God created man like other creatures, but with special abilities. Rahman describes man as an individual, a natural creature, just like other animals. God gave man a special ability to procreate; Rahman states, “Man produces an extract, sulala, which undergoes a creative process when injected into the womb.”
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The relationship between God and man was established during creation; God created man and gave him a special ability to procreate. Procreation is, therefore, a responsibility given to man by God (16). Considering this responsibility, it is wrong to take a life since God expects mankind protect a life and not to destroy it.
Rahman identifies a significant difference between man and other creatures. After man was created, “God breathed his own spirit to him”. This has not been stated when God was creating other creatures. The Quran does not support the doctrine of mind-body dualism that separates the soul and body. These radical doctrines are found in Christianity, Hinduism and Greek philosophy.
Man is not composed of two substances or body and soul. This implies that man is one body and soul cannot be separated. It also means that God expects man to act as one and He will judge a man as one being (17).
God gives life to others and expects mankind to do only life enriching activities. Protecting the life of others is achieving one of God’s attributes. Denial of life has been condemned as one of the greatest evils and is not compatible with human nature. God expects humankind to enjoy and appreciate the wealth as God’s blessings. However, acquisition of wealth should only be done ethically, in a way that is not putting others in trouble.
The story of creation shows God believed in man and intended him to be great. His intentions were to create an assistant or a deputy on earth; this shows that God had a lot of trust in man as His creation. The Quran suggests that angels protested about the decision by God to put an assistant on earth. The angels suggested that man was going to shed blood and work mischief on earth.
According to Rahman, God did not deny the allegations made by the angels but He insisted that He knew something they did not know. God initiated a knowledge competition between Adam and the angels where they were to name things and describe their nature.
Adam won the competition indicating that he had an extraordinary capacity for creativity. God asked all angels to honor Adam and acknowledge his superiority. All the angels except Satan obeyed; Satan became a rebel working against God.
It is undoubtedly that God created man and gave him an extraordinary mind. The intention was to create a creature with a close resemblance and ability to Himself. God’s intentions were to create somebody who could perform His duties and watch over other creatures on earth. According to Quran, it is important for man to execute the will of God on earth; all God’s responsibility on earth should be carried out by man.
God expects man to observe, judge and act positively on earth. It follows that all other creatures are under man’s command. God expects man to take care of His creation and to reap benefits from those creations. The contemporary activism concerning living creatures and natural environment is meant to carry out god’s work (18).
According to Rahman, man’s life on earth is an unceasing moral struggle. God has subjected man to moral struggle in order to test his ability and to reward his efforts. In this struggle God is available for assistance on condition that man puts the necessary effort. God expects man to struggle on earth, to put adequate effort on everything he does. He expects man to ask for help only after applying enough effort.
God has charged humans with this struggle because he is a unique creation. The sole purpose of man is to fulfill his mission as God’s vicegerent. The mission of man on earth is to create a social order; the Quran describes this as trust.
Further, the Quran suggests that man has not yet fulfilled his mission; man’s work is unending. This teaching encourages man to work hard and become successful. Positive results imply that God’s work has been done.
According to Rahman, the primary objective of the Quran is to establish a workable social order on earth. Maintaining justice and ethics in the social order is the fundamental responsibility of man on earth. God’s expects mankind to read, understand and act according to Quran’s teaching. Rahman suggests that this will automatically create a viable social order on earth.
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Every human being exists in a society that entails co-existing with others. The concept of human action is only relevant within a social context. God expects mankind to coexist with each other. God expects man to live ethically and be just to other humans; this is the main characteristic expected by God in the social order (36).
The Quran is clear on the verdict of lack of coexistence and inability to maintain the social order. The fate of important figures like Pharaoh is a basic account of self destruction. Individuals and societies are eventually destroyed when they lack the ability to live with others. God also promises to destroy the wicked, those who oppress His creation, and those who decline doing His work.
According to Quran, God is always the third party whenever two humans associate. Ignoring God as part of the relationship is done at the individual’s risk. The Quran describes God as the one who knows everything on earth and in heaven.
The whole idea is that God is always present whenever there are two or more people. He listens and knows all the secrets and conspiracies. This teaches man not to plan evil on others, not to treat others with revulsion and to always plan good for others (37).
Rahman highlights the frequent Quran reminder that God is ever wakeful. God sits on a high tower watching everything and everywhere.
The Quran suggests “not a single atom escapes His view.” The ability of God to watch and witness human activities is a constant reminder of the good expectations from God. The Quran intends the world to be an ethical, egalitarian social order that gets rid of all imbalances. God expects people to treat others as equals.
God is against the frequent economic disequilibrium and inequalities witnessed in the contemporary world. The Quran teaches against polytheism and the gross socioeconomic differences.
Rahman argues that the two evils are responsible for societal segmentation, and were once prevalent in Meccan society. God intends the society to one, bonded strongly by its beliefs and God. God expects all people to worship one true God and live as one unit (38).
Economic disparities have been persistently criticized in Mecca because they were hard to correct. According to Rahman, economic disparities had dire consequences compared to tribal rivalries, enmity and vengeance.
Economic disparities have been associated with other evils including abuse to women, girls, orphans and slaves. The weak were severely in Mecca; these included the slaves, minor and insignificant tribes and women. There were lots of fraudulent monetary activities in the society that left some people as utterly poor and others very wealthy (38).
It is God’s intention for man to live happily and comfortably. God is against any exploitation of the weak by the powerful people. The Quran is against slavery and tribal fights and differences. God is not against wealth accumulation but is against unethical practices in commercial activities.
God expects the entire society to be comfortable with each other. Quran asserts that wealth accumulation keeps people preoccupied until the time they die. In addition, wealth does not bequeath the eternal life; it is not an assurance of a comfortable afterlife. It is clear that the punishment for callous and miserly people is ‘hutama’ or God’s fire.
The Quran teaches determinedly on bitter relationships between the rich and the poor in the society. The weak are likely to accuse the rich of leading them astray (115). Quran advocates that all humanity share the same parents, Adam and Eve, and therefore, brotherhood is a basic heritage for all people. Quran, therefore, calls for peaceful coexistence among all people regardless of their economic capabilities.
Superiority in Islam is not a virtue given by birth or ancestry; it is given by righteousness and devotion to the word of God. All events shared by Muslim brotherhood are expected to give people an opportunity to see others as equals. God expects people to use this opportunity to get rid of all forms of discrimination among the humans.
The Quran is meant to unite all people regardless of their color, ranks, origin, nationality and language. All people are equal before God; superiority can only be viewed by piety and good actions. The concept of unity of humanity has changed and civilized the world; it is stated in the Quran that mankind is a single nation.
The Quran teaches the importance of prayers among the people. God expects humans to come together for prayers to express their gratitude. Brotherhood among the Muslims has been a significant unifying factor in the history of mankind. In the course of prayers, God expects people to share, show their love, comfort each other and embrace each other as close companions.
These actions are expected to preach peace and eliminate all forms of discrimination. Islamic brother hood is universal and one of the most successful ideologies in the modern world.
The guiding principles associated with this ideology are derived from the Quran. The measure of a person is not by his race, rank, wealth, tribe or worldly power; it is by his observance of the teachings of Quran. The unity of the entire mankind is the ultimate teaching of the Quran.
Rahman observes that God does not like arrogant or boasting individuals. He expects mankind to help other people in their times of need. Quran encourages people to be good to orphans and needy neighbors. Man is expected to treat strangers with respect and not be proud or boastful. God forbids evil, rebellion and indecency.
The Quran encourages people to practice justice and feed the orphans, beggars and captives. God is said to take account of everything and expects man to be courtesies. Humans are expected to abhor evil and to practice good to benefit others. People are expected to work together in groups, and be more successful (75).
Rahman identifies and differentiates the creator and the created in his book. All the creations, according to the Quran, were created by God. Therefore, they function and behave according to His regulations and rules. It is his will that all humans are surviving, and they should submit onto his rules. To God nothing happens by chance and, all is predetermined making God to have full control of everything including humans.
Therefore, the human body should be submissive to the rules of God. Humans are given the power of choosing what to do and what not to making them unique from other creations.
When people’s minds fully submit to the will of God then they are considered to have trust in him, they are considered to be a Muslim. When people do the righteous things and have faith in God then they are submissive. According to Quran, God is the mighty, eternal, infinite, compassionate, and supreme power.
According to Quran, God is the sole provider to the people. He has the power to provide life and also to take it. Quran teaches that anything that is given by God is acceptable as a gift. It also states that God will not provide or change human conditions if they do not work for the betterment. God provides to those people who work hard to get. God expects people to work hard so that they can be rewarded by their efforts.
According to Quran there are no mediators in communication between people and their God. People should speak directly to their God. Righteous people have the right to speak to God because they act for the sake of God. Repentance is the best action to be taken after sinning.
However, the best way of showing repentance to God is through actions; by seeking forgiveness from other people. The direct relationship makes people recognize that it is only God who is capable of helping them. This relationship also purifies faith and submission of people towards God.
Quran depicts a relationship that exists between God and people through worship. Worship comes in two forms that is doing the righteous deeds and following rituals as a way of worship. The righteous deed way of worshiping involves doing the things that carry beneficial actions, and expressed in sincerity in God’s ways.
Engagement into different types of sports is also a form of worship especially if aimed at improving human body health. When socializing is done with an aim of constructing a good society, it is also considered to be a form of worship. Righteous worship is associated with doing things that will be of benefit to the human physical being and nourishing to the spiritual needs.
Ritualistic worship is manifested in form of alms giving, praying and fasting. This is done with an aim of satisfying both physical and spiritual needs. Prayers offer the best means of communication between God and people. This is a time when people commit body and soul to the creator. Prayers are continuous and can be performed several times per day; that is five times a day.
Quran forbids hypocrisy, hypocritical people are said to enjoin evil and forbid good to be done. God expects people to be fair in business and discourage defrauders. Man is expected to earn fair interest in business and investments; the Quran prohibits exorbitant interest rates. God expects charitable deeds to prosper among His people. People are encouraged to help others especially in times of disasters (88).
According to Rahman, God encourages people to be righteous because it lasts for ever. The world is only a temporary residence that prepares people for the afterlife. Good deeds done in the present world will reflect positively in the afterlife. God expects people to have a belief in the divine causality and moral order in the society. People are judged according to their decisions and actions.
The important requirement of moral life is faith in God and following the teachings of Quran. One of the most important ideals is unity that entails coordination of will and action. Unity is accompanied by ethical actions that are motivated by total submission to the teachings of Quran.
Man is expected to be truthful and honest with their words and deeds. Mankind is expected to unite and to get rid of mischief and oppression from the world. Unity is expected in the family and outside the family to touch the entire society.
Rahman, Fazlur. Major Themes of the Qur’an: Second Edition. Chicago: University Of Chicago Press, 2009. Print.