The Universe Centered Around Humans

The Second Station of the Fourteenth Flash (Part 4) 

NOTE: The quoted passages are from Ustadh Bediuzzaman’s book and the commentaries below them are my own.

Third Mystery: What brings pleasure to this boundless universe is visibly divine mercy. And what illuminates these somber beings is, likewise, clearly divine mercy. And what nurtures these creatures engulfed by boundless needs is [yet] again, clearly divine mercy. And what directs the whole universe to the human being just as a tree with its entirety is directed to its fruit, [and what] causes the human to be taken care of everywhere and makes everything run to his aid is clearly divine mercy. And what fills, illuminates, and brings pleasure to this boundless space and empty world is clearly divine mercy. And what makes this transient human being a candidate for eternity and [what makes him] an addressee and a friend to the Pre-Eternal and Post-Eternal One is clearly divine mercy.

NOTE: The First Word (Part 2) is a prerequisite for understanding this post. There, we discussed how poverty and weakness allow us to understand the attributes of God. In this post, we will see how the universe is centered around humans and how this is a mercy for the humankind.

As the author mentions in the above passage, we are able to observe the weakness and poverty of all creatures in the universe. Since humans are the weakest and poorest of all, the mercy of God is revealed, in its greatest form, in the humankind. Imagine being the parent of a newborn baby. Due to the weakness and impotence of a newborn, your time and attention will mostly be directed to your baby as opposed to anything else. Similarly, almost everything in this universe is directed towards humans.

So what does it mean for the universe to be directed towards humans? It means that almost everything in this universe is at their service to satisfy their needs and desires. In other words, humans benefit from this world more than any other creature. The following are a few illustrations of this.

oie_transparent (25)Example One: While all living beings are given the necessary food for survival, humans are given the greatest variety. Cows serve us with their milk, the chicken with their eggs, and even bacteria are essential for making yogurt. Furthermore, humans are endowed with the ability to cook and invent recipes in order to enrich their meals. Put another way, while the universe serves all living beings by providing the necessary food for survival, it serves humans more than any other.

Example Two: Nature is created with such beauty and elegance that it leaves its viewers in awe. While the breathtaking beauty of nature is undeniable, it is crucial to realize that it serves the human need of aesthetics more than that of any other being. Animals, due the simplicity of their nature, are not able to appreciate this beauty at the level of humans, or perhaps do not even realize it. In other words, the beauty of nature serves mostly the humankind.

Example Three: Unlike the natural clothing given to animals, humans are forced to make their own clothing in order to adapt to the climate and to their lifestyle in general. While this may seem like a deficiency, it actually marks the superiority of the humankind. As a result of this deficiency, the universe is created in a such a way as to provide the greatest variety of clothing to humans, and humans are endowed with the intelligence and the ability to use them. Indeed, plants providing cotton, insects producing silk, and even petroleum are at our service.

Example Four: We can observe the special position of human beings when observing their general lifestyle as well. While the universe serves all living beings by enhancing their lifestyle    , it is beyond dispute that humans are given the top service. Trees, for instance, give us paper; petroleum helps us with transportation; certain plants serve us with medicine, and so on.

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To Conclude, humans are given the duty of knowing and believing in God. Since this duty is greater than any other, humans belong to a status far above that of other creatures. In order to be able to complete this duty, however, we are created as the weakest and poorest of all. Otherwise, if hunger did not exist (for instance), we would not be able to appreciate the food, and in turn would not know that God is Ar-Rahman (The All-Merciful). This would limit our knowledge of the names and attributes of God. It would become an obstacle between us and our purpose of creation: to know and worship our Lord. Poverty and weakness[1] are, therefore, necessary to understand the attributes of God and to worship Him in the best way (see First Word (Part 2) for an elaboration).

Oh man! Seeing that divine mercy is such a powerful and captivating and [such] a delightful and a helpful lovable truth, say بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ “In the name of Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate” and cling to that truth and be saved from absolute loneliness and the pains of unlimited needs. And move closer to the throne of the Pre-Eternal and Post-Eternal Sovereign, and through the affection and the intercession and the rays of that mercy, become an addressee and a friend and a pal to that Sovereign.

The following verses of the Qur’an draw attention to the purpose of human life,

وَمَا خَلَقۡتُ ٱلۡجِنَّ وَٱلۡإِنسَ إِلَّا لِيَعۡبُدُونِ

I created the jinn and humankind only that they might worship Me.[2]

أَلَا بِذِڪۡرِ ٱللَّهِ تَطۡمَٮِٕنُّ ٱلۡقُلُوبُ

Verily in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest![3]

Since worshiping God is the purpose of our creation, it is only by accomplishing this duty that pure happiness can be achieved. Worldly desires are deceptive to the human mind and exist only temporarily.

Since many ideas of our day come from non-Islamic sources, there is a persistent emphasis on achieving worldly success. This, of course, can take many different forms; such as having a successful career, a happy marriage, buying an expensive car, and so on. When achieving such an accomplishment, however, we realize that we no longer feel the happiness and content which we were hoping for in the beginning. We realize that it was only an illusion of happiness which instantly faded away. It did not give us the pure and permanent satisfaction of an accomplishment, since it is not the purpose of our creation.

As seen in the verse above, our primary purpose is to worship our Creator. Since acting in the name of God is the gateway to worship, and since it is the key to paradise in the afterlife; the author urges the human beings to adhere to this truth and be saved from absolute desolation and the pains of unending needs!”

[1] See First Word (Part 2) in order to understand the terms “poverty” and “weakness” as they are used in the Risale-i Nur collection.

[2] Quran, 51: 56

[3] Quran, 13: 28

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