Expression: Allah's Gift to Humans

(photo: iStock by Getty Images).

The Quran says:  عَلَّمَهُ الْبَيَانَ He has imparted unto him articulate thought and speech (55:4). [Asad]

This is from the Almighty Allah Who not only created human beings (55:3) but He also gave them the ability to express their thoughts (power of speech), which is not available to any other species in the entire Universe.

The power of expression separates humans from animals

Evolution until the animal level went along progressive lines (23:12-14). Animals do not have the ability of speech or writing or power of expression. Allah also gave humans the ability to express their thoughts in writing:

الَّذِي عَلَّمَ بِالْقَلَمِ

He Who taught (the use of) the pen. (6:4) [Yusuf Ali]

In order to overcome the conflict between Haq (The Truth) and Baatil (Falsehood), it is important to unite all human beings in understanding that Almighty Allah has created means of nourishment in abundance. It is thus available for everyone. Accordingly, the universal socio-economic system must be established that should fulfill this objective. To achieve this objective, the Almighty gave humans the capability to communicate their ideas to distant places, through writings. This brings human beings closer to one another, despite long distances and differences in time, and paves the way for unity of humankind.

Animals cannot express in words what they are feeling about. They keep everything within themselves. A cow cannot express what she is feeling. Animals are the creations that are results of progressive evolution. Humans are beyond animals, and are the result of emergent evolution which granted them the ability to think; which granted them the ability to write, to speak, and to express their thoughts and feelings to others.

But this is a human ability that can be used for the right purpose or wrong purpose. If it is used for the right purpose, then it produces good and beneficial results. But if it is used for the wrong purpose then it leads to destructive results.

If we look at how scientists communicate and convey their research and discoveries to others, then we can see the huge benefits of this Allah-given faculty of expression. This kind of expressive power helps others to tap into and develop their own creative, intellectual, and reasoning power. But we, on the other hand, are engaged for thousands of years in talking, chitchatting, regurgitating, arguing, debating, conversing, fanaticizing, poetizing, proselytizing, etc. This is how we are (mis)using our Allah-given power of expression. Our whole history attests to this. Critical thought which is so important to understand Nature (3:190-191) and the Quran (4:82) has disappeared from our mind. We have even lost our conscious ability to recognize what we have lost. We have lost our self-awareness. Self-analysis has disappeared from us. No wonder we have rarity of “Self-concentrated” individuals as Allama Iqbal says:

The teaching of the Quran that life is a process of progressive creation necessitates that each generation, guided but unhampered by the work of its predecessors, should be permitted to solve its own problems (Page 134). …False reverence to past history and its artificial resurrection constitute no remedies for a people’s decay. ‘The verdict of history’, as a modern writer has happily put it, ‘is that worn-out ideas have never risen to power among the people who have worn them out.’ The only effective power, therefore, that counteracts the forces of decay in a people is the rearing of self-concentrated individuals. Such individuals alone reveal the depth of life. They disclose new standards in the light of which we begin to see that our environment is not wholly inviolable and requires revision (page 120).” [The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam]

However, the means of communication were localized before. So, this misuse of our power of expression was localized as well. Now global communications are happening with speed-of-light. The sounds are echoing now all over the world twenty-four seven all year round. Conferences, seminars, discussion, workshops of every kind – economic, financial, social, cultural, political, religious, educational, etc. – are going on round the clock globally. This has become a Global Tower of Babel. Try to filter from it how much is about walk-the-talk, how much is about actual work. You will not find much of it. Nowadays even the work has been transformed into words. Books and reports are published. Then excerpts from books and reviews about them are published in newspapers. There is now a whole host of industries offering all kinds of advice to people. Even the spiritual therapeutics offer prescriptions for people's emotional anxieties. But who is going to cure the pain of the people?

What a wonderful way the Quran has put this important principle:

لِمَ تَقُولُونَ مَا لَا تَفْعَلُونَ

O you who believe! Why do you say that which you do not do? (61:2) [Hilali & Khan]

When people start advising others to not lie; not to cheat; not to take bribes etc. without reforming themselves, then the entire society becomes corrupt and dysfunctional by indulging in blame-game. No one thinks that I will be accountable for my own behavior before Allah and others will be accountable for their behavior. This is very bad in the eyes of Allah:

كَبُرَ مَقْتًا عِندَ اللَّـهِ أَن تَقُولُوا مَا لَا تَفْعَلُونَ

Most loathsome is it in the sight of God that you say what you do not do! (61:3) [Asad]

So, what behavior does Allah like:

إِنَّ اللَّـهَ يُحِبُّ الَّذِينَ يُقَاتِلُونَ فِي سَبِيلِهِ صَفًّا كَأَنَّهُم بُنْيَانٌ مَّرْصُوصٌ

Verily, Allah loves those who fight in His Cause in rows (ranks) as if they were a solid structure. (61:4) [Hilali & Khan]

Allah cites about Momineen that parallels the activity that Nature is constantly engaged in silently? The Momineen face all the challenges like a solid rock and are firm like a wall with one hundred percent conviction without any hesitation against all their enemies, no matter what their size and strength. The Mujahedin focus on their divine goal; they remain busy fighting the enemies like a solid molten lead wall. They don’t issue statements; they don’t engage in talks; they don’t gather to pass resolutions. Quietly and firmly they are busy carrying out the divine mission.

Musa (PBUH) and Bani Israel’s endless queries 

Now the Quran gives evidence from history of what happens to a people’s psyche who keep talking; who keep concocting one argument after another argument. It says look at the behavior of the people of Musa (PBUH). They used to be continuously engaged in simply talking but not listening and doing what Musa (PBUH) was telling them to do according to divine commands. They started giving heart-ache to Musa (PBUH) by their endless queries. The Quran has described these things at many places. For example, the Quran gave a simple order to slaughter a cow but they started crooked arguments about its color, its age, its size, etc. (2:67-71)

In relation to what Quran says about misusing the Allah-given power of expression, the Quran cites the example of Musa (PBUH) about what he went through:

وَإِذْ قَالَ مُوسَىٰ لِقَوْمِهِ يَا قَوْمِ لِمَ تُؤْذُونَنِي وَقَد تَّعْلَمُونَ أَنِّي رَسُولُ اللَّـهِ إِلَيْكُمْ ۖ فَلَمَّا زَاغُوا أَزَاغَ اللَّـهُ قُلُوبَهُمْ ۚ وَاللَّـهُ لَا يَهْدِي الْقَوْمَ الْفَاسِقِينَ

And (remember) when Musa (Moses) said to his people: "O my people! Why do you hurt me while you know certainly that I am the Messenger of Allah to you? So when they turned away (from the Path of Allah), Allah turned their hearts away (from the Right Path). And Allah guides not the people who are Fasiqun (rebellious, disobedient to Allah). (61:5) [Hilali & Khan]

Musa’s (PBUH) people used to talk a lot, but when they were called upon to do something they looked for excuses and thus became a source of vexation for their Messenger. So these were the circumstances under which Musa (PBUH) said to his people, “Why do you always remain a source of trouble and torture for me, although you know that I have been sent towards you as a Messenger from Allah. Any path I ask you to adopt is proposed by the Almighty and is for your own good.” But in spite of this they did not give up their erroneous ways. As they strayed from the right way, the outcome according to the Law of Requital was that their hearts turned further away from the truth (51:9). The Divine Law states that people who knowingly go astray cannot reach the right destination.

The Quran is full of stories of how Israelites were giving hard time to Musa (PBUH). Musa (PBUH) kept telling them that whatever I convey to you is from Almighty Allah which is for your own benefit. You will not do any favors to me by obeying Allah’s commands. If you won’t, you will suffer the consequences thereof.

The initiative is in the hands of humans. Humans write their own destiny. Allah has not preordained it. What a great honor Allah has bestowed on humans: the gift of freewill and freedom of choice compared to any species in the Universe. This differentiates humans from animals whom Allah has not granted freewill. And this makes humans responsible and accountable for their actions. How sad, twisted, and proscribing on the part of religiously brainwashed Muslims that they have thrown their own Allah-entrusted responsibility back to Allah. But it does not matter to Allah. They will be the ones who will suffer the consequences of their wrong actions. They will get further away from the divine destination if they are on the wrong path. If they close their mind’s eyes to Allah’s light of revelation how can they see the signposts on the human highway of life to turn on the right path. So, therefore, how can they reach the right destination if they are traveling on the religiously induced wrong path. How can their self-delusion lead to the correct destination? The initiative for any action (good or bad) lies with humans and the Allah Law of Requital follows them and produces the consequent result of their action (61:5): وَاللَّـهُ لَا يَهْدِي الْقَوْمَ الْفَاسِقِينَ  – The Divine Law states that people who are iniquitous and knowingly go astray cannot reach the correct destination.

Allah’s Taqdir (Law) helps the faithful

It is also worthwhile to note that according to the Quran, we can talk of Allah’s Taqdir (laws) and not of human’s, because Allah is The Only One who has created these laws (of nature) and has the exclusive control over them. Everything in the Universe is subject to His laws. Allama Iqbal beautifully illustrates this concept of Taqdir as given by the Quran:

“The subtle secret of this concept (of Taqdir) is hidden in one word. That is, if you change then you are subject to Taqdir of Allah accordingly. If you become dust, then even a mild wind will scatter you and will carry you wherever it wishes. If you become stone, then you will break any glass that comes your way. If you become dew, then your destiny will be abyss and lowness. If you become an ocean, then your destiny will acquire depth and permanence.”

Therefore, if one has fallen into an abyss, then one should not just blame one’s Taqdir. One should not say that God has written it in my fate; that I can do nothing about it. This is a fatalistic attitude. Iqbal provides the remedy: “Whatever condition you are in now, you are subject to (Allah’s) Taqdir accordingly. If you want that some other Taqdir (of Allah) be applicable to you, then change yourself and another Taqdir will apply to you. Allah has an infinite number of Taqdir (laws).”

We must have complete conviction in the truthfulness and comprehensiveness of the Divine Order, that was established by Allah's Messenger (PBUH). We should strive hard with our wealth and possessions and if need be, give our lives! If we reflect on this rationally, we will see that there is much profit in this business (9:111).

The Quran says that make sure it is one hundred percent profitable business without any chance of loss. Don’t blindly believe because We are saying it. Use your knowledge, intelligence, and logic to make sure that it is really true what We are saying. You must struggle with all you might and life continuously nonstop in the path of Allah since you have signed a contract with Allah and sold your life and wealth to Allah in exchange for Jannah. Jihad does not happen only in battlefield. It means continuous struggle in all aspects of carrying out Allah’s mission in the world. There is a shining hadith of the Prophet (PBUH) which explains what is the life of a Momin? It says: when a battle is going on, then he must be on the battlefield. And when battle is not going then he must be preparing for it. That is, Momineen continuously struggles to establish the Deen of Allah in the world with steadfast conviction and unswerving commitment; and faces all challenges with complete fortitude.

Then the Quran says:

يَغْفِرْ لَكُمْ ذُنُوبَكُمْ وَيُدْخِلْكُمْ جَنَّاتٍ تَجْرِي مِن تَحْتِهَا الْأَنْهَارُ وَمَسَاكِنَ طَيِّبَةً فِي جَنَّاتِ عَدْنٍ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ الْفَوْزُ الْعَظِيمُ

[If you do so,] He will forgive you your sins, and [in the life to come] will admit you into gardens through which running waters flow, and into goodly mansions in [those] gardens of perpetual bliss: that [will be] the triumph supreme! (61:12) [Asad]

This System will provide you with the resources that will protect you from disasters which chase you. In this world as well as in the hereafter, it will grant you a heavenly life which would never lose freshness. For example, you will have evergreen gardens and the most beautiful houses to live in. For whoever attains it, this is indeed a supreme achievement.

The life of the Prophet (PBUH) and companions (R) in Medina

The Quran uses the word مَسَاكِنَ which means homeland. It says you will achieve success in your homeland. And history proves that the Prophet (PBUH) was in charge of one million square miles of territory under his control. And during Khalifa ‘Umar’s (R) time it expanded to more than two million square miles. And the Quran says further:

وَأُخْرَىٰ تُحِبُّونَهَا ۖ نَصْرٌ مِّنَ اللَّـهِ وَفَتْحٌ قَرِيبٌ ۗ وَبَشِّرِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ

And [withal, He will grant you] yet another thing that you dearly love: succour from God [in this world], and a victory soon to come: and [thereof, O Prophet,] give thou a glad tiding to all who believe. (61:13) [Asad]

Besides this, there is one more favor that you would love to have. You would want to establish your dominion not only in Arabia, but in the outside world as well (33:27). For this you will get full support and assistance from Laws of Allah, due to which the doors of success will open one after the other. O Messenger! Give these glad tidings to the Momineen, your companions.

Allah achieves His plans in the world through human hands

The Quran says:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا كُونُوا أَنصَارَ اللَّـهِ كَمَا قَالَ عِيسَى ابْنُ مَرْيَمَ لِلْحَوَارِيِّينَ مَنْ أَنصَارِي إِلَى اللَّـهِ ۖ قَالَ الْحَوَارِيُّونَ نَحْنُ أَنصَارُ اللَّـهِ ۖ فَآمَنَت طَّائِفَةٌ مِّن بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ وَكَفَرَت طَّائِفَةٌ ۖ فَأَيَّدْنَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا عَلَىٰ عَدُوِّهِمْ فَأَصْبَحُوا ظَاهِرِينَ

O YOU who have attained to faith! Be helpers [in the cause of God - even as Jesus, the son of Mary, said unto the white-garbed ones, "Who will be my helpers in God's cause?" - whereupon the white-garbed [disciples] replied, "We shall be [thy] helpers [in the cause] of God!" And so [it happened that] some of the children of Israel came to believe [in the apostleship of Jesus], whereas others denied the truth. But [now] We have given strength against their foes unto those who have [truly] attained to faith: and they have become the ones that shall prevail. (61:14) [Asad]

However, Allah will not make all this possible unilaterally. In the human world, human beings themselves should join hands to accomplish His programs. Therefore, O Momineen! All of you should become helpers of Allah in establishing the system. Previously also, wherever such systems were established, they all came into existence through human effort. For instance, Jesus, son of Mary, had similarly asked his devoted disciples: Tell me, who amongst you will help me in establishing the Divine Order? To this his disciples replied in unison: For this purpose, we shall become Allah's helpers. The result of their efforts was that one group amongst the Bani-Israel believed in the truth of this System, while another turned against it. When a struggle arose between them, We helped those who had believed this Deen; and they overpowered their enemies. This is what had happened at that time and the same will happen now. Eventually, from amongst those who oppose you, will emerge a group that would stand up against the enemies of the Deen and help in the establishment of the Divine Order. Allah will bestow His support upon this group.

إِنَّ اللَّهَ وَمَلَائِكَتَهُ يُصَلُّونَ عَلَى النَّبِيِّ يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا صَلُّوا عَلَيْهِ وَسَلِّمُوا تَسْلِيمًا

Verily, God and His angels bless the Prophet: [hence,] O you who have attained to faith, bless him and give yourselves up [to his guidance] in utter self-surrender! (33:56) [Asad]

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