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That is, when they are more like automatons than real human beings with clear values; with a robust sense of self; with a deep sense of connectedness with fellow humans, with God and with planet earth; and with an abiding sense of commitment and responsibility to those around them - including the very environment which envelops them from every side.
It is nothing but sheer barbarity and inhumanity, fig-leafed in cheap clichés and pricey public relations, when humans justify and rationalize enslavement of fellow humans on the flimsiest of grounds and the most transparent of pretexts; when they deprive their fellow humans of their most basic human rights, against all cannons of civilized conduct and painfully developed international norms and conventions; and when they plunder their wealth and resources and kill them in droves without offering them recourse to justice or opportunity for self-defense.
Fragmentation of Life
It is an ongoing disaster of the most horrendous kind when human life is shattered into a million little fragments, and when it is artificially cut up in a million water-tight little compartments, without any sense of the whole, and without any care or concern for an integrating or unifying principle that will pull those fragments together and give them meaning and cohesion.
When people become fixated on living a life most of which they shelter and protect from the natural radiance of divine guidance and grace - and from the sobering thought of ongoing and universal divine scrutiny and accountability.
And when they deign, thereafter, arrogantly and condescendingly, to donate one or two small shards and shreds of that life to God Almighty - the one who gave them life in the first place, and gave them all of it and every single aspect and facet of it - as a token of their self-professed love for him and in what they consider to be their vaunted acts of worshipping him.
Acts they carry out with great pomp and fanfare, but with little thought or understanding - on designated days, in designated ways, in designated places, using designated formulas and rituals, made available to them by designated individuals they so glibly proclaim to be "Holy" with designated titles, positions and appearances.
Neither Science nor Common Sense
It is neither science nor common sense, when human life is sundered into artificial compartments of sacred and secular, just because it is expedient to do so, and when all human effort is devoted to finding ways to live a life on earth in which tested and true divine guidance plays a minimal and ever-receding role on a day-to-day basis.
It is a shame and a disgrace, and it is an unmitigated disaster, when human character degenerates to a point when relations between men and women turn not on respect and caring but on exploitation, lying, cheating and abuse.
When for all too many men and women it becomes preferable to live together in the ignominy and shame of adultery and fornication, rather than seek the protection, sanctity, honor, dignity, glory and blessing of matrimony.
And when, on the other hand, men and women are forced to keep bad marriages and broken relationships festering and fostering sin and corruption, rather than use options of annulment and divorce made available to them by God that will allow all parties dignified and honorable exits out of irreparably broken marriages, to find more virtuous, peaceful and honorable ways to live.
The fact is that life for too many human beings on earth has becomes a roller-coaster of disasters and tragedies, each more grim, each more hair-raising and each more heart-breaking than the other.
Therefore, it is not that things have gone slightly wrong in our world. But it is rather that humanity is in a terrible, unspeakable, colossal mess. Our world is in a state of utter and unspeakable loss.
A Planet in Peril
Our planet is in peril. And human life is in peril, as the Qur'an says.
This was a diagnosis of the state of humanity and the world by no one other than the creator of humanity and the world. This was a diagnosis he provided in the very book that he sent down to save humanity and the world - the noble, the clear and open, the most accessible and easy and the most glorious Qur'an.
Thereafter, it is for you and me - for the educated, thinking, reasonable, conscious and caring people in the world - to gauge, determine and establish the nature and degree of that loss and disaster in which humanity is today mired.
And then it is up to all of us to decide how best to cope with this disastrous state of affairs that is upon us.
To get a sense of what is going on in the world today, all we need to do is to look around. All we need to do is to read the newspapers. All we need to do is talk to people. It would then become clear to us how terrible, how encompassing and how utterly overwhelming is the state of loss and suffering, pain and deprivation, trouble and tragedy which has enveloped us like a cocoon from every direction.
The analysis I provided above, gives us some clues as to where humanity's loss and tragedy have gone from one disastrous outcome to another, each more terrible and tragic than the other.
Playing Catch-up to the Qur'an
At this point, it seems to me, a word about the Qur'an is in order. For one simple reason: whether we see it or not, and whether we say it or not, it is clear that the Qur'an seems to be quite clearly connected to much of what is going on in the world today - in one way or another, to one degree or another.
In fact, this has been the case since the first revelations of the Qur'an descended upon Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, nearly 1400 years ago.