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Books- The Constituents of the Divine Assignment- 3rd Constituent - Paragraph (5-5): Some characteristics of human self
In the Name of Allah, The Most Gracious, Most Merciful  

 The honored creature in this universe (i.e. man) has a self that is Divinely Assigned, so it shall be called to account. Also, it is the one that believes or disbelieves, it is the one that thanks Allah and forbears, it is the one that exalts or hits rock bottom and it is the one that shall be admitted to an eternal bliss in Paradise or to an ongoing torment in Hellfire. This human self never dies, but it tastes death, and there is a big difference between dying and tasting death. Allah the Almighty says:

﴾Everyone shall taste death﴿

[Aal-'Imran, 185]

 The diagram of the human self (if it does not believe) might be ascending all the way (as long as man is alive), but at the moment of death it might descend sharply to the lowest of the low. As for the believer, his diagram keeps ascending and death is just a dot on that line. Man is made of a body and a self, so death is the separation between the eternal self and the physical container of it (i.e. the body).

 The soul makes the third component of man, and it is the motivating power inside him, but when this soul is taken from man's body, he turns into a lifeless corps, so in this case do the eyes, the liver and the other physical systems keep working? No, they do not, since everything comes to halt, and man turns into a lifeless corps. Doing any search to solve the mystery of the soul will go nowhere, for Allah says:

﴾And they ask you (O Muhammad) concerning the Ruh (the Spirit); Say: "The Ruh (the Spirit): it is one of the things, the knowledge of which is only with my Lord. And of knowledge, you (mankind) have been given only a little."﴿

[Al-Isra', 85]

 Hence, man's self is his entity, whereas his body is his container, and the soul is the motivating power inside him. If we ponder over our body, we will find out that it has characteristics, traits and rules. Unfortunately, the entire world is interested in the body not in the soul, and everyone strives to meet the needs of the body in the most extravagant ways without paying heed to the soul. What the poet said proves this fact:

O you who maintain your body till exertion
Do you hope to gain an inevitable loss?
You would better maintain your soul and complete its virtues
For you are human due to your soul not to your body

 Man has a certain spiritual need that cannot be met except by getting acquainted with Allah, obeying Him and being close to Him. This need of believing in Allah and of obeying Him is essential.

 The characteristics of man's self are mentioned in some Ayat in the Quran, and some of them are the following.

1. Man is very impatient:

 One of the characteristics of man is that Allah, may His Glory be Glorified, created him very impatient due to profound Divine Wisdom:

﴾Verily, man (disbeliever) was created very impatient* Irritable (discontented) when evil touches him* And niggardly when good touches him* Except those devoted to Salat (prayers)﴿

[Al-Ma'arij, 19-22]

 Thus, one of man's characteristics is being impatient in the sense that he gets terrified once he anticipates a disaster! This vulnerability has been installed in him ever since he was created, but it exists for his own benefit. To elaborate, consider this example: If a company manufactures a very advanced, expensive and complicated machine, a fuse is put in it, and the function of this fuse is to receive the excessive power on behalf of the expensive machine, so whenever there is excessive power, this fuse will melt and cut the power protecting thereof the machine from burning. The same goes for man, as his weakness, which is installed by Allah, is for his own advantage.

 Had it not been for man's weakness, he would have never repented to Allah. How can man turn back to Allah? How can man reconcile with Allah? What are the ways through which Allah disciplines man? How will Allah bring His servant to His Doorstep and make him obedient to Him? How does Allah make man repent if man is not fearful?

 Allah created this universe to be controlled by billions of constant laws. For example, each one of the metals has its own properties, and each plant seed has specific qualities which are different from other seeds. Furthermore, if you read about the planets, you will find out that their movement is fixed accurately. Do you know why the Big Ben (the very famous clock) works accurately? That is because it works according to the movement of a star.

 Allah the Almighty creates countless things unchangeable in this universe, but other things such as man's health and provision are fluctuated. Provision is not constant, and so sometimes the rainfall rate is high, but in other times it is low. Thus, provision is changeable, and so is health, and due to a Divine profound Wisdom, this possibility of change in provision and health is the means with which Allah disciplines His servants.

﴾Verily, man (disbeliever) was created very impatient* Irritable (discontented) when evil touches him* And niggardly when good touches him* Except those devoted to Salat (prayers)﴿

 This weakness in man can be overcome if he establishes a connection with Allah the Almighty.

 I would like you to keep in mind that the characteristics of man's entity are neutral. For example, man loves superiority, so if he uses this characteristic to compete with his brother over the Hereafter-related matters, he will exalt, but if he uses this characteristic to compete with his brother over mundane vanity, he will gain nothing but misery.

2. Man is niggardly:

 Man is keen on saving what he owns, and this fact leads us to a crucial point, that man's Tabe' (disposition) is contrary to the Divine Assignment, and this contradiction between the two is the price man pays to enter Paradise. Man's Tabe' urges him to take money, whereas the Divine Assignment orders him to spend money (on the needy). Man's Tabe' tempts him to feast his eyes on women's beauty without any limits, whereas the Divine Assignment orders man to lower his gaze from looking at the non-Mahram woman (she is an unmarriageable kin with whom sexual intercourse would be considered incestuous, a punishable taboo)woman. Man's Tabe' encourages him to continue sleeping at Fajr time, whereas the Divine Assignment orders him to wake up and offer Fajr Salah. Man's Tabe' endears gossiping to him, so that he might entertain people, whereas the Divine Assignment orders him to keep silent. As I have just said, there is always a contradiction between man's Tabe' and the Divine Assignment, and this contradiction is the price man pays to enter Paradise.

3. Man is very hasty:

 One of the characteristics of man's self (hastiness) is mentioned in the following Ayah:

﴾And man is ever hasty [i.e., if he is angry with somebody, he invokes (saying): "O Allah! Curse him, etc." and that one should not do, but one should be patient].﴿

[Al-Isra', 11]

 Allah the Almighty describes the believers using a very distinguished characteristic in the first Ayat of Surat Al-Baqarah, Allah says:

﴾Alif-Lam-Mim. [These letters are one of the miracles of the Qur'an and none but Allah (Alone) knows their meanings]* This is the Book (the Qur'an), whereof there is no doubt, a guidance to those who are Al-Muttaqun [the pious and righteous persons who fear Allah much (abstain from all kinds of sins and evil deeds which He has forbidden) and love Allah much (perform all kinds of good deeds which He has ordained)]* Who believe in the Ghaib﴿

[Al-Baqarah, 1-3]

 There is the witnessed world and the unseen one. In the witnessed world, there are blazing lusts, inciting seductions and a beautiful green world, but in the unseen world (after death) there are Paradise with its eternal bliss and Hellfire with its ongoing torment. However, the Hereafter is Divine Reporting whereas the witnessed world is tangible.

 Man can sense everything in this life, like a beautiful house, a luxurious vehicle, a tasty food and a beautiful woman, but as for Paradise and Hellfire, they are Divine Reporting in the Quran and in other Divine Scriptures.

 To understand the difference between this worldly life and the Hereafter consider this example. If a person is riding a bicycle, and he reaches two courses; one of them is an ascending course and the other is a descending one, and the descending course is paved and surrounded by trees and flowers, whereas the ascending one is full of potholes, dust, rocks and it will exhaust him, so undoubtedly, this person will choose the descending road, and all the conditions of reality, of environment and of his body will push him to take it. Therefore, man deals with reality, with the environment and with the physical characteristics of his body. Yet, if there is a sign that says, "The descending course ends with a bottomless ditch that is full of wild animals, and the ascending course ends with a beautiful mansion that will be for the one who enters it", will the bicycle rider not change his mind and take the ascending road? Of course, he will. The same goes for the worldly life and the Hereafter, for the worldly life is the physical reality which is full of blazing lusts, green lands, beautiful women, a luxurious mansion, high positions and many other things, but when you read the Divine Instructions, you will change your mind about striving for the adornments of the worldly life, and you will strive for the Hereafter instead. This is the whole story; it is all about evanescent worldly life and eternal Hereafter.

﴾And indeed the Hereafter is better for you than the present (life of this world)* And verily, your Lord will give you (all i.e. good) so that you shall be well-pleased.﴿

[Ad-Duha, 4-5]

 Allah also says:

﴾Verily! These (disbelievers) love the present life of this world, and put behind them a heavy Day (that will be hard).﴿

[Al-Insan, 27]

 Allah makes it clear to man in so many Ayat that the Hereafter is the truth where he can enjoy the real happiness, and that the real loss is when man loses the Hereafter.

﴾Verily, the losers are they who lose themselves and their families on the Day of Resurrection.﴿

[Ash-Shura, 45]

 The worldly life is tangible, whereas the Hereafter is Divine Reporting, and man is molded to be hasty, so he longs for prompt tangible matters that are at the reach of his hand, and he turns away from far-reaching matters. If man chooses far-reaching goals, he will choose the Hereafter and gaining the Content of Allah the Almighty.

 Let me ask you this crucial question: what does owning the free will mean? Since Allah punishes His disobedient servants, it means that these servants own the free will; otherwise, they might disobey Him for a long time without being punished, and their heart will remain healthy with normal blood pressure. Also, if man does not own the free will, he might obey Allah for a long time without being rewarded for his obedience, but this is not the case for man owns the free will.

﴾Consider not that Allah is unaware of that which the Zalimun (polytheists, wrong-doers, etc.) do, but He gives them respite up to a Day when the eyes will stare in horror.﴿

[Ibrahim, 42]

 The worldly life is the tangible beauty and the endeared abode to man, and it is in harmony with his desires, whims and physical characteristics, whereas the Hereafter is Divine Reporting in the Divine Scriptures.

((Anas b. Malik reported that the Prophet PBUH said: "The Paradise is surrounded by hardships and the Hell-Fire is surrounded by temptations."))

[Muslim, At-Tirmizi and Ahmad]

((Ibn abbas reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, "Whoever grants respite to someone in difficulty or alleviates him, then Allah will save him from the gates of Hell. No doubt, the deeds of Paradise are difficult to reach for they are atop a hill, and the deeds of Hellfire are easy to reach for they are in the lowlands…))

[Musnad Ahmad]

((On the other hand, Abu Huraira narrated that the Prophet PBUH said that Allah said: "I have prepared for My pious servants which no eye has ever seen, no ear has ever heard and no human heart has ever perceived"))

[Al-Bukhari, Muslim and At-Tirmizi]

 Being hasty is a vulnerability installed in man.

 In fact, when man lives the past and neglects his present, he is an idiot, and if he lives the present moment only, his life will turn into delayed reactions, but the prosperous and prudent man is the one who lives the future, given the most crucial event in the future is leaving this world and moving to what comes next.

4. Man is weak:

 Allah created man weak; Allah the Almighty says:

﴾And man was created weak ﴿

[An-Nisa', 28]

 Man was created weak, for had he been created strong, he would have dispensed with Allah, depending on his own power, but he would have become miserable. Hence, man was created weak, so that he will be in need of Allah, and this need will make him happy. When man dispenses with Allah, he inclines to err, and the proof of this fact is in the following Ayah:

﴾Nay! Verily, man does transgress all bounds (in disbelief and evil deed, etc.)* Because he considers himself self-sufficient.﴿

[Al-Alaq, 6-7]

 Sometimes man lives in the delusion that he can dispense with Allah, only he is in His Grip. I would like to pay your attention to an outstanding indication in the Quran. The plural of the word Abd (slave) is either Abeed or Ibad, and the difference between the two words is delicate, for Abeed is the plural of Abd, which indicates being compelled by Allah (it means even if man does not believe in Allah, he is in His Grip).

﴾And your Lord is not at all unjust to (His) slaves.﴿

[Fussilat, 46]

 On the other hand, Ibad is the plural of Abd which indicates being a slave of gratitude to Allah (that being Abd of Allah in this sense is an exalted rank man gains, because he believes in Allah and is grateful to Him).

﴾Certainly, you shall have no authority over My slaves﴿

[Al-Hijr, 42]

﴾And when My slaves ask you (O Muhammad ) concerning Me, then (answer them), I am indeed near (to them by My Knowledge).﴿

[Al-Baqarah, 186]

 Hence, man is a slave of Allah whether he likes it or not, so when he refuses to submit to Allah, in one second he might have a heart attack due to a clot that is as small as the tip of a pin, leaving him mute and paralyzed. Accordingly, man is in the Grip of Allah, and he is created weak, so that his weakness forces him to resort to Allah, which grants him happiness. Had he been strong, he would have dispensed with Allah and gained misery thusly.

 The delicate point is that man has two tests to take every day for tens of times whether at work, at home, in raising his children, in earning money, in spending money and in doing his missions, so when he says, "I am self-reliant", and he takes pride in his expertise, power and money, Allah will abandon him, but if he says, "I put my trust in Allah", Allah will protect him. These two tests are mentioned in the Quran through the Ayat in which the expeditions of Hunain and Badr are mentioned:

﴾And Allah has already made you victorious at Badr, when you were a weak little force.﴿

[Aal-'Imran, 123]

﴾Truly Allah has given you victory on many battle fields, and on the Day of Hunain (battle) when you rejoiced at your great number but it availed you naught﴿

[At-Taubah, 25]

 When we comprehend that the Divine Orders are means to guarantee our safety, and not limits for our freedom, only then we will reach the truth.

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