The human and its role in Islam


Importance of studying the Human Being:

We have different world views. We have perspectives – how we conceive existence. Jean Paul Sartre philosophy was existentialism – humans are a product of their environment. Science shows that we were hunter gatherers before and we like sweet things because of that time. We also get angry in traffic because we don’t like our space being invaded, like we did in that time.

Fitra – Human nature – Biological (body) and Spiritual part. God gave everything a proper nature.

The Spirit is from another world. Unprecedented in the universe, carries unique qualities other creation does not, unprecedented phenomenon, and the spirit is a materialization of gods attributes in us. The human is a unique articulation of gods generosity, we carry gods attributes in an imperfect way. Those who cause injustice have a cover over their hearts, their fitra is far away from them.

God is the most generous because humans ask for something in return, even if we are unaware of it. The spirit is an ethical entity, it’s attributes are ethical, it makes us human. The nature of the spirit is healthy, gods perfection. Everything is guided by god.

Human before and after the body:

4 phases of the human – spirit before life, then the angel brings spirit down into the womb and eartly life begins, spirit goes to Barzakh (barrier), then to the afterlife (the eternal phase). There are many dimensions we can’t concieve.

Adam was created in gods image. Some divine attributes are articulated through humans, nobody else does this. Ex. Forgiveness, is only for humans, other creatures don’t need forgiveness as humans are the only ones that can go against their nature. The spirit gathers a number of divine attributes that other creatures spitits don’t. Other creatures carry some attributes, humans carry many.

The ethics of the spirit depend on its nature, like animals fighting, it’s in their nature. God created all spirits and guided them to their nature, every creature has a way of worship and they know it. If you are faithful to your nature you will be guided.

The body is an interface between two worlds:

The spirit world if different to this world. Interfcae between the spirit world and this world. The spirit needs a human body to interact in this world. Ibn Qayyim says, “the body is the ride and instrument of the Spirit”, the body is bridled by the spirit. The spirit can’t reach its ful potential because of the body, the spirit uses the bodily tools, like the eyes, brain, mouth, to show its self in a limit. Our bodily tools can’t comprehend can’t comprehend god, our spirit can. Our brains have limits, this world has limits and our other bodily tools have limits. We would look at god in another dimension, not in this world of space and direction. You can extrapolate the rules of this life and put them onto the next life/world. Death and life are necessary in order for us to access this temporary experience, without death we can’t experience this world. Death and life in that order as we were already alive in the previous world.

The mind:

The mind is a spiritual faculty not a biological one. The brain is a tool through which the spirit fulfils a part of its intellectual capacity. The use of intelect is therefore an intrinsic value, if the spirit can’t come through the senses then it will come another way. Imagination can’t go beyond this world, intellect is a part of your fitra, your nature, it’s empowering your nature.

The Soul:

The spirit is a divine inspiration from another world. Spirit is the soul when present in this body, in this world. The Soul can push you to do evil, it can blame you, it is conscious. The soul can also be at peace. Our responsibility is to stay faithful to our nature, the soul is how our spirit gets shapen. Clear everything that blocks your fitra – nature.

The soul is between gods cosmic and revealed will:

Divine revealed will is prayer, and other religious duties and motivations. Our soul is a construction between cosmic and revealed will. Our soul is guided by our spirit, our body by god, as we can’t control blood flow, organ function and so on. Our soul is guided by god’s cosmic will. 2 divine wills – the universe is functioning by god’s cosmic will. The revealed will is directed to human beings.  Humans can’t be guided by the cosmic will alone, it’s not enough. 

The moment we are in this world we have things going against our nature, our balance. Humans aspire for more always, it’s a part of human nature. Pride is ethical to a certain degree; if it goes lower than its natural balance then it is unhealthy. Low pride can lead to low self-esteem. All our aspirations are in balance, above or below these levels is unhealthy. Our mission is to keep our natural aspirations in balance. Revelation came to keep our natural aspirations clean, The Quran came to clean our fitra from things that make it dirty.

Ma’ruf – what is known – good.

Munkar – rejected – evil.

The soul is a construct – the outcome of what you did to yourself. The ego can command you to do evil and blame you. God will judge accordingly to effort, not results – so don’t judge. The soul is the result of what a person has done with himself/herself. A person is held accountable for the extent to which he/she has distanced themselves from their fitra on which he/she was created. Everything in Islam is to clean your heart.

The Heart:

Can be corrupted or upright, at peace or unrest, blind or seeing, the heart is not the spirit (spirit is naturally ethical). Soul is the heart – heart is the form the soul has devolved into after merging. What comes out of the body is the soul that bears that form. The heart can fluctuate according to factors mention and between that and that.

3 Categories of the Fitra: Spiritual – Biological – Moral.

The merging of the spiritual and biological result in the moral (also through life experiences). The idea of Islam is to construct an ethical individual, who is faithful to their fitra and society (faithful to human nature).

Why was the human being created?

The human being was created to worship god, and to stay faithful to our Fitra. Everything is created to worship god, worship lies at the heart of the Quranic worldview. Ritual worship is just a means.

Cosmic worship – everything worships god willingly or unwillingly – submits to go by doing what it is meant to do, ex. the sun, rising and setting. There are many secrets to nature we don’t know. The universe is religious. If there were different gods then there would be no harmony in the universe. This universal harmony shows there is one god. Cosmic worship is common to both human and the universe, if your nature is clear (those with certainty), you can see it clearly. Without god there can be no mercy or any other of gods attributes within us – creation. Ethics can’t exist without god and it is a consequence of god.

There are 5 objectives of Sharia, the second being to preserve life. The most important thing to keep us on our function on earth is cosmic will. Revealed will is like eating, drinking and reproducing; on this alone we would have vanished a long time ago. Kindness to children depends on the cosmic will. Respect for our parents depends on the revealed will. Children are dependent on us, our parent are not. Our nature is cosmic will, cosmic will is natural, reveal will is preforming religious duties. Prayer is a ritual act. Quran is also called ad-Dhikr, a reminder.

The nature and function of the human is related, as the function is to survive and your function depends on your nature. Our mission is to be who we are supposed to be, but we have to remember god. God gives us access to ourselves. If you forget god, you forget yourself, and remembrance cleans you so you can get back to yourself from that which goes against your nature.

Islam has three meanings – surrender – soundness (or healthiness) and peace. Every element is surrendering (meaning Islam), so is under Islam. Revelation came with the truth already established, not to the desire of man. If one is corrupt so is the other. Kafir means farmer – he covers the seed with earth – we say that as people cover their Fitra with sin. Not being sincere is the worst thing in Islam, not sticking to the truth. When you are you, you are following Islam.

Function: Worship – Means: Divine Guidance – Purpose: Cosmic Islam

Every creature has its own form of worship. Every contribution of every human to cosmic Islam is different depending on the nature given to it. Specific nature given only to humans to distinguish it from other creatures: we can go against our Fitra. Humans have a trust, which they bear and the universe does not. We are god’s deputies (Khalifas) and other creatures are not. Human function depends on its nature, your guidance depends on your nature. This is cosmic worship, everything being faithful to its nature – worshipping god. Cosmic will is more important that revealed will, religious stimulus drives you to do religious revealed duties. Surrender to god and you are free from every other influence, otherwise these will hold you back from reaching yourself, your true potential.

Human Worship:

There are some common things between the human and the universe: worship, guidance, true to nature, Islam, light (divine light) – god is light of heavens and the universe. God reveals (cosmic revelation) to earth, that human divine light is slightly different – our light is in a crystal lamp, like a shining star, lamp is fuelled by the oil of the blessed olive tree (tree not from this world), this oil looks like it gives its light without being touched by the fire (fire of Fitra – coming from spirit). Fitra almost enlightens without almost needing revelation. It needs the fire because it is challenged – can be corrupted. Light upon light – light of Fitra and light of revelation. God also reveals to other creation like the bees.

Khalifa – to come after – to replace – to deputise. We did not replace species before. God acts directly on earth and indirectly through the laws of the universe. God does as he wills, he lengthens the shade and made the sun an explanation for it, for us to understand. God acts without any means. In the battle of Badr, god killed the enemies, no one else. God sent the angles in the battle to grant ease to the hearts and as motivation.

As gods deputies we are opposing gods will and the angels had a problem with that, god said I know what you do not. “When your Lord said to the angels, ‘Indeed, I am going to set a khalīfa on earth.’ They said, ‘Will You place in it one who causes corruption therein and sheds blood, while we declare your praise and sanctify You?’ He said: ‘Indeed I know what you do not know.’ (Q 2:30-32) The angels here were surprised that god would not continue to reveal their will in an inevitable manner. They did not understand why god would send one to earth that would cause corruption and shed blood.

Adam had the potential to be conscious of everything due to spirit, the possibility of choosing between good and bad. The angels have a limited conscious, they can’t know everything, only what god allows them, and we humans can know much due to spirit. The western perspective is Darwinism, where we have no purpose; we will go back to nothingness, where we came from. This is their worldview.

The object of vicegerency:

In Shahada we negate all other gods and then confirm the oneness of god, as in our fitra we already confirm god is one. On earth we deny everything that disturbs our fitra, so we negate all other gods. We need to preserve our fitra, that’s our goal. Too much arrogance, pride, ego, self-esteem, then you are surrendering to other than god, god is the healthy level of the fitra. Too much or too little of your natural aspiration is surrendering to other than god.

Opinions that go against Quran about humans being Khalifas of god:

We replace Jinn on earth – Wrong – as first Jinn (Satan) came down with Adam.

We replace previous generations – Wrong, god gathered angels to tell them generations replace each other. What about animals? Angels shocked – will not be if generational.

For god there is no relation between clouds and rain, god acts without means. God keeps the birds in the sky, not by them flapping their wings. Angels are on a metaphysical dimension. Angels aren’t deputies of god humans are. Angels don’t deviate from gods will, humans have a choice and we always fail. Angels were shocked, and asked why create humans. It is because some of gods attributes come only through humans and are not carried by other creation. These attributes are articulated in a unique way through humans. God acts directly through other creation. God has 100 parts mercy and only 1 sent to earth amongst creation.

Akram (most generous) articulates only through humans. Humans have a conscious – god taught Adam the names of things and with consciousness we can name things. We can depart from what we know to the unknown- angels can’t. Consciousness gives way to free will, knowledge and wisdom given to humans. Some attributes are perfection for god and imperfect for us – ex. Al Muttakabir, for us is arrogance/ pride, for god it is perfect. We are not allowed to be Al Jabbar – to  impose things.

Everything around us is a consequence of who god is. For us to be a khalifa is for god to elevate us above other creatures. Why? Because one of gods attributes is to elevate. It is a consequence of who god is. We are created in Gods image, names and spirit – the angels prostrated to Adam for these three reasons.

We do things because we are imperfect and we need to fill a lack of something. God is perfect and their mercy and everything is a consequence of who god is. Why did god create us and everything else? Because it is a consequence of who god is.

Surah Rahman is the only surah to start with gods name. It starts with Rahman and what follows is a consequence of who god is. God created the human, taught him speech, created universe – these are three existential phenomenons in surah. Why did they exist? So, that the human will not transgress the balance. The balance god established when they raised the sky.

We are god’s deputies to maintain the balance. The universe started – big bang – expansion of that mass is god raising the sky. It will expand forever and quicker, we call dark matter, dark energy; dark because we don’t know anything about it. Dark energy is causing the expansion of the universe. On the last day god will roll up the sky like parchment and it will end as it began. Before big bang, scientifically it can’t be explained – what is nothingness? There is something in every place; there is no empty space. God established the balance, god created everything perfectly to a precise measurement. Created – measured – balanced – guided.

3 balances mentioned in first few lines of Surah Rahman. 1] The cosmic balance, we can’t preserve all of that, just a small part. Which part? The spiritual balance in us. God preserves our inner balance initially. 2] The social balance and 3] the environmental balance. Inside us is the whole world, the cosmos. Revelation came to help us maintain our spiritual balance. Our Fitra is composed of aspirations like beauty, justice and these are balanced, and we have to keep it that way. The more conscious you are of reality the more human you are. Object of vicegerency is one of the divine actions. We have speech to express and name things. We were taught the Quran to perform our function and preserve our nature. Object of vicegerency is the harmony that god has placed in the universe that is cosmic Islam. God taught us how to express our awareness. Why do things exist? It is because of who god is!

The three existential phenomenon; the universe, the human and the revelation all exist in order for the human to be a khalifa.

Specific aspects we are tasked to balance: –

1] Maintaining the spiritual balance – god was preserving it and it was given to us balanced. We preserve it on behalf of god.

Paradise is promised for the one who returns to god. God forgives, erases and accepts repentance (gods names). When you sin a black spot covers your fitra and when you continue to sin continuously over and over again, it can then cover your fitra so it is black. Ask god to forgive you your sins and you will be like a new born baby. Sin is a consequence of who we are, the point is to keep coming back to god as much as possible. You must keep checking yourself – introspect. Heaven is for those who keep coming back to god, the one who preserves the balance of the fitra. Your humanness does not come out as it is under a layer of darkness. Zakat is to purify our souls (us). Lower the part of the gaze that is unhealthy, ex. looking at women with lust, as it is purer for us (our souls).

We must keep our natural aspirations balanced. Your desires can conflict with your spirituality; they can cover your heart/soul. These desires can diminish/ trample on other spiritual needs. They can cover your humanness so much that you can be lost like a zombie. The more we use our intellect the more we go back to our humanness.

Tazkiya – associates with soul only – meaning purification and growth. Human self made up of sound natural forces – spiritual, physical and psychological. Keep the balance between these through preservation and restoration, to keep them in harmony and avoid encroachment. Natural stimulus compensates for religious; the more you use your intellect the more you go back to your humanness – your fitra.

Our highest ideal is to strive for god’s attributes.

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