with disbelief. It is disbelief to sit back and desist from putting in your effort. Disbelief is the creed of the inert and desperate. O man! You are anxious, but you have a history, and you are a very distinguished being, and you have a future. And your God is Merciful and Compassionate. You just turn on the light, and you will see how the darkness will vanish. Learn the laws of the world and you have control over it.

What got into you that you think of destruction and malice? You have been placed in the earth to develop it, not to destroy it. Observe a sick person before treatment and after treatment! See what happens after the sick person has taken the right medicine. You see his face, how bright and lively. That is your task in the sphere of knowledge, to bring the smile back to people's faces. People will look back then and wonder how they lived so long without the light of knowledge. It is like magic, that change.

A human does lose his/her way when he/she rushes things, and tries to reap the fruit before it is ripe. Of course that is not the same thing as seeking the easier and less costly way; it is our duty in fact to save time and effort.

The starting point will be in the domain of a human's relation with other humans. It is so since many people think that with compulsion they can extract more good from a human, and that is great folly. Indeed, to think that with compulsion one can extract more of a human than with persuasion is the worst form of arrogance; it reflects thinking the worst both about God and about humankind. It is really a great waste, since one puts in a lot of time and effort, but reaps very little. Nor does it produce happiness for any party.

So can we observe the European Union without arrogance, since we are urged by the Qur'an to move about in the earth and be alert to God's signs, "And how many Signs in the heavens and the earth do they pass by? yet they turn their faces away from them!" (12:105) Is it not a sign from God that these people have designed and executed their union without compulsion? An unprecedented event in human history!

And the European Union did not descend from heaven. So must we not learn what happened to the Europeans that they were ready for this huge stride? Does not their feat follow laws of human behavior? It is definitely not what we are used to, not through conspiracy or secret ways; nor is it on the basis of Germany above all or France above all. It happened because something got into their minds, that the old ways would not lead to union, nor would any claims of greatness; they realized that it must be 'all for all'.

They achieved it by accepting the supreme principle of faith, that we do not take others for gods, nor claim to be gods; that no one on earth has the right to assume a divine position. It is really an admirable option, the best option. It signifies not only that they no longer needed Napoleon or Hitler; it signifies that the culture that produced Napoleon and Hitler is something of the past.

I think we now begin to believe that we do not need one person like Napoleon or Hitler, maybe unconsciously, but the change is coming over us. We begin to rid ourselves of the culture of compulsion, but the change must go further. When we do change we shall be in communion with God, and get to mature thinking.

And when you succeed in ridding yourself of compulsion, it must be in both senses, in the sense of not compelling others to accept what you take to be true; and in the sense of not succumbing to anybody's attempt to compel you; since you are nobody's god, nor is any one but God your god, "You are not warder over them," as the Qur'an tells us (88:22). Unless you give up compelling or being compelled, you have not abandoned the way of compulsion. And the abandoning of compulsion, in both senses, does not call for a state or an army. This is what Bilal achieved; and if some do not appreciate his achievement, it is because they do not appreciate what it means to opt for good sense. Abraham told his people, as the Qur'an reports, "How should I fear the beings you associate with Allah, when you do not fear to give partners to Allah without any warrant being given to you? Which of us two parties has more right to security? Tell me if you know. It is those who believe and do not confuse their beliefs with wrong – that are truly in security, for they are on right guidance." (6:81-82) He definitely has abandoned the domain of compulsion, in both senses. Compulsion is an idol that you need to give up for guidance to be admitted into your heart, and for the feeling of peace to settle in the heart.

When one of the Prophet's companions was tormented to give up faith, the Prophet told him to agree with his tormentors with words, since his enemies had no control over his heart; they cannot compel his heart, and it is there where belief settles.

So can we say now that compulsion cannot be the way to uprightness? Do we need more experiences and suffering after fourteen centuries?