By Imam W. D. Mohammed
With the Name Allah (in the Name of G_d), the Gracious, the Compassionate.
The first knowledge is the knowledge of self. Once you know yourself, you will give yourself to Allah (G_d). Human beings that know human nature know the need for higher authority and a collective responsibility. It is the nature of human beings to find something greater, more powerful and more permanent to rule over their life. If not given revealed religion, people will invent a religion or a philosophy, or an ideology to control and direct their community life. It is human nature to have something that has more power and authority than the individual governing in our conscience. This is nature, and this nature moves in us and forces us to find our proper relationship to Creator and to the vast creation of which the human being is formed.
When man finds a g_d, he studies and serves that g_d until he finds that g_d to be smaller than himself. Once he learns his g_d is smaller than himself, in time he puts down that g_d. He puts that g_d-concept down for a concept of Cod capable of inspiring human conscience to greater excellence. He will continue erecting g_ds until he finds a g_d that he knows can stand the test. This requires a g_d bigger than himself. This is the nature that G_d has put in us, and this nature with its power has driven us to acknowledge the Creator, the One G_d who is free from any need of the creation.
This natural need for worship brings us to a pure belief in a Creator who is not creation, but is the Maker of all. See how wonderful Allah (G_d), the Creator is. He has put in us a driving force that we do not completely control, yet it drives us on and on until we come to the right concept, the right image or idea of who is supreme boss. Once we come to that right idea, it begins to shine the light inside the darkness of our own domain and make us truly know ourselves. So, G_d is discovered first before man knows himself.
Once man discovers G_d, then G_d says to Man, "Know yourself," because if you know yourself, you will not try to be G_d. To make your relationship with G_d a solid one, you must know yourself. G_d says that He has created the human being in the most excellent design. G_d also says that He has created the human being to face hardship and that hardship will make him struggle. G_d knows that hardship and struggle is good for our nature. The Holy Qur'an teaches us that G_d brings man into struggle and that who strives, his striving will soon be seen. In what way will his striving be seen? It will be seen in terms of progress, of advancement and of self-development and self-improvement. To throw a human being somewhere where there is no challengewhere he does not have to get up to walk or to do anything is to leave him or her to vegetate and become as a vegetable.
If we can understand what G_d is saying to us in the Holy Qur'an, then we would know that this whole life is nothing but a trip or a journey. If G_d tells me that this life is a journey, it means that I have to keep meeting the challenge of this life so as not to stagnate or fall to a vegetable existence or to worse. "Idleness is the devil's workshop." The saying is Eastern in origin as is most of the religious witticisms and proverbs. In Arabic we say, "Laziness is the workshop of Satan." By this saying we see that we have to keep meeting the challenge of life. G_d describes life and our nature for us in order that we may achieve success. G_d says that he has created us in the best of forms.
The Earth with its plant and animal forms of life is not created for more excellence. There is not a capacity in Earth or skies for more excellence than there is in you. G_d did not say that He created the Sun, Moon or Stars for more excellence. But in the Holy Qur'an G_d says that He created the man in the most excellent design. This does not mean that man is greater than the Earth, the Sun, Moon or Stars. G_d also says, "Do not think that your creation is a bigger thing for Me than the creation of the heavens and the Earth.
G_d is saying that you have the capacity for self development and more room for excellence than there is in anything else that He has created. You can make use of ityou can appreciate it or you can leave it. G_d also says, "Certainly he who wisely uses it makes progress. And certainly he gives himself to ruin who neglects the soil or lets human development down." This is G_d speaking to us. But there you are down somewhere in your room without a job and cannot think out of this life's confusion. There, some of you are drawing unemployment, and when it runs out, what is next? Welfare for some. But welfare is not enough for some. Then, what is next? Stealing and cheating, suicide, uppers, downers, cross-ways, backwards, unders, heroin, cocaine, whatever? Do not follow the anti-human developments. Follow the complete and perfect Guidance of Allah.
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