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Article appeared Friday, November 7th, 2014 in The News Today, Bangladesh

The Revelation (352)

yousuf mahbubul Islam, PhD

Each of us is an individual and unique human being! There is beauty in being unique. In
addition, we all are a party to an intelligent existence. In this respect, an important question is:
should we use our intelligence to reflect on how and why? That is, how do we happen to exist
and is there a reason behind our existence?
To launch reflective thoughts we may compare an analogy and set up questions that would help
us situate our presence on earth. For the purpose of the analogy we may examine one of the
worlds most famous and valuable paintings the Mona Lisa. What kind of questions would help
us understand our own position? Before setting out questions, we must situate the painting
itself. The painting is an inanimate object the woman in the painting has no abilities, no
intelligence nor any feelings, yet the painting is most famous and priceless! The painting is
completely in the dark about Leonardo, its painter. It has no means to recognize or appreciate
what Leonardo has done in making the painting famous and priceless.
Now lets look at some hypothetical questions. First, lets look at questions from the point of view
of the painting itself. For the sake of the analogy lets imagine that Leonardo gave the painting
intelligence and feelings. Using her intelligence and feelings, should she seek out who has
made her famous and priceless? Or being priceless, should she become proud and arrogant?
Being arrogant, should she argue about the existence of Leonardo, her painter? Should she
imagine that the canvass, paints used, paint brushes or other paintings had something to do
with her fame or value?
Second, lets look at questions from the point of view of Leonardo. Leonardo put a lot of effort
and time into the painting. What could be possible reasons? Was it simply to exercise his
painting skills? Was it to establish himself as a painter? There could be other alternative
reasons as well. However, whatever it be, it is obvious that the reason has to be personal, i.e.,
purely from Leonardos own point of view.
Using the analogy, can parallels be drawn with the creation of human beings? As the first
human being was Adam (pbuh), let us look at the moments or events that took place as he was
created as reported in the Holy Scriptures. Stacy {1} shows that the Christian and Jewish
traditions regarding the creation of Adam are similar to those given in the Quran. However, the
Quran puts forward important details which we will consider here. Apart from the fact that Adam
was created from mud, Allah clarifies that He gave knowledge and the intelligence to Adam, i.e.,
the ability to independently recognize and acknowledge different objects. Verses from Chapter
2, i.e., Sura Baquara on the creation of Adam are discussed below.
And He taught Adam the nature (or names) of all things;... [2.31a]
So Allah gave and taught the names or natures of all things, i.e., all knowledge that He created
for man, he gave to Adam. He then arranged a challenge for the angels to show them the
difference between them and His new intelligent creation.
then He placed them (all things) before the angels and said: "Tell Me the nature of
these if you are right." [2.31b]
The angels could not, as they do not have independent knowledge. They can only do or say
what they are programmed to do.
They said: "Glory belongs to You; we have no knowledge except that which You have
taught us: in truth it is You who are perfect in knowledge and wisdom. [2.32]
To complete the picture, Allah now asked Adam to demonstrate his knowledge.

He said: "O Adam! Tell them their natures." When he had told them Allah said: "Did I not
tell you that I know the secrets of the heavens and the earth and I know what you reveal
and what you conceal?" [2.33]
As the Originator of knowledge and all things in the heavens and the earth, Allah has complete
knowledge of everything. He knows the ins and outs of the angels as He programmed them. He
designed the nature of everything. To bear witness He gave Adam the independent ability to
recognize the Creator and all other things something that, without knowledge, was
impossible for the angels to do or understand. With this new creation, Allah brought the light of
knowledge into the universe. The purpose of this new creation was to establish the truth of the
Creator with the given intelligence, i.e., independently recognize the Creator for who He is.
Accordingly, when He creates each new human being, He asks a question to confirm their
independent understanding as witnesses.
When your Lord took the children of Adam, from their loins, their descendants, He
made them testify concerning themselves (asking): "Am I not your Lord (who cherishes
and sustains you)?" They said: "Yes! We do testify!"
However, after birth on earth, we are plagued with feelings of arrogance and use our intelligence
to find excuses to deny Allahs right to be known as our Creator. Prophets and the Holy
Scriptures have warned against this. The Scriptures carry stories of what happened to those
who repeatedly found excuses to deny the Creator. A well-known example is that of Pharaoh
who used his intelligence to discredit Prophet Moses (pbuh) and ignore the warning of the
Creator.

10.79 Said Pharaoh: "Bring me every sorcerer well-versed."


The idea was to discredit the miracles that Allah had given with Moses by comparing them with
magicians cheap tricks. So, Moses accepted the challenge and asked Pharaohs magicians to
give their best.

10.80 When the sorcerers came, Moses said to them: "Throw what you wish to
throw!"
10.81 When they had their throw Moses said: "What you have brought is
sorcery: Allah will surely make it of no effect: for Allah increases not the work of
those who make mischief.
The walking staff of Moses that became a snake devoured all the magicians illusory tricks. This
made the magicians realize that the miracle shown by Moses was real something that they
could not compete with.

10.82 And Allah by His Words does prove and establish His Truth however much
the sinners may hate it!
However, Pharaohs arrogance could not accept defeat.

10.83 But none believed in Moses except some children of his People because of
the fear of Pharaoh and his chiefs lest they should persecute them; and
certainly Pharaoh was mighty on the earth and one who transgressed all
bounds.
Most of those who understood the purpose of Moses, feared Pharaoh more than they should
have feared the Creator.
-----{Notes}:
{1} http://www.islamreligion.com/articles/1190/