Why did Allah give the trust to man, who is cruel and ignorant, though He says “Allah doth command you to render back your Trusts to those to whom they are due”?

The Details of the Question

- Allah states the following in the Quran: “Allah doth command you to render back your Trusts to those to whom they are due.” (an-Nisa, 4/58) says. Our Prophet (pbuh) says, “If you give the trust to those who are not qualified, wait for Doomsday.”
- However, Allah states the following in verse 72 of the chapter of al-Ahzab: “We did indeed offer the Trust to the Heavens and the Earth and the Mountains; but they refused to undertake it, being afraid thereof: but man undertook it;- He was indeed unjust and foolish.”
- How can Allah Himself give the trust to man, who is ignorant and cruel?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

- This issue is a subject of detailed discussion in the sources of tafsir. You can look at the different interpretations made in the tafsir of verse 72 of the chapter of al-Ahzab. (See Tabari, Razi; Ibn Kathir, Qurtubi, Baydawi, Ibn Ashur, the interpretation of the verse in question)

- We consider some explanations in a few items appropriate regarding the issue:

a) There is no contradiction between carrying the trust and being ignorant and cruel because as we see in reality, people can comply with some trusts on the one hand, and betray some trusts on the other hand.

b) The qualities of being cruel and ignorant have been given as a requirement of the test because there are those who become cruel in the tests of justice by passing the limit and there are those who become ignorant in the test of knowledge since they do not pay attention to the topic and do not answer the questions that need to be answered. This characteristic of cruelty and ignorance in people in the tests of the world does not prevent them from being tested, and the existence of these two qualities does not constitute an obstacle in otherworldly tests.

c) The qualities of ignorance and wisdom, cruelty and fairness are inherent in human nature. Man, whom Allah has equipped with these two elements, good and bad, chooses one side of his own free will. Or, sometimes he prefers this way and sometimes that way.

Observing or betraying the “trust” / or sometimes observing and sometimes betraying, which consists of Allah’s orders and prohibitions according to an interpretation is possible for man and it occurs as a fact.

Accordingly, if the responsibility entrusted to man is fulfilled, he becomes wise, virtuous and just; otherwise, he will be cruel and ignorant.

d) Allah has created man with an endless capacity for both good and evil. If man trains these talents with belief and worship, he will ascend to ala al-illiyyin (highest of the high), and if he distorts them with unbelief and sin, he will descend to asfal-as-safilin (lowest of the low).

What makes man cruel and selfish enough to worship himself is that man develops his potential for evil through unbelief and sins. Therefore, the Quran describes man as “ahsan at-taqwim (best of molds)” in one aspect, and as “cruel and ignorant” in another aspect.

This issue is expressed as follows in the verses of the Quran:

“We did indeed offer the Trust to the Heavens and the Earth and the Mountains; but they refused to undertake it, being afraid thereof: but man undertook it;- He was indeed unjust and foolish.” (al-Ahzab, 33/72)

“We have indeed created man in the best of molds. Then do We abase him (to be) the lowest of the low,- Except such as believe and do righteous deeds: For they shall have a reward unfailing.” (at-Tin, 95/4-6)

Human nature is like a field. Allah has planted the seeds of good and evil together in this field for the realization of many instances of wisdom. Man has been created with the ability to do good and evil by nature. The development and perfection of these seeds of good and evil has been left to the individual’s own choice. In other words, man can strengthen one of these seeds of good and evil that has been planted in his nature and can prosper it. Since the choice belongs to man, responsibility belongs to man too.

That is to say, there are two ways in front of man: Either, he will abandon the cause of existence and egoism with belief and worship and become a humble and altruistic servant, or he will follow the cause of existence and egoism with unbelief and heedlessness and become a cruel and selfish person. Both are possible for man.

e) When we consider the issue especially in the context of verse 72 of the chapter of al-Ahzab, we can say that a faculty called “ANA = I / SELF”, which has been created with the ability to show the existence of Allah in human beings, which acts as a compass for human beings in terms of knowledge and justice, and which is a unit of measurement, has been created in man.

Since this side of man prevails in terms of divine wisdom - despite the objections of the angels saying, “They will shed blood and make mischief...”, he was created and the earth was elevated to the rank of caliphate.

The following words of Bediuzzaman Said Nursi, addressing his own soul, explain how cruel and ignorant the soul is:

“...Yes, you in my body resemble ‘nature’ in the world. Both of you were created to receive good and be the thing to which evil is referred. That is to say, you are not the agent and source, but the recipient and passive. You have only an effect, and that is being the cause of evil because you did not accept as you should have done a good arising from absolute good.”

“Also you were both created as veils, so that things that are apparently ugly, whose beauty is not obvious, would be attributed to you, and you would be means of the Most Holy Divine Essence being acknowledged free of defect. But you have taken on a form entirely contrary to the duty of your natures. Although out of your incapacity you have transformed good into evil, you as though act as partners to your Creator. That means one who worships himself and worships nature is extremely foolish and perpetrates a great wrong.” (Sözler, pp. 230-231)

f) To sum up:

Man has two aspects; on the one hand, he has enough knowledge and justice to elevate him to the rank of caliphate on earth, and on the other hand, he has cruelty and ignorance that makes him descend from the balcony of the tower of humanity to the lowest of the low.

He was given the trust not because of his cruelty and ignorance, but because of his knowledge and fairness. The concept of “MAN” mentioned in the verse includes both classes of these people, as well as both of these qualities of the same person.

His good qualities have elevated man to the level of ahsan at-taqwim (best of molds) and his bad qualities have reduced him to asfal-as-safilin (lowest of the low). If man had not been created just because of his bad aspects, millions of people such as prophets, pure people and saints, who are reliable in terms of trust like angels would have been lost.

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