Be Like Adam's Son: The Qur'an and Attributing Trespasses to God's Will

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The Qur'an scolds those who deny their responsibility for their sins, "Those who give partners to Allah will say: 'If Allah had wished, we should not have given partners to Him, nor would our fathers; nor should we have had any taboos.'" (6:148) They claim that it is God's will that they attribute associates to Him, but the verse goes on to say, "So did their ancestors argue falsely, until they tasted of Our wrath. Say: 'Have you any certain knowledge? If so, produce it before us. You follow nothing but conjecture: you do nothing but lie.'" (6:148) It may be noted that this latter half of the verse has several things to say about the various ways of justification that those people are using: that what they say is not unlike what people used to say in the past, so they may just look at history and see; that such practice would only cause destruction and suffering "until they tasted of Our wrath"; that those people do not put forth any concrete evidence for their behavior " Have you any certain knowledge? If so, produce it before us," that what those people say is claims that are based on only whims and desires.

The words of the next verse are also important, "Say: 'With Allah is the argument that reaches home: if it so had been His Will, He could indeed have guided you all,'" (6:149) for if people are led astray they must not think that they do it against God's will or in spite of Him. God is able to make people just behave as is ordained for them, and the sun and moon and stars prove that it is easy for God to do so; but it is His will that a human should bear the responsibility. (I devoted a whole book to this idea, Until They Change that Which Is in Their Own Souls, but I do not claim, either about that book or about this, that I have exhausted this topic. More and more researches must be written about it.) The point is that God will not change people's condition unless and until they change proportionate things in their thoughts, attitudes, values, convictions, etc.

But unfortunately many people would not come to embracing truth by considering the correctness of what they are admonished to consider. They would not believe until they have suffered enough to awaken.

How much good I expect the young men and young women to do if they take up such topics and elaborate on them. Not only research and exploration! We need courses to be run, and numbers of people to attend to have their way of viewing things transformed into something more enlightened. Indeed, thinking of the future helps me be hopeful. I can imagine how when people take up these ideas, they will have peace in their heart, the peace of right guidance, in the same way as Abraham realized, and declared it, "It is those who believe and do not confuse their beliefs with wrong – that are truly in security, for they are on right guidance." (6:82) And people will wonder then how it was not clear to our generation.

It helps us a lot to think of the time we were right-guided, and the way we came to lose right-mindedness.

Toynbee has something relevant here. He describes how civilization starts with the creative elite. This group has found the simple solutions, solutions that save effort and time, and they lead society with the creative tunes on their flute. During this period they can tap the best abilities of society, to mobilize people for the best objectives. But later on, the results do not match the efforts expended; there is major disproportion between the amount of effort and the result of this effort. Now there will be a decline and then collapse in civilization. People's eagerness to put in effort relaxes, and they are less willing to work hard: of course they would not be willing, for the elite no longer produce creative and fruitful solutions. And now, the flute in the hand of the elite is changed into a stick or whip for beating people into marching ahead. So he determines the time of decline and collapse as when the creative elite has been metamorphosed into a dominant and tyrannical elite.

God gives us the example of the blessed effort: it is compared to a grain that produces seven stalks, each bearing a hundred grains (2:261). And we can see this in reality; how some nations put in a great deal of effort, hardly reaping enough to reward their effort; while other nations' work is rewarded with great results.

God has created the world to be in the service of a human, and to employ the world you need to know the way to brining out its potential at the minimum effort. We have to take responsibility for bringing out the children's potentials. A human must be accountable for what happens to him/her, "Truly he succeeds that purifies it [his soul], and he fails that corrupts it," as the Qur'an says (91:9-10).

Has not the human discovered electricity and found in it a great source of energy? Why do not we discover the great energy of having the right-guided thinking? Do not we like to get out of a life of chaos, aberration, hatred and oppression? Is not the way open to that good thinking? Indeed, there is a difference between the discovery of electricity and the discovery of right-mindedness. For we need for the latter to discover a human, the potentials of this paragon of creation, a creature that can be 'in the best of moulds ' or 'the lowest of the low' (as in the Qur'an, 95:4, and 5). It is indeed deplorable that a human's growth is frustrated and stunted; he/she has the ability to go ahead and be creative. People lived so many millenniums before agriculture, and lived many millenniums before domesticating animals, and then they had control here and there; but now they need to cross this threshold of misguidance into good guidance. We need first to understand how it settled in our minds that the right policy in dealing with a human is to use the stick. How it happened that we seem antagonistic to exploration and acquiring knowledge; how we do not feel attracted to delving into the mysteries of things; how we seem not be curious about the hidden secrets; why we do not know how we stunt the child's growth, how we stifle his/her curiosity, how we stifle the love of exploration and the unearthing of mysteries. Is it not the most splendid faculty of a human's that we kill? It is strange how we think of extracting all there is to extract from animals and plants and earth, but try hard to prevent a human being from offering what he/she can offer? Why do we impede progress? What makes us inspire the individual to believe that things cannot be changed? Why do we instill into minds that a human will always change to more chaos, destruction and mischief? It is teaching the positive and creative and going up and ahead that the Qur'an expects of us when it calls to 'rashad, right-mindedness.'