By May 27, 2024 Read More →

Section Ya-Seen – Part 24

We will continue to study Section Ya-Seen of the Qur’an and try to apply the message as much as we can to our living right now. We talked about how everything is created “singlehandedly” by God for all beings to enjoy. In the creation of things, this Creator is manifesting His Absolute qualities. The Qur’an gives simple examples of milk and cattle as blessings for human beings to enjoy. They can reflect on how these blessings are created without using imaginary and false concepts as interpretations to the existence of those things. They cannot find any reasonable way of explaining existence from within the universe and make up terms to explain creation such as: “nature”, random happenings, matter itself is adjusting itself to the environment. There is no one that can show how matter can choose the best way for its existence by itself. God mentions that “We know what they are doing and what they have in their hearts, i.e. arrogance.”

أَوَلَمْ يَرَ ٱلْإِنسَـٰنُ أَنَّا خَلَقْنَـٰهُ مِن نُّطْفَةٍۢ فَإِذَا هُوَ خَصِيمٌۭ مُّبِينٌۭ

36:77 Do people not see that We have created them from a [mere] fertilized ovum [single cell], yet he becomes a fierce adversary?

In a way the verse is asking me to question my existence. The earlier verse (36:71) has a similar structure asking me to reflect on the creation of each being in the universe whereas here it is more specific to the creation of a human being. Do human beings see, realize and question how we are created from a mere cell? Am I paying attention to how my creation is happening in front of my own eyes? Human beings can become arrogant as if they exist by themselves and turn into a “fierce adversary”. 

Generally, the word “هُوَ” (he) used in the Qur’an means anyone including male and female unless it specifically mentions male (رَجُل) or a female (نِّسَاء) that concerns them, they are specified accordingly. This often comes up as to what gender is being addressed and mostly both genders are applicable unless specified. Both genders are equally created beings having different characters. For example, a woman can give birth to a baby and man cannot. Despite having some differences, they complement and need each other. This is beautifully arranged by the Creator of the universe. Everything is the best as it is created. For example, a bird is the best creature as a bird, a spider is the best creature as a spider. All of them are created by the same Creator, they thus have the same value in front of their Creator. No one can say that a man is better than a woman as they are each created to be the best in their being. No one is superior to the other having their own responsibilities and position. The verse is indicating to be careful not to become arrogant resulting in becoming a fierce adversary of God. 

Why is it that unbelievers can become “fierce adversaries” of their Creator? Does “unbelief” itself have a potential hostility towards one’s Creator?

By denying one’s reality, the truth that they are created beings, one becomes arrogant and hostile to their Creator. If one chooses to be arrogant, they cannot accept themselves as being created, that they need to be taken care of by their Creator. Arrogance (استكبار) does not acknowledge neediness; it denies one being in a needy position. We are always reminded and warned in our living in this world about our pretending to be great by ourselves, not needing a Creator to what our reality is where we are needy in our existence. One may not verbally state that they are against God but claim their independence from being created, their needs are fulfilled by themselves. They claim that they obtain their honor from their own efforts in this world. They do not want to admit that all honor belongs to the Creator. If I don’t want to accept that I am created, the whole idea of a Creator challenges me. I am an inseparable part of the universe and can only stay as a created being, subject to the way things are created by their Creator. I cannot stop my existence, I cannot change my existence, I am as I am, helpless but the ego says “no” to this truth. Either I will submit to my reality to be at peace in my life or I may deny and become arrogant and hostile to reality, thus becoming an enemy of my Creator. 

Within unbelief is the potential hostility to reality and being created resulting in becoming the enemy (خَصِيمٌۭ) of their Creator. The phrase “خَصِيمٌۭ مُّبِينٌۭ” (fierce adversary) is expressed as hyperbole, meaning having a deep-down adversity. This adversity comes from arrogance. Unbelief contradicts belief therefore arrogance contradicts belief, which has the potential hostility against their Creator. As soon as one is in unbelief, that state is bound to turn into hostility toward the Creator of the universe. 

How about the role of ego within a human being? To take an egoistic attitude is an option where one may choose to deny the truth and reject one’s reality. This is a choice one has for either right or wrong, where the wrong is referred to as the ego. In the Qur’an the word used for ego is “نَفْس”. There is no independent ego as it is often confused by some. It is not something externally created that will come to me and influence me to drag me into unbelief, but there is a choice that I have. Human free will is what I am responsible for in my life here. Ego represents my option to negate, either to be loyal to my reality or disloyal to my reality.  I am given complete freedom to choose to either reject my reality, which is an egoistic attitude, or conform to my reality and be loyal to it. When I am loyal to my reality, I am loyal to my Creator. Disloyalty to reality turns into disloyalty to one’s Creator which turns into enmity towards the Creator. Human tendencies are important to be conscious of, i.e. on what basis I am choosing a certain option. I must be careful not to misuse my given free will.

The Prophet (pbuh) always taught the reasonable way to choose, i.e. the best way to act according to one’s reality. He never interfered with or imposed upon anyone’s free will. One is free to believe whatever they want.  Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) never attacked the unbelievers unless it was to defend his body from their attacks. In Islam, no one is supposed to attack anyone’s body even though one may not agree with their understanding. For example, if someone identifies themselves as an unbeliever, I may not like or agree with their ideas, religion, custom or ideology, I cannot physically attack their body as they are free to practice their religion. 

Some mention that the Islamic belief is backwards, lacking freedom of individuals, and that they are much more civilized. There is no real Islamic administration-run county anymore. If one speaks against an administration, they are imprisoned as they are not free in the countries where the people who identify themselves as Muslims. Islam says that everyone is free considering that they don’t harm others. It is meant to be the most conforming human administration. The Qur’an mentions that I must submit to my Creator, adhere to the pledge of Allegiance to my Creator. The right of public values must be respected. Just like when one comes to the United States, they accept their rules and pledge their allegiance to the rules of the administration. The administration gave them permission to practice their private life, private understanding, and practice of religion. That is why one would give their pledge of allegiance to the American administration. 

In Islam, submission is extended further beyond the administration of a country, to my Creator. I must respect public life and values that people prefer to live in this world. For example, I should not be bothered by how people live inside their house, but I don’t want to see anyone drunk in public as that encourages others and normalizes it in society resulting in vice. I respect public values and a healthy society; however, my submission and allegiance must be to God.

In an Islamic state, no one can say to anyone that they cannot enter their territory or prevent anyone from establishing their religious institution that teaches their ideology. This is far beyond the freedom that is currently promoted in the western world who claim to be the most civilized nations, i.e. these developed nation’s administrations are far behind the Islamic administration rules. Islam says to submit to God along with respecting other beings and their rights. Civilized people of this time say that your submission must be to the administration. Islam connects me to my Creator and makes me responsible in my bodily actions and my spirit to my Creator. Today’s civilization wants me to submit my bodily and spiritual side to the administration where there is no God. In Islam my spirit is responsible to my Creator whereas my body is responsible to the local administration. Islam says that first I must train my spirit and then my actions are done accordingly to submit to my Creator. 

Nowadays, everywhere including Muslim countries have become like westernized countries. Which civilization is most appropriate to human freedom? In Islamic literature, the religion of Islam is called “the religion of great humanity” encompassing the spiritual human capacity. In western civilizations, things are reduced to bodily existence only. Western civilization has set up wrong concepts such as “time is money” whereas in Islam, time is the continuation of creation which is the blessing of the Creator of the universe. Human beings have lost their honor by becoming only a “speaking animal” whereas the Qur’an mentions that the  capacity of the human is so large as to be equal to the value of the whole universe. When one kills an innocent person, it is as if he is killing all human beings, which equates to killing the whole universe. This is turning the whole universe into something meaningless. 

Can an unbeliever be indifferent to God’s existence? No, unbelief, in its essence, means to be hostile to God’s existence. There are people who claim to believe in God, some who are ignorant to their reality where they neither deny nor confirm, i.e. they don’t care about God. We must be careful in not labeling people as deniers “kafir”. Rather we must demonstrate in our practical lives that belief in God is the best way of living in this world. We can share and show how belief in God makes one feel in their lives, happy with their Creator. I am happy in submitting with belief to my Creator. The Qur’an prohibits the use of force on anyone to practice Islam. 

Does this hostility reflect itself on believers as well? It may affect believers as well, which is why we must be careful. For example, when wars happen, they may not see any value in other human beings other than their own countrymen. Can a believer have any hostile feelings towards unbelievers? The hostility must be towards the ideas of unbelief. There is a verse in the Qur’an 60:8

لَّا يَنْهَىٰكُمُ ٱللَّهُ عَنِ ٱلَّذِينَ لَمْ يُقَـٰتِلُوكُمْ فِى ٱلدِّينِ وَلَمْ يُخْرِجُوكُم مِّن دِيَـٰرِكُمْ أَن تَبَرُّوهُمْ وَتُقْسِطُوٓا۟ إِلَيْهِمْ ۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ يُحِبُّ ٱلْمُقْسِطِينَ

60:8 God does not forbid you from dealing kindly and fairly with those who have neither fought nor driven you out of your homes. Surely Allah loves those who are fair.

As long as they don’t physically attack us, and they don’t drive us out of our homes, I should try to maintain peace. The Qur’an mentions to keep a peaceful, just relationship with them. I would be sorry for them; they are missing peaceful feelings in their lives. We are made not to want to hurt people. We must learn to address them in a friendly way, and talk to them according to their level of understanding. Section Al-Kafirun (Deniers) of the Qur’an mentions:

لَكُمْ دِينُكُمْ وَلِىَ دِينِ 

109:6 For you is your religion, and for me is my religion

In matters of belief, I practice my religion and I must accept that everyone is free to practice his religion. In my worldly relations, I need to be kind to them.

Unbelief means to contradict one’s reality, hurting oneself as if denying oneself from having a peaceful life. Along with having a kind relationship with people, we should be concerned so that they can also have a peaceful life. We see in the example of the Prophetic life where he (pbuh) was exhausting himself out of concern for people’s life in this world as well as in the hereafter. I must try my best to have a kind relationship with them, convey the message to them, call them to accept their reality, and submit to their Creator to have a peaceful life. We must stop being arrogant to have a meaningful life. My Creator has given me the option to choose, use my free will freely. Even some Muslims may be arrogant as they don’t understand what their religion teaches them. 

To summarize, as long as the unbelievers don’t attack or harm physically, I must deal with them kindly. First, I must practice “belief in God” myself where I am submitting my being to my Creator, by accepting that I am created, have a Lord, and not being arrogant to my reality, and then share it with others. We must bring the message of the Qur’an to our practical life right now, have that relationship where I enjoy the message in my living now. I must learn the principles of understanding the Qur’an, realize that it is the most essential education that I need in my life.

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