It is so natural in human beings that they, in matters related to their life and living, have an aim or have aims. To be able to achieve their aim/aims, they have a properly worked out plan/program of action that makes them steadily progress towards their aim/aims. In this plan, critical analyses of their work is also an essential feature. This critical analyses positively assists them to remove any defects or faults in the work-plan and performance vis-a-vis their aim/aims. Then there also are small or short aims that assist in acquiring the final/ultimate main aim.
Does God have ANY such scheme for human beings? Does He do any such critical analyses of His work-plan vis-Æ’Â -vis His aim? He has His sub-ordinate angels working for Him. Perhaps, these angels can also make mistakes. How does one get to know that? Is getting such information about God of any use to a human being? How does it matter if one knows this or not because let God do what He wants to do? He does not consult human beings in formulating His programs, so why should any human being be concerned about it?
Like human beings, God could be having programs for birds, animals, insects, etc. but they don’t seem to be concerned about any scheme of God for them and they all are, still, living and surviving as they want to. There are a lot of human beings who claim to be believing in God and there are plenty who don’t have time for such claims. BUT they, still, are all living as they want to. May be, many of those who don’t claim to be believing in ANY God, are living a better life than those who claim such a belief? Some one said: ‘my religion is my conscience’. Is that not NATURALLY enough? Every one has an INNATE conscience, whether one believes in ANY God or not. The conscience to humans has been provided by God. Human being has also been provided with an intellect and ‘INSTINCTS’. A human being can appreciate the right and wrong about all matters pertaining to his life and living with the help of his intellect and his instincts. So what’s the importance of believing in ANY God, knowing his guidance, knowing His scheme and the modus operandi?
Thank you for your assistance. May God bless you all, eternally. Amen.
You would not be unaware that the Quran has given an attributive (a qualitative) introduction of God. The basic attributes of God, according to the Quran, are:
Omnipotence (God can do all that He, according to His Wisdom, decides to do);
Omniscience (God is all-knowing); and
To quote from a previous response:
These attributes of God are not just a philosophical reality for Islam. On the contrary, belief in a god, who has these attributes, lays down the foundations of man’s relationship with God as well as his fellow human beings and thus such a belief has significant practical implications as well.
While we do see some semblance of God’s attributes in humans, the extent to which they are operative in humans is infinitely less than and thus incomparable to their extent in God. This extent is absolute and, therefore, unfathomable Â¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬” beyond our grasp.
Hence, we can say that human behavior, even in matters where it apparently mirrors divine behavior, is marked by innumerable limitations and thus cannot be traced in its entirety to a being free from all limitations.
In this perspective, we can better address your specific questions.
…Does God have ANY such scheme for human beings? Does He do any such critical analyses of His work-plan vis-Æ’Â -vis His aim? He has His sub-ordinate angels working for Him. Perhaps, these angels can also make mistakes. How does one get to know that?
Yes, God has a grand scheme for human beings, the two most vital facets of which are:
The world is not an end in itself but a means to an end. That is to say, the world is incomplete without its other part (hereafter); man is being tested in this world; the logical culmination of this test is the Day of Judgment and thenceforth either of the two abodes (Heaven or Hell).
The one word that can guarantee success in the test is: Tazkiya, (purification or purgation of mind, body and soul from all defiling or corrupting elements) for the purpose of which revelatory guidance is provided through messengers and prophets.
The following Quranic verses testify to this reality:
And know ye that your possessions and your progeny are but a trial; and that it is Allah with Whom lies your highest reward. (8: 28)
But those will prosper who purify themselves, and glorify the name of their Guardian-Lord, and (lift their hearts) in prayer. Nay (behold), ye prefer the life of this world; But the Hereafter is better and more enduring. (87: 14 – 17)
Critical analysis is confined to the realm of humans, being their very essence. It results in correction, evolution and development, which are contrary to God’s absolute knowledge and all-encompassing wisdom. It is inconceivable that the angles can commit mistakes. If granted, for argument’s sake, one can easily cast aspersions on the veracity of God’s messengers and revelations and His whole scheme of things becomes prone to disasters. Just imagine the angel of death mistakenly visiting the wrong person.
…How does it matter if one knows this or not because let God do what He wants to do? He does not consult human beings in formulating His programs, so why should any human being be concerned about it?
God does not need to consult human beings in formulating His programs. He is the All knowing, the All wise. Yet, since God’s programs are for human beings, which directly affect them and have everlasting repercussions, it is only for their own good that they be concerned about what God’s grand plan is, what He wants from them and how they can get to achieve that end.
Like human beings, God could be having programs for the birds, animals, insects, etc. but they don’t seem to be concerned about any scheme of God for them and they all are, still, living and surviving, as they want to.
What distinguishes humans from birds, animals and insects is that humans can think, reason and communicate their reasoning with each other. God has given them the innate guidance to differentiate right from wrong. They do not have a mere physical existence but a spiritual and moral existence as well. It is common observation that when humans become heedless of this guidance, they cease to remain human; this innate guidance becomes moribund because of continual defiance. This is what the Quran says about such people:
The parable of those who have rejected is as if one were to shout Like a goat-herd, to things that listen to nothing but calls and cries: Deaf, dumb, and blind, they are void of wisdom. (2: 171)
For the worst of beasts in the sight of Allah are the deaf and the dumb – those who understand not. (8: 22)
There are a lot of human beings who claim to be believing in God and there are plenty who don’t have time for such claims. BUT they, still, are all living as they want to. May be, many of those who don’t claim to be believing in ANY God, are living a better life than those who claim such a belief?
When we premise our understanding of this world on Quranic elucidation, we naturally conclude that living here is akin to sitting in an examination hall and, under certain constraints, every one is allowed to live as he/she wants to, just as under certain restrictions, every examinee writes an exam as he/she wants to.
As for the fact that many non-believers (in God) are living a better life than those who claim such a belief, let’s see what the Quran has to say on that:
What is the life of this world but play and amusement? But best is the home in the hereafter, for those who are righteous. Will ye not then understand? (6: 32)
Nor strain thine eyes in longing for the things We have given for enjoyment to parties of them, the splendour of the life of this world, through which We test them: but the provision of thy Lord is better and more enduring. (20: 131)
Nor let their wealth nor their (following in) sons dazzle thee: Allah’s plan is to punish them with these things in this world, and that their souls may perish in their (very) denial of Allah. (9: 85)
To any that desires the tilth of the Hereafter, We give increase in his tilth, and to any that desires the tilth of this world, We grant somewhat thereof, but he has no share or lot in the Hereafter. (42: 20)
It should be abundantly clear that living a better or worse life in mere monetary terms is not indicative of an individual’s success or failure or of God’s mercy or wrath upon him/her.
…A human being can appreciate the right and wrong about all matters pertaining to his life and living with the help of his intellect and his instincts. So what’s the importance of believing in ANY God, knowing his guidance, knowing His scheme and the modus operandi?
The significance and criticality of innate conscience, intellect and instincts cannot be disregarded. They so frequently and at such crucial junctures play a conclusive role in steering us through and providing us with answers for which we are hard-pressed. Notwithstanding the categorical support of these faculties, humans by their very nature are bound to stumble at some instances of their individual and collective lives or simply reach a cul-de-sac. It is at these instances that a lack or defiance of guiding principles and directives can and without doubt has led to cataclysmic decisions and events, threatening the very existence of human species. Hence, the statement ‘my religion is my conscience’, could be modified thus: ‘my conscience plays a very major role in my religion’, or ‘my religion places extraordinary emphasis on the role of conscience in my life’.
I would also rephrase the above statement of yours:
A human being can appreciate the right and wrong about many matters, pertaining to his individual and collective life, by heeding the dictates of his inborn guidance, intellect and reason (honesty being a qualifier here) and conscience. However, for avoiding pitfalls of understanding where the mentioned faculties cannot help, the need for believing in one God, knowing His guidance, knowing His scheme and to some extent His modus operandi becomes not only important but also indispensable.
March 22, 2003