Humans = Mirrors of God’s names?

As stated in the verse

“لَيْسَ كَمِثْلِهِۦ شَىْءٌۭ ۖ وَهُوَ ٱلسَّمِيعُ ٱلْبَصِيرُ”

“There is nothing like Him: He is the All Hearing, the All Seeing.”

(as-Shura verse 11)

nothing resembles God. This is true when it comes to the “Self” (Dhat) of God. That is, nothing in this universe or elsewhere resembles the “Self” (Dhat) of God. However, when it comes to the names and attributes of God, we do see resemblance of some form as stated in some hadiths we discussed earlier (see “Humans Created in the Image of The Merciful” and “Humans: Evidences and Mirrors of The Merciful One”). 

So how are humans considered mirrors of God’s names? By reflecting His names and attributes, which happens in the following three ways:

  1. Reflecting the opposite versions of God’s Names

Everything is understood through its opposite. The concept of light 💡 is understood only through the existence of darkness. Also, the concepts of intelligence, day, and strength 💪 are only understood through the existence of ignorance, night, and weakness, and so on.

Similarly, human beings reflect the opposites of God’s names. For example, God is The all-Powerful and we are weak. God is the all-Knowing and we are ignorant.

Through our weakness we understand what powerful means and thus better understand the names of God. Likewise, through our ignorance we understand the concept of knowing and understand what it means for God to be all-Knowing.

  • Reflecting direct manifestations of God’s names

Our Creator has placed very weak manifestations of His names (or perhaps of the shadows of His names).

God, for instance, is all-Powerful. As weak as we are as human beings, we do possess some level of power and strength that God has given us. Also, God is The all-Seeing, and as unsighted as we are, we do possess some form of sight.

These help us understand God as well. We can think to ourselves, just as I’m strong enough to build this house 🏠, God is powerful enough to build this entire universe 🌌. Just as I can see what’s in front of me, God can see everything.[1]

In short, we reflect the names of God by possessing incredibly minuscule and weak manifestations of His names given to us by God.

  • Reflecting the names of God through our creation

We reflect the names of God just as a painting 🖼 reflects the traits and attributes of its painter 🎨 and a book reflects the traits of its author. By looking at the human body and its biology, for instance, we see that God is The all-Powerful (al-Qadir), The Provider (ar-Razzaq), The Fashioner (al-Musawwir), The all-Wise (al-Hakeem), and so forth.

Notice that the first two reflections relate to capabilities/traits that we humans 👬 possess (either the opposites or direct manifestations of those names), the third reflection does not relate to what we possess but rather to us being a creation of our Creator and thus reflecting His names just as a book reflects the traits of its author.

For instance, if the book was about math ➕➗, we may conclude that its author is a mathematician. This does not make the book itself a mathematician (or the opposite of a mathematician). It simply is a production that reflects the traits of its producer.

So human beings are mirrors of God’s names, each one of a different color corresponding to which names are more pronounced in them than others. A scholar, for instance, reflects the name all-Knowing better than others and a wrestler 🤼‍♂️ reflects the name all-Powerful. While most of God’s names are manifested by every human being, some names are more pronounced than others in each individual.

See “Manifestations of God’s names” for a greater depth on reflecting God’s names.

Relevant Passage from the Tenth Word, Fourth Truth:

Is it at all possible that endless bounteousness and beneficence, inexhaustible fortune, lasting treasures, incomparable everlasting beauty, and flawless eternal perfection would not desire needy thankful ones, longing mirrors, and dazzled spectators who will eternally be present in an abode of happiness and a place of feasting?

Source:The Words, Thirty Third Word, Thirty First Window, First Point

NOTE: “Longing mirrors” in this passage are human beings as discussed in this post. They  are mirrors longing to meet their Creator.

[1] Of course, the way we see does not in any way resemble how God sees. But being able to see gives us an idea of what it means for God to be The all-Seeing.

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