Reflections on Faith (1) By Muhammad Mitwaly Ash-Sha'rawy
In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
I praise you my Lord, and ask for your aid, and I pray that peace be upon the best of your creations, our prophet Mohammad.
Man has to know the reason behind the existence of the whole world. He has to understand who that world is serving so that he could figure out the reason behind his existence and to know for whom he has been created. For no doubt, when man examines the whole universe, using both what his senses can feel and what his mind can deduce, he will find himself the master of all genera.
If superiority in the universe is defined by servanthood and mastership, then by looking at the kingdom of Allah (SWT), man will find that he is the master of every thing else in the universe. All genera serve him: the genus right beneath him, which is the animals, and the genus beneath the animals, which is the plants, and what is beneath the plants, which is the inanimate beings. Those genera are classified with great wisdom, such that the inferior genus would serve all genera superior to it.
For example, the inanimate beings that we see around us, such as the sun, the moon, the mountains, the elements of the earth and the water, they all serve the genera above them. They serve the plants and provide it with food and all the elements required for its growth. They also serve animals providing it with the essential elements for its survival and continuance. The inanimate beings also serve man, providing him with all the necessary elements of life.
If we ascend one level to the plants, we do not find it serving its inferior genus, which is the inanimate beings, but serving the superior genera to it which are the animals and the human beings. If we ascend one more time to the animals, we still will not find it serving its inferiors, but again serving its superior genus, which is the human being. Then the circle of servanthood stops, and we do not find any other genera that man would serve. So the servanthood in the whole universe has stopped at the level of man and now man should look for his mission in this world.
The inanimate beings have a mission to do in serving the plants, animals and human beings, and the plants have a mission to do in serving the animals and the humans. Also the animals have a mission to do for the humans. And then servanthood stops. So man, what is your mission as a human being? And who are you serving in this world? You have been deceived by your innovation of a lot of the secrets of the universe. And as a rational being with the ability to reason you ought to have understood your mission first, before you try to figure out the mission of others serving you.
This is the first task for the mind: man has to look for his mission in life. If he does not search for it, then he must consider himself lower than the inanimate beings, less significant than the plants, and more trivial than the animals. But how would the master be less important than the servant? Therefore, man as a master ought to have a mission appropriate to his mastership over the rest of the genera.
This is one stance that man ought to stand. There is yet another stance: You as a human being served by all other genera, when did those genera serve you? Did they serve you after you possessed a mind, and after you have used that mind to control them and make them serve you? Or did those genera serve you before you obtained your mind and before you had the ability to reason? Did they serve you because they are under your control following your commands? Did you command the sun to shine, the moon to rise, the air to move and the sky to rain? Definitely, you did not have power over any of this! You were not supposed to accept your existence in life in such a passive attitude, where you only benefit from others. Your duty is to look for your own mission in this world so that you would not be less significant than those beneath you.
Everything else serves you, and who do you serve? You ought to examine that and give it some thought. Suppose that you were alone at home with no one else around you and then you woke up and found a table with a variety of food set for your breakfast. Is it not common sense to use your own mind and try to find out who set up the table for you?
In this world, you are just like that person who found things at his service, without having power over them and without even knowing about them. It is your duty as a human being to search for whoever created those things and made them subservient to you, without you having any power over them and even before you got your own mind. Allah bestows mercy on people to lead them out of their negligence by sending them messengers to solve those mysteries: Who provided you with those things that you have no power over them? And who has made them subservient to you before even you can have any power to control them? The messengers came to solve this mystery for us. So when Allah (SWT) sent His messenger, you ought to have listened carefully to them so that you can get the puzzle sorted out. By that you would regain your value in this world, instead of being a negligible person without a function or a determined mission. You should have listened to the messenger and obeyed him better than deafening your ears and turning away from him. This is another absolute foolishness.
The first irrational act from you is ignoring your mission. And the second one is that you turned away from those who came to solve the mystery for you. However, Allah is merciful and He continued to send his messengers to remind us because he is the All Merciful God. He knows the negligence of the human being. He sent the messengers so that no one could claim that he did not know. But did Allah (SWT) send the messengers to establish those matters of servanthood and mastership? Of course not, those rules have always been there, He (SWT) sent the messengers to remind the people. So normally the concept of mans mission in life should be well known, and at a point in time man forgets his role and then Allah (SWT) would send His messenger as a mere reminder to the people.
People who came much later than Adam are the ones who faced this dilemma. For the first man created who represents the first father to all of us has witnessed it all. Adam witnessed Allah creating him with His glory hands. He witnessed the breathing of Allahs spirit into himself. He witnessed the angles prostrate to him. He directly received form Allah every ruling that would lead to goodness in life. So Adam has received all of this and felt it directly. But the negligence was from the generations that came after him. Do you know why? Because when Adam was created he was not created as a newborn with two parents. Parents that he would think are the reason behind his existence. He found himself a complete mature man. He did not witness for himself either a youth or a childhood. He was amazed to find himself a man, with the ability to reason. He was spoken to from the heavens through a divine a law. He was created as a man with the angels prostrating to him.
Therefore, to Adam, this matter is solidly proven. But the doubt is all for the ones who came after Adam. When the messengers came to solve the mystery of this world and to explain to man his mission in life, they all agreed on one law represented by Allahs own words in the Holy Statement (Hadeeth Koddsi): Son of Adam, I have created the things for you. This is a mere truth proven by matter-of-factness. Everything in this world is created for you man and Allahs words I have created the things for you. are a mere Truth. This is the given part of the equation and yet to know is the required part. So what is the required element that the mind is looking for in this world? As Allah (SWT) says I have created the things for you, and I have created you for Me. So do not engage yourself with what is for you and forget what you are for. This is the philosophy of all religions!
Since Allah has made the whole universe subservient to man, without man being able to make the universe submitted to his will, he should have realized the truth in Allahs words: I have created the things for you, and I have created you for Me. So dont engage yourself with what is for you and forget what you are for. So in other words, do not let what serves you distract you from who you are serving. Dont let your slave divert you from your master. For as you benefit from the slavery of your slaves, you have to excel in being a slave to your creator. Otherwise, you would be unjust and inequitable. But in that case you would be unjust to whom?
Injustice normally is taking away someones right, doing him harm for the benefit of the taker. But tell me, if you diverted from your creator, who would you harm by doing that? You would do harm to yourself, and this is another sign of stupidity. Because the wrong-doer does harm to others, but the disobedient or the disbeliever does harm to himself. He is not doing any harm to Allah who created him, because The Creator (SWT) has all the attributes of perfection. Your worship to Him does not add anything to his holdings, and your disbelief of Him does not lessen anything from his dominion. But He (SWT) would like for His creation to live an eternal grace in the Hereafter in the same way that He (SWT) has bestowed Grace on them in this worldly life.
So the disbeliever or the disobedient has done harm only to himself not to the creator, because the creator with all the characteristics of perfection is Allah, The Creator.
Allah says in the Holy Statement (Hadeeth Koddsi):
And if your first and your last and your mankind and your jinn all have the heart of the most righteous man among you, it will not increase My holdings as much as a wing of a mosquito. And if your first and your last and your mankind and your jinn all have the heart of the most wicked man among you, it will not decrease My holdings as much as a wing of a mosquito. And if your first and your last of your mankind and your jinn all gathered in one place each asking Me what he wants and I gave it to him, it would not decrease of what I have except as much as what hold on to a needle if it was immersed in the sea. This is because I am Munificent, Originator and Laudable. My Bounties are words and My Wrath is words: If I decree something I say to it: Be and it is.
Thus when man disbelieves or disobeys his God, he is doing harm only to himself because man is the most eminent creation in the world, and is served by everything else in this world. Have you ever seen between mankind a craftsperson who wants to ruin his design? Not really because every creator improves his creation to be a masterpiece.
We ask Allah (SWT) to lead us to our mission in this life to be worthy of his grace on The Day we meet Him.