Third Matter: In what way is the verse, “We have honored the sons of Adam”(al-Isra: 70) conformable with the verse, “He was indeed unjust and foolish”(al-Ahzab: 72)?

Third Matter

In what way is the verse,

We have honoured the sons of Adam1

conformable with the verse,

He was indeed unjust and foolish?2

The Answer: There are explanations in the Eleventh and Twenty-Third Words, and is the Second Fruit of the Fifth Branch of the Twenty-Fourth Word. A summary of its meaning is this:

With His perfect power, Almighty Allah makes many things from a single thing, makes one thing perform numerous duties, and writes a thousand books on a single page; so too He created man as a comprehensive species, in place of many species. That is to say, He willed that through man, a single species, functions would be performed to the number of the different levels of all the species of animals. For this reason, He placed no innate limit on man's powers and senses, no natural restriction, and left them free. The powers and senses of the other animals are limited, and under a natural restriction. Whereas each of man's powers may roam free over an endless distance towards infinity. For since man is a mirror to the infinite manifestations of the Creator of the Universe's Names, his powers have been given an infinite capacity.

For example, even if the whole world is given to man, with his greed, he will say: Are there any more?3 And through his selfishness, he finds it acceptable that a thousand people should suffer harm for his own benefit. And so on. There is boundless development in bad morality and he may reach the degree of the Nimrods and Pharaohs; in accordance with the intensive form in the verse above, he is given to great wrongdoing. Similarly, he may manifest endless progress in good morality, and may advance to the degree of the prophets and veracious ones.

Moreover, contrary to the animals, man is ignorant about all the things necessary for life and is compelled to learn everything. He is in need of innumerable things, and therefore in accordance with the intensive form in the same verse, is most ignorant. But when animals come into the world, they are both in need of few things, and may learn all the things they need, all the conditions of their lives, in one or two months, or even one or two days, or in some cases, in one or two hours. It is as if they have been perfected in another world, and come thus. But then man can only rise to his feet in one or two years, and in fifteen is only able to distinguish between what is beneficial and what is harmful. The intensive form of "most ignorant" indicates this, too.

1. Qur’an, 17:70.
2. Qur’an, 33:72. 3. Qur’an, 50:30.

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