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Of Human Bondage

DR.PASHA | April 07, 2008 | Section: Articles | 1252 reads


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Among other things, the Qur’an predicates a woman’s exalted position in the world on her unique gift to bear children and all the challenges and hardships that are associated with that role. Listen to the Qur’an state it in its own inimitable style:

Hamalathu ummuhoo kurhan wa wada-athu kurhan.

Paraphrase: His mother conceived and carried him in pain and distress and gave birth to him in pain and distress.

Elsewhere, the Qur’an sums it up thus: Wahanan alaa wahanin.

Paraphrase: the entire process of pregnancy and childbirth was a succession of one stressful situation after another.

Human Frailty and God

At the same time, Shakespeare’s plays – both comedies and tragedies – can in some ways be summed up to precisely one clear conclusion: human frailty, dependence, helplessness, unpredictability, lack of mastery and control over life and the vagaries thereof.

The mysterious workings of “Fate,” (or Chance if you will) some people may call it. I call it God.

You can’t prove it is not. I can’t prove it is. We are even.

So, let us talk. Wow!

That is where God wants it to be: a level conceptual field for humans to play their little mind games on.

Even though individual powers and capacities vary, and even though access to resources is often uneven, success in this world is still tied to effort, and outcomes are fairly open if the game of life is played observing the rules of truth, justice, equality, generosity and compassion mandated by God Almighty in all human dealings.

God Abhors Injustice and Oppression:
An Abomination Called Zulm

God Almighty abhors injustice, oppression and coercion. He calls it Zulm and says in the Qur’an that Zulm is one of the worst things anyone can do.

As a result, God does not want to stack the cards at the one level that really matters: the simple threshold of saying yes or no to him.

When it comes to that one, he wants you to be fully and entirely on your own.

Everything else you can negotiate. But that simple affirmation of his existence and your relationship of slavish servitude to him and dependence on him he makes entirely your business.

If you are confused about that most fundamental fact of life, then he says go and find yourself another master. Go, be the slave of anyone and anything you want.

Go back to the one(s) you think you love and cherish most and who love and cherish you most and hook up with them. Then come back when your mind is a bit clearer and when experience has taught you better.

How fair the whole deal!

What a master God Almighty is! How fair indeed! How respectful of the autonomy you don’t have and would yet like to claim and cherish the illusion of!

But of that another time.

Being God’s Slave Liberates and Empowers You

So, that is your master, your Rabb!

That is the one you should be proud to be a slave of, without any hesitation or prevarication or reservation whatsoever.

Dhaalikumullahu Rabbukum, as the Qur’an puts it.

Being his slave shall set you free from all other types of bondage. And it shall empower you.

His slavery shall empower you and give you access to and mastery over the rest of his creation: not to control, abuse, manipulate, dominate, tyrannize, corrupt, lie; not to propagandize about, misrepresent, mislead, waste and exploit; but to love and to serve and to protect and to cherish and to nurture.

And to leave it all in a better condition than you found it.

If there is a better deal being offered anywhere in this world, let us hear about it. As someone once put it: Bring It On!

Whose Slave Are You Anyway?

So, in this sense, “slave” implies extreme dependence and lack of full autonomy on the part of humanity, which I think is a fairly defensible proposition.

No matter how you look at it, human life is a jumble of multiple dependencies – some more serious and more stark than some others; some more real than some others. The most complete and real of these dependencies of course is the total and utter dependence of the created on the creator, the made on the maker, the designed on the designer and the invented on the inventor.

Unless it is Herr Frankenstein who plays the “creator” in which case he himself ends up being at the mercy of the monster that he crafts with body parts stolen from corpses.

Allahu Akbar, how the truth comes out from sources you least suspect: Didn’t somebody sing “Everybody Is Somebody’s Slave“? Or was it fool? What is the difference?

While human abuse of their fellow humans as slaves may have given the expression slave a bad aura, when applied to characterize the relationship of human bondage and beholdenness to God Almighty, it is apt nevertheless and actually elevating.

Be No One’s Slave but God’s

I guess what I am trying to say is this: While a human being should not be a slave to anything or anyone, with God it is different and unavoidable.

Provided of course people believe in God in the first place, which they have a perfect right not to, if they so choose. A right given to them by God Almighty himself.

Islam came into this world – and the Qur’an came into this world – to guarantee people – all people – that right: the right to say “No!” to God himself.

Say “No!” to God? Who but God himself can grant that right to anyone?

That is the kind of “slavery” we are talking about when we talk about people being God Almighty’s slaves.

Who other than God – which individual, group, party, organization, society, business, employer or government – grants you the inherent right to be a rebel against them?

 

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