Life is a Continuous Test

In the Name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful.

Allah Most High says in the Holy Qur’an:

When thy Lord said to the angels, "I am going to place a ruler on Earth (whose name is Adam), the angels said, “Will thou place in it someone who will make mischief and shed blood, while we praise and glorify Thee?”

Allah said, “Surely, I know what you know not.”

Allah fashioned Adam (a.s.) from earth, water, fire and air and left him to dry. But it rained for forty days and the sun shone only a single day. That is the sign of man’s destiny in this life: one day of comfort versus forty days of misery. Then Allah blew from His own breath into man as his soul, and man became alive. And He taught Adam (a.s.) His Beautiful Names and placed in him His own divine attributes. Thus Adam (a.s.) knew what angels did not know. Allah asked the angels to prostrate to Adam (a.s.) in respect. All obeyed but the accursed Devil, out of envy, arrogance and jealousy. He thought that he deserved better than what Allah gave to Adam (a.s.), and became jealous of what Adam (a.s.) had, and he had not, and became his enemy. Satan fooled Adam (a.s.) and he made him eat the forbidden fruit. Adam and Eve (a.s.) whom Allah had created from Adam’s rib, had to leave the Garden of Paradise and were brought to Earth, so that we might inhabit the world. But Adam’s son Cain killed his brother Abel out of jealousy. And that first tyranny of brother against brother became the lot of human kind. Man is one family regardless of race, nation, language and religion; a family spread at different corners of the world and under different conditions. Although we may look different, talk differently, even think, feel and believe differently, we are created equal.

We are created as our creator says in the Holy Qur’an,

"We have created man as the best of Our creation."

But there is a condition for keeping this state, as long as man “believes (in Divine Justice with which they will be judged on the Day of Last Judgment) and do good...” And for the ones who do not do what they are not created for, and who destroy instead of build, hurt instead of heal, revolt against their nature and the purpose of their being created, and become beasts in the shape of human beings, Allah will “render them the lowest of the low.”

Once again, we see these days the manifestation of human beastliness: people living in the same place, belonging to the same race, believing in one God (although of two different religions) brother killing brother, like Cain and Abel!

Life on this earth is a continuous test between living as a human being, or as a wild beast worse than a tiger or a poisonous snake. If our eyes are blinded by the influence of heedlessness, and by the insatiable appetite of our ego and selfishness, how could we see reality, the truth, or what is right and what is wrong? Even the devil runs away from such men. Someone asked Saadi-i Shirazi (r.a.) how such a man compares to the devil, and he said, “Oh the one who asks me which is more horrible, a bad man or the devil. Don’t you know that the devil runs away from the man who abides by God’s divine books, while the man who is worse than the Devil is the one who uses Allah's words for his personal interest to get recognition and/or financial benefit. Such a one is seventy times worse than the worst of devils.” 

It is our egos which tell us we are the best, that God is our God and no one else’s, that everything is due to us, even if it belongs to someone else! It is not the difference of color or size, nor the language and the place we call home that makes us fight. For the sun, the rain, the earth may have different names, but it is the same sun, rain and earth. And the sun does not say, “I will only shine on Israel and not Palestine,” nor does the rain refuse to rain on the Taliban, neither does the earth say, “I will not let corn grow in Iran.” Can’t we be as decent and intelligent as the sun, the rain and the earth? It is neither religion, nor race or nation which makes us fight. It is the ego that tells us that “the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. They have and I have not!” It is the fight between the haves and the have nots. When people lived in caves, and lived by hunting, killing only to eat, it was all right. And when he domesticated animals and had more goats and learned to farm and had more corn than he could eat, his neighbor who had little came to steal it, and was either killed or got killed. But it was all right, as only very few died!

Who is more civilized, people of the stone age or us? They could kill one with one stroke; we kill thousands with one atomic bomb. This is not year 2000 of our Lord, it is the year 55 A.H. "after Hiroshima", and the new year is not December 31st, but it is August 6th, and that is where we are. Although the sun still shines on both sides of the frontiers, and the water runs from high land to low land without regard for who lives where, and the wind blows through the fields of Jewish, Christian and Muslim alike, and roses flower both in Grozny and Moscow, the same wind, the same water which brings life carried deadly poison thousands of miles in 1986 from Chernobyl all the way to our doors in the U.S. and Japan. In the space age of civilization, year 55 A.H., we stop killing by killing, by bombs, by embargoes of slow death by hunger and sickness, by the sheer mental agony of limiting people's human rights. We try to fight fire by fire, hatred by hatred. In this day and age of mechanical intelligence and science, who in God’s name can think this right?

If you don’t believe me, ask your computers. It never worked and will never work. you cannot fight fire with fire. Fire kills, water is life. You use water to put out the fire, the life-giving water of care, compassion and love.

May the All Compassionate, Merciful, Loving God have mercy on us.

Amin.