07-01-2006, 12:50 PM
God created man in a most complete state and equipped him with superior characteristics. His superiority over all creatures - as shown by his distinctive intellectual skills of thought and comprehension, and his readiness to learn and develop cultures - is unquestionable.Reply
Have you ever thought why it is that despite all these superior features man has such a fragile body, which is always vulnerable to external and internal threat? Why is it exposed to the attacks of microbes or bacteria, which are so tiny they are invisible to the naked eye? Why does he have to spend a certain part of each day keeping himself clean? Why does he need bodily care? And why does he age in the course of time?
People assume that these needs are natural phenomena. Yet, being in need of care as a human serves a special purpose. Every detail of the needs of man is specially created. The verse "man was created weak" (Surat an-Nisa: 28) is the manifest statement of this fact.
Man's infinite needs are created on purpose: to make him understand that he is a servant of God and that this world is a temporary residence for him.
Man has no influence whatsoever on the date and place of his birth. Likewise, he never knows where or how he will die. Moreover, all his efforts to eliminate the factors negatively affecting his life are vain and hopeless.
Man has indeed a fragile nature requiring a lot of care to survive. He is intrinsically unprotected against, and feeble in the face of, abrupt and unforeseeable incidents that occur in the world. Equally, he is exposed to unpredictable health risks, no matter whether he is a resident of a high civilisation or of a remote, undeveloped mountain village. It is quite likely that at any moment man can develop an incurable or fatal disease. At any time, an accident may happen dealing unrecoverable harm to one's bodily strength or one's most enviable charms. Furthermore, this applies to all people: status, rank and race, etc., know of no exception to such an end. Both the life of a celebrity with millions of fans and that of a common shepherd may well be completely altered one day by an unexpected incident.
The human body is a weak organism of bones and flesh averaging 70-80 kilograms in weight. Only a frail skin protects it. No doubt, this sensitive skin can easily be hurt and bruised. It becomes cracked and dry when exposed to too much sunlight or wind. In order not to surrender to natural causes man always has to be on guard against the effects of the environment.
Although man is equipped with marvellous bodily systems, the "materials" - the flesh, muscles, bones, nervous tissue, cardiovascular system and fat - are prone to decay. If man were of a different material, rather than flesh and fat, a material that gave no access to external intruders such as microbes or bacteria, there would be no chance of becoming sick. However, flesh is the frailest 'substance': it becomes rotten and even worm-eaten when left at room temperature for some time.
As a constant reminder of God, man often feels the fundamental needs of his body. Exposed to cold weather, for instance, he runs health risks; his immune system gradually "collapses". On such an occasion, his body may fail to maintain the constant body temperature (370C) that is fundamental to good health. His heart rate slows, the blood vessels contract, and arterial pressure increases. The body starts to shiver as a means of regaining heat. A lowered body temperature of 350C accompanied by a depressed pulse and contracted blood-vessels in arms, legs and fingers signals a life-threatening condition. A person with a body temperature of 350C suffers severely from disorientation and constantly falls asleep. Mental functions slow. A slight decrease in body temperature can cause such consequences, but even more exposure to cold weather, bringing body temperature below 330C, causes loss of consciousness. At 240C, the respiratory system fails to function. The brain is damaged at 200C and finally the heart stops at 190C bringing on the unavoidable end: death.
These are only very few examples. The purpose in providing these examples is to emphasise that, due to the inexorable factors endangering his being, man will always fail to find profound satisfaction in his way of living. The aim is to remind the reader that man should avoid blind attachment to life and stop spending all his life running after dreams and, instead, always remember God and the real life, the Hereafter.
There is an eternal Paradise promised to man. As readers will have the opportunity to see from the pages that follow, paradise is a place of perfection. In paradise, man will be entirely insulated from all the physical weaknesses and imperfections that surround him on earth. Everything he desires will be within easy reach. Furthermore, fatigue, thirst, exhaustion, hunger, and injury do not exist in paradise.
Helping people reflect on their real nature and consequently have a deeper understanding of the infinite superiority of the Creator is another purpose of this book. In addition, comprehending that man is in need of the guidance of God is surely of great relevance to everyone. God states this in the following verse:
O mankind! You are the poor in your relation to God. And God! He is the Absolute, the Owner of Praise. (Surah al-Fatir: 15)
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