In his Friday Sermon of 06 December 2013 the Khalifatullah Hadhrat Munir Ahmad Azim Sahib (atba) of Mauritius gave an eloquent discourse on what makes us humans with unique responsibilities among all earthly creatures of the animal world.
Read the Extracts from the Friday Sermon:
Man by nature, belongs to the animal kingdom with which he shares some common character traits. However, he is distinguished from animals by an innumerable number of differences which ensure him superiority and make him unequalled (in the animal world).
The essential difference between man and the animal world, which makes the very principle of humanity and gives source to what we call civilization and culture, comes from his vision of the world and the trends with which he is equipped (with Allah’s help), including his thinking capacity as well as various other abilities.
While the animal world has the ability to perceive, to feel that which surrounds it and thereby access from then on to its plans and desire, on the other hand humans, even if like other animals have cravings and desires, but the difference is that he is able to use his knowledge to satisfy them (i.e., those desires). Man has the privilege to expand his perceptions and knowledge beyond the physical targets to apply them to the extent of his ideas and aspirations.
The world is perceived by the animal through its sense and the information it derives is only superficial and subjective, because it cannot penetrate the internal relations of things and all information that it takes are partial and subjective and cannot be generalized to other facts; its knowledge remains localized in the immediate present, independent of the past or the future. That is to say that this information does not exceed the limits of the living space and the natural environment of the animal that has no conscience of its own history, or that of the universe and is not concerned with its future.
It is in a way imprisoned by the quality of its knowledge and if it manages to escape out of bounds of that given knowledge which compartmentalize it, then it is neither conscious nor deliberate, but rather it is a natural and unconscious instinctive obligation, the level of desires and cravings is as the field of its knowledge of the limited world and its desires are limited materials which are only in agreement with this temporal world, whereby the animal’s main functions are reduced to acts such as eating, drinking, sleeping, playing, nesting, mating. For the animal, spiritual and moral values have no meaning. The self-centeredness of an animal enables it to care for itself only, or at torque to preoccupy itself and care for its mate, little ones and its natural environment.
As for man, whom we consider from the point of view of his information, his conceptions, knowledge as well as well as from the point of view of his aspirations and ideals, has a much broader and vast horizon.
Human Information and the knowledge which he draws from it surpass the appearance of phenomena; he seeks to penetrate the essence of things, to reach their essence so that he may then determine the dependencies and causality and find therein the laws that govern them.
His knowledge is not limited like that of the animal which depends on its natural environment, nor is he (man) limited to the present moment. His knowledge extends beyond space and time to achieve the objectives of a different dimension such as the knowledge of the history of man, that of the earth as well as that of the universe and its creation. By this means man reaches a certain supremacy which helps him predict the degree of the vastness of eternal infinity, it gives him the means by the discovery of the fundamental laws governing the world, to impose himself in nature.
The idealism of the man raises him to a certain perfectionism in his search of the absolute value and the principles he builds are universal for all mankind and he will even sacrifice himself for the benefit of others, caring for them by forgetting his own needs and taking the worries and needs of humanity as being dear to him, so that they may not suffer. This aspect of man brings the evolution of mankind forward in what we call civilization.
The knowledge of man has increased and has been perfected over the centuries, submitting to various rules and laws in a particular logic known as ‘science’. Science is the ordained result of collective work of man, composed of all the reflections and meditations on the world and its origin. By his faith and his commitment to his convictions, man evolves in his approach to the sublime. He meditates on the ideas propagated by certain philosophies or revealed by the Messengers of God: the prophets, the stage where man reaches the ultimate point of spirituality and sublimation which Allah wants him to reach. So when man gives the maximum of himself in this cause, the cause of Allah and believes sincerely, he thus reaches a station which we call: faith (Iman). He acquires Iman.
We therefore conclude that the criterion of humanity is science and faith, privilege which man has over the animal. It is this great distinction which differentiate man from animals for the latter are guided by their present primitive instincts whereas man has the capacity to ponder over his past, live his present so that to change his future and make it become better.
Man is a living specie as well as all other living beings, but he is ranked superior and this superiority is great for man is a social being, with intelligence, with the means to learn and teach others and to use his knowledge for the progress of his natural environment, as well as the universe as a whole, and he can do it if he seeks the help of Allah so that he may progress further in the quest of both material and spiritual knowledge.
Man is such a being who appreciates the beauty of things; he is conscious that he needs to be social and talk with others like himself and help them whenever these people need him, and even if they do not seek his help. He goes forward unasked to extend his help. Man is also loves justice, and he likes to create things which shall be useful for him in his everyday life. He also has the capacity to read and write and be responsible. He is also a spiritual being who is constantly in search of the eternal (the boons of the afterlife), of the absolute, infinite, and he is thirsty to reach the ideal in all things and also especially to attain to his Creator, the Being who equipped him with all necessities so that he may live his life on earth in a good way.
It is obvious that all these qualifications which could add others define the characteristic of man who in fact is an animal determined by privilege and faith.
The ability of man to perceive things according to the instructions of his Creator, to recognize the Creator and be faithful to Him gives him a greater degree on other animals, the latter having not obtained that power, that knowledge which is reinforced by the divine will. And we must not also forget that despite that man is created with water and clay, he nevertheless remains the essence of the breath of God, and this is represented by the consciousness that emanates from him, the soul which is in him for a limited time so that he can leave the animal state to progress to the moral and spiritual state. This enables him to become human in the true sense of the word, human and grateful servant of God.
Due to lack of time, Insha-Allah, I will continue on the same topic of my sermon next Friday.
May Allah give us yet more knowledge to understand His creation and recognize the benefits that He gave us when He made us born human and from His essence, and thus showed us the way how to get out of primitive animal state to achieve the highest degree of spirituality. Insha-Allah, Ameen.