The Divinely Ordained Trial of Man's Inherent Common Sense (Fitrah) by Dr. Omar Zaid

zaidpub (old blog)
zaidpub (old blog)

Imran Hosein & Dr. Omar Zaid at Insight Conference, KL, 2011
Imran Hosein & Dr. Omar Zaid at Insight Conference, KL, 2011

The essence of evil is not its potential or its ritual applications, protocols or detailed effects, but rather it is the conscious denial of our pre-primordial covenant with God.  This is to say the denial of our true human-nature, the instinct that prompts us to acknowledge God’s sovereignty by obeying the divine laws that outline morally responsible ethics or ‘imperatives’.  Hence and simply put, evil is the rejection of what we already know is good for us:
On Fitrah:  “Shāh Walī Allāh’s and Ibn ‛Āshūr share some fundamental elements in their understanding of human nature.  Like Ibn Taymiyyah and others, the sense of the oneness of God and love of Him and submission to His will is, according to Walī Allāh, rooted in human nature and conscience.  All this consists in the all-encompassing “virtue of humbling oneself before God,” which he calls ikhbāt.  It is thus an essential part of the measured course (taqdīr) according to which man has been created with angelic (malakiyyah) and animalistic (hayawāniyya) dispositions enabling him to pursue his natural spiritual, biological and aesthetic needs.  These innate dispositions, which are inherited by the individuals of the species, constitute, according to Shāh Walī Allāh, man’s unalterable original or primordial state of nature (fitrah).  In his view, this constant fitrah pertains mainly to the principles and essence of good and evil (usūl al-birr wa al-ithm wa kulliyyātihimā) and not to their details and particular details and applications.”[1]
Thus, when men awaken to temptation at puberty and succumb to “Satan’s invitation” rather than God’s invitation, they welcome the suggestion to perpetrate wickedness and thus, by neglecting to choose what is good they fall from God’s additional grace of peaceful prosperity in the earth.  This latter estate is something most everyone yearns for but is impossible to maintain without the vigilance of righteous men willing to die fighting for its preservation.  This self-chosen perpetration of evil also establishes the difference between what is human and sub-human and hence, automatically returns us to an un-peaceful prosperity indicative of our current Age of Harm.  The present “civilized” condition that holds forth unethical models is mundanely called ‘progress’ despite its being filled with the anxieties of a non-peaceful co-existence by a majority who afford themselves unbalanced concerns over self, their opinions, their earthly possessions, etc. etc., including the deluded spouse who thinks their husband or wife ‘belongs’ to them rather than divinely ‘assigned’ to them as the wise perspective.   Nevertheless, even the sad condition just described is a grace-filled respite of temporal rewards and challenges to the materialist’s faith until death liberates the soul.  So then:

  1. If there is nothing without God’s grace (i.e., Creation and therefore existence), and
  2. If both good and evil respectively advance or retreat from this initial grace by means of man’s choice, it behooves man to
  3. Understand the Spiritual Laws written by the Eternal Cause of all causes as they relate to the
  4. Temporal trial of an earthly life that directly relates to our ultimate immortal disposition (akhirah)
  5. Before we write an abidingly self-incriminating verdict in the Book of Deeds.

The Significance of Life’s Trials
There inevitably come frequent trials to all human journeymen.  Yet each trial, though it may hold an evil potential, is actually an offer of additional divine grace.  The option held forth presents an opportunity to obtain augmented favor that far exceeds the potential for evil’s progress.[2]  For this reason, Prophet Isa instructed his disciples to rejoice equally in peace, persecution and trouble.  He also warned believers to beware when all men speak well of them, because the implication is that such souls fail to speak or defend the truth but to the contrary,  defer towards the pleasure of disobedient men.  Such is the case in many countries where fawning citizens unravel red carpets for exalted savants of wickedness.  To the contrary, if there are no trials of faith in a man’s life, the implication is that God has withdrawn the promise of enhanced potential and has abandoned the recalcitrant, trial-free-fool to his doom.

  • This because they love the life of this world better than the Hereafter: and Allah will not guide those who reject Faith. Those are they whose hearts, ears, and eyes Allah has sealed up, and they take no heed. Without doubt, in the Hereafter they will perish.”            (16: 107-109)

Such woe begotten creatures are called Kufr or Kafir [i] in the Qur’an and are to be avoided by believers whenever possible.  The Qur’an often speaks of people whose ‘case’ or ‘trial’ is no longer considered by God.   These folk have abandoned true human nature for the sake of sub-human appetites and God’s finite grace, which is the many illusory benefits of the material world.  These persons are reprobates who have lapsed towards evil potential so often they’ve become permanently addicted to temporal rewards; much like King Nimrud’s rejection of Prophet Ibrahim’s invitation, or like an addict’s hypothalamic pleasure nuclei which is habituated to the endorphins produced by sex or drugs that in turn lead to uncontrollable obsession:

  • “… Whoever seeks the advantage of the other world will receive the same and more of it.  Whoever seeks the advantage of this world will receive the same, but he will have no share in the other.”                                             (42: 20)

Such people are anti-social, non-contemplative-frontal-lobe sociopaths and ‘materialists’ who do not strive for the Kingdom of God’s eternal bonus nor seek the Metaphysical light of His additional guiding grace while living on earth:

  • “O ye that believe! Fear Allah and believe in His Messenger, and He will bestow on you a double portion of His Mercy: He will provide for you a light by which ye shall walk straight in your path, and He will forgive you your past … “     (58: 28)

Therefore, God shuns the reprobate once they have repeatedly refused His Call to Grace, after which they walk in spiritual Darkness no matter how many times they call the illusion ‘light.  This spiritual blindness is filled with signs, wonders, sensuality and even scientific acumen as per the nuclear physicist who gave us unredeemable radiation and resultant cancers.  This existential estate is, unfortunately, the inverse consequence of the Law of Grace.  As heedless reprobates, such folk live exclusively by means of the ordinary benevolence of common temporal respite plus base instincts and wit rather than by the advancing support of Divine favor.  Such people have failed the test, dismissed the Law of Grace and are but vaguely aware (asleep) they have rejected faith and their true human nature (fitrah):[3]  They have chosen not to humbly submit to God’s additional goodwill.  For them, one can do nothing but assist them as they sojourn to hell; after all, our good deeds do stand us for reward in the hereafter.

[1] Mohamed El-Tahir El-Mesawi, citing Hujjah, vol. 1, pp. 203-206 and 233–234; The Conclusive Argument, pp. 206–209 and 238-239. Cf. al-Ghazali, op. cit., p. 16 and 175; Hujjah, vol. 1, p. 162 and 197; op. cit., p. 157; Hujjah, vol. 1, pp. 72–82; op. cit., pp. 60–68; Hujjah, vol. 1, p. 85 and pp. 174–175; op. cit., p. 72; Shāh Walī Allāh, Hujjah, vol. 1, pp. 85-86, 243-268; op. cit., pp. 72–73 and 245–270. For a profound discussion of the idea of natural innate religion from an Islamic perspective, see Ezzati, A., Islam and Natural Law
[2]   Hence: the challenge presented to Prophet Job or the suffering of Makkan Muslims prior to the Hijra.
[3] There are others who believe but do not act on their belief.  This, unfortunately, is equivalent to unbelief.  In the Qur’an, Faith is inextricably married to good deeds. See V2:112 for example, “Yes, but whoever submits his face to Allah and he is a Muhsin {a good doer who performs good deeds totally for Allah’s sake without any show-off or to gain praise or fame] then his reward is with his Lord, on such shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.”  Even Paul said: “Faith without works is dead.”

[i]       Kafir Unbeliever بً  فه Unbeliever. Someone who covers up the truth and rejects Allah and His messengers. There are many different ways in which a person becomes a disbeliever in Allah. For full explanation see Kufr. Plural: Kuffar.Kufr ً قه Disbelief in Allah’s Commands, including the refusal to accept whatever the Prophet Muhammad, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, taught. There are two levels of Kufr:
1.  Kufr al-Akbar (major disbelief) subdivided into five categories;

  • Kufr al-Taktheeb: Denying the divine truth.
  • Kufr Abaa wa Stakbara ma’alTasdeeq: Refusing to bow to Allah due to pride, even though acknowledging the divine truth.
  • Kufr ash-Shakk wa Dhann: Doubting any or all of the six articles of faith (see ‘Aqaaid), even if not completely denying them.
  • Kufr aI-Iraad: Knowingly turning away from the divine truth.
    • Kufr al-Nifaq: Disbelief through hypocrisy.

2. Kufr aI-Asghar (minor disbelief). Being unappreciative of what Allah Ta’ala has provided.