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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 Rabi' Al-Thani, 1438 - January, 2017  

 

*** 

 

 

1428 - 2007

 

  23 1438 -  21 2017

 

 ***

 

 

ٰ  

 

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. However, it is the source of the human soul, which includes the capabilities of the human existence (life),  acquisition of knowledge (the mind), and the human moral capability (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 from our brains (the soul) 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).

 

 

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. [3]

 

﴿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 of 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. [4] 

 

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). [5]

 

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. [6]

 

 

The Spirit

 

The word "Spirit (roo'h, ), is mentioned 24 times, in 21 verses of the Holy Quran. While it refers to a characteristic of God in eleven verses, it refers to the Senior angel, Jibril in ten other verses.   

 

Gods Spirit is the source of the human soul, which includes the capabilities of the human existence (life),  acquisition of knowledge (the mind), and the moral self (nafs, ). 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.

 

ۡٔ 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). 

 

Gods Spirit is mentioned in verses 12: 87 and 17: 85; 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. Here three examples of these verses:

 

ۡ ۥ ۡ  ۥ ٰ ( 15: 29).

 

When I have fashioned him (in due proportions) and blown into him (Adam) of My Spirit, fall you down to him prostrating (Al-'Hijr, 15: 29).  

 

ٱۡ ٱۡ ۡ ٱ ڪ ۥۤ ۡٮٰٓ ٰ ۡ ۬ ۡۖ  ( 4: 171).

 

The Messiah, 'Eissa Bin Maryam (Jesus, the Son of Mary) was a Messenger of Allah and His Word, which He threw to Maryam (Mary), and a spirit from Him (Al-Nissa, 4: 171).  

 

ٰ ٰ ( 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 word Spirit is also mentioned as a description of the Senior angel, Jibril (Gabriel), peace be to him, who is described 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 verses19: 17 and 21: 91. He is also 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. Here three examples of these verses:

 

ۡ  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). 

 

ۖ ٰ ( 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). 

 

 

The Mind

 

The second component of the soul is represented by the mind software, which enables the living organism to collect information for its own benefit. In doing so, it depends on the normal functionality of the original software of life. Thus, the mind is the entire body of knowledge an organism receives in its entire life, through its senses and through synthetic analysis of the acquired knowledge.

 

This is the original divine software of life, which Allah, praise to Him, has installed in all living beings by blowing part of His Spirit in them, giving them life, as stated in Verses 21: 30 and 67: 2 of the Holy Quran. 

 

 ۖ  ۖ  ( 21: 30).

 

Have those who disbelieved not considered that the heavens and the earth were a joined entity, and We separated them and made from water every living thing? Then will they not believe? (Al-Anbiya, 21: 30).  

 ۚ   ( 67: 2).  

 

[He] who created death and life to test you [as to] which of you is best in deed - and He is the Exalted in Might, the Forgiving (Al-Mulk, 67: 2).  

 

However, Allah, praise to Him, distinguished humans with an extra element of His Spirit, which is the disposition for knowing good and evil and the ability to choose between them, as stated in Verses 32: 9, 15: 29, 90: 10, and 91: 7-8 of the Holy Quran.

 

ٮٰ ۦۖ   ( 32: 9).

 

Then He fashioned him (in due proportions), and blew into him of His Spirit (Al-Sajda, 32: 9).  

ۡ ۥ ۡ  ۥ ٰ  ( 15: 29). 

 

When I have fashioned him (in due proportions) and blown into him of My Spirit, fall you down to him prostrating (Al-'Hijr, 15: 29).

 

  ( 90: 10).

 

And have shown him the two paths (good and evil to choose)? (Al-Balad, 90: 10).

 

﴿٧﴾ ﴿٨  ( 91: 7-8).

 

And (by) the nafs (soul) and He who proportioned it (7) And inspired it (to know or discern) its wickedness and its righteousness, (8) (Al-Shams, 91: 7-8). 

 

***

 

The second part of the mind containes the accumulated knowledge from birth to death, as a result of the interaction with the world. So, the human mind actually contains everything a person learns throughout his/her life. However, not all the information accumulated in the mind may be used by a  person.

 

The word mind (aql, ) does not appear in the Holy Quran as a noun in the singular form. Rather, a derivative of it is used as a verb (aqala ), meaning to tie, tighten, control, or restrict. The verb form appears about 49 times in the Holy Quran, and the vast majority of it is in the questioning present plural form, wondering about non-believers: Dont they  reason?  ( ). 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, as mentioned in many verses of the Holy Quran, such 36: 68, 2: 44, 39: 43, 2: 75, and 67: 10.

 

 ۖ   ( 36: 68).   

 

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

 

ۡ 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). 

 

ٱ ٱ ٓۚ ۡ ۡ ڪ ۡ ۡٔ۬ ۡ  ( 39: 43).

 

 

Did they take other intercessors than Allah? Say: "Even if they have nothing and have no reasoning?" (Al-Zumar, 39: 43).

 

ۡ ۡ ۡ ۡ ۬ ۡۡ ۡ 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).

 

The word al-albab   ,()however, is used in the Holy Quran to refer to the mind but in the plural form. It is mentioned in 15 verses, all addressing believers who are intelligent enough to use their minds.  Here are three examples from verses 2: 197, 2: 269, and 3: 190. 

 

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 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 moral 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.

 

In Surat Al-Anam (Chapter 6), Verses 60-61, of the Holy Quran, we are told that Allah, praise to Him, knows what we do in the daytime as well as when we are awake. Then, after death, we go back to Him in the Day of Judgment, so He tells us what we have done in this life. Moreover, these verses clarifiy the difference between the two concepts of wafah (completion of records on Earth) and mowt (physical death of the human body), the two states in which the human soul is taken over by God and His angel messengers.

 

Thus, Allah, praise to Him, is telling us that when the moment of death comes, He sends His angels who are curators or record keepers to end a persons life on Earth. Nothing will be left out of his/her record. Thus, the "mowt" or the "physical death" is also accompanied by wafah or completion of a persons record during his/her life time on Earth.

 

 

ٰ  ۖ ﴿٦٠

 

 ۖ ٰ ﴿٦١( 6: 60-61).

 

 

And it is He who takes your souls 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 servants, and He sends over you guardian-angels until, when death comes to one of you, Our messengers take him, and they do not fail [in their duties]. (61) (Al-Ana'am, 6: 60-61). 

 

The closest translation of the Arabic verb "tawafa" () is "he had his record completed." The two verses mentioned above (6: 60-61) refer to two situations in which a person's records are completed and taken 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 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 but their records on Earth were completed, such as the case of Jesus Christ, peace be upon him, who had "wafah" (completion of his record on Earth) but not mowt (physical death of the human body), as stated in 3: 55. This is also the case of Irdrees (Anokh), peace be upon him, and the case of martyrs, whose life on Earth end but they are alive in heavens, as stated in Verses 3: 55, 19: 56-57, and 3: 169.

 

   ٰ ٰ ۖ   ( 3: 55).

 

(Mention) when Allah said, "O 'Eissa (Jesus), I am taking over your soul (completing your record 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 saying: "We killed the Christ, Jesus, son of Mary, who was an apostle of God;" but they neither killed nor crucified him, though it so appeared to them. Those who disagree 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 cause of Allah (martyrs) as dead. Rather, they are alive near their Lord, receiving provision (Al-'Imran, 3: 169).

 

***

 

Verse 67 of Chapter 6 of the Holy Quran assures us that every bit of news has a destination where it can be saved or recorded, and prophetically tells us that we will know that this can and will happen.  

۬ ۡ۬ۚ ۡ ۡ  ( 6: 67). 

 

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

 

Part of this prophecy has been fulfilled in our time, as we have been capable of capturing the sound and pictures of humans and their environment and of broadcasting them through radio and TV 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 Allah Almighty, praise to Him, is more capable of doing it and more.

But what exactly are we going to be held accountable for?

 

The Holy Quran tells us that we will be held accountable for all of what we say and do with our own free will and choice. This is because God has given humans the freedom to choose. Humans are created with an inherent ability to differentiate between good and evil deeds. And whatever they do or say after that is a matter of choice. As a result, they will be held accountable for the decisions they make. This meaning is expressed in Verse 90: 10, which states: 

 

 ٰۡ ٱۡۡ ( 90: 10).

 

And We guided him (the human being to be able to decide between) the two paths (of good and evil)?" (Al-Balad, 90: 10).

 

The Holy Quran is very specific about the contrast between the two choices. In Verses 91: 7-8, Allah, praise to Him, says that when He has fashioned the human self (by blowing His Spirit in it), He has equipped it with the ability to choose to be pious or deviant, following the straight path or going astray from it.  

 

 ۡ۬ ٮٰ (٧)

 

  ۡ ۡٮٰ ( 91: 7-8).

By the self (soul), and how He has fashioned it;

 

 And how He inspired it with (the choice between) its deviance and its piety  (Al-Shams, 91: 7-8). 

 

Translators of the Holy Quran generally use the word soul as a translation for the Arabic word nafs (ۡ۬). Sociologists use another term, self, to refer to the body of knowledge, which is selected from the mind in a developmental process to form a unique identity for a living person.

 

The word soul is more used by religious scholars to refer to a persons unique identity after death, than during his/her life on earth. Thus, the soul is the self after death, which will be held accountable for its performance during its life on Earth. It will be transferred back to its resurrected body on the Last Day, in order to be able to communicate with its Creator, during the reckoning, then to be rewarded or punished on the basis of its first life performance on Earth.


The return of the nafs (soul) to its body is mentioned in Verse 81: 7 of the Holy Quran, and described as pairing it to or marrying it with its body, which it had during its first life on Earth.

  ( 81: 7). 

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

 

 

There are hundreds of verses in the Holy Quran, which mention the human self (nafs in Arabic and soul in English). Some of them refer to the self during its life on Earth and others refer to it in the Hereafter, as stated in Verses 86: 4, 2: 286, 74: 38, and 81: 14. 

 

  ( 86: 4).

 

There is no self (soul) but has a record keeper over it (Al-Tariq, 86: 4). 

 

ٱ ۡ ۡǝۚ  ( 2: 286).

 

Allah does not place a burden on a self (soul) greater than it can bear (Al-Baqara, 2: 286). 

 

ۭۡ ۡ  ( 74: 38).

 

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

 

 

ۡ ۡ۬ ٓ ۡۡ  ( 81: 14).

 

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

 

Summary and Conclusion

 

The concepts of mind, self, soul, Spirit, 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.

 

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.

 

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, started the process when He installed an essential 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 collection, processing, and decision making while having the ability to differentiate between good and evil.

 

The body dies when it is no longer capable of sustaining the self, whether by old age, sickness, or accidental injury. Then, records of the human nafs (self or soul) are completed (ended) by angels.

 

In the Hereafter, the nafs (self or soul) 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 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 sickor 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 (wealth, power, prestige, reproductive activities, offspring, etc.) but there's a possibility that you may not get what you are pursuing because of circumstances beyond your control.

 

Success or failure, in the Islamic sense, is not necessarily in the achievement or the lack there of. Rather, it is in how you conduct yourself during the process of pursuing your 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 of Verse 17: 85, he mentioned that the self (nafs) is part of the Spirit, 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, The Hour, Resurrection, Reckoning, and Judgment."

 

[3] 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-)

 

[4] The Holy Quran mentions names of 25 Prophets and Messengers of God. These are Adam, Idrees (Anokh), Noo'h (Noah), Hood ('Aber), Saleh, Ibrahim (Abraham), Loot (Lot), Isma'il (Ishma'il), Is'haq (Isaac), Ya'aqoub (Jacob), Yousuf (Joseph), Ayoub (Jobe), Shu'ayb, Moussa (Moses), Haroon (Aaron), Dawood (David), Sulayman (Solomon), Elyas (Elijah), Elyasa'a (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).   

 

[5] 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  

 

[6]  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). 

 

 

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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