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Article appeared Friday, March 1st, 2013 in The News Today, Bangladesh

The Revelation (267)

yousuf mahbubul Islam, PhD

Scriptures confirm the existence of angels and their purpose. For example, Chapter 1 of Luke in the Bible reports the story of Angel Gabriel appearing to Zechariah [Luke, 1.19] and to Mary [Luke, 1.28] announcing the initiation of human births under extraordinary circumstances. Likewise, the Quran also confirms these two incidents. While he (Zakariya) was standing in prayer in the chamber the angels called on him saying: "Allah sends you glad tidings of Yahya (John) witnessing the truth of a Word from Allah (i.e. in fulfillment of a promise of Allah), a noble chaste Prophet of the company of the righteous." [3.39] Behold! The angels said "O Mary! Allah sends glad tidings of a Word (a promise) from Him: his name will be Jesus, the son of Mary, held in honor in this world and the Hereafter and of (the company of) those nearest to Allah. [3.45] As declared by the Quran, the angels [35.1] in fact rush to carry out the commands of the Creator. Then (the angels) press forward as in a race; then arrange to do the commands of their Lord. [79.4 79.5] The question is, having created angels, beings unfailing in their duties to the Creator, why indeed did He proceed to create human beings? The angels, in fact, asked a similar question. Behold! Your Lord said to the angels: "I will create a vicegerent on earth." They said "Will You place therein one who will make mischief therein and shed blood? Whilst we do celebrate Your Praises and glorify Your Holy Name?" He said: "I know what you know not." [2.30] So, what is it that the angels know not? The subsequent Verses furnish the answer: And He taught Adam the nature of all things; then He placed them before the angels and said: "Tell Me the nature of these if you are right." They said: "Glory to You, of knowledge we have none save what You have taught us: [2.31 2.32] While Adam was taught the nature of all things, i.e. given the knowledge of all things, angels are trained only to carry out commandments, e.g. like a computer is given the ability to carry out programmed instructions. Unlike a computer, man has been given an independent ability to evaluate and witness the truth of the Creator. Consequently, man has a choice. Man can enjoy the blessings of the Creator and use the gift of intelligence to independently acknowledge the truth of His Contribution. Man can also deny His Role by revering created things and/or by carrying out activities that deny the rights of the Creator as the Owner of all things. Man has therefore been created to independently know and acknowledge the Creator using knowledge and intelligence. Using the gift of intelligence to deny the truth is therefore a sin against the Creator. Who does more wrong than those who invent a lie against Allah? They will be turned back to the presence of their Lord and the witnesses will say "These are the ones who lied against their Lord! Behold! The Curse of Allah is on those who do wrong! [11.18] The Creator asks a logical question. It is We Who have created you: why will you not witness the Truth? [56.57]

And appeals to our sense of justice, It is We who have placed you with authority on earth and provided you therein with means for the fulfillment of your life: small are the thanks that you give! [7.10] How can one use his/her intelligence to witness the greatness of the Creator? One way could be to draw parallels between man-made things and objects made by the Creator. For example, we may study man-made engines. We would find that to make best use of any particular fuel, the engine has to be designed according to the properties of the fuel, i.e. a match must exist between the fuel used and the type of engine. Without purposeful design, it is impossible for the two things to work together, e.g. putting gas inside a diesel engine will not work. Not unlike an engine, can we say that our stomachs perform a similar function? Here is the question. How is it that the huge varieties of food that we eat happen to match the needs of the digestive system to produce the energy and proteins required? Without purposeful and intelligent design, would this be possible? For example, we do not have to change our stomachs when we intake meat instead of vegetables. In the case of the engine, it is a one-to-one match while in the case of the digestive system the match is many-to-one. If we think about this for a moment, we would see the Greatness of the Creator. In addition, when designing the engine, would the designer think of putting in a tongue so that the taste of diesel or petrol could be relished? In the case of human beings, the Creator has not only given a tongue, He has designed the tongue to sense the varieties of flavors available in the food we eat. So our Creator has not only matched all foods to our digestive system, He has also matched our taste-buds to relish the variety of food that we eat. Using our deductive reasoning we can learn to appreciate the great lengths the Creator has gone to provide means for the fulfillment of our lives. Should we then bear witness to the Greatness of the Creator? As an example, the Quran provides the testimony of Prophet Shuaib (pbuh), He said: "O my people! See whether I have a Clear Sign from my Lord that He has given me sustenance pure and good as from Himself?... [11.88] Can we work out what pure and good mean? It is because of this potential ability of man that the Creator asked the angels to bow down to Adam.

7.11 It is We who created you and gave you shape; then We bade the angels bow down to Adam and they bowed down; not so Iblis; he refused to be of those who bow down.
they bowed down except Iblis. He was one of the Jinns and he refused to obey the Command of his Lord. [18.50]

7.12 (Allah) asked: "what prevented you from bowing down when I commanded you?" He said: "I am better than he: you created me from fire and him from clay." 7.13 (Allah) said: "Get down from this place: it is not for you to be arrogant here: get out for you are the meanest (of creatures)."
Arrogance denies the Creators right to be acknowledged as the exclusive Source and Origin of everything and as such it is a major sin. Your Allah is One Allah: as to those who believe not in the Hereafter their hearts refuse to know as they are arrogant. [18.20]