“Mutual Aggression”: Human Nature and the Need for Divine Guidance

Feb 21, 2008

But Adam soon discovered another side to his personality – how gullible, how naïve, how forgetful and how short-sighted he could be. Adam and his mate became victims of Shaitan’s persuasive appeals, ate of the forbidden tree and were thrown out of the Garden where God had placed them.

But God’s love, grace, mercy overtook both of them; they both repented; and they were both forgiven by God.

Mark the word “both.” It has profound implications. But I will talk more about it some other time.

Of course it helped that they received instructions on exactly what to say when they pleaded their case before Allah.

But soon two of Adam’s sons were out and about in their new abode on earth. And soon a disagreement and then very quickly a quarrel ensued.

One of them said: “I am going to kill you.”

The other said: “You can do what you want. But I am not going to fight you.”

So, the violent, aggressor son of Adam killed the nicer, more peaceful son. Ever since, the history of the world has been the story of the conflict between these two sides of Adam’s personality and character: aggression, violence and earthiness on the one hand and compassion, forgiveness and fairness on the other hand.

Zulm and Jahl

Ever since, human beings never stopped making mischief on earth, just as the angels had said they would. Nor did they stop causing rivers of blood to flow on earth.

We can give these diabolical doings of the human race what names we want. Domination, conquest, exploitation, aggression, imperialism, colonialism, genocide, racism are all fair descriptions and labels for the terrible things humans have done to humans.

The Qur’an calls their doings Zulm. The worst Zulm being turning your back on God Almighty himself and denying him and saying he has all kinds of associates and partners. And that, of course, is also the root from which all other forms of Zulm spring.

People use words like oppression, wrong doing and other similar expressions to translate the word Zulm. But sadly, the English language does not have a really close equivalent to that original Arabic expression of the Qur’an.

But that is what Allah calls us human beings: Zaloom. That is who we are: given to all kinds of Zulm.

And part of that Zulm in our character stems from our foolishness and stupidity and ignorance: Jahl.

Innahu kaana zalooman jahoola! That is us according to the Qur’an. That is part of our pen-portrait in the Qur’an. Our “profile,” if you will, as human beings.

As for motives, the Qur’an sums them all up in two words: “Mutual Aggression.”

Baghyam bainahum!

Tell me that is not so. Tell me that is not what marks the mutual relations of peoples, societies, cultures and countries of this world throughout history.

Divine Guidance 

The cure to this sad human predicament lies in divine guidance – Hudaa.

Divine guidance – that is what God promised humanity on their way out of their Garden-home. And that is what God’s messengers brought into this world.

While some human beings followed the prophets and messengers and accepted the divine message of love and mercy and forgiveness that they brought, others rejected them and their message.

Some even killed their prophets.

And that is what humans do to this day. They seek to hide and suppress facts; they distort and corrupt truth by mixing it with falsehood; and they try to silence or kill those who stand for truth, justice, equality, forgiveness, cooperation, coexistence and peace.

The final embodiment of that divine guidance, and that comprehensive message of deliverance for humanity from its predicament, is the Qur’an.

And Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, spent his whole life teaching the world the way out of the bloody mess in which it found itself.

While Allah crowned his mission with success, human beings, bent on self-destruction, never gave him a single day’s rest.

Ever since that time, the world has been moving ever closer to his teachings and to his way of doing things. And often it does so without giving him or his work any credit.

But history shows that the world can find true and comprehensive peace only in the teachings of the Qur’an and in the model outlined and illustrated by Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam in his life.


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