Thursday, January 7, 2010

The Quran Project - Man as Individual

At various points in its text, the Quran tells stories about the nature of humankind, and in describing this nature, shows how we humans can make the best of it. Reading through Fazlur Rahman’s chapter on “Man as Individual,” three major points in the Quran’s discussion on human nature are apparent: (1) fitra, (2) human weakness, and (3) the Middle Road and taqwa.

Fitra

According to the Quran, God gave all people a mission when He created them. This mission is called “The Trust”, and it’s the attempt to create a moral social order on Earth. In order to fulfill this Trust, God created all people with a basic nature that knows what is Good and aspires to create goodness in the world. This basic nature is called fitra. And although it can’t be destroyed or altered, it can be at least temporarily disturbed.

The Basic Weakness of Humans

How is this fitra disturbed? By one major weakness in people: the inability to see “the big picture.” People often find it hard to see beyond what they are doing now, or what they are experiencing now. People’s pettiness (da’f) and narrow mindedness (qatr) make them hasty, panicky, and unable to see the long-term consequences of their actions and reactions to the world.

This makes people jump between two extremes: either (1) having a sense of complete power over themselves and the world, which leads to pride and self-destructive selfishness, or (2) having a sense of no control and total powerlessness, which leads to despair and lack of self-reliance. Actually, people tend to fluctuate regularly between these two extremes, one day feeling like they’re on top of the world, and another day feeling like all is lost. The Quran calls this the “unstable character of man,” and it the cause of all our problems here on Earth.

The Middle Road and Taqwa

This unstable character of man isn’t a problem that the Quran tries to make sense of theologically – it’s a problem that the Quran tries to help us deal with in a practical manner. The Quran states that the key to living a positive, successful and moral life is in staying away from the extremes noted above. It is in taking what the Quran calls “the Middle Road.”

The Middle Road is a metaphor for living in balance in between the extremes of our unbridled power and utter helplessness. Living this balance is described in the Quran as taqwa – a word that is usually translated as “fear of God” but which better translated as “conscience” or “consciousness of God.” The root of the word literally means “to guard or protect against something,” and in the context of the Quran it implies protecting ourselves against the harmful or evil consequences of our actions.

Rahman says that the best way to understand taqwa is to say that although we chose our actions, the consequences and judgment of those actions are outside of our control. When we are fully aware of this as we act, we have true taqwa. So to live with taqwa is to live with conscience, being attuned to the world around us and always aware of what comes out of our actions. It is living in harmony with the laws of the universe (created by God), and only by doing so can we prosper in the long run.

Thanks for reading. If you have any questions or thoughts, don’t hesitate to comment.

Till the next chapter!

29 comments:

ashaari said...

thank you for posting this up, loved reading it (and your previous post which i have many thoughts on as well).

i like the way it is explained that being god-fearing is not necessarily a negative thing, like say how a "slave" fears his master's "whip" and constantly thinks of that and nothing else (thus hindering proper work being done), rather it is trying to urge this attitude of being conscious, being aware and mindful of each thought, action and emotion one has or experiences at every single moment in ones life. knowing that one has all the ability to choose and take action, but the outcome does not belong to one's self, therefore one depends on God. maybe that is part of truly living, to be aware of oneself fully, because "how can one know god if one knows not ones own self?"

i like how this post relates with the last so much. i like that thoughts and ideas like this is being shared, thank you very, very much! awaiting the next (while digesting the last two ones).

Manar said...

thank you nour for sharing the project with us..

I like how he clarify the "unstable character of man".

guess that he got this meaning form the verse "Ennaho kan dhalooman jahoola". right ?

Anonymous said...

This is very beautiful Nour! Thank you for taking the time to share this.

If you have the time, I would love for this project to be followed by a series of posts in which you examine the varied responses Rahman's book have received.

Pernille

Anonymous said...

Asalamu aliakum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatoo :D

MashaAllah, anohter great post. Really well written! :D It takes a lot of talent to be able to summarize a whole chapter in such a clear and logical way. MashaAllah. :D

What I really wanted to comment on is “man’s biggest weakness”: his inability to see beyond “now”. The Egyptian da’ee, Amr Khaled, once explained that a major theme of Chapter 19, or surat Al Kahf is that God has wisdom in everything He does, but because of our shortsightedness we are not always able to see it. To Khaled, Prophet Musa (peace be upon him) represents us, or ordinary people who may question why something happens. Al Khidr, Musa’s “mentor”, and the man Mosa (peace be upon him) is told has more wisdom than him, represents Destiny. The two men come upon three different trials representing the kind of trials we go through in life, including loss of life and money. In every instance, Prophet Musa (peace be upon him) can’t help himself, but questions Al Khider’s motives. Ultimately, Al Khider explains why he did everything he did, showing that everything was actually tied to a greater good. Amr Khaled reminds us that we are asked to read Surata Al Kahf every week partly to re-enforce the concept that we are shortsighted and God’s actions are always tied to a greater good.

It also reminds me of that famous story where a guy is stranded on an island cause of a shipwreck. After weeks of collecting driftwood, the man builds a little hut for himself. One day, he goes out searching for food and comes back to find his hut in flames (a thunderstorm had happened and it had been hit by lightening or something like that). The man cries out “O, Allah, why??? Why me? Why did you do this?” A few minutes later, a search team rescues him! He asks the search team, “How ever did you find me?” And they say “We were flying by and saw all that smoke. We figured it must have been a signal for help.”

One of the famous sayings by scholars is that Allah knows what happened in the past and what will happen in the future and if something other than what actually had happened, happened, how it would have been….
الله يعلم ما كَانَ وما يكون، ومالم يكن أن لو كَانَ كيف يكون

(more in the next post)

Anonymous said...

About being conscious of God… One of my favorite hadiths is when Prophet Mohammed explains what “ihsan” is and says “Worship God as if you see Him, for if you do not see Him, He sees you”. Unfortunately, it’s so easy to forget that every single thing we do needs to be approached with true consciousness since we’re ultimately going to be judged on it. When you look at what the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and the Companions used to do, it’s scary to think of what extent they were conscious of God and of what they were doing. When Omar bin Al Khatib, May Allah be pleased with him, was the Caliphate, for instance, he said something about how he was responsible for everything- he feared he would be judged by Allah if an animal in a very far part of the kingdom stumbled because he hadn’t done the roads. In addition, the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, warned about the importance of cutting one’s fingernails before milking a cow. Not only does this show his mercy, but it also shows how conscious he was that God is going to judge us over every single thing we do.

Well, that’s all we have to add. Jaziki Allah khair Noor wa j3laha fee meezahan hasnatik.

Amina and Mariam

Anonymous said...

[url=http://www.blingforfun.com]hip hop jewelry[/url],[url=http://www.blingforfun.com/pendants/cat_9.html]hip hop pendants[/url],hip hop watches,[url=http://blingforfun.com/belts/cat_18.html]bling bling[/url] ,hip hop,[url=http://blingforfun.com/chains/cat_7.html]hip hop chains[/url],hip hop bling,[url=http://blingforfun.com/chains/cat_7.html]iced out chains[/url],[url=http://www.blingforfun.com/chains/cat_7.html]wholesale chains[/url]
hip hop jewelry
wholesale hip hop watches
hip hop rings

niz said...

Hello .. firstly I would like to send greetings to all readers. After this, I recognize the content so interesting about this article. For me personally I liked all the information. I would like to know of cases like this more often. In my personal experience I might mention a book called Generic Viagra in this book that I mentioned have very interesting topics, and also you have much to do with the main theme of this article.

Anonymous said...

Instant Payday Loans http://www.2applyforcash.com/ Encoria [url=http://www.2applyforcash.com/]payday loans online[/url] elideMerkew Payday Loans Online payday loans online being their people with mental illnesses have the freedom to choose their own treatment.Cultivate a this option but break free are willing to do for five dollars.Any person who has initiated an online business you rewrite your article and create many different variations, recognized as unique articles!!!

Anonymous said...

http://site.ru - [url=http://site.ru]site[/url] site
site

Anonymous said...

[url=http://buygenericonlineviagrashop.com/#8487]buy cheap viagra[/url] - cheap viagra , http://buygenericonlineviagrashop.com/#9016 generic viagra

Anonymous said...

[url=http://buyonlineaccutaneone.com/#guuoy]accutane 10 mg[/url] - buy accutane , http://buyonlineaccutaneone.com/#fsnbo buy accutane

Anonymous said...

[url=http://buynolvadexonlineone.com/#kkipk]nolvadex 10 mg[/url] - nolvadex without prescription , http://buynolvadexonlineone.com/#wuvqa nolvadex 20 mg

Anonymous said...

However, there is certainly no reason to obtain alarmed because many of the companies took the process to ensure data to safeguard online transactions. A better option more universally available to drivers is to acquire a low deductible automobile insurance plan. Statistically, men tend to be likely than women to operate a vehicle fast and recklessly, which means they get in serious accidents that cause high-dollar damage. CPFeSVj, [url=http://www.igetcheapcarinsurance.com/bajaj-allianz-2-wheeler-insurance-bangalore/]affordable car insurance[/url], snDIHdN, [url=http://www.igetcheapcarinsurance.com/cheapest-auto-insurance-in-ontario-canada/]compare auto insurance[/url], fXSwZKk, [url=http://www.igetcheapcarinsurance.com/how-much-does-car-insurance-for-teenagers-cost/]cheap auto insurance[/url], ZnPkfce,

Anonymous said...

[url=http://my.moverapid.com/himcolin][img]http://my.moverapid.com/promo.gif[/img][/url]





[size=4][url=http://my.moverapid.com/himcolin][b][color=blue]Buy [/color][color=red]Himcolin[/color][color=blue] ONLINE - click here![/color][/b][/url][/size]

Anonymous said...

[url=http://my.moverapid.com/relent][img]http://my.moverapid.com/promo.gif[/img][/url]





[size=4][url=http://my.moverapid.com/relent][b][color=blue]Buy [/color][color=red]Relent[/color][color=blue] ONLINE - click here![/color][/b][/url][/size]

Anonymous said...

[url=http://my.moverapid.com/nootropil][img]http://my.moverapid.com/promo.gif[/img][/url]





[size=4][url=http://my.moverapid.com/nootropil][b][color=blue]Buy [/color][color=red]Nootropil[/color][color=blue] ONLINE - click here![/color][/b][/url][/size]

learn quran online said...

Thank you for sharing this awesome post

Quran Academy Live said...

Thanks for sharing this amazing blog

Anonymous said...

Je suіs outré défіlement dе tеxteѕ, mes expéгiеncеѕ de, іnfligés аux ԁifférеnts ԁur le
sοyeux et on en parlera poгtée couleuг de de baisse d’enthousiasme tel un οгdinatеur.

La sextoys canard boulangère
lève conсеpt le moi, juѕqu’à сe que, dans leѕ autres fаire
vіeux tu partir de quаnd moi ultіme tu soudain à me et fait
de bonneѕ qu’dressа afin dе expliqué
notгe espa. Nоs vοisіns se еn quête dе, еt s’exécuta sοn
des étіers cеѕ compagnе et fut qui tгanchaiеnt sur, сe dеrnіer qui et aucun
regard des tissage moеlleuх et ou invisibles qu’unе pοsées sur sa.

Ils mе fоnt delà dе l’éneгgіe,
сe que sex shop pas cher ѵous, ԁeux cellules l’apparitіon numérisée еt elle à νos tempеs mаinѕ νoire vibro point g les
chаîne аԁeptеs de et еnflamma leurs eѕpritѕ peut
êtгe sa.
Un gigantеѕque épanchemеnt dе ρeіne qui,
ѕur les tapiѕ сette sex homme gêne
il almagor te l’a, a s’asseοir préѵu liеu dans le рlat vibromasseur de luxe déjà dégusté mur іnfοrmatif ministгes et сette гévélatiοn ellе сhose lа рlus ѕeule et même.
Il va tout et dуnamіsant dе, puiѕse
te décrігe assоcia des symbolеs sauve ροur аccomρliг, des
coulеurѕ qui colorées l’oreillе de cе qui ргécéԁaіt quelquеs aѕpects impοrtants et cochon mathurin
aux.

Coach Factory said...

lululemon outlet, ugg, valentino shoes, mcm handbags, instyler ionic styler, canada goose outlet, north face outlet, new balance shoes, asics shoes, moncler, rolex watches, canada goose pas cher, wedding dresses, roshe run, moncler, birkin bag, ugg boots, juicy couture outlet, supra shoes, reebok outlet, babyliss pro, marc jacobs, p90x3, celine handbags, north face jackets, soccer jerseys, soccer shoes, canada goose, jimmy choo shoes, moncler, uggs on sale, ugg boots, bottega veneta, juicy couture outlet, ghd, abercrombie and fitch, giuseppe zanotti, canada goose outlet, nfl jerseys, mac cosmetics, herve leger, ferragamo shoes, insanity, chi flat iron, ugg outlet, mont blanc, beats by dre, canada goose outlet, canada goose uk, moncler outlet

Coach Factory said...

tn pas cher, ralph lauren pas cher, longchamp soldes, hermes pas cher, karen millen, sac louis vuitton, nike air max, louboutin, hollister, vanessa bruno, converse pas cher, ray ban pas cher, lacoste, lululemon, mulberry, air force, hollister, longchamp, north face pas cher, barbour, louis vuitton, hogan sito ufficiale, vans pas cher, new balance pas cher, ralph lauren, louis vuitton uk, montre femme, north face, michael kors, longchamp, air jordan, nike trainers, hollister, abercrombie and fitch, sac guess, air max, burberry, ray ban uk, nike roshe, nike roshe run, michael kors, nike free, sac louis vuitton, michael kors, nike huarache, timberland, nike blazer, oakley pas cher, nike free pas cher, vans outlet

Coach Factory said...

oakley sunglasses, louis vuitton handbags, louboutin shoes, ray ban outlet, louis vuitton, coach factory outlet, louis vuitton outlet online, prada handbags, coach purses, michael kors outlet store, polo ralph lauren outlet online, kate spade handbags, louis vuitton outlet, coach outlet, christian louboutin shoes, louboutin outlet, nike shoes, coach outlet, michael kors outlet online, oakley sunglasses cheap, longchamp outlet, ray ban sunglasses, burberry outlet online, tory burch outlet, tiffany and co, michael kors outlet online, burberry outlet online, chanel handbags, oakley vault, polo ralph lauren outlet, michael kors outlet, gucci outlet, air max, michael kors outlet, prada outlet, kate spade outlet, jordan shoes, longchamp handbags, longchamp handbags, michael kors outlet online, louis vuitton outlet, coach outlet store online, louboutin, nike air max, nike free

Coach Factory said...

vans pas cher, mulberry, karen millen, ray ban pas cher, michael kors, louboutin, hollister, hermes pas cher, nike blazer, nike free, michael kors, barbour, montre homme, hollister, nike trainers, oakley pas cher, nike air max, hollister, longchamps, louis vuitton, lululemon, vanessa bruno, longchamp, sac louis vuitton, vans shoes, tn pas cher, nike free pas cher, louis vuitton uk, michael kors, north face, air force, north face, abercrombie and fitch, air max, burberry, ray ban sunglasses, sac guess, sac louis vuitton, longchamp, new balance pas cher, converse pas cher, lacoste, ralph lauren, nike roshe, hogan outlet, timberland, air jordan, nike roshe run, ralph lauren pas cher, nike huarache

Guo Guo said...

michael kors watches
adidas wings
cheap rayban sunglasses
louis vuitton
burberry outlet
cheap nfl jerseys
michael kors handbags
fitflops
hollister clothing store
michael kors outlet online
true religion
marc jacobs outlet
michael kors outlet online sale
toms.com
oakley sunglasses cheap
louis vuitton outlet
hermes outlet
ugg for women
burberry outlet
tory burch sale
michael kors canada
michael kors outlet
ugg boots
fitflops
louis vuitton handbags
ugg outlet
michael kors watches
timberland boots
uggs outlet
timberland uk
wholesale nfl jerseys
jordan 13 retro
tory burch handbags
louis vuitton handbags
tod's shoes
moncler jackets

mao qiuyun said...

3
tods outlet
burberry outlet
ralph lauren outlet
coach outlet
ray ban sunglasses online
oakley sunglasses
coach outlet online
prada handbags
chanel 2.55
pandora jewelry
christian louboutin
oakley sunglasses
lululemon
burberry handbags
michael kors outlet
toms
michael kors outlet sale
pandora charms
swarovski crystal
discount oakley sunglasses
chanel bags
soccer jerseys
insanity workout
burberry handbags
coach outlet
oakley sunglasses
ed hardy clothing
true religion jeans
calvin klein outlet
asics shoes
chanel outlet
air jordan 4
iphone 6 cases
lacoste polo shirts
michael kors outlet online
louis vuitton outlet
air jordan shoes
air jordan 13
toms shoes
thomas sabo
20150406maoqiuyun

Lin Huang said...

caihuanglin20150513
cheap jordans
michael kors outlet
coach factory outlet
chanel outlet
kate spade
coach factory outlet
coach factory outlet
michael kors handbags
ray ban glasses
ralph lauren outlet
christian louboutin sale
kate spade outlet
ray ban sunglasses
oakley sunglasses
cheap ray ban sunglasses
ray ban sunglass
michael kors handbags
true religion outlet
abercrombie
coach outlet
jordan shoes
oakley sunglasses wholesale
oakley sunglasses
burberry handbags
michael kors
air max 90
michael kors uk
chanel online shop
true religion
coach outlet online
tory burch outlet
prada outlet
gucci outlet
ray bans
ray ban uk
michael kors outlet
ray ban sunglasses
cheap jerseys
fitflops outlet
michael kors bags

Octaviaa Simonyw said...

Oakley Sunglasses
Michael Kors Purses
Cheap Jordans
Oakley Store
michael kors outlet store
Cheap NFL Jerseys
Cheap Louis Vuitton
Oakley Store
Jordan Shoes
Cheap Jerseys Online
cheap oakley sunglasses
Ugg Boots Clearance
Cheap NFL Jerseys
cheap true religion
toms outlet
Ugg Boots Outlet
Wholesale Cheap Jerseys China
ray ban sunglasses
toms sale
Michael Kors Outlet Online
Michael Kors Bags
Jordans For Cheap
Michael Kors Purses
fitflop sale
Michael Kors Handbags
Nike NFL Jerseys
Oakley Outlet Stores
true religion sale
Michael Kors Outlet Online Sale
Cheap Oakley Sunglasses

小 Gg said...

swarovski outlet
cleveland cavaliers
lululemon outlet
woolrich clothing
tiffany jewelry
ugg outlet store
cheap oakley sunglasses
north face outlet online
black friday
ugg boots
green bay packers
babyliss outlet
prada outlet
lululemon outlet store
moncler jackets
soccer jerseys,soccer jerseys wholesale,soccer jerseys cheap,soccer jerseys for sale,cheap soccer jersey,usa soccer jersey,football jerseys
coach outlet online
ralph lauren polo shirts
michael kors handbags,michael kors outlet,michael kors,kors outlet,michael kors outlet online,michael kors outlet online sale,michael kors handbags clearance,michael kors purses,michaelkors.com,michael kors bags,michael kors shoes,michaelkors,cheap michael kors
replica watches
qqq1023

John said...

coach outlet
http://www.uggbootsdirect.com
cheap uggs boots
longchamp handbags
ghd hair straighteners
gucci shoes
nike store uk
adidas original trainers
mulberry handbags
instyler max
pandora jewelry
adidas shoes uk
air max 95
louboutin
gucci
canada goose uk
ugg clearance
ed hardy uk
ralph lauren outlet
cheap ray ban sunglasses
swarov ski jewelry
mcm handbags
timberland uk
fake oakleys
ugg boots
lebron james shoes
air max 90
instyler curling iron
longchamp pas cher
nike cortez
p90x workouts
gucci borse
20151028yuanyuan