Monday, January 28, 2013

Conception of humanity

The story of creation, as it is told in the Qurán, is remarkable. It all began, one may say, with a testimony and a covenant. Indeed, revelation tells us that in the first stage of creation the Only One brought together the whole of mankind and made them bear witness:

Änd when your Sustainer took the offspring of Adam from his loins to bear witness about themselves.
'Am I not your Lord?'they replied,  'Ássuredly yes. We bear witness to it.'
This is a reminder lest on the day of judgment you say, 'We did not know!'
(Qurán [7]: 172)

This original testimony is of fundamental importance for the formation of the Islamic conception of humanity. It teaches us that in the heart and consciousness of each individual there exists and essential and profound intuitive awareness and recognition of the presence of the Transcendent. Just as the sun, the clouds, the winds, the birds, and all the animals express their natural submission, as we have seen.

The human being has within it an almost instinctive longing for a dimension that is "beyond". This is the idea of the fitra, which has given rise to numerous exegetical, mystical and philosophical commentaries, so central is it to the Islamic conception of the human being, faith and the sacred. We find it mentioned in the following verse:

"Surrender your whole being as a true believer and in accordance with the nature which God gave to human beings when He created them. There is no change in God's creation. This is the unchangeable religion (ad diin), but most people do not know."(Qurán [30]: 30)

and confirmed by a Prophetic tradition:
"Every newborn child is born in fitra, it is his parents who make of him a Jew, a Christian, or a Zoroastrian."

(Tariq RamadanWestern Muslims and the Future of Islam.Preface. Oxford University Press, 2004. p.16)

No comments: