The Spirit Of Islam
BIOLOGICAL Sciences categorize man as a species of animal kingdom. It considers him a continuation of animal evolution. The structural similarities, working of senses, and resemblance of brains are uncanny. In biological domain, the difference between man and the rest of species in animal kingdom is not big enough to classify man into a rank which is above than an animal. Animals are borne, so are we. Developments in their gestation periods and birth processes are also not unrelated. They eat; they forage, so do we. They mate and procreate, so do we. They feel and percept, so do we.
Are we any different than animals? Man claims himself to be superior from animals but, the truth of the matter, is the other species in animal kingdom are blessed with far more capabilities. Dogs can detect sounds between 67-45,000 Hz while man can only 64-23,000 Hz. It is man who seeks the help of a dog for investigation. A dog never came to man seeking his help for any investigation. Usain Bolt is the fastest running man on earth, running a 27.79 miles/hr in a 100 meter sprint. He is still lagging behind an animal, Cheetah. A Cheetah runs more than twice his speed reaches the speed of 60 miles/hr and run almost three sprints. Ants and snakes can predict an earthquake, so they leave the pace before the calamity hits. Man, compared to the animals, cannot predict the earthquake but he did invent some instruments to do the job. Even so, being a scientist and an inventor, he is often found to be crippling under the debris after the earthquakes.
Man is borne, lives, and dies. This is his life cycle, juts like all other living entities. The physical body, which he only recognizes as his only identity, is created in mother’s womb and then gradually develops into a baby. Mother gives birth to the baby and, this is how, man comes to this world. One day, this tiny baby develops into a fully-grown man and reaches the zenith of his lifecycle. Afterwards, he starts aging and dies eventually. As per his beliefs, he is buried, cremated, or whatever the procedure is, his biological body is disposed anyways. This man, if you call him a biological entity only, is never found on earth after death. Are we a biological entity only? When man is alive, he senses and responds to stimuli. Even when he is pricked with a little needle, for minor medical procedures, he cries out loud. A dead body, which becomes his short-span identity after death, never responds to any stimuli. Dead bodies never go to schools. Dead bodies never eat, mate and procreate. A dead body never shouts in pain even when he is ripped apart in a post-martum. Who is living in the biological body when it is alive? O Bullhyea! The one who dies is not I! The one who lies in the grave is somebody else!
The one who lies in the grave and the one who lives forever is the subject of Spiritualism. In this particular field, man and human are not the same. They are entirely two different characters. Man is just an animal, a biological entity, whereas human is the superior kind among all the universes. Man is confined in space and time, human is not. Man struggles his entire life to earn his living, while universe stands conquered before human. Universe lies enfolded within him. He operate space and time, space and time does operate him. These are the realities which have been alluded to, many times. Rumi says, “The entire universe is within you.”
The Holy Quran used different words for mankind. At some, it says “Adam”, yet at many others it terms him “Insaan.” In Surah Dahr, Allah Almighty refers to a very interesting point of time, “Has there not been over human (Insan) a long period of time when nothing — (not even) mentioned? Verily, We created him from a drop of mingled sperm, in order to try him: So we gave him Hearing and Sight. We showed him the way: Whether he be grateful or ungrateful.” Yet, the actualization of human, real self, is not an easy task but, in fact, it is the only task for which he has been created to accomplish. Allah Almighty created human to recognize Himself the way that nobody could. He endowed human with the capabilities which no species in the universe could imagine, not even angles who were the closest and the most pious in the entire universe. Allah granted Adam “Ilm-ul-Asma” (the knowledge of Divine Names). This knowledge is the reason of his supremacy over all the creations (Surah Baqra: 30-31). Yet, unfortunately, how many of us has the knowledge of Ilm-ul-Asma? And without having that knowledge, are we really superior to other species? An introspective moment is upon us.
— The writer is senior Research Fellow, Institute of Strategic Studies, a think-tank based in Islamabad.