Islam
 

What kind of a human model does the Qur'an present?

 

The human being, as told in the Holy Qur’an possesses an excellence as compared to the other creations. He is worthy of the title “Ahsani taqwim” (the best of moulds) (Surah At-Tin 95-4) and carries with him manifestations of the attributes of Allah. However, he is a creature that is deficient in relation to Allah. Because it is Allah alone who is in possession of absolute perfection.

The understanding of man in the Qur'an

According to the Qur'an, man is the Caliph of Allah on earth. He is unique in terms of his personal characteristics and attributes. Every human being is different from others. No human is the same as another. (Surah Al-Isra, 84)

The human being, as told in the Holy Qur'an possesses an excellence as compared to the other creations. He is worthy of the title "Ahsani taqwim" (the best of moulds) (Surah At-Tin 95-4) and carries with him manifestations of the attributes of Allah. However, he is a creature that is deficient in relation to Allah. Because it is Allah alone who is in possession of absolute perfection. The Qur'an contains verses that highlight the divine aspect of mankind, in addition to verses that speak to his deficiency, inadequacy, rebellion, ingratitude and weakness.

The belief of Islam provides the most perfect balance between the honorable status of mankind and his infinite servitude the Almighty. According to this balance, man can neither be deified nor can he be held in contempt. He is the only creature in which all of Allah's attributes become manifest and he is at the same time, a servant of Allah.

Man, who is attributed with being a caliph on earth (Surah Al-Baqara 30), holds responsibility towards the rest of creation and the earth. The duty that has been given to mankind -- the duty of establishing social order based on morality -- is described an "amana" (entrustment) in the Holy Qur'an. (Surah Al-Ahzab, 72) This duty was rejected by the heavens and mountains when offered to them by Allah, fearing the great responsibility; however, it was accepted by mankind. The Qur'an however, kindly criticizes the state of mankind, calling him a tyrant and [stupidly] brave (Surah Al-Insan 2-3). The freedom of mankind, which sheds light to the entrustment shouldered by him, is brought on by the fact that he has been granted both positive and negative powers (skills and weaknesses). The presence of mankind in state that overlaps between these two polar opposites is an inescapable reality of his test on earth. Whichever of these two paths he will choose is left solely to his discretion. Divine guidance only plays a role in showing a path (Surah Al-Insan 2-3). This is a rooted moral truth which paves the way for a primordial struggle, turning human life into a moral struggle or battle. If man exerts enough effort, Allah will be with him in this struggle. Man has been made responsible for this very struggle. Because he has been provided with a free conscience to fulfill his requirements as Allah's caliph on earth, occupying a unique place on earth within all of creation.

The positive and negative aspects of man in the Holy Qur'an

Man is a creature whom Allah has created in the most beautiful fashion (Surah At-Tin 4), whom Allah has breathed from his own sprit into his (Hijr, 29), he has made angels prostrate to (Sad, 72/A'raf, 11), has been made superior (Isra 62, 70), has been created in a capacity to bear knowledge (Baqara 31) and who the universe has been created for its service (Baqara, 29).

However, man is also a creature who is ungrateful toward his Creator (Surah Adiyya, 6/Yunus, 12/Nahl, 4), indulgent in this world (Qiyamah 20, 21/ Ali Imran, 14), weak (An- Nisa 28), miserly (Isra 100), hasty (Isra, 11), aspiring to evil (Yusuf 53), abandons hope on Allah (Hud 9), associates partners with Allah (Rum 33, 34). (It is not by coincidence that the opinions of mankind on Allah are mentioned as their characteristic of weakness. There is interplay between the characteristics of mankind and deviance in beliefs.  See; Psychoanalysis and religion by Erich Fromm)

The source of human behavior according to Islam

When we examine the verses dealing with this topic in the Qur'an, we see that more than one factor play a role in determining the behavior of man. In addition to the verses dealing with the freedom and thus responsibility of mankind (Mudassir 38/Shams 7-10/Isra 84/Shu'ra 39-41, Fussilat 46) , the Qur'an contains verses that emphasize the will of Allah (At Tin 4,6/Taqwir 29/ Fatir 8/ Tawbah 115) as well as the influence of the surroundings of mankind (A'raf 200-202, Ali Imrah 175/ Ahdhab 67,68/ An-Nisa 97-99). While this multi-faceted existence forms our identities, it leads us to avoid overlooking any element ( heritage, environment, will), thus allowing us to find a balance.

The praiseworthy attitudes and attributes of man

Satan began his journey with Adam (pbuh). They are of the same age. The Qur'an continuously speaks about Satan; however, he is mentioned not as an anti-God creature, but rather a force against mankind and who deviates man from the "Sırati mustaqim" (The correct path) through evil acts.

Despite the fact that Satan tries to trap man in every way, his attempts are fruitless for those who are in true possession of virtue. Not just prophets, but people of true faith who have will-power have the strength to withstand these temptations. (Isra 65/Nahl 99). Humans of this kind are the epitome of all of creation; they may surpass angels, exceeding them in knowledge and virtue. Here are some of the positive traits of such human beings that are mentioned in the Qur'an:

Taqwa

Taqwa is "mankind leaving himself in the protection of Allah and thus refraining from sins that affect their afterlife while rushing to goodness." There are three levels of taqwa: The first is holding on to tawheed, the oneness of Allah and distancing one's self from shirk, associating partners with Allah; the second is performing what has been made mandatory while refraining from what has been made forbidden. The third is keeping one's heart away from everything except Allah and turning towards Allah with one's entire entity. "O ye who believe! If ye fear Allah, He will grant you a criterion (to judge between right and wrong), remove from you (all) evil (that may afflict) you, and forgive you: for Allah is the Lord of grace unbounded." (Surah Al-Anfal, 29).

Loving and remembering Allah

"But keep in remembrance the name of thy Lord and devote thyself to Him whole-heartedly." (Al-Muzammil, 8). "O ye who believe! Let not your riches or your children divert you from the remembrance of Allah. If any act thus, the loss is their own." (Surah Munafiqeen 9).

Gratitude towards Allah (Shukr)

Shukr, or gratitude is the "the awareness and manifestation of blessings." The opposite of this word is kufr, which means to "cover and conceal." Allah continuously tests believers with patience and gratitude. A person who is aware of Allah and believes in him will know that both blessings and tribulations occur so that man may be tested. "we bestowed (in the past) Wisdom on Luqman: "Show (thy) gratitude to Allah." Any who is (so) grateful does so to the profit of his own soul: but if any is ungrateful, verily Allah is free of all wants, Worthy of all praise." (Surah Luqman, 12). "What can Allah gain by your punishment, if ye are grateful and ye believe? Nay, it is Allah that recogniseth (all good), and knoweth all things." (An-Nisa, 147).

The Qur'an praises the servants whom give praise while noting that most of people fall into the group which does not give praise. (Surah Baraqa, 243/As-Sajdah 9, Yusuf 38, An-Naml 73/ Al-Mu'min 61).

Sincere allegiance to Allah (Ikhlas)

Ikhlas means "to purify and do away with any complications and impurity." It connotes that an act is done solely to please Allah, without any other purpose. The existence of ikhlas can only become more effective when acts are committed for the pleasure of none other than Allah the Almighty. "And have in their minds no favor from anyone for which a reward is expected in return, But only the desire to seek for the Countenance of their Lord Most High." (Al-Layl, 19-20).

Despite the fact that Satan has tried every method in order to set man off from the righteous path, Allah indicates that none of these methods will work on men who possess ikhlas: (Iblis) said: "Then, by Thy power, I will put them all in the wrong, except Thy Servants amongst them, sincere and purified (by Thy Grace)." (Saad 82-83).

Forgiveness and repentance

Tevbe means "abandonment of sins." In the verse, "O ye who believe! Turn to Allah with sincere repentance..." (Tahrim, 8), the word "nasuh" (sincere) means sincerity and purity, in addition to sewing and patching a rip. Meaning "Nasuh," means fixing and mending so that no stain is left and no rip is in sight. The phrase "Tawba i Nasuh" means cleansing one's heart so that there is not a stain left on the heart which resulted from sinning, in addition to nursing the wound which was opened up in the heart as a result of sinning and filling in the gap which occurred along the way in one's faith and merit.

 "For Allah loves those who turn to Him constantly and He loves those who keep themselves pure and clean." (Baqara, 222).

 "Those who invoke not, with Allah, any other god, nor slay such life as Allah has made sacred except for just cause ... Allah will change the evil of such persons into good, and Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful." (Furqan 68-70).

Supplication

Dua, or supplication is a request or wish from the incapable to the capable which occurs through words or actions. It requires at the same time, sincerity and proper form. "Say (to the Rejecters): "My Lord is not uneasy because of you if ye call not on Him: But ye have indeed rejected (Him), and soon will come the inevitable (punishment)!" (Furqan, 77).

Supplication and worship compliment and complete one another. "And your Lord says: "Call on Me; I will answer your (Prayer): but those who are too arrogant to serve Me will surely find themselves in Hell - in humiliation!" (Mu'min, 60).

Tawakkul (Submitting to Allah)

 "Is not Allah enough for his Servant? But they try to frighten thee with other (gods) besides Him! for such as Allah leaves to stray, there can be no guide.." (Az-Zumar, 36).

 "But those who believe and work deeds of righteousness - to them shall We give a Home in Heaven,- lofty mansions beneath which flow rivers,- to dwell therein for aye;- an excellent reward for those who do(good)! Those who persevere in patience, and put their trust, in their Lord and Cherisher." (Al-Ankabut, 58-59)

Tafakkur (Contemplation)

The power of attaining knowledge through the known is fikr (intellect) while the actions of this power are called tafakkur. Tafakkur, or contemplation is for mankind alone. It many not be used for Allah or animals. In the Holy Qur'an, tafakkur is used to connote reaching an end decision after thinking about all objects, events and occurences, taking lessons from all these and discovering the reality that lies beneath these objects, events and occurences.

 "Behold! in the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the alternation of night and day,- there are indeed Signs for men of understanding, Men who celebrate the praises of Allah, standing, sitting, and lying down on their sides, and contemplate the (wonders of) creation in the heavens and the earth..." (Ali Imran, 190-191).

Knowledge

Ilm, or knowledge, means "attaining and understanding the truth regarding a matter." It is one of the most important attributes of Allah. It forms the basis of Islam and knowledge is absolutely and unconditionally from Allah. "Let not the believers Take for friends or helpers Unbelievers rather than believers: if any do that, in nothing will there be help from Allah: except by way of precaution, that ye may Guard yourselves from them. But Allah cautions you (To remember) Himself; for the final goal is to Allah. "We raise to degrees (of wisdom) whom We please: but over all endued with knowledge is one, the All-Knowing." (Yusuf, 76). "And so amongst men and crawling creatures and cattle, are they of various colors. Those truly fear Allah, among His Servants, who have knowledge: for Allah is Exalted in Might, Oft-Forgiving." (Fatr, 28).

Patience

Sabr, or patience, means controlling one's self in trying times. It is an very encompassing word. Exercising patience at the moment in which a calamity befalls upon us is patience, while the opposite is haste and in durability. Patience is not running from the battlefield and resisting, while the opposite is cowardice and desertion. Hiding a secret when necessary and protecting one's tongue from unnecessary words is patience, while the opposite is indiscretion. "Repel (Evil) with what is better: Then will he between whom and thee was hatred become as it were thy friend and intimate, and no one will be granted such goodness except those who exercise patience and self-restraint,- none but persons of the greatest good fortune." (Fussilat, 34-35).

 

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