Lecture 5: The Means Of Understanding Man’s Beginning And End
فَلْيَنظُرِ الْإِنسَانُ مِمَّ خُلِقَ
Now let man but think from what he is created!
خُلِقَ مِن مَّاء دَافِقٍ
He is created from a drop emitted-
يَخْرُجُ مِن بَيْنِ الصُّلْبِ وَالتَّرَائِبِ
Proceeding from between the backbone and the ribs 1
Two principle Islamic beliefs are the creation and the resurrection. It is obligatory for man to know about his creation and Creator, then to know about his end and return.
These two verses tell man to think about his creation. It is clear that man must look into his creation so he can understand his Creator and his end. What an amazing structure was created out of a drop of water; a structure that from its head to toe is full of wisdom, in such a way that even one vein was not created without purpose. An extra bone was not created. What one can understand from this body is that Allah is All-powerful and there is no limit to His ability. He created this amazing body, a body that has been researched for thousands of years, but still not completely understood, in triple darkness from a drop of water.
Is the One who created unaware?2 Was the One who created in such a way that there is no atom that does not have a purpose, unintelligent? Communists, who reject the concept of God and the higher world, claim that whatever exists is the result of the perfection of nature. What do they say about all the wisdom that is found all over the world? Is it possible that an unwise being created it? They say that material is unintelligent; how does this fit? It is a contradiction. From one side they say that material objects and nature do not have intelligence and on the other side they say 'nature's choice.' Choosing is an action that depends on intelligence.
Or some say that man was originally a monkey perfected by nature. They say that the monkey loosed its tail and hair and stood up straight. If this is true there should not be any more monkeys on earth. How did one monkey become a human while the rest remained monkeys? If it is nature that perfects itself, what is the difference between the monkeys that remained monkeys and the monkeys that became human? Is it that one monkey became perfected and another did not become perfected?
It is clear that they are not willing to accept the truth. They do not want to sincerely use their abilities to find the truth out. They reject clear truths so that they won't be called 'religious.'
Does man have an intellect or not? Every man knows that he has an intellect. Was the One who built you unintelligent? Every man was a drop of sperm; did a material object give him his intellect?
Did a drop of sperm or another material object give you your intellect? Is it possible for someone to claim this? There is no other choice except to say that the Creator, All-knowledgeable and Living, gave me my intellect. Just like the body is a creation, it came from nothing into existence; the intellect is a creation that came from nothing into existence. Someone had to have given man his intellect. Where did this intellect come from? Is it possible to say that a material object made it or it was 'nature's best choice'? Does your intellect accept this? The intellect that man has is able to find new galaxies and new stars. This is even a proof that one's spirit is immaterial.
What is this man who can learn about everything in the world? What power gives us the ability to know about our insides and how they work? This is one of the biggest proofs that the soul is immaterial. A leaf of a tree is unaware of other leaves. A finger is unaware of other fingers. Each atom of one's body is unaware of other atoms. It becomes clear that man is something other than his body, there is a power from his head to his toe. This power is aware of all the different parts of his body. Can someone deny the fact that he has knowledge? Is this knowledge material, was it given to you by a material object or did the one who create you give you this knowledge? Man's intellect is the biggest proof that he is immaterial; his soul is immaterial.
When man thinks about his creation he realizes that he was created by Allah, the All-knowledgeable, the All-powerful. The intellect he uses to think about this is immaterial and he also realizes that Allah is able to create this body again.
The body in the next world is different from the body in this world. For example, there is no waste or defecation in heaven. There is no urine, feces, hair or fingernails. In addition to this, the body does not become tired due to working in the next life. There are no sicknesses. The body in the next life is the same body as we have here, but its make-up is in such a way that the necessary wastes of a material body are not there. Right now we are unable to imagine this perfectly because these wastes and defecations are necessary parts of material beings.
People have made a similitude for this. No matter how much you would try to make a fetus understand that outside of its mother's stomach is a huge world full of fruit, food, plants and animals he would not understand. Man is the same way when he is in the stomach of the natural world in relation to the unnatural world. However much one wants to make man understand about the different attractions of the next world he will not understand.
The Qurān said:
“No one knows what has been kept hidden for them of comfort (in the hereafter) as a reward for what they used to do.”3
We will now discuss some verses related to the Resurrection.
Those who reject the hereafter only say that it is impossible; they do not have any proof. In the same way that they reject the creation, they raise the question: how can Allah bring dead bones back to life?
The biggest proof for the resurrection is the verse: “Verily, Allah is able to bring him back”4 One who was able to create the body out of a drop of sperm can create it out of a handful of dirt as well. The Qurān even says that it is easier for him to do that. Bringing back to life is easier than creating from scratch. Another nice point has been made in chapter Qiyāmat:
“We are able to make man's fingerprints.”5
Tantāwī, an Egyptian Qurānic scholar wrote that the point of the previous verse was unknown until the modern century. He claims that it is one of the miracles of the Qurān. Previously people did not pay attention to the fact that every person has a special fingerprint. Four and a half billion people have different fingerprints. Because of this, people must give their fingerprints as a signature and there are places that catch criminals by finding their fingerprints.
No two people have the exact same face. Even twins have small differences. Similarly, no two voices are exactly the same. What atrocities would happen if they were the same? The order of the world would be destroyed. There would not be a social life because nobody would be able to differentiate between two people. Here we can see that the wise Creator made a wise decision in this regard.
The creation and the resurrection are necessary beliefs, evident beliefs and in accordance with one's intellect and divine disposition.
People wrote; when Stalin would be faced with a difficult situation, which was not solved by consultation, he would visit Lenin's grave. He would stay there until his problem was solved. This materialist's conscience did not believe that Lenin's soul was dead. If he did, why would he go to Lenin's grave? Why would he ask help from Lenin? Why do others build monuments over the graves of unknown soldiers and then respect them? Their consciences testify to the fact that there is a God and that there is life after death. If revelation did not exist, this is what man's conscience or divine disposition would do.
The problem is this: if this is so clear why does most of mankind reject it?
The answer to this question is found in chapter Qiyāmat:
“Rather man desires to go on living viciously.”6
For this reason they overlook every truth. If one wants to enjoy power he must overlook his responsibilities. If he does not do this he will realize that he is a servant of Allah and has responsibilities that he must fulfill. After he realizes this, would he continue to say 'I..I..I'? Arrogance and tawhīd are opposites; they cannot come together.
One who considers himself a needy servant of Allah will not be arrogant or after power. He will not want to be above others. For this reason, those who follow their carnal desires close their eyes to all forms of truth, even if it is a self-evident truth.
It is said that someone asked Mamūn how he came to like Imām Ridā (a). He said that he learned this from his father. He was with his father in Medina and important people came to see him. He said: “One day a person came in and my father stood up and sat that man down next to him and spoke to him with the highest form of manners. That night, I asked my father who that man was that you were so humble in front of and he replied that it was Mūsa bin Ja‛far (a). I then asked who Mūsa bin Ja‛far was and he replied that he is my Imām and your Imām. I then asked; 'You are not the rightful possessor of the khilāfat? My father replied; 'No, he is the rightful khalīfa.”
I then angrily told my father: “If this is the case why do you want to imprison and exile him?”
He said: “Power does not even know a son. If he was a problem I would kill him or take his son's eyes out like other kings have done.”
The purpose of this story is to show how bad man can be, he can put the truth to the side even if it is as clear as the sun.
We should not forget that last year, when Imām Khomeini wanted to swear in the new president he said: “The love of the world is the root of all sins.”
This is a warning bell for everyone. Love of the world is such a trait that when one has it he is willing to overlook all truths and willing to unlawfully get rid of all adversaries. This arrogance and narcissism is dangerous. So, now it is clear why so many reject the truth even if it is so clear.