By Dr Ghayur Ayub
In the land of eternity and the realm of endlessness, the angels, their chief, Iblis, and the newly shaped man, Adam, were all present in respectful postures in front of God. The topic for discourse was the first man. God introduced Adam to the audience, praised him and wanted to give him a position. There was some reluctance and hesitancy among the congregation. Reasoning started and went on between God and the assembled company. The angels pleaded their case on two counts—selfless service and ungrudging obedience. God did not mind their reasoning. He encouraged it and reasoned back with them, even though he did not have to do it. He was the creator, all powerful, the master and supreme. Was it because He was sending a message to the people of the future about the importance of reasoning? It appears that way. But is there an end-line for reasoning.
Let us go further.The discussion continued between the Creator and his creatures. He appreciated their service, but told them about the superiority of knowledge. To establish His point, (which He didn’t have to do) He tested Adam’s knowledge and was proved correct. The angels accepted His reasoning and according to His command, prostrated to Adam. The incidence brought a few more points to light;
* Besides the path of selfless service (acts) which already existed and followed relentlessly by the Angels; God laid the foundation of the path of knowledge,
* God allowed logic in altercation, by linking knowledge with doubt (as observed in the discourse of the angels), and reasoning (as seen in God’s response to their doubts).
* God appreciated selfless service but gave preferential inkling to knowledge with a fine distinction that the knowledge has to be doubtless to surpass selfless service.
* God ordered His congregation to prostrate to Adam rather than to Him when Adam proved to be superior in knowledge; sending a message to the future generations that they can prostrate to humans provided it is done out of respect and not as worship. This practice was repeated when the father of prophet Yusuf asked his family members to prostrate to Yusuf.
So far, things moved well; then the scene changed. The chief of the angels refused to prostrate. God told him to give his reasons for not prostrating. He gave them, but this time they were not based on his service or knowledge. Instead, he squabbled that he was made of fire and man was made of clay. He was the chief and superior, while man was common and inferior. His reasons changed into arguments bringing caste and class in to the altercation. There was no discernment in his wrangling. By doing so, he crossed the end-line and shifted from the rostrum of reasoning based on knowledge to the podium of argument based on ego. This was the end point as he overlooked the most cherished factor- obedience. Disobedience coupled with ego was a recipe for disaster. It invited wrath from God and Iblis was punished for it.
When we look at the happenings in our world of the seen, we see humans misusing the concept of disobedience and punishing our subordinates not because they are disobedient, egoistic, or unreasonable, but because they object to our unreasonable decisions with their rich knowledge and forceful logic. This is the reverse phenomenon as opposed to the one seen at the onset of humanity and is widely practiced in the politics and bureaucracy of Pakistan. Our newspapers are full of stories of known political leaders and bureaucrats repeating this reverse phenomenon against their subordinates for being disobedient and unreasonable. The phenomenon has entered even the president’s house, the prime minister’s house and governor’s houses. As a result, the wrong people are given important portfolios for reasons other than professional competence, designing policy matters of the state and playing with the fate of the nation. No wonder the country is entering a state of entropy without any hope of recovery.
Let us go back to the place of the unseen and assess the incident from another angle. God, the angels and man are gathered at the locus of the unseen where man is seeing the unseen. After the decision, the angels are sent back to their duties and their chief is punished. Man is elevated and raised to paradise to live there happily ever after. Did he do so? No; as later, he too crossed the end-line by disobeying God and was punished for it. So, Iblis and Adam both disobeyed their Creator; one for flouting doubtless knowledge, the other for breaching desired action, and both were punished. But the punishment was different. Iblis was banished but was allowed to keep the ability of seeing the unseen. Adam was demoted from the world of the unseen and was made the supreme among His creatures (Ashraf-ul-Makhlukaat) in the world of the seen.
The incident brought up another pertinent point to the surface. Punishment can be added to a reward as long as the reward does not exceed the punishment. Again, this notion is reversed in Pakistan, where in the name of national interest; rewards exceed punishments as observed by a politically motivated NRO. Where has this reversal taken us so far, is any body’s guess.
A third important point also surfaced in the incident. Man lost the ability to see the unseen. The question is, was this loss permanent as an eternal punishment or temporary as a veiling-off phenomenon? The traditionalists claim humans cannot see or know about the world of the unseen (Ghaib), while the spiritualists think contrarily. They argue that human history is full of documented evidence that people have countless times experienced paranormal phenomena linked with the world of the unseen. It is also confirmed in different cultures that by going through certain disciplined practices, a person can tune himself to unveil the indubitable truth of the world of the unseen. Provided this is correct, would it be logically right to presume that the notion of permanent denial is unreasonable and the concept of veiling-off reasonable?
Here comes the third reversal. The notion of knowing the unknown (Ghaib) has divided religious custodians into two groups; traditionalists and spiritualists. The former do not believe in humans knowing the unknown and the latter accept the opposite. But when it comes to the reverse phenomenon, both fall prey to it. The traditionalists took a step in reverse by rejecting the possibility in totality. The spiritualists took a similar step in reverse when the Gaddi-Nishins of saintly mausoleums (Dargahs) made Piri-Muridi a political tool for worldly gains, and ignored the fact that only piety (Taqwa) can elevate a person to know about the unknown.
So here we are living in Pakistan and seeing our top political leadership, the highest bureaucrats, and the superior custodians of religion knowingly follow the conceptual phenomena in reverse introduced at the introduction of the first human being. It is pity that the decent public has to suffer because their leaders do not understand or ignore the basic principle of the messages conveyed at the birth of our present humanity and reverse them for their personal gains.