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Islam: A Scientific View of God's Message to Humanity

 

By Hassan Ali El-Najjar

Table of Contents  

 

I. Introduction: Basic Information   

 

1. Islam: A Brief Introduction    

 

2. Three Levels of Faith: Islam, Iman, and Ihsan    

 

3. The Scientific Evidence That God Exists and the Holy Qur'an Is His Message to Humanity    

 

4. Creation and Evolution in the Holy Qur'an   

 

5. Humans, As God's Caliphs on Earth   

 

6. Adam's Contest With the Angels, and Getting Out of Paradise  

 

7. Worshippers By Choice Or Forced Slaves?    

 

8. The Relationship Between the Spiritual and the Physical Aspects of Islamic Teachings    

 

9. Spirit, Soul, Mind, Self, and Happiness from an Islamic Perspective 

 

10. Heart-Mind Relationship in the Holy Qur'an    

 

II. Islam: The Five Pillars of the Faith Structure  

 

1. Islamic Proclamation of Faith  

 

2. Performing Islamic Prayers  

 

3. Giving Zakat, Charity, The Third Islamic Duty  

 

4. Fasting and Ramadhan, Great Gifts from Allah to Muslims  


5. Haj, Pilgrimage, the Fifth Pillar of Islam

 

III. Iman: Allah, His Angels, Messengers, Messages, Latter Day, and Qadar  

 

1. Allah, As He Described Himself in the Holy Quran    

 

2. Angels  

 

3. Noo'h, Noah, in the Holy Quran     

 

4. Ibrahim, Abraham, in the Holy Quran 

 

5. Moussa, Moses, in the Holy Quran  

 

6. 'Eissa, Jesus Christ, in the Holy Quran    

 

7. Muhammed in the Holy Quran   

 

8. Prophet Muhammed's Night Journey and Ascent to Heavens, Al-Issra Wal Mi'raj  

 

9. The Last Day, The Hour, Resurrection, Reckoning, and Judgment

 

10. God's Precise Measurement and His Just Decree, Al-Qadar Wal Qadha

 

IV. I'hsan: Watching Allah in What We Say and What We Do  

 

1. Introduction to Islamic Law, Shari'a, Part I, Prohibition, Don't Do, and Do Commands in the Holy Quran  

 

2. The La (No) Commands  

 

3. The Imperative Commands  


***

 

Articles with Islamic Perspective:

 

Health Care Crisis in the US: An Islamic Perspective

 

"Terrorism" & "Islamo-Fascism" Propaganda Campaigns: An Interactive Lecture

 

Six Questions About Islam, Muslims and Jews

Five Islamic Issues: Predestination and choice, position toward other religions, angels, and the End of Days

Food Islamic Rules and Teachings
 

 

Are Muslim women second-class citizens  

 

The French Ban on Islamic Headscarf, an Interview with

 

Links to Islamic Topics 2007-2010

 

Links to Islamic Topics 2007

 

Links to Islamic topics 2006

 

Links to Islamic topics 2005

 

Links to Islamic topics 2004

 

Links to Islamic topics, 2003

 

2002 Links to Islamic topics

 

 

Islam:

 

A Scientific View of God's Message to Humanity


9

 

Spirit, Soul, Mind, Self, and Happiness, from an Islamic Perspective

 

By Hassan Ali El-Najjar

 

13th of Dhul Qaada, 1428 - November 24, 2007

 

Revised During Safar 1400 - October, 2018  

 

*** 

 

 

  1400 -  2018

 

 ***

 

 

ٰ  

 

I seek refuge with God from the Stoned Shaytan

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

 

***

 

 

Introduction

 

The concepts of Spirit, soul, mind, self, and happiness are closely related in the Holy Quran. This Chapter attempts to explain some meanings, which are associated with these concepts, their interconnectedness, and their relevance to Islamic teachings in general.

 

Whenever the word Spirit (rou'h, ) is mentioned in the Holy Quran, it refers to a characteristic of God, praise to Him, and to Jibril, peace be to him. However, it is the source of the human soul, which includes the capabilities of the human existence (life), acquisition of knowledge (the mind), and morality (the self, nafs, ), as mentioned in Chapter 8 of this book.

 

While we, as humans, have started to understand the relationship between the human brain and the mind it incubates, we know very little about God's Spirit, which He told us about, as stated in Verse 17: 85 of the Holy Quran.  [1] 

 

Scientists of our time have been able to clone animals. This has made it easier on people to believe that the All-Knowledgeable Creator, praise to Him, is capable of resurrecting the human body on the Last Day. However, for Reckoning and Judgment to happen on that Day, the human soul has to return to its body.

 

The current information revolution has demonstrated that information can be captured in compacted disks (CDs), mobile audio-visual drives and devices, as well as computer hard drives. Then, it can be transferred through space (from Earth to satellites orbiting our planet, then back to Earth, to be captured back by various devices). However, humans have neither been capable of transferring information directly from the human brain nor to it.

 

This is  the sphere of Allah (God), praise to Him, so far. He and His angels are capable of transferring information (the soul) from our brains at the moment of death to a super computer somewhere in His universe, to be kept there until the Last Day, on which the human body will be resurrected, then paired with its soul (81: 7). He has not told us how He and His angels do that but assured us that we would know a little about it. [2]

 

 

Faith and Happiness

 

Those who truly believe in Allah and in His ability to resurrect them for reckoning, on the Last Day, would behave in a good way during their first life time on Earth. This includes doing good deeds, patience, and contentment, which is the good life, mentioned in verse 16: 97. They will also enjoy the everlasting happiness in Paradise, which their Lord promised them with, and were given glad tiding about in verse 11: 108 of the Holy Quran.  

 

ٰ  ۖ   ( 16: 97).

 

Whoever does righteousness, whether male or female, while he is a believer - We will surely cause him to live a good life, and We will surely give them their reward (in the Hereafter) according to the best of what they used to do (Al-Na'hl, 16: 97). 

 

ۖ ( 11: 108).

 

And concerning those who will be happy, they will be in the Paradise, everlasting therein, as long as the heavens and the earth last, except as your Lord wills, an extended gift (Hood, 11: 108).

 

Conversely, those who do not want to believe in the Day of Reckoning may act in an evil or a bad way during their life time on Earth. As a result, they will be punished by not living in peace and happiness in this life and by being punished in the Hellfire in the hereafter, as we read in Verse 3: 56 as well as in Verses 20: 124-127 and in Verses 11: 105-108 of the Holy Quran. 

 

 ( 3: 56).

 

And as for those who disbelieved, I will punish them with a severe punishment in this world and the Hereafter, and they will have no helpers" (Al-'Imran, 3: 56).  

 

ٰ ﴿١٢٤ ٰ ﴿١٢٥﴾  ٰ  ۖ ٰ ٰ ﴿١٢٦﴾  ٰ  ۚ ٰ ﴿١٢٧﴾  ( 20: 124-127).

 

And whoever turns away from My remembrance - indeed, he will have a depressed life, and We will gather him on the Day of Resurrection blind." (124)

 

He will say, "My Lord, why have you raised me blind while I was [once] seeing?" (125)

 

(Allah) will say, "Thus did Our signs come to you, and you forgot them; and thus will you this Day be forgotten." (126)

 

And thus do We recompense he who transgressed and did not believe in the signs of his Lord. And the punishment of the Hereafter is more severe and more enduring (127) (Ta-Ha, 20: 124-127).  

 

 ۚ ﴿١٠٥﴿١٠٦﴾  ۚ ﴿١٠٧ ( 11: 105-107).

 

(In) a coming Day, no nafs (soul) shall speak except by His permission. Of those (gathered) some will be wretched and some will be happy (105)

 

Concerning those who are wretched, they will be in the Fire. For them therein exhaling and inhaling (106)

 

They will be everlasting therein, as long as the heavens and the earth last, except as your Lord wills, for your Lord is the Doer of what He wants (107) (Hood, 11: 105-107).

 

If we think about Gods commands, we will find out that these aim at peoples good and their happiness in this lower life, before reaching the hereafter. All good deeds and the ordained ways of worship, such as prayers, giving zakat (charity), and fasting, bring great benefits to the worshipper first, then to his/her family, community, and society at large, as will be discussion in Part II of this book.

 

Likewise, if we think about Gods prohibitions, we will find out that these aim at shielding people from committing sins, which otherwise lead to their misery, suffering, and pain, in this lower life, before reaching the hereafter.

 

Verse 2: 195 provides examples of such commands and prohibitions. Allah, praise to Him, commands people to spend on others who are less fortunate, to do their best in performing the good deeds, and avoid causing their own destruction, with their own hands.

 

ۛ ۛ ( 2: 195).

 

Spend in the way of Allah and do not cast into (your) destruction with your own hands. Be good doers; Allah loves the good doers (Al-Baqara, 2: 195).

 

When the wealthy spend on the poor, and the haves on the have-nots, they spread love, compassion, and solidarity among relatives, neighbors, community members, and society as a whole. The feeling of happiness, then, is not limited to the recipient only, but it also reaches the giver, who enjoys a great feeling of happiness, for his/her ability to give to others and benefit them, and for the expressions of love and gratitude he/she receives from them.

 

Verse 2: 195 also includes Gods command of Ihsan, which is worshipping Allah while knowing that He sees us, even if we do not see Him, as we are taught by the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him. This means that we need to do our best in performing as many good deeds as we can. This also includes saying good words, smiling to people, giving advice, volunteering to help the needy, and good treatment of others. When such Ihsan behavior spreads among people, it also spreads stability, security, love, and happiness among them. [3]

 

Likewise, Allah, praise to Him, prohibits us to do anything which may lead us to harm or destroy ourselves, because He is the Merciful, who wants us to live in happiness, in this lower life, before reaching the everlasting happiness in the hereafter. Examples of what some people do, which may lead to their destruction with their own hands, include smoking, drinking alcoholic beverages, gambling, committing zina (premarital and extramarital sexual intercourse), and accepting this promiscuous behavior.

 

These deviant behaviors lead to misery, suffering, pain, and fatal diseases in many cases. Consequently, these behaviors deprive the sinners of the happiness they can enjoy if they obey their Creator, Who has warned them against that in verses 5: 90 and 17: 32.

 

( 5: 90).

 

O you who have believed, indeed, intoxicants, gambling, (sacrificing on) stone alters, and divining arrows are but defilement from the work of Shaytan (Satan). So, avoid it, that you may be successful (Al-Ma-ida, 5: 90).

 

ٰ ۖ ( 17: 32).

 

And do not approach zina (premarital and extramarital sexual intercourse). Indeed, it is ever a great sin and an evil way (Al-Issra, 17: 32).

 

In the United States, for example, about 480,000 people die every year as a result of various types of cancer, due to smoking tobacco. About 88,000 more die as a result of diseases, traffic accidents, and cruelty due to the addiction to alcoholic beverages. In addition, these addicts inflict enormous pains on themselves and on their families, before they die. This includes loss of productivity, sexual assaults, and rapes. Moreover, smokers and alcoholic patients cause the largest burden on the health care system, which costs the American society hundreds of billions of dollars every year. Addiction to gambling is also as harmful to the gambler, his/her family, and society in general.  It diminishes the capabilities of the human self and causes a great loss in time, energy, and productivity for the addict and for society as well. [4]

 

The spread of zina (premarital and extramarital sexual intercourse), and accepting it, has brought enormous calamities and various types of pain and suffering to the involved individuals, their families, and society at large. Infidelity has been cited as the major cause of divorce, which is the fate of about half of the marriages each year. Consequently, children of divorce suffer from living with only one of their biological parents, which may lead to psychological and behavioral problems at home, school, and society as a whole. Tolerance for premarital sexual activity, has led to the highest rates of teenage pregnancy, which are unprecedented in the human society since the agricultural revolution, six thousand years ago. If a teenager aborts her pregnancy, she may suffer from psychological problems, such as depression, or physical problems, such as infertility. If she does not abort it, she is more likely to live in a lower standard of living, as a result of dropping out of school to work, in order to spend on herself and her child or children. Finally, multiple sexual partners has been associated with the spread of various types of sexually-transmitted diseases, many of which lead to infertility or even to death, but all of which lead to suffering, pain, and loss of productivity for the individual, family, and society as a whole. [5]

 

Thus, obedience to Gods commands leads people to enjoy a good quality of life, which is happiness. However, disobedience to Him leads to suffering, pain, and unhappiness, here during peoples lower life, before they reach the hereafter. Verse 2: 177 mentions some of the good deeds of righteousness and piety, which bring happiness in this lower life and everlasting happiness in the hereafter, as follows:

 

ٰ ٰ ٰ ٰ ۖ ۗ ٰ ۖ ٰ ( 2: 177).

 

Righteousness is not whether you face towards the east or the west. But righteousness is to believe in Allah, the Last Day, the angels, the Book, and the Prophets; and to give wealth however cherished, to kinsmen, the orphans, the needy, the destitute traveler, the beggars, and to ransom the slave; (the righteous are also those) who establish their prayers and pay the ordained charity (zakat); who are true to their promise when they have promised; who are patient in misfortune and hardship and during the time of courage. Such are the truthful; such are the pious (Al-Baqara, 2: 177).    

 

 

Audio-Visual Records on the Day of Reckoning

 

When people stand before their Lord, on the Day of Reckoning, they will be given their books, which record all their words and deeds, during their first life on Earth. They will be surprised that even the smallest of their deeds are recorded in these books, as mentioned in verses 86: 4 and 99: 7-8.

 

      ( 86: 4).

 

There is a record keeper over (charged with) every soul (Al-Tariq, 86: 4). 

 

﴿٧ ﴿٨( 99: 7-8).

 

Whoever does an atom's weight of good will see it, (7) And whoever does an atom's weight of evil will see it. (8) (Al-Zalzala, 99: 7-8).

 

The believers will be happy that their good deeds are recorded for them but the criminals will regret seeing their bad deeds are also recorded for them, as we are told in verses 3: 30 and 18: 49.

 

ۗ ( 3: 30).

 

(That) Day, every soul will find what it has done of good present (before it), and (will also find) what it has done of evil, (for which) it will wish if there was a long time separating it from its evil deeds (Al-'Imran, 3: 30). 

 

ٰ       ( 18: 49). 

 

And the book (of deeds) will be placed (given each person), and you will see the criminals fearful of that which is in it, and they will say, "Oh, woe to us! What is this book that leaves nothing small or great except that it has enumerated it?" And they will find what they did present (to each one of them). And your Lord does injustice to no one (Al-Kahf, 18: 49).

If the criminals deny what they did, then Allah, praise to Him, will show them evidence from their body organs, which were used in committing their evil deeds. Thus, their hands, legs, hearing, sights, and skins will testify against them, as mentioned in verses 36: 65 and 41: 20.

 

ٰ ( 36: 65).

 

(That) Day We will set a seal on their mouths, and their hands will speak to us, and their feet bear witness, to all that they earned (did) (Ya Seen, 36: 65).

 

ٰ ( 41: 20).

 

When they reach the (Fire), their hearing, their sight, and their skins will bear witness against them, to all that they did (Fussilat, 41: 20).

 

In previous centuries, it should have been hard for people to imagine how can their voices and deeds can be recorded and saved in a book, or record. However, this has become a normal thing to do since the start of radio and television broadcasting. Media units routinely record peoples voices and images and broadcast them around the clock. Even the average person is capable of doing that by using cameras, computers, CDs, and smart phones. So, if we, as humans, have been capable of doing that, then it should be a given that it is easier for the Creator, praise to Him, to have His angel record peoples deeds, and to make these records available to them on the Day of Reckoning, in which He does not do injustice to anybody.

 

Another way to understand how peoples voices and images can be captured and recorded, even after their death, is through the electromagnetic waves, which are produced by their actions. These are permanent records, which can be captured from space, from certain locations in the universe. The evidence for the feasibility of this to happen is the fact that when we see a star, it does not mean that it is still in the same location we see it in. Actually, it should have left its location a long time ago but were capable to capture its image right now, from our location in the universe. This scientific fact is mentioned in verses 56: 75-76 of the Holy Quran. It follows that our voices and images can be captured somewhere in the universe and can be given to us as records, on the Day of Reckoning. [6]

 

﴿٧٥ ﴿٧٦﴾ ( 56: 75-76).

 

I swear by the locations of the stars, (75) and it is a mighty oath, if you could know (76) (Al-Waqia, 56: 75-76).

 

Thus, the honorable angels record all of peoples words and deeds. Then, these records will be saved in certain destinations, after death, as we are told by verse 6: 67. On the Last Day, souls will return to be paired with their bodies, as mentioned in verse 81: 7. Finally, people will receive their records, to be ready for reckoning.  

 

۬ ۡ۬ۡ ۡ ( 6: 67).

 

For every bit of news (information), there is a destination (to be saved in), and you will know it (Al-An'am, 6: 67). 

 

( 81: 7). 

 

And when the souls are paired (with their bodies) (Al-Takweer, 81: 7).

 

Verse 6: 67 also prophesizes that we will know how peoples words and actions can be recorded and kept safe, to be shown again at any time after that. This prophecy has been fulfilled in our time, as we have been capable of capturing human actions, in voice and images. We are also capable of broadcasting these through radio and TV electromagnetic waves throughout terrestrial and extraterrestrial space. 

 

The main idea here is that if humans have been capable of accomplishing that, then it should be a given that Almighty Allah, praise to Him, and His angels are more capable of capturing the human soul and of returning it to its body, on the Last Day.

 

 

Reckoning on the Basis of Obedience or Disobedience to God's Commands 

 

The two concepts of good and evil are not left to people to define. Otherwise, they may never agree on what constitutes each one of them. Allah, praise to Him, revealed His teachings about these concepts through the messages He sent to guide humanity. These messages were delivered by Gods messengers throughout human history. The Holy Quran mentions names of 25 Prophets and Messengers of God but verses 4: 164 and 40: 78 tell us that there were other Messengers who are not mentioned. [7] 

 

A Messengers was different from a Prophet in that he was given a message from God to deliver it to people. Example of Messengers include Nooh (Noah), Ibrahim (Abraham), Moussa (Moses), Eissa (Jesus), and Muhammed, who had a strong will in their persistence to deliver their messages despite the great dangers they faced, peace and blessing of Allah be upon all of them.


However, a Prophet did not have a message of his own. He taught the message of a Messenger who came before him. Examples of Prophets include Sulayman (Solomon), Elyas (Elijah), Elysa (Elisha), Dhul Kifl, Younus (Johah), Zakariya, and Yahya (John), peace and blessings of Allah be upon them. Both the Messengers and Prophets were supported with prophecies and miracles, to convince people that they had Gods support for their missions.

 

God's messages to humanity, through His messengers, include His commands, which aim at spreading good behavior and happiness among people in this life, and everlasting happiness in the hereafter. These also include His prohibitions, which aim at saving them from falling into evil behaviors and their harmful consequences in this life, and punishment in the hereafter. He summarized that in verse 16: 90, which shows that He commands good and forbids evil, as follows: 

 

ٰ ٰ ۚ ( 16: 90).

 

Indeed, Allah orders justice, good conduct, and giving to relatives; and forbids immorality, bad conduct, and oppression. He admonishes you, so that perhaps you will remember (Al-Nahl, 16: 90). [8]

 

The association between obedience to God and happiness in this life and in the hereafter has been mentioned in five verses of the Holy Quran. The association between disobedience to Him and suffering in this life and in the hereafter has been mentioned in four verses..

 

Obedience to God has been mentioned as associated with the reward of an everlasting life in Paradise, in verse 4: 13;  with a high-ranking status in Paradise, 4: 69; with winning, in verse 24: 52; with the greatest winning, in verse 33: 71; and with entering Paradise gardens, in verse 48: 17.

 

Disobedience to God has been mentioned as associated with painful punishment, in verse 48: 17; with humiliating punishment, in verse 4: 14; with being clearly lost, in verse 33: 36; and with punishment in the Hellfire, in verse 72: 23. [9]

 

 

The Spirit

 

The Spirit (rou'h, ) is a characteristic of God, which He blew in the first cell, giving life to all living beings. God's Spirit has also been blown in humans, in particular, enabling their souls to include the morality scale (the self, nafs, ), in addition to the capabilities of existence (life) and the acquisition of knowledge (the mind), which humans share in different degrees with other living beings.

 

The word "Spirit (roo'h, ), is mentioned 21 times, in 20 verses of the Holy Quran. It refers to a characteristic of God and His commands, which are carried by the Senior Angel, Jibril, and other angels, to implement Gods will on humans. However, the only knowledge we have about Gods Spirit is what He told us, and that is little, as stated in verse 17: 85 of the Holy Quran. [10]

 

ۡٔ ٱۖ   ٱ ۡ ۡ ٓ ٱۡۡ ۬  ( 17: 85).

 

They ask you about the Spirit. Say: "The Spirit is an issue of my Lord, and the knowledge you have been given (about it) is only a little (Al-Issra, 17: 85). 

 

The Holy Quran refers to Jibril, peace be to him, in particular, as the Spirit, the Trusted Spirit, and the Spirit of the Holy, as mentioned in verses 78: 85, 26: 193, and 16: 102. However, verse 16:2 refers to angels (in plural), as the ones who descend with the Spirit of Gods command on whom He wills among His worshippers.

 

ۖ ٰ ( 78: 38).

 

The Day that the Spirit (Jibril) and the angels will stand in rows, they will not speak except for one whom the Beneficent (the Most Merciful) permits, and he will say what is correct (Al-Naba, 78: 38).

 

ٱ ٱۡ  ( 26: 193).

 

The Trusted Spirit (Jibril) came down with it (Al-Shu'ara, 26: 193). 

 

ۡ  ۥ ٱۡ ٱۡ  ( 16: 102).

 

Say the Spirit of the Holy (Jibril) has brought it (the revelation) down from your Lord in truth (Al-Na'hl, 16: 102). 

 

ٰ ٰ ( 16: 2).

 

He sends down the angels, with the Spirit of His command, upon whom He wills of His worshippers, (telling them): "Warn that there is no deity except Me; so be mindful of Me."(al-Nahl, 16: 2). 

 

 

The Mind

 

The  mind is the second component of the soul, after the capability of life. It is represented by a software, which enables the living organism to collect and process information for its own benefit. Thus, the mind contains the entire body of knowledge an organism acquires in its entire life, through its senses and through the synthetic analysis of the acquired knowledge.

 

The human mind is different and distinguished from the minds of animals on Earth in that the brain, which houses it, is proportionally larger, thicker, and more complex in its components. It contains nervous structures, reinforced communication networks, and other forms of communication among its nervous cells, which are not found in any animal on the Planet.

This means that theres a match between the mental capabilities of an organism and its brain structure, which also means that cognition is a reflection of the materialistic capabilities of the brain. This explains why humans are more capable of the comprehension of their surroundings, more capable in the storage of information, and faster in remembering, thinking about, processing, and using such information, as discussed in Chapter 4 of this book.

 

The word mind (aql, ) does not appear in the Holy Quran as a noun in the singular form. Rather, its verb (aqala ) is used instead, meaning to understand, comprehend, and distinguish. It also means to tie, tighten, control, or restrict. Thus, minding or reasoning means subjecting ones thinking to known restrictions, rules, laws, and controls in order for ones behavior to become as educated, safe, wise, and intelligent as possible.

 

This verb appears 49 times in the Holy Quran, in five different forms, which are as follows: aqalouh (they reasoned it) in verse 2: 75, naqil (we reason) in verse 67: 10, yaqiluha (he reasons it) in verse 29: 43, taqiloon (you all reason) in verse 2: 44 and 23 other verses, and yaqiloon (they reason) in verse 36: 68 and 21 other verses, as in the following examples: [11]  

 

ۡ ۡ ۡ ۡ ۬ ۡۡ ۡ ڪٰ ٱ  ۥ ۢ ۡ ۡ ۡ  ( 2: 75).

 

Do you (people of Faith) hope that they will believe in you, while a party of them used to hear the Words of Allah (the Torah) then they would distort them knowingly, after they reasoned (understood) them" (Al-Baqara, 2: 75).  

 

ۡ ۡ ۡ ۡ ٓ ٰۡ ٱ  ( 67: 10). 

 

They will further say: "Had we listened or reasoned, we should not have been among the companions of the Blazing Fire! (Al-Mulk, 67: 10). 

 

ۖ  ( 29: 43).

 

And these examples (which) We present to the people, but none will reason (understand) them except those of knowledge (Al-Ankaboot, 29: 43).

 

ۡ ٱ ٱۡ ۡ ۡ ۡ ۡ ٱٰۡۚ ۡ  ( 2: 44).

 

Do you enjoin right conduct on the people and forget (to practice it) yourselves, and (yet) you recite the Scripture? Do you not reason?" (Al-Baqara, 2: 44). 

 

    ( 36: 68).   

 

And he to whom We grant long life We reverse in creation; so will they not reason (understand)? (Ya-Seen, 36: 68).  

 

***

 

The Holy Quran refers to the mind by using its essential characteristic, as the essence or the core of the human being. In particular, it is used to describe the believers in 15 verses, as the ones with the minds (al-albab,  .(This praise of the believers, as the reasoning ones, has been mentioned in 15 verses. Here are three examples from verses 2: 197, 2: 269, and 3: 190. [12]     

 

ٱ ٰٓ ٱٰۡۡ  ( 2: 197). 

 

O you who have (reasoning) minds, avoid my anger (or my punishment)" (Al-Baqara, 2: 197). 

 

ڪ ٓ ٱٰۡۡ  ( 2: 269).

 

Only those with (reasoning) minds will remember (and understand God's message)" (Al-Baqara, 2: 269).  

 

ۡ ٱٰٲ ٱۡۡ ٱٰۡ ٱۡ ٱ ٰ۬ ٱٰۡۡ  ( 3: 190).

 

In the creation of the heavens and the Earth, and the alternation of night and day, there are signs for those with (reasoning) minds" (Al-Imran, 3: 190). 

 

 

The Self

 

The third component of the human soul is represented by the morality software, which God blew from His Spirit in humans, thus distinguishing them from other organisms, as pointed in Chapter 4. It enables humans to create the human self (personality), through the interaction with others, as well as through successive decision-making and analyses, on the basis of the mentally-acquired knowledge.

 

Two major ideal types of the human self have been identified for thousands of years, which are the good and the evil types. However, logically speaking, a spectrum of possibilities lies between the two types.

 

The Holy Quran tells us that God has given the human being the freedom to choose, through his/her inherent ability to differentiate between good and evil deeds, and through his/her ability to choose between them, as expressed in verse 90: 10. 

 

 ٰۡ ٱۡۡ ( 90: 10).

 

And We guided him the two paths (of good and evil)?"  (Al-Balad, 90: 10).

 

The Holy Quran is very specific about the contrast between the two choices and the consequences of the human deeds. In Verses 91: 7-10, Allah, praise to Him, says that when He has fashioned the human self (by blowing His Spirit in the human soul), He has equipped it with the ability to choose to be pious or deviant, following the straight path or going astray from it. Consequently, the winner in this life and in the Hereafter is the one who purifies the self with good deeds, and the failure is the one who immerses it in bad deeds and corruption.

 

﴿٧﴾ ﴿٨﴾ ﴿٩﴾ ﴿١٠﴾  ( 91: 7-10).

 

And (by) the self and He who proportioned it (7) And inspired it (with its) deviance and its righteousness, (8) He has succeeded who purifies it, (9) And he has failed who immerses it (in bad deeds and corruption). (10) (Al-Shams, 91: 7-10).

 

***

It is noteworthy that modern social sciences have discovered this fact about the human self, which has been articulated in the Holy Quran, more than 14 centuries ago. Since the beginning of the 20th Century, sociologists and psychologists reached the conclusion that the human self (personality) has two components, one representing the moral values and norms of society (including its religious teachings) and the other representing the self and body interests alone (such as satisfying the self-desires and the body physical needs). As a result, the normal human being is the one who seeks the satisfaction of his/her body and self in a way that does not contradict with the prevailing social values and norms. [13]        

 

Death of the Body and Completion of the Self Record

 

Our Lord, praise to Him, teaches us that there is a difference between the two concepts of death (mowt) and completion of the self record (wafah). Death happens when the life software stops working, as a result of a stop in the work of the brain and the heart. Thus, death means the end of life for the body, with the completion of the deeds of the human self, in this lower life. However, wafah can happen to the dead and the living body alike. It happens when the angels stop recoding the deeds of the human self, whether the body is still alive, while asleep, or at its death, as we learn from verses 39: 42 and 6: 60-61.

 

ۖ ٰ ٰ ٰ ۚ ٰ ( 39: 42).

 

Allah takes over the selves at the time of their death, and those that do not die (He takes over) during their sleep. Then, He keeps those for which He has decreed death and releases the others, for a specified term. Indeed, in that are signs for a people who give thought (Al-Zumar, 39: 42).

 

ٰ   ﴿٦٠﴾ 

 

  ٰ ﴿٦١( 6: 60-61).

 

And it is He who takes over (your selves) by night and knows what you have committed by day. Then He revives you therein, that a specified term may be fulfilled. Then to Him will be your return; then He will inform you about what you used to do. (60

 

And He is the subjugator over His worshippers (creation), and He sends over you record keepers (angels), until when death comes to one of you, Our messengers take over his record, and they do not leave out (any detail of it) (61) (Al-An'am, 6: 60-61).  

 

When death happens to the human body and the record of the self is completed and taken over by angels, they transfer the record to the Creators depository, to be kept there, until the Last Day, as we learn from verse 6: 67.

 

۬ ۡ۬ۡ ۡ  ( 6: 67).

 

For every bit of news (information), there is a destination (to be kept in), and you will know it (Al-An'am, 6: 67). 

The Arabic verb "tawaffa" () mentioned in the above two verses is translated as take over, for brevity purposes. However, the more accurate but detailed translation is: "He had his record completed." Thus, the two verses refer to two situations in which a person's record is completed and taken over by angels. The first is during his/her sleep, but the record will be reopened when a person wakes up. The second is a final completion of a person's record of his/her lower (first) life on Earth, when he/she dies.  

 

Some Messengers of Allah, however, were lifted alive to heavens to save them from the physical death of the body. Thus, their records on Earth were completed though they did not die. An example of such a case was Jesus Christ, peace be upon him, who had "wafah" (completion of his record on Earth) but not mowt (physical death of the human body). This was also the case of Idrees (Anokh), peace be upon him, as well as the case of martyrs, whose life on Earth ends but they are alive in heavens, as stated in Verses 3: 55, 4: 157, 19: 56-57, and 3: 169.

 

   ٰ ٰ ۖ  ( 3: 55). 

 

(Mention) when Allah said, "O 'Eissa (Jesus), I am taking over your record (completing it on Earth), lifting you to Me, purifying you from those who disbelieved, and making those who followed you (dominant) over those who disbelieved, until the Day of Resurrection. Then (addressing people), to Me is your return, and I will judge between you concerning that in which you used to differ" (Al-'Imran, 3: 55). 

 

Verse 4: 157 states that 'Eissa, peace be to him, was not killed, thus confirming that what happened to him was wafah (completion of record), not mowt (death). 

 

ٰ        ( 4: 157).

 

And for their saying: "We killed the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, the Messenger of God;" (here is the answer): They neither killed him nor crucified him, but it so appeared to them. Those who disagreed in the matter are only (lost) in doubt. They have no knowledge about it, other than conjecture. For surely, they did not kill him (Al-Nissa, 4: 157). 

 

  ﴿٥٦ ﴿٥٧﴾  ( 19: 56-57).

 

And mention in the Book, Idrees. Indeed, he was a man of truth and a prophet. (56) And We lifted him (to) a high place. (57)  (Maryam, 19: 56-57).   

 

ۚ  ( 3: 169). 

 

And do not count those who have been killed in the path of Allah (the martyrs) as dead. Rather, they are alive, near their Lord, receiving provision (Al-'Imran, 3: 169). 

 

 

Return of the Self to its Body

 

The importance of the self record is that it will be used as the basis for holding it accountable for its performance, during its lower (first) life on Earth, as stated in verses 74: 38 and 81: 14. So, during the Last Day, the human body is resurrected, as we know from verse 23: 16 (by cloning it from its coccyx, as explained by the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him). Then, the self  will be transferred back to its resurrected body, as verse 81: 7 tells us, in order to be able to communicate with its Creator, during the reckoning. Finally, the self will be rewarded or punished on the basis of its choices and deeds, during its lower (first) life performance on Earth, as mentioned in verses 79: 34-41. [14]

 

ۭۡ ۡ  ( 74: 38).

 

Every self will be hostage (accountable) to what it has earned (Al-Muddathir, 74: 38). 

 

ۡ ۡ۬ ٓ ۡۡ  ( 81: 14).

 

A self will know what it has brought (Al-Takweer, 81: 14). 

 

 ( 23: 16).

 

Then, you will be resurrected on the Day of Rising (Al-Muminoon, 23: 16).

 

  ( 81: 7).

 

And when the selves are paired (married with the bodies) (Al-Takweer, 81: 7). 

 

 

ٰ ﴿٣٤﴾ ٰ ﴿٣٥﴾ ٰ ﴿٣٦﴾ ٰ ﴿٣٧﴿٣٨﴾ ٰ ﴿٣٩﴾ ٰ ﴿٤٠﴾ ٰ ﴿٤١﴾  ( 79: 34-41).

 

 

But when there comes the Greatest Calamity (of the Last Day) - (34)

 

The Day when the human being will remember that for which he strove, (35)

 

And the Hellfire will be exposed for (all) those who see - (36)

 

So as for he who transgressed (37)

 

And preferred the lower life (first life on Earth), (38)

 

Then, indeed, the Hellfire will be (his) refuge. (39)

 

But as for he who feared the position of his Lord and prevented the self from the (unlawful) inclination, (40)

 

Then, indeed, Paradise will be (his) refuge. (41) (Al-Nazi'at, 79: 34-41).

 

 

Summary and Conclusion 

 

The concepts of the Spirit, soul, mind, self, and happiness are closely related in the Holy Quran. They are interconnected, in the sense that understanding them individually cannot be complete without understanding how they are related to each other. 

 

Gods Spirit is the source of the human soul, which includes the capabilities of the human existence (life),  acquisition of knowledge (the mind), and morality (the self). In particular, as human beings, we are elated over a lot of Gods creations because of our ability to collect, process, and use data in a good way, by choice.  However, He warned those, who use it in an evil way, to punish them for that in the Hereafter.

 

The human body is just an instrument that incubates and sustains the brain, which houses the human mind, from which the self develops and evolves throughout a person's lifetime on Earth. 

 

Allah, praise to Him, created the moral and wise human (homo sapien sapien) by the installation of the morality software from His Spirit into the human DNA. This is what allows and enables the human self to start a life-long process of data processing and decision making while having the ability to differentiate between good and evil. 

 

When the body dies, as a result of old age, sickness, or accidental injury, the wafah takes place too. This means that the record of the human soul, including the human self, is completed (ended) by angels. 

 

In the Hereafter, the self is going to be judged on the basis of its performance during its first life on Earth. If it is obedient to God in its behavior, it will be living in happiness in this life and in the hereafter. But, if the human self is disobedient to its Creator, it suffers in this life and in the hereafter. 

 

Thus, goodness is obedience to God and evil is disobedience to Him.  

 

It follows that whatever happens to human beings in their lower (first) life is going to be good for them in the hereafter, as long as they are obedient to Allah, praise to Him, even if they become poor, get sick, or killed unjustly.

 

It is good because their ultimate destination is an eternal happy life in Paradise. They have to work as hard as they can in their pursuit of happiness, during their first life on Earth, but they have to observe God in everything they say or do.  

 

You may get some or all of the results you want to achieve here in this life (such as wealth, power, prestige, reproductive activities, offspring, material belongings etc.) but there's a possibility that you may not get what you are pursuing because of circumstances beyond your control. 

 

Thus, success or failure, in the Islamic sense, is not necessarily in the achievement of goals, or the lack there of. Rather, it is in how you conduct yourself during the process of pursuing your endeavors, goals, wants, and desires.  

 

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Notes:

 

[1]  Though the author is solely responsible for the translation of the meanings of the verses of the Holy Quran mentioned throughout the book, including in this Chapter, he consulted with other translations, particularly those of Saheeh International, Qaribullah & Darwish, and of Yusuf Ali, may Allah reward them for their great works in the service of Islam, Muslims, and humanity.

 

In Ibn Katheer's interpretation of Verse 17: 85, he mentioned that the Spirit is the source of the self (nafs), and the self is the product of the Spirit and what it gets from the body (the brain), as this author has argued in this book.

 

 

17: 85   : " ."

 

[2]  For more information about Reckoning and Judgment on the Last Day, see Chapter 24, "The Last Day and its Four Main Events: The Hour, Resurrection, Reckoning, and Judgment."

 

[3]  Abdullah Bin Omar narrated a Hadith, in which his father, may Allah be pleased with both of them, told him that one day Jibril (Gabriel), peace be to him, came to the Majid (Mosque) in Medina, and asked the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, several questions, and one of them was  about the meaning of Ihsan. The Messenger of Allah answered him, saying:

 

Ihsan is to worship Allah as if you see Him, because if you do not see Him, He sees you. The Hadith was recorded by Muslim and its Number 17 in Riyadh Al-Saliheen by Imam Nawawi.

:  : .

 

[4] Cigarette smoking is responsible for more than 480,000 deaths per year in the United States, including more than 41,000 deaths resulting from secondhand smoke exposure.

 

https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/fast_facts/index.htm

 

This amounts to $170 billion in direct medical costs that could be saved every year if we could prevent youth from starting to smoke and help every person who smokes quit.

 

https://www.cdc.gov/chronicdisease/about/costs/index.htm

 

Excessive alcohol use led to approximately 88,000 deaths and 2.5 million years of potential life lost (YPLL) each year in the United States from 2006 2010, shortening the lives of those who died by an average of 30 years. The economic costs of excessive alcohol consumption in 2010 were estimated at $249 billion.

 

https://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/fact-sheets/alcohol-use.htm

 

Problem gambling is harmful to psychological and physical health. People who live with this addiction may experience depression, migraine, distress, intestinal disorders, and other anxiety-related problems.

 

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/15929.php

 

[5] For more information about divorce in general, and about the relationship between divorce and infidelity in the United States, see the authors two academic papers, which are published at the following two links:

 

https://digitalcommons.kennesaw.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1120&context=jpps

 

https://digitalcommons.kennesaw.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1097&context=jpps

 

In 2016, The number of live births to unmarried women is 1,569,796. The birth rate for unmarried women is 42.4 births per 1,000 unmarried women aged 15-44. This represents 39.8% of all births.

 

https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/unmarried-childbearing.htm

 

In 2014, 652,639 legal induced abortions were reported to CDC from 49 reporting areas. The abortion rate for 2014 was 12.1 abortions per 1,000 women aged 1544 years, and the abortion ratio was 186 abortions per 1,000 live births. Women in their twenties accounted for the majority of abortions in 2014 and throughout the period of analysis.

 

https://www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/data_stats/abortion.htm

 

In 2015, a total of 229,715 babies were born to women aged 1519 years, for a birth rate of 22.3 per 1,000 women in this age group.

 

https://www.cdc.gov/teenpregnancy/about/index.htm

 

The following statistics are from the US Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance, 2017, issued by the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC), about the three major notifiable STDs: Chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis.

 

A total of 1,708,569 cases of Chlamydia trachomatis infection were reported to the CDC, making it the most common notifiable condition in the United States. This case count corresponds to a rate of 528.8 cases per 100,000 population, an increase of 6.9% compared with the rate in 2016.

 

A total of 555,608 cases of gonorrhea were reported to CDC, making it the second most common notifiable condition in the United States. Rates of reported gonorrhea increased 75.2% since the historic low in 2009 and increased 18.6% since 2016.

 

A total of 30,644 cases of primary and secondary (P&S) syphilis, the most infectious stages of the disease, were reported in the United States, yielding a rate of 9.5 cases per 100,000 population. Since reaching a historic low in 2000 and 2001, the rate of P&S syphilis has increased almost every year, increasing 10.5% during 20162017.

 

https://www.cdc.gov/std/stats17/2017-STD-Surveillance-Report_CDC-clearance-9.10.18.pdf

 

While sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) affect individuals of all ages, STDs take a particularly heavy toll on young people. CDC estimates that youth ages 15-24 make up just over one quarter of the sexually active population, but account for half of the 20 million new sexually transmitted infections that occur in the United States each year.

 

https://www.cdc.gov/std/life-stages-populations/adolescents-youngadults.htm

 

[6] The fact that when we see a star, it does not mean that it is still in the same location we see it in. Actually, it should have left its location a long time ago but were capable to capture its image right now, from our location in the universe, as verses 56: 75-76 point to us. For more information about this scientific fact, see the following links:

 

https://physics.weber.edu/schroeder/ua/StarMotion.html

 

http://curious.astro.cornell.edu/physics/133-physics/general-physics/general-questions/835-why-is-looking-out-into-space-the-same-as-looking-back-in-time-beginner 

 

https://www.eajaz.org/index.php/component/content/article/79-Number-twenty-one/663-(-I-swear-by-the-locations-of-the-stars-and-that-oath,-if-you-know-a-great-)

 

[7] The Holy Quran mentions names of 25 Prophets and Messengers of God. These are Adam, Idrees (Anokh), Noo'h (Noah), Hood ('Aber), Salih, Ibrahim (Abraham), Loot (Lot), Isma'il (Ishma'il), Is'haq (Isaac), Ya'qoub (Jacob), Yousuf (Joseph), Ayoub (Jobe), Shu'ayb, Moussa (Moses), Haroon (Aaron), Dawood (David), Sulayman (Solomon), Elyas (Elijah), Elyasa' (Elisha), Dhul Kifl, Younus (Jonah),  Zakariyah, Ya'hya (John), Al-Messieh Eissa Bin Maryam (The Messiah Jesus, Son of Mary), and Muhammed (Peace and blessings of Allah be upon all of them).   

 

[8] God's commands are the subject of a separate book by this author, titled: "Introduction to Islamic Law, Shari'a, Part I: Prohibition and Don't Do Commands in the Holy Quran.

 

http://www.ccun.org/Introduction-to-Islamic-Law,Shari'a,Part-I  

 

[9]  The numbers of mentioned , about obedience and disobedience to God, are from the search function of the Holy Quran in Arabic, at www.tanzil.net.

 

The other source this author used for this purpose was "The Holy Quran Index," in Arabic, by Muhammed Fuad Abdul Baqi. Cairo: Dar Al-Fikr. 1406 (1986). The Arabic Title is: Al-Muajam Al-Mufahras Li Alfadh Al-Quran Al-Kareem. The mentioned verses are as follows:

 

ۚ ۚ ٰ  ( 4: 13).

 

These are the limits [set by] Allah, and whoever obeys Allah and His Messenger will be admitted by Him to gardens [in Paradise] under which rivers flow, abiding eternally therein; and that is the great attainment (Al-Nissa 4: 13).

 

ٰ ۚ ٰ  ( 4: 69).

 

And whoever obeys Allah and the Messenger - those will be with the ones upon whom Allah has bestowed favor of the Prophets, Saints (the steadfast affirmers of truth), the martyrs, and the righteous. And excellent are those as companions (Al-Nissa 4: 13).

 

ٰ  ( 24: 52).

 

And whoever obeys Allah and His Messenger and fears Allah and is conscious of Him - those are the winners (Al-Noor, 24: 52).

 

ٱ  ۥ ۡ ۡ  ( 33: 71). 

 

... and whoever obeys Allah and His Messenger, he has already won the greatest winning (Al-A'hzab, 33: 71). 

 

ۖ  ( 48: 17).

 

And whoever obeys Allah and His Messenger - He will admit him to gardens beneath which rivers flow; but whoever turns away - He will punish him with a painful punishment (Al-Fath, 48: 17).

 

ۡ ٱ  ۥ  ۥ ۡۡ ٰ۬  ۥ ۬ ۬  ( 4: 14).

 

And whoever disobeys Allah and His Messenger and transgresses His (Gods) limits He (God) will admit him to a Fire, everlasting therein, and he will have a humiliating punishment (Al-Nissa 4: 14).

 

ۡ۬ ۡ ٱ  ۥۤ ۡ ٱۡ ۡ ۡۡۗ ۡ ٱ  ۥ ۡ ٰ۬ ۬ ( 33: 36). 

 

It is not fitting for a Believer, man or woman, when a matter has been decided by Allah and His Messenger, to have any option about their decision. And whoever disobeys Allah and His Messenger, he is indeed clearly lost (Al-A'hzab, 33: 36). 

 

ۚ  ( 72: 23).

 

But (I have for you) only a notification from Allah, and His messages. And whoever disobeys Allah and His Messenger - then indeed, for him is the fire of Hell; they will abide therein forever (Al-Jinn, 72: 23). 

 

[10] Gods Spirit is mentioned in verse 17: 85 twice; in reference to blowing It in Adam, in verses 15: 29 and 38: 72; in the human being, in verse 32: 9; in Eissa (Jesus), in verse 4:171; in Maryam (Mary), in verse 66: 12; in support to believers, in verse 58: 22; and as a command in verses 16: 2, 40: 15, and 42: 52.

 

The word Spirit is also mentioned as a description of the Senior Angel, Jibril (Gabriel), peace be to him, as  the Spirit of the Holy, in verses 2: 87, 2: 253, 5: 110, and 16: 102. He is also described as Our Spirit in his mission to Maryam (Mary), in verses 19: 17 and 21: 91. He is further referred to as the Spirit in verses 70: 4, 78: 38, and 97: 4. Finally, he is described as the Trusted Spirit in verse 26: 193.  

 

[11] The verb taqiloon (you all reason) was mentioned in 24 verses of the Holy Quran, which are: 2: 44, 2: 73, 2: 76, 2: 242, 3: 65, 3: 118, 6: 32, 6: 151, 7: 169, 10: 16, 11: 51, 12: 2, 12: 109, 21: 10, 21: 67, 23: 80, 24: 61, 26: 28, 28: 60, 36: 62, 37: 138, 40: 67, 43: 3, and 57: 17.

 

The verb yaqiloon (they reason) was mentioned in 22 verses of the Holy Quran, which are: 2: 164, 2: 170, 2: 171, 5: 103, 8: 22, 10: 42, 10: 100, 13: 4, 16: 12, 16: 67, 22: 46, 25: 44, 29: 35, 29: 63,30: 28, 36: 68, 39: 43, 45: 5, 49: 4, and 59: 14.

 

[12] Gods praise of the believers, as the "reasoning ones" (the ones with minds), has been mentioned in 16 verses of the Holy Quran, which are 2: 179, 2: 197, 2: 269, 3: 7, 3: 19, 5: 100, 12: 111, 13: 19, 14: 52, 38: 29, 38: 43, 39: 9, 39: 18, 39: 21, 40: 54, and 65: 10. 

 

[13] The American sociologist George Herbert Mead argued that the more roles a person takes up or plays, the more the growth and development of the self. He also argued that the human self has two major components. The first is the I, which represents the self and body interests alone (such as satisfying the self-desires and the body physical needs). The second is the Me, which represents the social self, including the learned moral values and norms of society. The self grows and develops as a result of the interaction with others and as a result of the interaction between its two components. It follows that the normal human being is the one who seeks the satisfaction of his/her body and self in a way that does not contradict with the prevailing social values and norms.

 

Mead, George H. 1934. Mind, Self and Society, edited by C. W. Morris. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

 

Likewise, the French psychologist Sigmund Freud agreed with Mead on that the development of the self (or personality) can be seen as a result of the internal interaction between its two components (the pleasure-seeking Id and the Superego or conscience). Freud also argued that the conflict between these two components of the self may lead a person to to get closer to one of them, on the expense of the other. Thats why the third component of the self, the Ego, plays the major role of mediating between the other two components.

 

Freud, Sigmund. 2010. The Ego and the Id. Pacific Publishing Studio (pacps).

 

[14  For more details about resurrection and return of the self to its body, see Chapter 24 of this book, The Last Day and its Four Main Events: The Hour, Resurrection, Reckoning, and Judgment.

 

 

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About the Author and the Book:

 

* The author of this book has a Ph.D. in Sociology and a Masters degree in Cultural Anthropology. He was born in Gaza, Palestine in 1369 Hijriya (1950) but he has been living in the United States since 1986.
 

The authentic Quran Arabic text is used as a reference for the translation of the meanings of the Quran verses, particularly from www.tanzil.net
.

 

The works of the three renowned Islamic scholars Al-Tabari, Al-Qurtubi, and Ibn Katheer, have been used throughout the chapters of this book, as these are the most credited interpretations of the Holy Quran, for their use of 'Hadith, companions' interpretations, and their thorough knowledge of the Arabic language.

 

  ( 61: 8).  

 

 

They want to extinguish the light of Allah with their mouths, but Allah will perfect His light, although the disbelievers dislike it (Al-Saff, 61: 8).

 

 

 

Opinions expressed in various sections are the sole responsibility of their authors and they may not represent Al-Jazeerah's.

editor@aljazeerah.info