The human being
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choosing this life—this temporary illusion—as our only goal, and a low one at that. We can be a manifest opponent to God, defiant, and most arrogant, believing in our own cleverness (36:77). We are hasty, choosing a life of instant pleasure here and now (17:11, 41:49).
We turn desperate in times of adversity, and believe and act as if we were an independent god. We can be parsimonious (stingy), contentious, argumentative as we challenge God and object to what He has provided us (17:100, 43:58). We are forgetful and lacking in spiritual and emotional strength (36:30, 20:115).
Our knowledge is limited, as we know only what God reveals, yet we ignore the real source of all knowledge. We can hate the truth, and actively seek to conceal it, distort it, or ignore it. We are greedy, when even the richest among us are still “in need” of more (41:49). We are disbelieving, even of what is in front of us, that can be touched and experienced with all our senses (75:5). And we can be despondent, in total loss, hopeless, when we turn from God and face our stark limitations, reminded over and over again of our vulnerability (103:2-3).
We doubt what cannot be seen, and fiercely hold on to those doubts. We lie, transgress against others on a consistent basis, and are at root wicked and selfish (96:6). We foolishly and easily love another human being who has done nothing for us—nothing at all. And we will bend in incredible ways to please the loved one, while finding it hard to love God, who provided the loved one in the first place. And finally, God describes us as unappreciative (36:30, 40:61, 43:15).
Why would God take so much time to tell us of our miserable natures, and give so many examples of our foolishness, and evident intent to repeat the
single worst error of our lives? The Most Gracious also describes the opposite of our natures, that which we can strive to be, and toward which, if only we ask, God will guide us.
The human being is also capable of truthfulness in all things, knowing that God protects the truthful; courteous to all people under all circumstances, except when aggressed against; forgiving, knowing we are all capable of mistakes; calm, replacing our anger with supplication to God; steadfast in the face of all things, no matter how adverse they may seem at the time; patient, knowing we will receive all that is meant for us, and none can divert it. We can submit to God, repent to God, knowing we are striving toward perfection, knowing God will forgive all things but one (idol worship). We can be righteous, which includes honesty, fairness, justice, compassion, charity, equitability, and lawfulness.
We can be kind, peaceful, and love the truth, and actively seek it in all things, trusting in God’s infinite wisdom and guidance (3:160). We can invite to goodness, and can recognize the signs in the heavens and in ourselves that tell of God’s mercy, goodness and light. We can be obedient, amiable, humble, satisfied, and certain of God’s many guarantees to the believers. We can have no fear, no grief. We can know the right path, and continually strive for it. Most of all, we can be appreciative (4:147, 5:89). We can strive to overcome the miserable side of our natures, because God identifies it for us clearly, so we can eliminate it.
God gives us instructions—clear, concise, simple instructions. Kill our ego. That which distracts us from our real purpose. (However, if we choose our ego over God, He will provide the illusion of security for our ego, as we wish). Then there is repentance. If we do repent, God is so merciful as to requite us just once for each sin, but reward us ten times for every righteous work (6:160).
Supplication is a form of worship. We are told to ask God for all things. This recognizes that whatever comes to us is always from God, and from no others. And God instructs us to make a firm decision, to be 100% certain. We are cautioned not to confuse study and searching with disbelief, but to keep asking and learning, to use our minds, knowing that if we really seek the truth, God will guide our minds and hearts.
We are instructed to look at the world around us. We have all seen videos and TV programs which describe the world around us in perfect, if puzzling ways—what I call “profiles in prostration” (35:28). We are shown things that seem like miracles, but which fit God’s perfect design, and we can see the recurring patterns in all of them. Trees, flowers, animals, stars, books from God, messengers—all things are provided in multiple forms and varieties to provide the one single message—One God. It seems impossible to miss it.
Among the instructions are Salat (Contact Prayers) and Zakat (Obligatory Charity). God gives us every chance to build our soul-strength. Zakat teaches us that we are all from one family, and that to give of the things we love is the most difficult thing for the human being. Yet, if we can part with a small percentage of what is provided us, we can receive back multiple rewards, both here and in the Hereafter.
We are instructed to accept the “polishing process” God puts us through once we declare we are worshippers of Him alone. We know that every step along the way is that much closer to the day when we can be in God’s presence once more.
So, with all these provisions, and having been presented with a full and complete picture of all the things we
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