The term “Iman” is not just a word but it has deep concept embedded in it, which must be clear in our minds and must descend into the depth of our hearts (49:14). Then only we will accept it as complete truth and we will be convinced about its reality in our heart. Thus, Iman on Allah is a profound concept. We say that Allah is one and there is no partner with Him. What kind of concept ensues from this in our mind? Does it positively affect our daily life and improve our overall behavior? In fact, Iman must create a revolution in our hearts and minds, and in the external world as well. Therefore, the concept of Iman is a fundamental concept and is extremely important, and it leads to correct concept of Allah.
If the Quranic concept of Allah enters our minds, then we can understand Deen. The Quran not only gives the correct concept of Allah but it also provides the true concept of human being. These two concepts provide the foundation of Deen. This is not given importance in our current practice of Islam. We say that we accept Allah and we are humans anyway. We also don’t give any importance to the story of Iblis and Adam. The Quran says:
Allah is infinite and cannot be confined into space and time. Allah says in the Quran that I am there wherever you are (57:4); and that I am closer to you than your jugular vein (50:16). Therefore, the story of Adam and Iblis should be taken metaphorically not literally. The physical body of human is always controlled by his sharp animated emotions. So, it is humans who act as Iblis when overwhelmed by their fiery emotions.
Human consists of physical body and emotion
Because of its importance, Allah has repeated the story of Iblis and Adam many times in the Quran. Iblis is the human emotion. It is not some outside ghost that our religionists say. If there are no emotions inside human being, then he becomes just a lump of clay. All human body parts work as directed by the emotions. We talk when we are directed by our emotions. When we give speech, we are directed by our emotions. This is a profound psychological fact. Psychologists call it ego or “self” and Allama Iqbal called it “khudi”. The human physical body is directed by the operation of his “self”.
Adam’s mistake was that he didn’t keep his emotions under the divine order. His ego told that since the human body works under my control, so I am superior than the human physical body. What was his mistake? His mistake was that he said that I will operate my physical organs under my order because I have freewill. Whatever I want I will do. Then Allah told him that I had given an order and you disobeyed it. So, the correct system is that human ego must be under Allah’s order and operate the physical body to establish Allah’s order practically in human society. Why did Iblis refused when Allah asked him to prostrate? This was his ego’s transgression. This was his egotism’s superiority that did it.
Harmony among human body, human self, and Allah’s orders
When the human “self” transgresses Allah’s orders, then in today’s psychology we call it ego. When the Pharaoh said: “أَنَا رَبُّكُمُ الْأَعْلَىٰ” (79:24) – I am your Lord All-Highest; then it was his big ego that said it. The “ego” itself is neither good nor bad. In fact, it is the source of human freewill. The human body is just its instrument which works under its direction. Whatever the ego tells the human body it does it. If the “ego” works according to Allah’s laws, then the result is good and it leads to development and strengthening of the “self”. This also leads to balance and harmony in the human world. If the ego transgresses Allah’s laws, then it suffers and weakens and creates chaos in the world. The ego is free to decide whatever it wants and the body will work under its directions. These are the two different concepts of human life – using freewill to obey Allah’s laws or to disobey Allah’s laws.
The emotion controls the body
The “self” of humans give them freewill. Allah created humans with freewill. This is the thing that really makes them human with freedom of choice. This is not granted to any other species in the entire universe. When the “self” works under the laws of Allah then it is Deen, and it leads to nourishment and development of the “self”. But, if it is left uncontrolled then we can call it anti-Deen which the West has used it for secularism. The entire system of West works under its uncontrolled emotions – be they political, social, economic etc. All the tensions and wars in the world are the result of uncontrolled emotions. It cannot be analyzed and understood because emotions don’t follow any logic and create self-deception, which all politicians use in the world to compete with each other. The story of Iblis and Adam illustrates this point very well. Allama Iqbal explains the geopolitical strategies of the West to gain superiority in the world in great detail in his poem entitled “Iblis Ki Majlis-e Shura” [The advisory council of Iblis].
Malaaikah’s (مَلَائِكَةِ) objection in the creation of humans
Malaaikha (مَلَائِكَةِ) objected that human will create bloodshed in the world: يُفْسِدُ فِيهَا وَيَسْفِكُ الدِّمَاءَ (2:30) – This creature will rebel against Your Law and, thereby, cause bloodshed and disorder. This is because Malaaikah had seen his ego. Then Allah said: إِنِّي أَعْلَمُ مَا لَا تَعْلَمُونَ (2:30) – Verily, I know that which you do not know. When human uses his ego in accordance with Our laws then the earth will be peaceful and enlightened:
Obviously it is the ego (using freewill) that will follow Allah’s guidance then it need have no fear, and neither shall it grieve in the world. These are foundational concepts and these are necessary to understand the Quran. On the other hand, those who reject Our Guidance, they would lead a life of constant torment in this world and beyond. This then is a symbolic narrative of Adam’s life and what it means.
This is a similitude story of Adam
The Quran has described the story of Adam in form of similitude. It was not the case that there was a platform and Allah was sitting on one side and the Malaaikah and Iblis were sitting on the other side along with one Adam. Adam is not an individual but it is generic description of human. So, the Quran is describing the story of human and its ego (Iblis) and Malaaikah, the forces of nature in symbolic style. Adam was told: وَلَا تَقْرَبَا هَٰذِهِ الشَّجَرَةَ (7:19) – But do not approach this one tree. He did it and made the mistake. But Adam accepted his mistake:
Adam accepted his mistake, so there is chance of his reform:
But one who doesn’t accept his mistake, there is no chance for his reform.
To blame Allah for one’s own mistake
The human ego (Iblis) said:
I shall come upon them from the front, from behind them, from their right and from their left. Then you will find very few of them, truly faithful to you.
Who I am to reject your message? Nothing happens without your order. So, you made me reject it. Without your wish nothing happens. You made me reject, then why are you holding me responsible for it? So, Iblis is blaming Allah for his disobedience.
The Universe operates on Allah’s Laws
Allah is the Almighty Infinitely Powerful and not subject to anyone or anything. When He created the Universe, He made it operate permanently according to His Laws. And although He can change these laws but He said that He will not change them (30:30). It does not mean that He does not have power to change. It means that He is not going to change them although He has the power to change them. So, the natural laws will be permanent and changeless. He has given humans the ability to discover and control these laws (16:12; 45:13) and use them for the benefit of humanity, not for their own selfish interest because this will make the world hell (13:17).
And Allah created human beings and gave His guidance and laws to run the human world. Again, He could change these laws but He said that He is not going to interfere in human affairs; that He has granted freewill and freedom of choice to humans and He is not going to take that away. It will be up to humans to follow Allah’s laws or not to follow; but they will face the consequences of their actions (37:39). This will happen according to Allah’s Law of Requital (52:16). This puts the responsibility on humans of their own actions. Actions according to the laws of Allah produce good results (2:5) and any action against Allah’s law produce bad results and creates human suffering (2:39). All this puts the burden of responsibility on humans.
Quran’s concepts change the trajectory of human mindset
The Quran provides the signposts for guidance on the right path, but we will have to walk ourselves. If we ignore Allah’s offered sign posts to guide us, then we will be on the wrong path and will get to wrong destination. We will face the consequences of our own choice. We will be responsible and accountable to Allah. Allah’s Law of Requital will keep track of all actions and produce the results accordingly.
Allama Iqbal explains it beautifully the conversation between Allah and Iblis. When Allah asked Iblis why did you refuse My order? Then Iblis says:
To say “haughtiness” was not possible in front of you
But, well, my prostration was not written in your Will
Then Allah asked him:
When did this secret opened on you: before or after your denial?
Iblis said “after,” O Illumined Creator and Sustainer of the Universe
At this Allah looked at the angels and said:
His mean nature has taught Iblis crooked argument
He says it was not in Our Will for him to prostrate
He is giving the name of his liberty, compulsion
The Cruel one is saying his burning fire as smoke
Thus, there is no possibility of reform for those who do not accept their mistakes.
Allah clearly says that:
اعْمَلُوا مَا شِئْتُمْ
(41:40) – Do what you will. [Asad]
This is Allah’s eternal law. He does not take away human freedom. It is the meanness of nature that humans give the name helplessness for their freedom.
The Quran says:
كَتَبَ عَلَىٰ نَفْسِهِ الرَّحْمَةَ
(6:12) – Allah has willed upon Himself the law of grace and mercy. [Asad]
إِنَّهُ لَا يُفْلِحُ الظَّالِمُونَ
(6:135) – Verily, never will We allow evildoers attain to a happy state! [Asad]
وَاصْبِرْ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يُضِيعُ أَجْرَ الْمُحْسِنِينَ
(11:115) – And be patient in adversity: for, verily God does not fail to requite the doers of good! [Asad]
But the three pronged attack on the hearts, minds, and sustenance of Muslim masses leave them virtually helpless prey to the modern Pharaohs, Hamans and Qaroons. According to them, it is predetermined who will get what, when and where. Therefore, if a rich person’s dogs and cats enjoy gourmet food and a poor person’s children die of hunger, it’s okay, because everything is predetermined; that is what is written in fate. The very fact that Allah has endowed humans with freewill is sufficient to disprove predetermination:
1.The universe works precisely according to the laws decreed by Allah.
2. Human beings are endowed with freewill and, therefore, are responsible for their own actions. Every time one is confronted with a choice, one exercises one’s freewill. But once a choice has been made, the result of that choice cannot be changed. The result is governed by Allah’s law of requital. The operation of this law is immutable and does not change for anyone. Whatever one sows, that is what one is going to reap. This is the fundamental principle of life.
Allama Iqbal says:
If Islam is not present anywhere in world
Then it does not mean that Islam has failed
If we have left the Quran and gone astray
Any nation can adopt it and will realize it
It has been done by our Prophet (PBUH) and Companions (R) before and therefore it can be done again. The Prophet (PBUH) is the supreme role model for all of humanity. This will be the highest Sunnah of the Prophet (PBUH) to follow.
May Allah give us the fortitude, perseverance, and unwavering commitment to follow the shining footsteps of the Prophet (PBUH). Then Allah guarantees that His cosmic forces will join us in our effort to achieve this goal: