Man is in Essence Valuable And Worthy

Man is in Essence Valuable And Worthy

The holy Quran regards man as one endowed with dignity.

“We have honoured the children of Adam.” (1)

This dignity is a theoretical value, which may find a practical aspect. However, it must not be imagined that this theoretical value exists in the considerations. Man’s dignity is the same as the dignity of the angels and the Qur'an, which is the manifestation of God’s dignity. Of course, the Holy Spirit is in essence great. Man's dignity shows that he has advantages. In other words, man’s dignity implies that he has sublime traits. By virtue of the same reason, after the creation of this great essence, God thus addressed lblis (Satan),

“Why did you not bow down before what I created with my own hands?” (2)

This statement, namely the creation of Adam by God’s two hands shows that man is in essence valuable and worthy, for this statement is used when we regard especial respect for something. For instance, if someone prays for something with open hands, it shows his special favor, as God is such when granting something.

“O you who grant things with two open hands.”(3)

This explanation elucidates the point that the implications of such statements are not that God has physical body or hand but the idea is that all divine essence has played a part in the creation of Adam; hence, man can be the manifestation of all divine qualities and consequently, God’s viceroy.

This theoretical dignity may contain much practical greatness. Due to this dignity, all legal and ethical teachings must be designed in accordance with this theoretical principle. When we admit that man is in essence valuable and worthy, we are consciously or unconsciously induced to believe that neither freedom, security and so on is his right but they should be designed in such a way which might correspond with his dignity.

Man is a God-seeking being

Man innately tends to seek God, for he sees Him, not with his physical eyes but with the eyes of his heart. This God-seeking attitude is not unconscious, as it is not deterministic. It must not be assumed that man seeks after someone lost but after a God whom he loves. On the basis of reason, man does not have an independent entity but his existence is constantly dependent. However, this dependence has nothing to do with another dependent being but it is dependent upon an independent soul. Man is nothing but a dependent being. It is not such that man has perfect relation to God but that the relation between Man and God is like spiritual poverty and perfect need for Him;

“O people! You are poor before God.” (4)

In this verse, there are two realities: firstly, man does not have an independent soul; secondly, his relationship is only with God and he has no other relationship whatsoever.

Thus, any kind of formulating rights should correspond with this God­-seeking spirit. The set of rights considering for man an independent soul or considering man independent of God does not spring from a divine source. Of course, those who do not accept this source generally fall into the pitfall of comparing things while everyone knows that man is a dependent soul. The atheists have pinned their hopes on something or someone. The difference is that they do not consider God as the independent soul. .

Man is eternal

From other sources in Islam, it is understood that man is eternal. This is perceived both by reason and by the holy sayings. The holy Qur'an regards that man has an eternal soul who will step into another world after this world and will enjoy eternity there. According to reason, man has an incorporeal soul and that this soul is not exposed to destruction. According to reason, death includes the separation of the soul from the body. And once more this separation is obliterated at the command of God, the body becomes fit for the hereafter.

Everyone accepts this and the existing differences arise from the mistakes in comparison. All human beings long for a longer life and strive to live longer. This implies that man innately seeks after eternity; however, in comparison, some think that belongs to the hereafter.

However, one must know that man is a traveler on the path of life; of course, man comes to middle abode in the minor apocalypse, then he enters the major apocalypse but the world comes to destination in the minor apocalypse. The holy Qur'an holds that all cosmic order moves towards God. This cosmic order goes towards resurrection to testify what its travelers have done or complains of what they have done to redeem them. According to authoritative hadiths, this cosmos and all its parts complain of, testify to or redeem deeds of man.(5)

Thus, all human beings seek after eternity but some others think that the world is eternal and do not know that eternity is particular to the spirituality. This ignorant way of thinking has taken hold of people from the very beginning. People accumulate wealth to achieve eternity or to destroy death. On different occasions, the holy Qur’an views this way of thinking to be vain and elucidates the real eternity:

“What is with you comes to an end but what is with God abides.” (6)

Man reaches the abode of stability

It might be imagined that eternity means reaching the abode of stability. However, it must be noted that these two are separate from each other for we can imagine a being to be eternal but he will never reach the destination but wander for all the time to come. The holy Qur’an uses delicate statements to show that the cosmic order is purposeful.

“They will question thee concerning the Hour, when it (world) shall berth.” (7)

According to this statement, the cosmic order sails like a ship in the ocean of the Being. It is impossible that this ship may keep sailing but it must someday berth. From this one gathers that the world will stand still somewhere and reach its abode of stability. Besides, the abode of stability in this world is resurrection when man comes to meet the Almighty. For the same reason, one of the names for paradise is Eden. Eden means place of rest. ln resurrection, man reaches his real place of rest.

Man has Genetic Relationship with the Cosmos

Man - this eternal incorporeal essence that comes to meet the Almighty has inseparable relationship with the Cosmos. Hence, nothing happens in man unless it affects his soul. Any movement, speech and writing issuing from man affect his temperament; it begets either light or darkness. Hence, all the issues including the legal principles are associated with man’s nature. With the acceptance of this principle, it may no longer be concurred that man is free in everything. Eating, dressing and the likes affect man.

Lawful (halal) food does not exercise the same effect that unlawful (haram) food does. Truth does not have the same effect that untruth does. All these have special functions. For example, sin blackens the heart and removes purity from it:

“What they have done has blackened their hearts.” (8)

Upon committing a sin, some dust settles upon the heart and if man does not remove the dust, the heart gradually becomes blocked and real blindness begins. Even any good or bad memory affects the heart and the mind. With an ugly glance, the dust of sin settles on the heart. Then, it seems that the ears and the eyes are functioning properly but they are out of their proper function. Although the Holy Qur'an has stated the same thing about the eyes, but it is clear that this is allegorical, not particular to the eyes only.

“It is not the eyes that are blind, but blind are the hearts within the breasts.” (9)

By virtue of the same reason, although the Almighty transmitted His message to mankind, there are some people that do not understand it. This verse also suggested the same thing as implied in other verses that regards this group as deaf and dumb. (10) Thus, according to Islamic doctrine, every human act exercises a deep impact upon the soul and the mind.

Continue in the next article: ( Two Dignities of Man: Social and Individual )

The Author: Ayatollah Javadi Amoli

NOTES:

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1. The Quran, Surah al-Isra 17:70

2. The Quran, Surah Sad 38:75

3. Mafatih al-Janan, Deeds of Friday Night

4. The Quran, Surah al-Fatir 35:15

5. Bihar al-Anvar, Vol.7, chapter 16

6. The Quran, Surah an-Nahl 16:96

7. The Quran, Surah al-A’raf 7:187 and Surah an-Naziat 79:42

8. The Quran, Surah al-Mutaffifin 83:14

9. The Quran, Surah al-Haj 22:46

10. For example, Surah al-Baqarah, verse 18 &171; Surah al-Anfal 8:22