The Philosophy of Human Existence Part Three - The Eternal Enemy

Nabi Musa once challenged Nabi Adam (Bukhari, Muslim, Muwatta Malik, also in Jamii Tirmidhi, and Sunan Ibn Majah), with a claim that because of his actions, humanity was driven out of the Heavens.

In quite a remarkable response, Nabi Adam said أَفَتَلُومُنِي عَلَى أَمْرٍ قَدْ قُدِّرَ عَلَىَّ قَبْلَ أَنْ أُخْلَقَ “Do you then blame me for that which was destined before my creation?” The grand notion, following our analysis in the previous articles, is that Man was disposed to earth, the lowest of the low, due to sin and as a retribution for that sin. In this deluded perception, man who ate of the forbidden fruit was cast out due to that disobedience, is that man’s punishment is served through strife and toil in the quest to earn redemption. Now, this is a very prominent concept in Abrahamic faiths, Judaism and Christianity, but also misconstrued in Islam. It creates the false identity of man being inherently sinful, which largely contradicts man’s essential existence with an incline to do good. As observed in a fresh soul entering our world, an infant does not commit sin. Has no inclination to sin. Is, in truth, very much innocent and pure in body and spirit, until tainted in later years by the habitual norms of the material realm. Let us examine, epistemologically, the events that transpired, which will both put in perspective the above conversation between the two Nabi, and put to rest the widespread misconceptions. We all know the tale of Iblees and his disobedience. It is an event frequently narrated many times in the Qur’an, both as a reminder and as historic documentation, persistent due to its distortions in previous rewritten scriptures. Allah says;

وَإِذۡ قُلۡنَا لِلۡمَلَـٰٓٮِٕكةِ ٱسۡجُدُواْ لِأَدَمَ فَسَجَدُوٓاْ إِلَّآ إِبۡلِيسَ أَبَىٰ

And when We said unto the Angels, prostrate yourselves before Adam, they prostrated, save for Iblees… he refused. (Taha 20:116)

Note the terminology. He refused. He denied, disobeyed, a direct command. Allah then says;

فَقُلۡنَا يَـٰٓـٴَـادَمُ إِنَّ هَـٰذَا عَدُوٌّ۬ لَّكَ وَلِزَوۡجِكَ فَلَا يُخۡرِجَنَّكُمَا مِنَ ٱلۡجَنَّةِ فَتَشۡقَىٰٓ

We said, ‘O’ Adam… Verily! This is an enemy unto you and your wife, so do not let him drive you from paradise, lest you suffer. (Taha 20:117)

This forewarning comes in four forms. The primary being the highlight of ‘the enemy’, the secondary, and oft overlooked, is ‘the suffering’. The toil. The strife. The third form, that which is contained between the lines, is that of ‘a lesson’ and the ‘learning’ from that lesson. It is not a warning in so much as delivering ‘knowledge’, but more in the attribution of a human trait called curiosity. The need to explore and experience, from which knowledge is drawn. You see, curiosity drives the curious mind into the bosom of experience, and experience becomes the mother of all lessons. Curiosity is also a plaything of the devil, because it is not rooted into intellect as much as it is into desire. Curiosity is the faculty which lingers between logic and wonder, and it is within its unprotected crevice that the devil seeks to plant his defiling wedge of doubt. Hence the phrase ‘Curiosity killed the cat’. The fourth form, is that of Faith and Trust. When your Lord has forewarned you to steer clear of harm’s way, why then would you dare it? Do you not trust in what He has planned, that you would venture into your own misconceived ambitions? It is not that Adam and Hawaa were unintelligible enough to understand any of this. It is that the devil did indeed play his part. But let us first examine this ‘suffering’ or ‘toil’ as is mentioned.

Allah said to them; إِنَّ لَكَ أَلَّا تَجُوعَ فِيها وَلَا تَعۡرَىٰ Indeed for you there is no hunger in paradise, nor will you be unclothed (Taha 20:118) وَأَنَّكَ لَا تَظۡمَؤُاْ فِيها وَلَا تَضۡحَىٰ And indeed for you there is no thirst in paradise, nor the scorching (sun). (Taha 20:119)

The three necessities of survival on earth. Elementary science. Food and Drink, Shelter from the Sun, and Clothing from nakedness. One must now wonder then; Why do we suffer these needs when Allah Almighty already decreed our being on earth? Why would he forewarn Adam against these sufferings when the earth was already decreed to be our eventual destination? Allah already explained it;

وَلَقَدۡ عَهِدۡنَآ إِلَىٰٓ ءَادَمَ مِن قَبۡلُ فَنَسِىَ وَلَمۡ نَجِدۡ لَهُ ۥ عَزۡمً۬ا

And indeed We made a covenant with Adam (at a time) before, but he forgot, and We found him lacking in firmness. (Taha 20:115)

This Ayah is much more complex to decipher and explain, but from what can be examined, there was an agreement, an accord, between the father of mankind and our Creator. What it means, as per the covenant and by Adam’s response to Nabi Musa, is that the purposeful destination to earth (as also defined by Baqarah 30) had not changed. The destination was still earth as a Vicegerent and a Servant of Allah. But given the warning above, something did transpire in which the *algorithm *had changed. This defines both fate and destiny. What was ordained to happen, was fated to happen. But the unfolding of it was always left unto man to decide which path to take. As it has ever been, *History *took a different course, based on the conscious decision made by man. What preempted this change?

فَوَسۡوَسَ إِلَيۡهِ ٱلشَّيۡطَـٰنُ قَالَ يَـٰٓـَٔادَمُ هَلۡ أَدُلُّكَ عَلَىٰ شَجَرَةِ ٱلۡخُلۡدِ وَمُلۡكٍ۬ لَّا يَبۡلَىٰ

So he, the devil, whispered to them. He said, ‘O’ Adam, shall I show you the Tree of Immortality, and a Kingdom that never decays?’ (Taha 20:120)

Two things. Still leading the wicked ambition of man. Still at the devil’s employ. Immortality, and an everlasting empire. The modern man’s ‘profound’ quest to unlock the secrets of life and overcome death. And the modern man’s ‘profound’ quest to build, and keep building, entrenching into the earth something he thinks will last for ever. What we see unfolding before our eyes, and the direction it is headed to, is nothing new, and therefore, not quite surprising to he who sees with depth and perception. You see, Eschatology is not about the ‘End Times’ or the Signs of the End Times. It really is about understanding how history began, and how history will end. More importantly, it is about why it began, and why it will end in the manner ordained. There are, fundamentally, two things that will most certainly come to an end. The demise of man and all living beings, and the disintegration of what is outwardly perceived and pursued as everlasting material. There is a unique dynamic between Man and his enemy. The word ‘Waswasa وسوس’ literally means ‘mite’, like a worm or a virus, and is often associated with ‘the devil’s whispers’ in the descriptive form. It is not a literal ‘whispering in the ear’, as much as it is a seduction in thought. Through the veil parting Man from Jinn, Iblees and his ilk do not literally call out to our external senses by directing us toward evil, rather they borough into our ‘selves’, our Nafs, within which lay the balance between materialism and spirituality. They create the doubt, plant the evil seed and watch its tendrils morph into evil deeds. The devil does not come to us with red skin and horns. He comes disguised as what we most desire in the material universe. He entices. He caresses.

فَوَسۡوَسَ لَهُمَا ٱلشَّيۡطَـٰنُ لِيُبۡدِىَ لَهُمَا مَا وُ ۥرِىَ عَنۡهمَا مِن سَوۡءَٲتِهِمَا وَقَالَ مَا نَهٮٰكُمَا رَبُّكُمَا عَنۡ هَـٰذِهِ ٱلشَّجَرَةِ إِلَّآ أَن تَكُونَا مَلَكَيۡنِ أَوۡ تَكُونَا مِنَ ٱلۡخَـٰلِدِينَ

So he whispered to them, the devil, to expose what lay concealed of their shame, and he said, ‘Did not your Lord forbid you of this Tree, only that you would become Angels, or become of the Immortals’ (A’raf 7:20)

He cantillates the hymns most prickling to your curiosity. He instills the melodies most soothing to your soul. He plays the symphonies most mellifluous to your heart. He steals your confidence. He embezzles your trust.

وَقَاسَمَهُمَآ إِنِّى لَكُمَا لَمِنَ ٱلنَّـٰصِحِينَ And he swore to them, ‘Verily! I am to you among the most sincere advisers’ (A’raf 7:21)

And he betrays you at the very edge, at the very pinnacle, at the very last moment of direness, leaving you to your own discomfiture at the fault of your own self.

فَدَلَّٮٰهُمَا بِغُرُورٍ۬‌ۚ فَلَمَّا ذَاقَا ٱلشَّجَرَةَ بَدَتۡ لَهُمَا سَوۡءَٲتُهمَا وَطَفِقَا يَخۡصِفَانِ عَعَلَيۡهمَا مِن وَرَقِ ٱلۡجَنَّةِ‌ۖ وَنَادَٮٰهُمَا رَبُّهمَآ أَلَمۡ أَأَنۡهكُمَا عَن تِلۡكُمَا ٱلشَّجَرَةِ وَأَقُل لَّكُمَآ إِنَّ ٱلشَّيۡطَـٰنَ لَكُمَا عَدُوٌّ۬ مُّبِينٌ۬

So he lured them by deception; then when they both tasted of the Tree, exposed to them was their shame, and they concealed themselves of the leaves of Paradise; And their Lord called unto them, ‘Did I not forbid you from this Tree? And I told you, verily the devil is a clear enemy to you.’ (A’raf 7:22)

Then despite the warning, man’s desire took precedence. His weakness was availed. It was a hard-learned lesson indeed, but a *lesson *nonetheless. A knowledge unknown to him, of what he lacks, and what his enemy uses to advantage. So what happened thereafter?

قَالَا رَبَّنَا ظَلَمۡنَآ أَنفُسَنَا وَإِن لَّمۡ تَغۡفِرۡ لَنَا وَتَرۡحَمۡنَا لَنَكُونَنَّ مِنَ ٱلۡخَـٰسِرِينَ

They said, ‘O’ our Lord, we have wronged ourselves. If you do not forgive us and have mercy on us, we will be among those lost.’ (A’raf 7:23)

Wronged our selves. The mite, the virus that is instilled, deep within us, in our thoughts and emotions, and when we give in to it, when we fail to win the battle against, we wrong only our 'selves', none else. But note the above statement. A mistake was acknowledged. Atonement was sought.

ثُمَّ ٱجۡتَبَـٰهُ رَبُّهُ ۥ فَتَابَ عَلَيۡهِ وَهَدَىٰ Then his Lord chose him (Adam) and turned to him (with mercy and kindness), and guided

him. (Taha 20:122)

Here lies the conundrum. Almighty Allah forgave them. Where is the punishment, if the crime was forgiven? We find, through the entirety of the Holy Qur’an, not a single Ayah that speaks of life on earth as ‘punishment’.

قَالَ ٱهۡبِطَا مِنۡهَا جَمِيعَۢا‌ۖ بَعۡضُكُمۡ لِبَعۡضٍ عَدُوٌّ۬‌ۖ فَإِمَّا يَأۡتِيَنَّكم مِّنِّى هُدً۬ى فَمَنِ ٱتَّبَعَ هُدَاىَ فَلَا يَضِلُّ وَلَا يَشۡقَىٰ He (Allah) said, ‘Descend then from it (paradise) all of you (Adam, Hawaa, and Iblees), some

of you (of mankind) unto others of them (Jinnkind) sworn enemies (of each other). Then when comes to you from Me, guidance (messengers, revelation) then whosoever follows My guidance, will not go astray, nor suffer.’ (Taha 20:123)

Iblees’s behavior validates that Jinnkind is not flawless. Adam and Hawaa’s mistakes validate that Mankind is not flawless. We all err. We all need guidance.

But do we learn our lesson? As the bid to frontal pursuit of both immorality and everlasting materialism continues, do we see the unfolding process? Do we pay any heed to the Signs as they manifest? It is not a debate of whether or not they will achieve these pursuits. The Trans-humanism, the Post-humanism, the rise of infrastructures at the cost of nature, the secularization and mechanization of thought and emotion. There can be no doubt that it will all perish. It is not a matter of ‘if’, but a matter of ‘when’, and the time is approaching sooner and swifter than we can count. It is not a matter of what they are doing. It is a matter of what we, who have been given all this knowledge, are doing. So we, who are able to perceive it, what measures are we taking with regards to our own unfolding? We, who are part and parcel of the great machine. The paper-pushers, the laborers, and the consumers. We, who are expert at shouting slogans, but incapacitated in making a stand worthy of our faith, because we have crippled ourselves in the essences and knowledges of our Deen. We have defaulted the Will of God by acting on defaultive impulses, embedded into our minds by the defaulter. We allow the ‘mite’, the ‘waswasa’ to penetrate our hearts and corrupt our souls. We have wronged our selves, and if we do not seek the redemption and mercy of our Lord, if we do not open our hearts to His Nur and His Guidance, we will surely be among the losers. The beginning of history will define the end of history.