Life is a Continuous Test

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 You place in it someone who will make mischief and shed blood, while we praise and glorify You?”

Allah said, “Surely, I know what you know not.” (Surah al-Baqarah 2:30)

            Allah fashioned Adam (as) 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 human destiny in this life: one day of comfort versus forty days of misery. Then Allah blew from His own breath into Adam, and he became alive. And He taught Adam (as) His Beautiful Names and placed in him His own divine attributes. Thus Adam (as) knew what the angels did not know. Allah asked the angels to prostrate to Adam (as) in respect. All the angels obeyed, except the accursed Devil, who out of envy, arrogance and jealousy, refused. He believed himself superior to Adam (as) and became his enemy. Satan fooled Adam (as) making him eat the forbidden fruit. Adam and Eve (as) 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. That first strife of brother against brother became the lot of human kind. Humanity is one family regardless of race, nation, language and religion, a diverse family spread to all corners of the world. 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.” (Surah at-Tin 95:4)

            Maintaining this state has a condition: we must believe in Divine Justice with which we will be judged on the Day of Last Judgment, for “Indeed, those who believe and perform good deeds, unto them are the Gardens.”  (Surah Luqman 31:8) 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 creation and become beasts in the shape of human beings, Allah will “render them the lowest of the low.” (Surah at-Tin 95:5) 

            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 heedlessness, and by the insatiable appetite of our ego and selfishness, how can we see reality, the truth, or what is right and what is wrong? Even the Devil runs away from such people. Someone asked Saadi-i Shirazi (ks) 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 Allah’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 Allah 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 they are the same sun, rain and earth. The sun and rain do not say, “I will only shine or fall on this country and not that country,” neither does the earth say, “I will let corn grow here but not there.”

            Can’t we be as decent and intelligent as the sun, the rain and the earth? Religion, race and nationality are not what make us fight. It is the ego that tells us that, “the grass is greener on the other side of the fence.” It is the fight between the haves and the have-nots. We try to fight fire by fire, hatred by hatred. In this day and age of mechanical intelligence and science, who in Allah’s name can think this right?

            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.