NATURE

This word is frequently and invariably used by all of us. Its origin stems from Latin word-“Natura”–derived from Greek word—“physis”— meaning, essential qualities, innate disposition—in earlier times it also meant “birth”.  The concept of Nature as Physical universe was developed from Greek word –“physis”—by pre Socratic philosophers. Although everyone harbors one’s own interpretation and understanding the broadest possible definition however, would encompass physical, material and natural world. Nature also represents the processes of the physical world and life in general. Its domain ranges from sub atomic particles to cosmic universe. Although Human beings comprise a miniscule of total biomass on, comparatively insignificant, planet earth yet their influence on Nature is disproportionately large and Nature seems to be revolving around them. Natural wonders were celebrated in “Psalm” and” Book of Job” Later Qura’an sacralized “nature” with reference to Creator, Faith and creation–Human beings showcased as natural embodiment of its vivid exposition and expression.

 

Human beings are essential part of Nature (for which Qura’an uses the Arabic word –FITRAH) but their activities somehow are considered of a different category as an outcome of some other natural phenomenon. In this essay a conscious endeavor, to look at it from an unconventional angle, has been made; which, I am sure many would find, not only enlightening but also emphatically consenting. Word-Nature- has so much variety and currency that it is equally useful for theists, agnostics, atheists,   naturalist, secularists and many others. If observed diligently, one would notice a conscious trend, particularly in the west, of avoiding the use of word “GOD” –for fear of annoying or infringing upon the beliefs or rights of others (those with a different persuasion or school of thought etc), or flouting the doctrine of political correctness. The use of word—Nature—therefore, guards against all such possible hazards. Nature on the other hand is the bedrock of creation—accommodating both theistic and secular-scientific perspectives. Allah says in Qura’an—(20:50) “He gave shape (form) to everything, then guidance”—means– Nature—Operating manual—whereby everything functions.

In Surah Rome V-30 Allah says—“It is Allah’s Nature on which Human beings have been created—there is no change in His creation—that is how faith has been established”—To put it in lay man’s terms —Human kind has been created on the Nature of GOD and that Nature (rule of creation) does not change for (any other) creation as well, Faith too has been established on this rule–Nature. (A flow chart—Allah to Human to Faith—all connected with Allah’s Nature). Most difficult part of Surah to interpret correctly is “There is no change in His creation”.  From this Surah a specific rejection of evolutionary process of Human species could be deduced (because this notion is furthered immediately after the mention of Human creation on His nature). Science so far, apart from Darwin’s evolutionary theory, has not been able to prove human evolution-as patterned in other species-conclusively. Another deduction, which seems even more logical and pliable, is that the nature on which human beings have been modeled is unchangeable. It carries weight as the Nature of God does not need to change as well. It is in conformity with the notion that—“this is how the Faithmonotheism— has been established”. In essence right from the day of Adam (R.A) till now it has not changed“(here the first part of the injunction is of generic/universal nature whereas the later two parts are of assertive nature/character).

Qura’an exegetes offered several interpretations of Surah Rome, V-30.  Two of which are formally presented here. The first one—which is offered within the theistic constricts–“All human beings are borne Muslims by their Nature and instinct”. But then it is the surrounding and environment which change them into what they exhibit to be. Logical explanation is derived from the textual meaning of the word—“Muslim”—means –submitter. Upon contemplating it would be noticed that there is nothing in the created realm, which does not submit to the will of the— Nature—Creator.  This interpretation is severally asserted in Qura’an and by a hadith of sahihain (doubly authentic). In Surah Isra’a, V-44, in Surah Al Noor V-41, in Surah Al Ra’ad, V-15 and in Surah Al Nahl, V- 48 & 49 It is exhorted that– “whatever is in the heavens and earth is bound to (prostrate) submit, willingly or unwillingly, even their shadows incline to the right and to the left prostrating unto Allah, in the evening and morning hours-without any pride”

The second interpretation is of generic and universal character—“Allah (Creator) has bestowed upon all human beings the capability to discern and believe in the true God”. The scope could be expanded by generalizing the capability to discern good from bad. There is however, a conditionality attached to this capability and that is the bestowal of Divine Grace (His will); without which, despite “nature” being embedded, exercise of discernment would not be possible. This conditionality (in the wider scope of Faith) has been confirmed in Qura’an in surah Younus V-100, where Allah declared that “It is not for any soul to believe save by the permission of Allah” Then there is Specific affirmation in Surah Anfal, V-29—–“Allah gives capacity to discern, to those who fear Him” (Sharpness of skill of using logic and reason)-Also known as “Furqan”

In Surah Rome, V-30—it has also been said that—“There is no change in Allah’s creation”. (Again there are several interpretations of this verse too, but the opted one is comparatively more logical and supported by ahadith). It means that the rules of creation of Allah (Creator) would not change–as the basic instinctive capacity of discernment from good to bad would stay intact, despite the fact that one may deviate due to attending environ or the circumstances. The natural (instinctive) character of other creations would also stay intact— worshiping the Creator with their specific prayers in their specific ways. (Surah  Al Noor, V-41).  Imam Torapushti has also preferred the 2nd interpretation. This interpretation is further confirmed in Surah Taha V-50, Where Allah says “He gave everything its shape then guidance”. It is like pre-programming of a product. Validation of the notion of being borne on—Nature—can also be  derived from the experiences of daily life where human being, regardless of persuasions, invariably calls upon the Creator in the face of any hardship or calamity. This guidance is of generic, universal character and every being is embedded with. Here is however another Surah Al Qasas, V-56 saying “Allah gives guidance to whomsoever He wills” This injunction is of specific character (to tread the right path determined by the Creator). Guidance of this kind is a special feature which everybody does not pursue unless specifically willed by God. Here in this passage the first injunction is of generic nature with which everything is embedded, whereas the second injunction/command is of specific nature and is given only to the chosen ones– as is the capacity to discern.                                                                                                                 (These classifications must be borne in mind throughout the essay for clear understanding)

Qura’an exegetes restrict their interpretations—rightly–to Islam; since Qura’an descended on prophet Mohammad (PBUH) in which Allah chose the name for His religion as “Islam”. It is categorically declared in Surah Aale-Imran V-19—“Lo, religion with Allah (is) the surrender” (unto His will & guidance) also in Surah Maida -5, V-3 it was declared that “today I have completed your religion for you and bestowed my blessings upon you and chose “Islam” as religion for you”   (Surrender = submitter = Muslim).

Note:- It is like a computer which though fully programmed but certain functions need activation to perform—-Similarly Allah’s will is needed as an activation command for certain functions to be activated of  human computer .

It is “you”—a miniscule biomass– only on an insignificant small planet earth— but an integral part of the infinite cosmic “NATURE”—made subservient—anxious to serve & facilitate—- “you”—- A declared crown of the creation——- Isn’t it marvelous!

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