Page 42 - Islam In Focus

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enmity between man and Satan – all this was no surprise to the Creator. Nor was it an
accident in the course of events. It was too meaningful to be accidental. Rather, it
seems to have been designed to discipline the first man, to give him actual experience
of fall and rise, moral defeat and triumph, straying from and reconciliation with the
Creator. In this way, man would become better prepared for life and more enlightened
to face its uncertainties and trying moments
5. Eve was not the weaker party of the first human couple. She neither tempted Adam
to eat of the forbidden tree nor was she alone responsible for the expulsion from the
Garden of Eden. Both Adam and Eve were equally tempted and equally responsible;
both were remorseful, repented, and were blessed with the forgiveness and
compassion of God. This is significant as it liberates Eve from the curse that followed
her and her sex throughout the ages, and acquits her of the charge that she alone bears
all or most of the responsibility for the Fall. Furthermore, it declares in no uncertain
terms that the belief in the moral inferiority of women is unfounded and the double
standard is totally unjustifiable. Here, as elsewhere, the Qur’ an makes it very clear
that both man and women are equally capable of virtue and weakness, equally
sensitive, and equally meritorious
6. Man is a free agent endowed with a free will. This is the essence of his humanity
and the basis of his responsibility to his Creator. Without man’ s relative free will life
would be meaningless and God’ s covenant with man would be in vain. Without
human free will, God would be defeating His own purpose and man would be
completely incapable of bearing any responsibility. This, of course, is unthinkable
7. Life emanates from God. It is neither eternal nor an end in itself, but a transitional
phase, after which all shall return to the Creator
8. Man is responsible agent. But responsibility for sin is borne by the actual offender
alone. Sin is not hereditary, transferable, or communal in nature. Every individual is
responsible for his own deeds. And while man is susceptible to corruption, he is also
capable of redemption and reform. This does not mean that Islam prefers the
individual to the group. Individualism means little or nothing when severed from
social context. What it means is that the individual has different sets of roles to play.
He must play them in such a way as to guard his moral integrity, preserve his identity,
observe the rights of God, and fulfill his social obligations
9. Man is a dignified honorable being. His dignity derives from the fact that he is
infused with the spirit of his Creator. What is more important is that such dignity is
not confined to any special race, color, or class of people. It is the natural right of
man, every man, the most honorable being on earth
10. The passage, finally, points to the deep-seated roots of the Oneness of God and
the unity of mankind. It shows, further, that man’ s highest virtues are piety and
knowledge, that when such knowledge is acquired and invested according to the
divine guidance, man’ s blissful destiny will be assured and his life will be serene.