In the Name of Allah, The Most Gracious, Most Merciful
First: The Universe:This universe, with all its galaxies, planets, comets, constellations, heavens, and the earth including its mountains, rivers, fish, birds and countless types of plants and animals, speaks out loud the following facts: It says that Allah exists, He is One and He is Perfect.
This universe is a manifestation of The Beautiful Names and The Exalted Attributes of Allah the Almighty. If you want to get acquainted with Allah, the universe leads you to Him.
﴾Verily! In the creation of the heavens and the earth, and in the alternation of night and day, there are indeed signs for men of understanding.﴿
﴾And among His Ayat (proofs, evidences, lessons, signs, etc.) is the creation of the heavens and the earth, and whatever moving (living) creatures He has dispersed in them both. And He is All-Potent over their assembling (i.e. resurrecting them on the Day of Resurrection after their death, and dispersion of their bodies) whenever He wills.﴿
In another Ayah, Allah says:
﴾And from among His Signs are the night and the day, and the sun and the moon. Prostrate not to the sun nor to the moon, but prostrate to Allah Who created them, if you (really) worship Him.﴿
Allah also says:
﴾And among His Signs is the sleep that you take by night and by day, and your seeking of His Bounty. Verily, in that are indeed signs for a people who listen.﴿
Talking about Allah’s signs in the universe takes a long time, but I will mention examples of these great signs.
A new galaxy is discovered recently, and it is 300 thousand billion light years away from us. It is worth mentioning that in order to reach the closest blazing star to earth (which is only 4 light years away from us) you need 50 million years to reach it using an earthy vehicle, so how many years would it take man to reach this far galaxy?
﴾So I swear by Mawaqi (setting or the mansions, etc.) of the stars (they traverse). And verily, that is indeed a great oath, if you but know.﴿
The size of a small star (to the observer on earth) called the heart of scorpion is as big as the sun and the earth and the distance between the two.
﴾Such is Allah, your Lord! La ilaha illa Huwa (none has the right to be worshipped but He), the Creator of all things. So worship Him (Alone), and He is the Wakil (Trustee, Disposer of affairs, Guardian, etc.) over all things.﴿
﴾Say: "Behold all that is in the heavens and the earth," but neither Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) nor warners benefit those who believe not.﴿
Allah the Almighty draws our attention to His signs, and He forbids us from overlooking them without reflecting and pondering over them.
Allah the Almighty says:
﴾And how many a sign in the heavens and the earth they pass by, while they are averse therefrom.﴿
Allah the Almighty makes it clear to us that His Great Signs shall be revealed one after the other.
﴾We will show them Our Signs in the universe, and in their ownselves, until it becomes manifest to them that this (the Qur'an) is the truth. Is it not sufficient in regard to your Lord that He is a Witness over all things?﴿
If man starts to reflect on his body, he will find miracles.
﴾Have We not made for him a pair of eyes?﴿
In the retina of the eye, there are 130 million rods and cones and it has 900 thousand nerves, each of which has a vein, an artery and three sheathes.
The universe is one of the elements of the Divine Assignment (to mankind) and this universe is subjugated to man for two purposes: the first one is to get acquainted with its Creator (i.e. Allah) and the second one is to honor mankind.
Qatadah narrated: The Prophet of Allah (PBUH) used to say upon seeing the new moon: "a new moon of good and right guidance; a new moon of good and right guidance; a new moon of good and right guidance. I believe in Him Who created you" three times. Then he used to say: "Praise be to Allah Who has made such and such a month to pass and has brought such and such a month."
This means that this moon is a useful means to man and it guides him to his Lord.
The same rule is applied to everything else, such as food, drink, plants, birds, fish, the terrains of earth, seas, mountains, rivers, low lands, deserts, lakes and plains.
"A new moon of good and right guidance”This means that the universe is subjugated to man for two purposes, the first one is to know Allah and the second one is to honor mankind.
The best stance that man takes towards the subjugation (as a means to know Allah) is to believe in Him, and the best stance that man takes towards the subjugation (as a means of honoring mankind) is to thank Allah. When man believes in Allah and thanks Him, he will fulfill the purpose of his existence.
﴾Why should Allah punish you if you have thanked (Him) and have believed in Him. And Allah is Ever All-Appreciative (of good), All-Knowing.﴿
Second: The reasoning:Allah the Almighty mentions reasoning and its means in the noble Quran in about 1000 Ayahs.
﴾Will they not then understand?﴿
﴾Have you then no sense?﴿
Allah also says:
﴾Thus do We explain the Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, laws, etc.) in detail for the people who reflect.﴿
In another Ayah, Allah says:
﴾We have detailed Our Revelations for a people who take heed.﴿
Allah also says:
﴾And whatsoever He has created for you on this earth of varying colours [and qualities from vegetation and fruits, etc. (botanical life) and from animal (zoological life)]. Verily! In this is a sign for people who remember.﴿
Due to the fact that the mind is the means to get acquainted with Allah and because the mind’s ways of cognition accord with the laws of the universe, the mind never comprehends anything without a reason and this is the principle of causality. Moreover, the mind never comprehends anything without a purpose, and this is the principle of teleology. Furthermore, the mind never comprehends any contradiction and this is the principle of harmony.
Thus the principles according to which the mind cogitate accord with the laws of the universe, given the mind is our means to know Allah.
Congratulation to the one who uses his mind to fulfill the mission for which it is created, and woe to the one who uses it for other purposes such as cunning, deceiving, misleading, misguiding and swindling.
Those, who have reached unbelievable scientific achievements, have done so by using their minds, and had they used it even in a small way to get to know Allah, they would have acquired the happiness of closeness to Him in the worldly life and in the Hereafter.
﴾Be cursed (the disbelieving) man! How ungrateful he is! From what thing did He create him? From Nutfah (male and female semen drops) He created him, and then set him in due proportion; Then He makes the Path easy for him; Then He causes him to die, and puts him in his grave; Then, when it is His Will, He will resurrect him (again). Nay, but (man) has not done what He commanded him.﴿
The human mind is an effective means in knowing Allah the Almighty.
Third: The human nature (Fitra):Allah installed in mankind a transcendent nature (Fitrah).
﴾So set you (O Muhammad ) your face towards the religion of pure Islamic Monotheism Hanifa (worship none but Allah Alone) Allah's Fitrah (i.e. Allah's Islamic Monotheism), with which He has created mankind. No change let there be in Khalq-illah (i.e. the Religion of Allah Islamic Monotheism), that is the straight religion, but most of men know not. [Tafsir At-Tabari, Vol 21, Page 41]﴿
This Fitrah means that man loves Haqq (the truth) and hates Batil (falsehood), he loves goodness and hates evildoing, he loves justice and hates oppression and he loves mercy and hates harshness, given this Fitrah is installed in all people.
However, there is a difference between Fitrah and Sibghah (traits), for Sibghah is to be just, merciful and fair, whereas Fitrah is to love being just, merciful and fair.
The human Nafs (self) is in harmony with the religion in the sense that it doesn’t live in peace, it doesn’t become stable, it is not secured and it doesn’t feel happy unless it gets acquainted with its Lord and rests in the Shade of The Almighty.
Among the Ayahs which assert Fitrah is the following Ayah where Allah the Almighty says that the companions of the prophet PBUH were happy with the Divine Revelation.
﴾Those to whom We have given the Book (such as 'Abdullah bin Salam and other Jews who embraced Islam), rejoice at what has been revealed unto you (i.e. the Qur'an), but there are among the Confederates (from the Jews and pagans) those who reject a part thereof. Say (O Muhammad): "I am commanded only to worship Allah (Alone) and not to join partners with Him. To Him (Alone) I call and to Him is my return."﴿
What made them so happy? What made them so happy is being congruent with Allah’s Share’ (Allah’s Laws).
Proofs of the Fitrah of man:
﴾And by Nafs (Adam or a person or a soul, etc.), and Him Who perfected him in proportion; Then He showed him what is wrong for him and what is right for him;﴿
The first meaning: If Nafs does wrong, it knows that very well without being told so.
Allah the Almighty says:
﴾Nay! Man will be a witness against himself [as his body parts (skin, hands, legs, etc.) will speak about his deeds]. Though he may put forth his excuses (to cover his evil deeds).﴿
If Nafs does the right thing, it knows that it fears Allah without being told so.
Therefore, the Fitrah is an efficient evidence to testify for what people do.
The second meaning: Allah showed man the path of Taqwah (what is right) and the path of Fujoor (what is wrong), and since the mind is man’s means to reach Allah and know Him, therefore, Fitrah is the self-detector of rightness and wrongness of things.
Nawwas bin Sam'an (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: I asked the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) about virtue and sin, and he said, "Virtue is noble behaviour, and sin is that which creates doubt and you do not like people to know about it."
This is the precise definition of Fitrah.
Wabisah bin Ma’bad (may Allah be pleased with him) said: I came to the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and he said, “You have come to ask about righteousness and wrongdoing.” I said, “Yes.” He (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “Consult your heart. Righteousness is that about which the soul feels at ease and the heart feels tranquil. And wrongdoing is that which wavers in the soul and causes uneasiness in the breast, even though people have repeatedly given their legal opinion [in its favour].”If man achieves financial success and becomes very wealthy, still there will be a void within him that can’t be filled with money. If man reaches the highest positions, still there will be a void within him that can’t be filled with power. If man’s physical health is perfect, still there will be a void within him that can’t be filled with health. If man becomes a leader who is followed by lot of followers, still there will be a void within him that can’t be filled by them. Thus, there is a void in man’s Nafs that can be only filled with believing in Allah and being close to Him, and this is Fitrah.
It is like a car that is designed to be driven on a paved road, so if it is driven on a bumpy road, it will make terrible sounds. This is not a flaw from the manufacturing company, but these sounds are rather due to using it contrary to the company instructions. On the other hand, if man drives this car on a paved road, he feels comfortable because he follows the instructions of the company.
Allah gives health, power, beauty and money to a lot of people, but only the chosen ones are given tranquility.
Tranquility can’t be described, for when Allah gives it to someone, the latter will become the strongest, the richest, the most happy, the most forbearing, the most secured, the most stable and the most devoted person on earth.
Fourth: Lusts:The first fact: Allah installed lusts in mankind so that they will be our means to exalt in the sight of the Lord of the heavens and the earth.
Therefore, lusts are our means to sublime, but they also can be the reasons of hitting rock bottom. Accordingly, lusts are neutral and it is up to man to make them a means to exalt in the Sight of Allah or to hit rock bottom, Allah forbids.
The second fact: Every lust installed in man by Allah has a right path to fulfill it, for there is no deprivation in Islam, but rather there is regulation and discipline.
Take for example the lust for women, this lust can be fulfilled through marriage, and fulfilling it as Allah decreed will bring happiness to man and will spread happiness around him. On the other hand, if this lust is fulfilled in ways forbidden by Allah, it will bring misery to man and will spread misery around him.
Hence, lusts are like the fuel in the car, so if this fuel is filled in its sealed tank and runs through the tubes and is ignited at the right moment, it will produce a beneficial movement in the car, but if this same fuel is spilled all over it and it is given a light, it will burn the car and the people in it.
“Allah will not punish a heart because of a lust deserted by man for the sake of Allah”
((No slave (mankind) leaves anything for the cause of Allah but will be compensated with better substitute by Allah in his religion and his life))
((Three eyes will never be touched by the fire of Hell; an eye which weeps out of Fear of Allah, an eye which spends the night in guarding in the Cause of Allah and an eye refrains from looking to Haram.))
Fifth: Tashree’ (Islamic Laws):If the mind is the means to discover the universal laws and if the Fitrah is the detector of right and wrong, Tashree’ is the frame of reference to the mind and the Fitrah in the sense that whatever is considered as right in Tashree’ is right, and whatever is considered as wrong in Tashree’ is wrong, so if your mind and reasoning accord with this Tashree’ then congratulations, but if it does not, then it is a deviated reasoning because Tashree’ is the only frame of reference and it is the foundation.
﴾Verily, he thought and plotted; So let him be cursed! How he plotted! And once more let him be cursed, how he plotted! Then he thought; Then he frowned and he looked in a bad tempered way; Then he turned back and was proud; Then he said: "This is nothing but magic from that of old; "This is nothing but the word of a human being!" I will cast him into Hell-fire﴿
Allah the Almighty created the universe as a means to lead us to Him and He sent down His Tashree’ so that we worship Him. Thus, the only path to worship Allah is to follow His Tashree’, and if man wants to draw close to Allah the Almighty, Tashree’ is his path to reach Him:
﴾O you who believe! Keep your duty to Allah and fear Him, and speak (always) the truth. He will direct you to do righteous good deeds and will forgive you your sins. And whosoever obeys Allah and His Messenger he has indeed achieved a great achievement (i.e. he will be saved from the Hell-fire and made to enter Paradise).﴿
Sixth: The free will:Allah the Almighty gave man the free will.
﴾Those who took partners (in worship) with Allah will say: "If Allah had willed, we would not have taken partners (in worship) with Him, nor would our fathers, and we would not have forbidden anything (against His Will)." Likewise belied those who were before them, (they argued falsely with Allah's Messengers), till they tasted of Our Wrath. Say: "Have you any knowledge (proof) that you can produce before us? Verily, you follow nothing but guess and you do nothing but lie."﴿
Allah also says:
﴾And say: "The truth is from your Lord." Then whosoever wills, let him believe, and whosoever wills, let him disbelieve. Verily, We have prepared for the Zalimun (polytheists and wrong-doers, etc.), a Fire whose walls will be surrounding them (disbelievers in the Oneness of Allah). And if they ask for help (relief, water, etc.) they will be granted water like boiling oil, that will scald their faces. Terrible the drink, and an evil Murtafaqa (dwelling, resting place, etc.)!﴿
These two Ayahs are the proofs that man owns the free will.
﴾For every nation there is a direction to which they face (in their prayers). So hasten towards all that is good. Wheresoever you may be, Allah will bring you together (on the Day of Resurrection). Truly, Allah is Able to do all things.﴿
Allah also says:
﴾Verily, We showed him the way, whether he be grateful or ungrateful.﴿
In another Ayah Allah says:
﴾And as for Thamud, We showed and made clear to them the Path of Truth (Islamic Monotheism) through Our Messenger, (i.e. showed them the way of success), but they preferred blindness to guidance, so the Sa'iqah (a destructive awful cry, torment, hit, a thunderbolt) of disgracing torment seized them, because of what they used to earn.﴿
Allah’s orders and prohibitions are enough evidence that man owns the free will.
Had Allah compelled us to obey Him, rewarding would have been nullified, had Allah compelled us to disobey Him, punishment would have been nullified, and had Allah left man neglected, this would have indicated incapability (Allah is sublimed above that). Thus, Allah orders His servants so that they choose, He forbids them after warning them, He assigned them to matters they can offer and didn’t assign them beyond their scope. He gives abundantly for little deeds. He is not disobeyed due to being overpowered. He is not obeyed against His Will and He didn’t send prophets and Divine Books purposelessly or to play.
A man who drank wine was brought to our Master Umar Ibn Al Khattab, so Umar ordered him to be whipped (for wine abuse), the man said: Allah decreed that I do that, so Umar ordered that he should be whipped twice, once for drinking wine and the other for falsely accusing Allah for his sin, and he said: “woe unto you man, Allah’s decree will never take away your free will”.
Man owns the free will and this is proven against him, he has the freedom of choice in taking or leaving what he is Divinely assigned to and he is compelled in other matters (like disease, death and calamities), given this compelling is in man’s best favor. I will talk about this in details in the topic of Takhyeeer (freedom of choice) and Tasyeer (being compelled).
Seventh: Time:Time is but man’s lifep bestowed to him by Allah, and according to a Divine profound wisdom, which leads to the absolute goodness, the length of man’s age is determined by Allah so that man’s life time will be his vessel of his deeds, his opportunity to get acquainted with his Lord and his means to offer good deeds and to call to Allah.
﴾ By Al-'Asr (the time). Verily! Man is in loss, Except those who believe (in Islamic Monotheism) and do righteous good deeds, and recommend one another to the truth (i.e. order one another to perform all kinds of good deeds (Al-Ma'ruf)which Allah has ordained, and abstain from all kinds of sins and evil deeds (Al-Munkar)which Allah has forbidden), and recommend one another to patience (for the sufferings, harms, and injuries which one may encounter in Allah's Cause during preaching His religion of Islamic Monotheism or Jihad, etc.). ﴿
Conclusion:Man is the honored creature (by Allah) who is Divinely assigned to purify his Nafs. This purification needs a subjugated universe (as a guidance to know Allah), a means for this knowledge (and this means is the mind), a Fitrah which should be congruent with the rulings of the religion, motivating lusts, choices to be evaluated, and a regulating Tashree’.