The Weaknesses of Man

God created man in a most complete state and equipped him with superior characteristics. His superiority over all creatures- as shown by his distinctive intellectual skills of thought and comprehension, and his readiness to learn and develop cultures- is unquestionable.

Have you ever thought why it is that despite all these superior features man has such a fragile body, which is always vulnerable to external and internal threat? Why is it exposed to the attacks of microbes or bacteria, which are so tiny they are invisible to the naked eye? Why does he have to spend a certain part of each day keeping himself clean? Why does he need bodily care? And why does he age in the course of time?

People assume that these needs are natural phenomena. Yet, being in need of care as a human serves a special purpose. Every detail of the needs of man is specially created. The verse "man was created weak" (Surat an-Nisa: 28) is the manifest statement of this fact.

Man's infinite needs are created on purpose: to make him understand that he is a servant of God and that this world is a temporary residence for him.

Man has no influence whatsoever on the date and place of his birth. Likewise, he never knows where or how he will die. Moreover, all his efforts to eliminate the factors negatively affecting his life are vain and hopeless.

Man has indeed a fragile nature requiring a lot of care to survive. He is intrinsically unprotected against, and feeble in the face of, abrupt and unforeseeable incidents that occur in the world. Equally, he is exposed to unpredictable health risks, no matter whether he is a resident of a high civilization or of a remote, undeveloped mountain village. It is quite likely that at any moment man can develop an incurable or fatal disease. At any time, an accident may happen dealing unrecoverable harm to one's bodily strength or one's most enviable charms. Furthermore, this applies to all people: status, rank and race, etc., know of no exception to such an end. Both the life of a celebrity with millions of fans and that of a common shepherd may well be completely altered one day by an unexpected incident.

The human body is a weak organism of bones and flesh averaging 70-80 kilograms in weight. Only a frail skin protects it. No doubt, this sensitive skin can easily be hurt and bruised. It becomes cracked and dry when exposed to too much sunlight or wind. In order not to surrender to natural causes man always has to be on guard against the effects of the environment.

Although man is equipped with marvelous bodily systems, the "materials"- the flesh, muscles, bones, nervous tissue, cardiovascular system and fat- are prone to decay. If man were of a different material, rather than flesh and fat, a material that gave no access to external intruders such as microbes or bacteria, there would be no chance of becoming sick. However, flesh is the frailest 'substance': it becomes rotten and even worm-eaten when left at room temperature for some time.

As a constant reminder of God, man often feels the fundamental needs of his body. Exposed to cold weather, for instance, he runs health risks; his immune system gradually "collapses". On such an occasion, his body may fail to maintain the constant body temperature (37C) that is fundamental to good health. His heart rate slows, the blood vessels contract, and arterial pressure increases. The body starts to shiver as a means of regaining heat. A lowered body temperature of 35C accompanied by a depressed pulse and contracted blood-vessels in arms, legs and fingers signals a life-threatening condition. A person with a body temperature of 35C suffers severely from disorientation and constantly falls asleep. Mental functions slow. A slight decrease in body temperature can cause such consequences, but even more exposure to cold weather, bringing body temperature below 33C, causes loss of consciousness. At 24C, the respiratory system fails to function. The brain is damaged at 20C and finally the heart stops at 19C bringing on the unavoidable end: death.

These are only very few examples. The purpose in providing these examples is to emphasize that, due to the inexorable factors endangering his being, man will always fail to find profound satisfaction in his way of living. The aim is to remind the reader that man should avoid blind attachment to life and stop spending all his life running after dreams and, instead, always remember God and the real life, the Hereafter.

There is an eternal Paradise promised to man. In paradise, man will be entirely insulated from all the physical weaknesses and imperfections that surround him on earth. Everything he desires will be within easy reach. Furthermore, fatigue, thirst, exhaustion, hunger, and injury do not exist in paradise.

Man is in need of the guidance of God is surely of great relevance to everyone. God states this in the following verse:

O mankind! You are the poor in your relation to God. And God! He is the Absolute, the Owner of Praise. (Surah al-Fatir: 15)

Harun Yahya is a pen name used by Mr. Adnan Oktar. Born in Ankara in 1956, Adnan Oktar is a prominent Turkish intellectual. Completely devoted to moral values and dedicated to communicating the sacred values he cherishes to other people, Oktar started his intellectual struggle in 1979 during his education at Mimar Sinan University's Academy of Fine Arts.

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  11 Comments   Comment

  1. shabana from India

    this is true that we should always keep in mind life after death. i believe that whatever we do we should do according to quran, which is the only book given by allah. faith in aakhirat will remove all sorrows of our life.

  2. Nuraini from Malaysia

    Yes, I do think especially in the modern day, as it was in all earlier ages where any culture reached a high point in civilisation, mankind imagines itself invincible and soooo smart that we forget the utter fragility of our bodies and indeed our whole civilisation. just a 2 degree increase in global temperature is said to be enough to topple our vaunted modern set-ups, so really what is there to be so proud of? cockroaches have survived for longer, and will survive the changes that will crush the civilisation of man.

    indeed human beings must realise that their existence is one of constant need, whereas God is free from need. I disagree that this means God is needful of servants - one does not only make what is needed, one also makes things that are desired, simply as an expression of being. even creative humans create prolificly, as though they must and cannot but do it. indeed so it must be that the ultimate Creator has as an intrinsic trait, that is, creation constantly coming into being as a result of Himself without Him being in any way needful of what is created.

  3. Ahmed Bahraini from Bahrain

    Am done with serving God, as I saw HE really has no need for my service.

    So, I started serving other human beings regardless of their ethnic or religious beliefs.

    This was when I became certain that the whole purpose of religion was to show us that we have to be servants unto each other; that we are all one.

  4. MLS from USA

    Striving while remembering "insha allah", makes a big difference. While in planning and pursuit of a year-long project, I broke my leg. This not only changed my plans, but also my perspective, alhamdullilah. Since that experience, I remember my life as the "pre-break" and "post-break" period. I have a more deeply imbedded "insha allah" sense of life and my own self.

    We can easily slip into a culturally-induced mentality that gives us a plan-it-well outlook on our personal life, while too often forgetting "insha allah". We slip into thinking it's all about planning. Well, this broken bone was not in my plans. It forced me to remember that I was not "self-sufficient" and to remember that something like this could happen at anytime-- something not temporary like a broken bone, but something permanent or terminal. It helped me to experience what it could be like to become old and frail if I live long enough. It also was a chance to ask who will care about me then.

    For many these days, family and friends are relationships that we try to sustain long distance, as we live so far away. But when you feel physically vulnerable, you wish for someone beside you. You can fill that awareness of your vulnerability with remembrance of Allah, and a reassessment of your life.

    How fortunate to gain insights like this early, while you may still, insha allah, have a chance to live on with a reformed appreciation and way of living, than while you are near death (at any age), lying with regret that you have no time to apply your new insights.

    When you are going through any period of weakness, allow that to be a time, like during Ramadan, to experience weakness as a chance to turn to Allah for guidance.

    As-salaamu alaykum

  5. MTH from Malaysia


    While this article discusses more on the physical weaknesses of man as an analogy, due attention must be firmly given to the weaknesses of one's "Iman"/faith. Such weaknesses of man can easily be accepted and understood with the strengths of his Iman for he learns to know WHO creates him and for what purpose. This is the breaking point that makes every man "meaningfully" understands his weaknesses.

    Any "diseases" cannot simply cause any weaknesses to man without the consent from Allah swt. Deny them, only Allah swt decides the weaknesses or strengths, losses or benefits of man with or without causes.

    Every external and internal physical organ on man's body is vulnerable to diseases, except the heart of believers who posses Iman in which resides the knowledge of Allah swt - Al-Malik, the Master of Creation and His Ad-Deen/religion.

    For the root or basis of His Ad-Deen/religion lies in this kalimah : LA ILLAHA ILA'LAH, MUHAMMADU RASULULLAH (There's NO god except Allah, Muhammad is His messenger).


  6. Chuk Hammer from Canada

    The problem with man is when he does not rely on his intellect.

    Religion, and to be more specific a belief in a creator god, will be the destruction of us all. The faiths developing from the abraham faible, are all, a virus on mankind...

    Peace to all, and good health and happiness, and immunity from the most dangerous of viruses called relgion.

  7. Kris MacPherson from Malaysia


    One weakness so apparent in man is his tendencies to rely wholly on his intelligence, what he perceived as logical conclusions to every riddles and questions. My view has always been that while efforts coupled by the gift of intelligence and skills are crucial as a means of achieving any mission or vision,but there is always a Divine role in everything. Man must also have the ability to manage their wants and desires, in accordance with what was laid out by Islam. This is one area in which many men failed. Or just give in to failures.

    What are actually one's luxury becomes a necessity, thus the race for achievement of materialism begins in ernest. It is good to be rich, or powerful, or famous and popular, or be part of the intellectual fraternity but the manner in which the these are to be achieved or to be accumulated must be right and pure. And the achievement of material gains shold not be the " be all " or the " end all " in a man's life. If he gives in to those, then he'll forgets the main reason for his own creation, that is to worship ALLAH and to be his vicegerent in this world.

    And if he fails, then I just wonder how he'll answer to ALLAH in the here after.

  8. akil from USA

    This article states that "...stop spending all his life running after dreams and, instead, always remember God and the real life, the Hereafter." In fact Allah tell us in Al-Quran to .."do not forget your share in this life". And in surah Jummah "...return to work after the prayer." Once man stops "dreaming" he becomes weak. I would argue also that striving for success while remembering Allah is the best way to gain admittance to Paradise.

  9. ahmed asgher from bahrain

    The article states:

    "Man's infinite needs are created on purpose: to make him understand that he is a servant of God and that this world is a temporary residence for him."

    This assumes that God has a need for servants. Thus He created man for His desire to have servants. Yet we know God is beyond need.

    Take a deeper look at this and see if God has any need at all for us?? He is indeed beyond need. So what is the purpose for all this Creation??? Sure the Quran states that man/jinn are created to worship God but this also makes Him a needy God.