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The True Nature of Mankind Is Purity and Innocence

The viewpoints of the religions as to what is the true nature of mankind are important. Islam, the religion sent to mankind through the revelation of the Quran from Allah to Prophet Muhammed (pbuh), defines mankind as a caliph (vicergent) created for the earth and considers mankind a creation with free will regarding his personal thoughts, attitudes and behaviors who is also responsible for these choices. Furthermore, Islam regards mankind as the most honorable creature among all creatures and emphasizes that mankind was created in the most beautiful image. Islam’s approach to the true nature of mankind embodies all people. In other words, Islam gives emphasis to the equal qualities of mankind with respect to being a human without segregation in terms of race, color or gender. Mankind is the creature that can use his or her own will; accordingly take responsibility; and was created as the most honorable creature with the most beautiful form.

Moreover, Islam emphasizes the purity and innocence of the true nature of mankind. The Quran states that all humans are the descendants of the same lineage and their common ancestors are Adam and Eve. It speaks of a promise taken from mankind before each individual’s creation: “When thy Lord drew forth from the Children of Adam - from their loins - their descendants, and made them testify concerning themselves, (saying): "Am I not your Lord (who cherishes and sustains you)?"- They said: "Yea! We do testify!" (This), lest ye should say on the Day of Judgment: "Of this we were never mindful”  (Al-A’raf, 7/172). What does this promise taken from all humans define? A hadith (saying of the Prophet) of Prophet Muhammed best explains it. According to an account by Abu Hurairah the Prophet said: “Every people is born from their mothers as a result of creation. Later his mother and father make him a Jew, a Christian and (or) a Zoroastrian. If his mother and father are Muslims, then he becomes a Muslim too.” (1) With these words, the Prophet emphasized that all people are born with purity and chastity, or Allah creates every human being as an innocent individual. Naturally, a person who was born as a result of creation forms and develops his religious and moral personality in accordance with the education, culture and discipline given particularly by his family. The personality development of an individual is mostly complete by adolescence. For that reason, Islam exempts persons who have not reached adolescence from responsibility advocating “liability with proposal.” Therefore as the Prophet pointed out, Islam regards all children—not just the children who were born in a certain society—as pure, chaste and innocent, the true form created by Allah.

Unlike Islam, mankind is defined as “the creation captive to sin and death from birth” in some religions such as Christianity. Although Islam’s view asserts the innocence/freedom from sin and free will, Christianity supports the idea of innate human addiction to sin from birth. This theological difference lays the foundation of the notably different approaches of both religions on every viewpoint towards mankind. Christian thought argues that mankind, “the captive of sin and death inherited from Adam”, can break away from this captivity by believing in the holy savior son, Jesus Christ. Consequently, Christianity purports to save mankind from this captivity, which is “a part his natural personality”, through acceptance of the theological model that it sets forth. However, Christianity, on the other hand, somehow attributes the evil deeds and acts of violence to the divine will in Adam’s personality by explaining that mankind’s captivity in such things results from the spreading of Adam’s heritage to all mankind.

The Quran states that Islam emphasizes purity, chastity and innocence, the illustration of submission to Allah. Mankind is asked to abide by his true nature and not to deviate from it. Islam regards the deviation from this true nature as the “self torture” of a person and warns mankind against such attitudes and behaviors. The devotion of a person to his true nature is provided by not regarding someone else as a divine power other than Allah; by accepting Allah as the only Creator; and by not associating someone with Allah. In this respect, the Quran calls attention to various gods proposed as a supreme authority or dominant authorities; suggests only one supreme authority; and orders people to lead a life of obedience to this Supreme Authority. This Supreme Authority advocated in the Quran is not a kind of social or political power/order; expediency, interests, desires, requests of humans; various metaphysical beings whose existence is accepted and believed in or extension of these beings on earth.  It is Allah, the Creator and Owner of All Things. Consequently, Islam not only emphasizes that aspect of freedom of the human created as a caliph with a true nature of purity and innocence surrounded only by the boundaries defined by Allah, but also tries to protect the thoughts, attitudes and behaviors of humans from the decisiveness of the social, political and cultural environment surrounding them. In other words, the Quran rejects all other superior authorities who claim dominion over mankind and try to define the area of freedom of humans by any means and liberates mankind from his environment with the sovereignty of Allah.


1. Muslim, "Fate."

The Hues of Belief Corner by Sinasi Gunduz, a professor of the history of religions, deals with the attitude of Prophet Muhammad towards other religions and his relationship with their members
 

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Şinasi Gündüz

Professor Şinasi Gündüz, the head of the Religious History department at the Faculty of Theology, Istanbul University, graduated from the Faculty of Theology, Ankara University in 1984. In 1991 he completed his doctorate at the Middle East Research Department, Manchester University. In 1995 he received his associate professorship from Ondokuz Mayıs University, Faculty of Theology, and he became a professor in 2003 at Istanbul University, Faculty of Theology. Still head of the Philosophy and Religious Studies Department at Istanbul University, Faculty of Theology, Şinasi Gündüz is a member of the Executive Board of the Faculty of Theology, Istanbul University and is a member of the Senate of Istanbul University; Professor Gündüz has published a large number of international articles. He has written sections for international publications and presented articles in a number of refereed journals and at international academic conferences, making great contributions to the field of religious history. In 2004 Professor Gündüz was seen worthy of the Successful Researcher Award by the Istanbul University Rector's Office and in 2005 by the Istanbul University Academic Research Projects Institute.

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