A Ramadan Gift
19 SHa`baan 1428 September 1, 2007
When Allah the Almighty Creator said wa kuntu kanzan makhfiyyan fa ahbabtu an ‘urafa (I was a hidden treasure and it pleased me to be known, and from My Love of myself I created creation) He said kun, and all and everything became. And man became the means for God to be known. God says:
wa ma khalaktal-jinna wal-insa illa li-ya`buduni (Surah Zariyat, 56)
This was interpreted by Hadrat Ibn `Abbasradiya Allahu `anhu as: “And Allah created jinn and humanity only to know Him.” Thus He offers special honor to human beings by giving us the ability to know Him. The Lord further honored mankind by making us different from the rest of Creation, as God Himself bore no resemblance to His Creation. The Lord said:
inna Llaha khalaqa Adama `ala suratihi
“Allah created the human being in His own image.”
This does not mean the image of a person as seen by the eyes. That which is in God’s image is our soul, about which Allah says:
wa nafakhtu fihi min ruhi (Surah Sad, 72)
“And I breathed into him of My own soul.”
Thus a human being is made of two parts—a temporal body made out of the four elements of earth, water, air and fire, attested to by the senses; and a part called the soul, which is divine and eternal, and can only be known by wisdom.
Through another attribute bestowed by God only upon man, the soul remains in God’s hands, under His command and control. The Lord says:
kul ar-ruhu min amri rabbiy (Surah Bani Isra`il, 85)
“Say: The soul is under the command of my Lord.”
Allah created humanity from a drop of water, which became a blood clot, which became flesh and bones, veins and nerves, hands and feet and inner organs, eyes and ears and nose and mouth, so that we may see, hear, smell and talk. He gave the human being a brain to understand with, a heart to feel with, a tongue to speak with. He blew His soul into it, and it lived. He gave the baby who could do nothing but cry two devoted, loving, compassionate servants called a mother and a father, and fed the baby from its mother’s breast a complete food that needs no fat, no water, no toil of cooking, but is complete.
Day by day, from no knowable source, he makes humanity mature‑with a mind able to discover the rest of creation and its Creator; with a tiny black hole in its eye able to see the worlds, the suns and the planets; with eyelashes around the eye, eyebrows above the eye, to protect its sight; with a tongue and a throat to speak and sing with the most beautiful sound in existence, and with ears to hear. If He didn’t make all this, could it all be? There are so many eyes that cannot see, ears that cannot hear, tongues that cannot speak!
He gave man air and lungs to breathe it, food and a belly to digest it. Food and air turn into life-giving blood, and He made a heart to pump that blood to every corner of our being. The blind see with the sensitivity of their fingertips, and each fingerprint is unique. We who measure the value of things in dollars, what price would we ask for a finger, or a tooth, or an eye? Won’t we be thankful to the One who gave them to us?
The more we want, the more we receive. Not only did He give us our bodies and souls, but He gave us all and everything. Our Lord says:
wa sakhkhara lakum ma fis-samawati wa ma fil-ard (Surah Luqman, 20)
“He has made all that is in the heavens and in earth subservient to you.”
As our needs increase, His gifts increase, much more than we really need. Our Lord says:
in ta`addu ni`mat Allahi la tuhsuha (Surah Nahl, 18)
“If you were to try to count Allah’s favors upon you, you would not be able to number them.”
All we receive is from Him, all we have is His: our souls, our bodies, the world, the heavens.… Yet we claim them as our own, although we are heedless and could care less about them. We are pompously arrogant about our beauty, our strength, our intelligence, our creativity and achievements, our riches. All of these are His gifts. And we try to sell Him what He gave to us when we claim we did it, we know it, we have it, and we can do whatever we want with it. Why can’t we see that this isn’t so? Our Lord just lent these things to us, so that we may find out who we are by the way we keep His trust. And He will soon take it all back‑our souls and our selves included.
“O Man, what beguiles you from your Lord who is so generous and gracious to you? Who created you, then made you perfect, in the best state‑and in whatever form He wishes you to be, He makes it happen.” (Surah Infitar, 6-8)
“And He is the one who made for you the ears, the eyes, the hearts.” (Surah Mu’minun,78)
“Then why don’t you realize that you came to be from being nothing?” (Surah Maryam, 67)
“From dust He created you, then from a drop of life-germ, then from a bloodclot, then from a lump of flesh made you complete, keeping you in the womb of your mother until an appointed time; then He brought you forth as a baby, then made you attain maturity. Some are made to die younger, and some reach the worst time of their lives, old age, when they forget what they knew. Don’t you see the earth barren and He sends down on it water from heaven, and the earth stirs and swells and brings forth growth plenty for your sustenance?” (Surah Hajj, 5)
“And He is the one who made this world for you to abide in and stretched the heavens above you. He made you into human shape and made you beautiful and sustained you with the best of sustenance. That is Allah your Lord, blessed be He, the Lord of the Worlds.” (Surah Mu’min, 64)
“…and breathed into you your soul from His own divine soul.” (Surah Sad, 72)
“…and taught you all the names.” (Surah Baqarah, 31)
“…and taught you what you knew not.” (Surah `Alaq, 5)
“…but you think you are created by yourself without a Creator. Do you think that you have also created the heavens and the earth?” (Surah Tur, 35-36)
“He is the one who has created you, why cannot you accept? See you not that drop which you emit, is it you who created it and the man who is created from it? And your Lord has ordained your death, can you overcome your end?” (Surah Waqi`ah, 57-60)
“He is the one who gave you life, He is the one who will take it.” (Surah Mu’minun, 80)
“He is the one who makes you laugh and who makes you weep.., he is the one who gives wealth and content... and the one who created you in pairs, men and women; and the one who gives life and causes death.” (Surah Najm, 43, 45, 48, 44)
“His is the Kingdom and His is the praise and He is the Possessor of Power over all things. He is the one who created you, but one of you is a believer and one of you believes not, and Allah is the Seer of what you do.” (Surah Taghabun, 1-2)
“But surely man is ungrateful to his Lord...and on account of his love of the goods of this world he is niggardly. And the day will come when those in their graves will be raised and the deeds that men did, hiding them from the eyes of other men, will be made manifest. But surely the Lord is aware of their sins when they commit them.” (Surah `Adiyat, 6-11)
So be heedful of the reason for your creation “in the image of God”: it is to know Him, your Creator. “He who knows himself knows his Lord.” No one but you in the whole creation contains the divine qualities of ya Hayy, the Ever-Living, that is in your soul; iradah (will) that Allah gave you for choosing right over wrong; and qudrah, (power), for being His deputy in the world. If you realize that these qualities are drops from the ocean of God’s attributes, and are given to you for the purpose of bringing you close to Him, you will achieve the highest possible state for a human being‑that of being an `abd, a servant of Allah. But if you are fooled by your personal devil, your ego, and think that those divine qualities are your own, if you think of yourself as divine -may Allah protect us all‑ you will be guilty of the only unforgivable sin, shirk,setting up partners to God. And you will be doomed.
May Allah in His mercy make us as humble as the earth ‑that earth, which we walk on, and are made of‑ so that the eyes of our hearts may open and see the truth of our souls’ eternity. So that we are thankful. Amin.
Shaykh Tosun Bayrak al-Jerrahi al-Halwati