"YOUR EXISTENCE IS NO COINCIDENCE"
22 November 2019
Dr. Abou El Fadl reminds that all of the Prophets of God taught the moral lesson of meaning. Meaning means knowing that our existence as individuals is not the result of a coincidence or accident. From the moment of inception, there is an intentionality to our existence, we exist because of a Divine intent for us to exist. Human beings often forget the monumental importance of that.
If we believe that humans are the result of happenstance, it is not a stretch to start believing that some of us are worth more, have more rights, or have a right to happiness more than others. If coincidence is the teacher of morality or ethics, then coincidence also makes some people rich or poor, as if luck favors some over others. This logic leads to the imbalances we see in the world today, where the population of a country like England can exploit and consume the populations of many countries just so the British can thrive.
We learn from all of the Prophets of God from Ibrahim (as) to Muhammad (as) that there is no coincidence or accident, and that everything created has a Creator. The only time logic is suspended is when talking about the first cause of the universe, because the first cause does not abide by the logic of causality. The logic of causality does not exist with the first cause, but it exists as a result of the first cause. Even those who do not believe in God cannot explain the first cause, they believe it just happened. But these same individuals refuse to use the same logic about God’s existence.
God chose for every human, Muslim and non-Muslim, on this earth to exist, and has a reason for each individual’s existence. Furthermore, for every human being, Allah has created an entire institution for accountability. For every human, there is a qareen, or jinn-type creature that is the negative face of the positive energy, and there are angels that record their life meticulously. Additionally, Allah is always with us, so we are never alone.
Every human life is important. That is why Allah tells us that if you kill one human being, it is as if you have killed all of humanity. Or, if you save one human being, it is as if you have saved all of humanity. It defies the order of Divinity to destroy God’s creation, even if it is the murder of a single human being. One negates Divinity by murdering one human being, and affirms Divinity in saving one human being.
Another lesson of the Divine is that the one powerful element shared by all of the Abrahamic prophets to leave their mark on this world is love. For every single Prophet, whether in the Quran or the Old Testament, we witness the number of narratives that manifest the intensity of love between the Prophets and their disciples, families, wives, children and communities. Whether it is called brotherhood or sisterhood in some of the Divine texts, it is in its nature and truth, love.
The Prophet Muhammad (as) reminds of those who will come in the Hereafter blessed with luminosity and purity. They are those who love one another, not because they are attracted to each other’s personality, or because of advantageous reasons, or from family bond, etc., but because they loved each other for the sake of Allah. Some modern Muslims believe that “loving for the sake of Allah” refers to some formula found in the Sunnah (tradition of the Prophet). But in fact, it refers to the fundamental decency and character of understanding the worth of another human being as God’s creature. It means understanding that every person has a reason and a purpose, and that if one loves and respects God, then one will love and respect God’s creation.
All of the Prophets of God came to tell us not to accept the mythology that some humans are worth more than others, that some are chosen, or meant to be in a higher or lower caste. God had a purpose and an intentionality in choosing every human being to be on this earth, and whether one understands this intentionality or not, each human is worth so much that even the heavens take record, following every single one, day-by-day, minute-by-minute. When someone kills a human being, it is as if that person exercised their will over and above God’s intent.
We live in a world where millions can be exterminated in Rwanda or Yemen or some other dark-skinned country, and the world reacts very slowly. And yet, when the victims were white, like in Kosovo or Eastern Europe, NATO was quick to take action and help. When dark skin people aspire to build democracies, the world looks to profit first before anything else. The way Haftar is supported in Libya is a good example.
The purpose of Islam, as it was the purpose of the prophesy of Abraham, Moses and Jesus, is to rebel against classism, racism, elitism and unfair institutions of human society. Do you look at the world and every human being and think, “I know you exist because God decided for you to exist,” and “I believe in you and love you simply because I believe in and love God”? When we look at our past scholars before the modern age, we must look at their ethics within the context of their historical moment. We cannot judge them from the standards of our age, but from the standards of their age. From this, we see that they cared because they understood they lived in something that belongs to Allah, and must be honored by Allah per Allah. They cared about animals, trees, rivers, mountains and nature. We are not even talking about Sufi’s.
But, many modern Muslims think Islam is primarily about ritual. Many believe you can love God, but be neutral about God’s creation or not care about who suffers, lives or dies. This translates concretely in the field of human rights, where most of the activists are not Muslim. The heart and core of Islam, the Islam of Muhammad (as) all the way to Ibrahim (as) is to love everything through God, by God and for God. Human rights is the modern epistemology for saying we respect the dignity and worth of every human, not just because we respect God’s creation but because we love God and we love God’s creation.