What is the Criterion with regards to the Greater Sins?

Greater Sins

In connection with the greater sins, reference to which has been made in several verses of the Noble Qur’an1, there have been many views by commentators on the one hand and the scholars of traditions and the jurists on the other.

Some have regarded all sins as being greater sins; this is because against Allah, the Mighty, every sin is enormous.

Others are of the opinion that the concept of lesser and greater, employed in connection with sins, is relative in nature. Every sin, in comparison to a more serious sin is looked upon as being lesser while in comparison to a less serious sin, as great.

Some believe that Allah’s (s.w.t.) warning, in the Qur’an, of chastisement with respect to a sin, serves as a criterion for that sin to be considered great.

Occasionally it has also been said that every sin which necessitates the implementation of legal (religious) penalty is a greater sin.

However, in view of the fact that the term ‘great’ indicates upon the enormity of the sin, the best description for it would be every sin, which happens to possess one of the following, can be regarded as a greater sin:

– The sins with respect to which Allah (s.w.t.) has issued a warning of chastisement.

– Sins that have been regarded by the Imams and the traditions as being grave.

– Sins that have been regarded by religious sources to be more severe than sins that are known to be of the greater sins.

– And finally, sins, which the authentic traditions expressly state to be great.

The greater sins that are mentioned in the Islamic traditions vary in number. In some traditions, they are said to be seven in number (killing a soul, being disowned by the parents, usury, returning to the land of kufr after emigrating from it, falsely accusing a chaste woman of adultery, misappropriating the property of orphans and flight from jihad.)2

Some other traditions have enumerated them to be seven in number with the difference being that ‘being disowned by the parents’ has been substituted by:

كُلُّ ماَ أَوجَبَ اللٌّهُ عَلَيهِ النَّارَ.

“All (those sins) for which Allah (s.w.t.) has made (the punishment of) Hell mandatory.”

In some, their number is seen to be ten, while in others it is 19 and in yet others the figure is much higher.3

This difference in their figure stems from the fact that all the greater sins are not uniform and similar – some are more serious and grave than the others, or in other words, they are Akbar al-Kabair (greatest of the greater sins) and thus, there is no conflict or contradiction amongst them.4


1.Suratul Nisa’ (4), Verse 31; Suratul Shura (42), Verse 37, and the verses presently under consideration.
2.Wasa’il ash-Shi’a, vol. 11, Chapter Abwabu Jihad al-Nafs, Chapter 46, no. 1
3.For further explanation, refer the above source (Chapter 46 from Abwabu Jihad al-Nafs). Thirty seven traditions, which enumerate and specify the Greater sins, have been mentioned there.
4.Tafsir-e-Namuna, vol. 22, pg. 541

Why is it that Nations, Devoid of Faith and Belief, Possess a Life of Ease and Comfort?


Verse 96 of Suratul A’raf says:

وَ لَوْ أََنَّ أَهلَ الْقُرَى آمَنُوا وَ التَّقَوْا لَفَتَحْناَ عَلَيْهِمْ بَرَکاَتٍ مِنَ السَّمَآءِ وَ الأَرضِ
“And if the people of the towns had believed and guarded (against evil) We would certainly have opened up for them blessings from the heaven and the earth, but they rejected, so We overtook them for what they had earned.”

In view of the above verse a question arises that if faith and piety are the cause for the descent of Divine blessings, why are nations that do not possess faith seen to be in great ease and luxury?

The answer to this question shall become clear by taking two points into regard:

The imagination that nations that lack faith and piety are in ease and comfort is a great error that stems from another error – that of regarding wealth to be the means of prosperity.

Usually people are given to imagine that the nation that possesses the maximum wealth and the most advanced industries is the most prosperous nation whereas if we were to penetrate into such societies and observe from close the gnawing pains that overwhelm their body and soul, we would realize that many of them are the most miserable ones on the earth – notwithstanding the fact that all these very comparative advancements are a consequence of effort, endeavour, discipline and sense of responsibility – all of which had been part of the teachings of the prophets.

Just as we write this portion of the commentary, the newspapers reported that New York – the most affluent and the advanced region of the material world – was witness to a very strange scenario arising out of a sudden blackout. Taking advantage of the situation, innumerable people rampaged into shops and looted them; the looting was so widespread that the police arrested three thousand people in connection with this incident.

The actual pillagers were undoubtedly much more in number for these were the people who were unable to escape in time. Undeniably these individuals were not professionals, who had planned the general rampage beforehand since the incident itself was sudden and unexpected.

Accordingly, we infer that one blackout caused tens of thousands of people of the inhabitants of an affluent city to be transformed into pillagers; this not only reveals the moral decadence of a nation but also reflects the intense lack of social security.

The newspapers carried another report, which served to present a complete picture of this incident. The report stated that a celebrity, who had been staying in one of the reputed skyscraper hotels of New York during this period, said: The blackout made walking in the hotel aisles a dangerous proposition to the extent that the hotel staff refused to permit the guests to walk in the aisles alone to proceed to their rooms lest they be accosted by the plunderers, and so they used to send them to their rooms in groups of ten or more, under the protection of armed escorts! The celebrity added that he did not possess the courage to emerge from his room, until he was overwhelmed with hunger!

However, such blackouts in the backward oriental nations do not cause such problems indicating that despite possessing wealth and industrial advancement, they do not possess security in their environments. Apart from this, eye-witnesses report that murder in these environments is akin to drinking one mouthful of water.

And we clearly perceive that if one were to be given the entire world but at the same time made to live in such conditions, he would be of the most miserable of all men. Besides, the security problem is just one of their problems; they face numerous other social problems which, by themselves, are painful and inconveniencing. In the light of these realities, wealth should not be mistaken and confused with prosperity.

As for what has been said regarding why those, who possess faith and piety, lagged behind in backwardness, it must be stated that if the meaning of faith and piety is to merely claim the acceptance of Islam and maintain adherence to the basic teachings of the prophets, then we do confess that such individuals have surely remained backward. However we know that the reality of faith and piety is their penetration into all acts of life, and this is something which cannot be achieved by mere claims.

It is unfortunate that in most of the Islamic societies today, the fundamental teachings of the prophets of Allah (s.w.t.) and Islam remain forsaken or semi-forsaken, leaving these societies to possess an appearance which is not that of true Muslims.

Islam invites towards purity, righteousness, trustworthiness, striving and effort – where is that trustworthiness and effort? Islam invites towards science, knowledge, awakening and awareness – where is that profuse knowledge and awareness? Islam invites towards unity, closeness of ranks and self-sacrifice – do all these dictates prevail over the Islamic societies today, perfectly and completely? Thus, we ought to acknowledge that Islam is one thing while we Muslims are something else.1


1. Tafsir-e-Namuna, vol. 6, pg. 268

Were all the Companions of the Noble Prophet (S) Upright and Righteous?


Some of the Sunni brothers, due to the respect and importance attached to the ‘first of the Muhajirs (Emigrants)’ by the Noble Qur’an, have sought to infer that they had not committed any wrongdoing until the end of their lives and so, without exception, all of them ought to be looked upon with great esteem.

They then generalized this issue to include all the ‘companions’ because of Qur’an’s praise for them in connection with the ‘pledge of Ridhwan’ and other events. In practice, without taking into regard the deeds of the companions, they considered all of them to be exceptional humans and refused themselves the permission to indulge in any kind of examination and criticism with respect to their deeds.

One of them, the celebrated commentator and the author of al-Manar, has vociferously attacked the Shi’ites as to why they single out some of the initial Muhajirs for criticism… little realizing the great inconsistency of such beliefs with the spirit of Islam and its history?

Undoubtedly, the companions, especially the initial Muhajirs, possess a special reverence; however, this would only have been until so long as they had continued to tread the correct path and exhibit devotion (towards Islam), but from the day some of the companions deviated from the true path of Islam, the Noble Qur’an would surely view them differently.

For example, how can we ever exonerate Talhah and Zubayr for reneging the pledge and opposing the leader – one, who, apart from the explicit statements of the Noble Prophet (S) attesting his leadership, had been elected by all the Muslims, including themselves? How can we clear them of the deaths of seventeen thousand Muslims, whose blood had been spilled during the Battle of the Camel? If a person were to shed the blood of one innocent person, he would have no excuse to present before Allah, what then to speak of this large multitude!

Basically, is it possible to conceive that ‘Ali (a.s.) and his companions, as well as Talhah, Zubayr and some others of the companions of the Noble Prophet (S) who had teamed up with them, were both on the side of truth in the Battle of the Camel?

Does any logic and intellect accept this manifest contrast? Can we, in the name of ‘inviolability of the companions’ close our eyes, regard them as special personalities and shove the entire history of Islam after the departure of the Noble Prophet (S) into oblivion? And should we flout the Islamic criterion of:

إِنَّ أَکْرَمَکُمْ عِنْدَ اللٌّهِ أَتْـقَاکُمْ
“Verily the most honoured of you in the sight of Allah (s.w.t.) s (he who is) the most righteous of you.”

What kind of irrational and illogical judgement is this?

Basically, does there arise any problem if, one day, a person or persons were to stand in the ranks of the inmates of Paradise and supporters of truth, while on another day in the ranks of the inmates of Hell and opponents of truth? Are all the people infallibles? Have we ourselves not witnessed all these transformations taking place within individuals?

The story of the People of Apostasy – a group of Muslims who had turned apostates after the departure of the Noble Prophet (S) – has been narrated by the Sunnites, as well as the Shi’ites in their books, that the first Caliph initiated a military expedition against them and suppressed their uprising. Had the People of Apostasy not witnessed the Noble Prophet (S) and were they not his companions?

More amazing is the fact that in order to escape from this strange inconsistency some have brought in the pretext of ijtihad (independent reasoning) and state that individuals such as Talhah, Zubayr, Mua’wiyah and their supporters had been mujtahids (religious jurists) and although they had erred in their ijtihad, they had not perpetrated any sin; on the contrary, for these very acts of theirs they shall receive their rewards from Allah!!

Honestly, what a disgraceful logic! Is rebelling against the successor of the Noble Prophet (S), breaking the pledge and shedding the blood of thousands of innocent people – and that too for the purpose of power, rank and wealth – so complex an issue that one is unable to perceive its evils? Does shedding that great measure of innocent blood entitle one to receive rewards from Allah (s.w.t.) ?

If we were to exonerate a group of companions, who had perpetrated offences in such a manner, without any doubt not a single offender would remain in this world, for we would have acquitted all criminals by this logic. Such unstructured defence of the companions would cause Islam to be viewed with great cynicism.

Consequently there lies no alternative except to look upon everyone – especially the companions of the Noble Prophet (S) – with reverence and esteem, however only for so long as they do not deviate from the path of truth, justice and the agenda of Islam!1

Numerous Sunni commentators have reported this tradition from Hamid ibne Ziyad, who says: I approached Muhammad ibne Ka’b al-Quradhi and said to him: What do you have to say in connection with the companions of the Noble Prophet (S)? He replied:

جَمِيْعُ أَصْحَابِ رَسُوْلِ اللهِ فِي الْجَنَّةِ مُحْسِنُهُمْ وَ مُسِيْئُهُمْ.
“All the companions are the inmates of Paradise – the righteous ones as well as the evil ones!”

I said to him: From where do you state such a thing? Whereupon he recited the following verse:

وَ السَّابِقُونَ الأََوَّلُونَ مِنَ الْمُهَاجِرِينَ وَ الأََنْصَارِ وَ الَّذِينَ اتَّبَعُوهُمْ بِإِحْسَانٍ رَضِيَ اللٌّهُ عَنْهُمْ وَ رَضُوا عَنْهُ
“And (as for) the foremost, the first of the Muhajirs and the Ansars, and those who followed them in goodness, Allah is well pleased with them and they are well pleased with Him.”2

And then continued: With respect to the ‘Followers’ there is a condition that they ought to have followed only the righteous deeds of the companions (only in this case would they attain deliverance, but this is not a condition for the companions to attain deliverance).3

However, this claim is unacceptable for several reasons:

The ruling mentioned in the above verse should also be applicable in the case of the ‘followers’, who, as we had alluded previously, are those, who follow in the footsteps of the initial Muhajirs (Emigrants) and Ansar (Helpers). Therefore, the entire ummah, without exception, should be of the delivered ones!

As for the fact that in the tradition of Muhammad ibne Ka’b it has been said that Allah (s.w.t.) has placed a condition of good deeds with regards to the ‘followers’ i.e. they should only follow the righteous deeds and conduct of the companions, and not their sins, this is an amazing statement.

This is because if the condition prescribed for the followers in order to attain deliverance is to follow the righteous deeds of the companions, then it is all the more necessary for this condition to be prescribed for the companions too.

In other words Allah (s.w.t.), in the above verse, says that His pleasure and happiness shall encompass all the initial Muhajirs and Ansar, who were righteous and treaded the correct path, and all those who follow them. The verse does not say that He desires to encompass the Muhajirs and Ansar with His happiness, irrespective of whether they are good or bad, but as for the ‘followers’, He shall accept them only on the basis of that specific condition.

Reason and intellect totally reject this issue; this is because reason does not consider the companions of the Noble Prophet (S) to possess any distinction over the others in this regard. Where lies the difference between the Abu Jahls and those, who initially embraced Islam but later deviated from it?

And why should those, who came into this world years and centuries after the Noble Prophet (S) and whose sacrifices and heroisms were no less than those of the early companions of the Noble Prophet (S), not be eligible for this Divine mercy? Especially since they possessed this distinction that despite not witnessing the Noble Prophet (S), they had accepted him and had brought faith upon him.

How can the Qur’an, which says: Surely the most honourable of you with Allah (s.w.t.) s the one who is the most righteous amongst you, ever approve of such irrational discrimination? How can the Qur’an, which in its various verses, curses the sinners and unjust ones, and regards them as deserving of Allah’s chastisement, approve of this irrational safety of the companions with respect to Divine punishment? Can there be exceptions to these threats and curses of the Qur’an such that a particular group is kept exempted? Why and for what reason?

Apart from these, can such a ruling not be regarded as showing a green light to them to perpetrate any and every kind of sin and offence?

This ruling does not conform with the history of Islam at all, for there have been numerous individuals who once had stood in the ranks of Muhajirs and Ansar, only to later deviate from their paths and find themselves incurring the anger of the Noble Prophet (S) and consequently the wrath of Allah. Have we not heard of how Tha’labah ibne Hatib Ansari deviated and became the object of the Noble Prophet’s (S) anger?

To state this more clearly, if what they have intended is that the companions of the Noble Prophet (S) did not commit any sins, and were pure and infallible from every kind of disobedience and transgression, this is tantamount to rejecting the most obvious and self-evident issues.

And if they meant that the companions did commit offences, but despite this Allah (s.w.t.) s pleased with them, this claim would mean that Allah (s.w.t.) has been pleased with sins!

Who is it that can absolve and acquit Talhah and Zubayr, who initially had been of the special companions of the Noble Prophet (S), and ‘Aishah, his wife, of the death of seventeen thousand Muslims in the Battle of the Camel? Was Allah (s.w.t.) pleased with these killings and blood-shed?

Would opposition to ‘Ali (a.s.), the representative of the Noble Prophet (S) – who, even assuming that he had not been appointed as the Caliph by the Noble Prophet (S), at the very least, had been chosen by the consensus of the ummah – and battling him and his loyal companions be acts that would obtain the pleasure of Allah (s.w.t.) ?

The truth is that the advocates of the notion of inviolability of the companions, by their insistence and emphasis for the issue, have disfigured the pure face of Islam, which has always considered faith and righteous deeds to be the measure for gauging a person’s character.

And finally, the pleasure and happiness of Allah (s.w.t.) that has been mentioned in the verse under discussion is associated with four titles – emigration, assistance, faith and righteous deeds. Thus, as long as all the ‘companions’ and the ‘followers’ adhered to these, they would be the object of Allah’s (s.w.t.) grace, but the day they distanced themselves from these, they also distanced themselves from Allah’s (s.w.t.) pleasure.

From the above discussion it becomes plainly apparent that the statements of the erudite, albeit prejudiced commentator – the author of al-Manar – in which he criticizes the Shi’ites for their lack of belief in the purity and uprightness of all the companions, possess no value and worth. The Shi’ites have not committed any sin save for the fact that they have accepted the rulings of intellect and reason, and the testimonies of the Noble Qur’an and history, and disregarded the unfounded and incorrect distinctions presented by the prejudiced ones.4


1. Tafsir-e-Namuna, vol. 7, pg. 263
2. Suratul Tawbah (9), Verse 100
3. Tafsirul Manar and the commentary of Fakhr Razi, while discussing the above verse.
4. Tafsir-e-Namuna, vol. 8, pg. 108

Is the Punishment of Amputation of the Hands, Rough and Violent?


Before answering this question it is essential to mention the conditions which govern the punishment of amputation of a thief’s hand.

From the entire collection of Islamic traditions, it can be inferred that there are numerous requirements, which have to be fulfilled, in order that this Islamic punishment is put into execution, and failing which, initiating this punishment is not permissible. Some of these requirements are as follows:

• The item that is stolen should possess a value of at least one-fourth of a dinar.1

• It should have been stolen from a secured place such as a house, a shop, internal pockets etc.

• The theft should not have taken place during famines and droughts, when the people are suffering from hunger and possess no means.

• The thief should be sane and an adult, and should have committed the act out of his own choice and free will.

• This ruling shall not be applicable in the case of a father, who steals from the property of his son, or a partner, who does so from the property of the partnership.

• Stealing fruits from the trees of a garden has also been exempted from this ruling.

• Every instance, in which there exists a likelihood of error on the part of the thief that he may have mistaken other’s property as his own, is exempted this ruling.

• In addition to the above, there are some other conditions, which have been mentioned and explained in books of jurisprudence.

The above should not be mistaken to mean that theft is prohibited and unlawful only when all the above conditions gather together; in Islam, theft in every form, in every measure and in every way is prohibited and unlawful. What is meant by the above conditions is that only under such circumstances can this penalty be put into execution.

The measure in which the hand should be amputated

It is popular amongst our jurists that on the basis of the traditions of the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) only the four fingers of the right hand must be amputation and not more – unlike the Sunnite jurists, who have stipulated more than this.

Is this Islamic penalty rough and violent?

Very often the opponents of Islam and even some of the less knowledgeable Muslims have levelled this objection that this Islamic penalty appears to be intensely harsh, and if this ruling were to be implemented in today’s world, there would be numerous hands which would have to be cut. In addition, enforcement of this ruling would entail that a person, in addition to losing an important part of his body, would become infamous and notorious all throughout his life.

In answering this objection, attention ought to be paid to this reality that:

Firstly: Just as we had mentioned in the conditions of this ruling that not every thief shall become encompassed by this law, rather, there shall be only one group of dangerous thieves, who shall be formally subjected to this punishment.

Secondly: In view of the fact that in Islam there are several requirements and conditions that need to be met in order to prove a crime, the occurrence of this punishment further diminishes.

Thirdly: Many of the objections which people, possessing less knowledge, have propounded against the Islamic laws is simply because they have sought to examine its one ruling, independently and without taking into account its other rulings; in other words, they attempt to envisage that ruling in a completely non-Islamic society.

But if we were to take into consideration the fact that Islam is not just one ruling but a collection of rulings, which when implemented in a society results in enforcement of social justice, fight against poverty, correct education and training, awakening, awareness and piety, then it would become manifest that very few people would become eligible for this punishment. However, it should not be mistaken to mean that in today’s societies this ruling should not be enforced; rather, it means that all these aspects and dimensions ought to be taken into consideration at the time of judgement.

In short, an Islamic government is duty-bound to fulfill the basic needs of all the individuals of the country, impart to them the necessary education and also train them with respect to ethics and morals; it is self-evident that in such an environment, offenders shall be few and far in between.

Fourthly: If we observe theft to be rampant today, it is because such rulings are not being enforced; and hence, in environments in which this Islamic ruling is enforced (like Saudi Arabia, in which until very recently this ruling had been in force), extraordinary safety is observed to prevail over them with regards money and property.

Numerous pilgrims to the House of Allah (s.w.t.) have personally witnessed purses and wallets containing money lying on the roads and in the streets with none possessing the courage to touch them until such a time that the functionaries of the Department of Collection of Lost Items carry them to the mentioned department from where the owners retrieve their lost items by presenting the necessary identifications. Most of the shops are not locked at night but despite this, no one attempts to break into them.

Interestingly, this Islamic ruling – despite being in force for centuries and under whose shade the Muslims in the initial stages of Islam lived in peace, security and comfort – has only been implemented upon a very few number.

Is the amputation of a few criminal hands an extravagant price to pay for the several-century security of a nation?

Some people object: Is the execution of this penalty with respect to a thief for the sake of a quarter of a dinar not in contradiction with Islam’s immense respect for the life of the Muslims and the importance attached by it for protecting them from all harms? This is especially so in view of the fact that the atonement money, stipulated by Islam, for cutting four fingers of a person is an amount, which is excessive and extravagant.

Incidentally, this same question, as reported in some of the books of history, had been put to the distinguished scholar ‘Alam al-Huda – the late Sayyid Murtadha – a thousand years ago. The questioner presented his query in the form of a couplet, which is as follows:

يَدٌ بِخَمْسِ مِئَين عَسْجَدٍ وُوَدِيَتْ مَا بَالُهَا قُطِعَتْ فِي رُبْعِ دِيْنَارٍ؟
“The hand, whose atonement is five hundred dinars; why should it be amputated for a quarter of a dinar?”2

Sayyid Murtadha, in reply, recited this couplet:

عِزُّ الاَمَانَةِ أَاغْلاَهَا وَ أَارْخَصَهَا ذِلُّ الْخِيَانَةِ فَافْهَمْ حِكْمَةَ الْبَارِيْ
“The honour of trustworthiness made it high-priced, while the abjectness of treachery lowered its value, so comprehend the wisdom of Allah.”3 and 4


1. One dinar is equal to one legal mithqal of coined gold, and one legal mithqal is equivalent to 18 barley grains. Thus, one legal mithqal is equal to ¾ ordinary mithqal.
2. Of course, it must be noted that five hundred dinars is in the event that five fingers are cut. However, as we have previously mentioned, according to the Shi’a faith, only four fingers are to be cut for theft.
3. This incident has been mentioned in vol. 6, pg. 134 of Tafsir Alusi, however, it has been attributed to Alam al-Din al-Sakhavi instead of ‘Alam al-Huda.
4. Tafsir-e-Namuna, vol. 4, pg. 376

What is the Reality of Dreams?


It is necessary that we discuss, in a concise manner, the various opinions that have been propounded in connection with this subject:

There have been numerous interpretations about the reality of the dreams which can be categorized into two categories:

1. Materialistic Interpretation
2. Spiritual Interpretation

The materialists say there could be several causes of dreams:
It is possible that dreams are a direct consequence of the daily acts of man; i.e. whatever has transpired with man over past days becomes embodied for him in his thoughts, whilst he sleeps.

Possibly, a series of unfulfilled desires become a reason for witnessing dreams – a thirsty person observes water in his dreams, and a person awaiting someone, who has gone on a journey, dreams that he has arrived. (From ancient times, it has been said that a camel witnesses cottonseed in its dreams!)

It is likely that fear of something causes man to dream about it; it has been repeatedly observed that those who possess fear of thieves witness them in their dreams.

Freud and the followers of his ideology have presented another material explanation for dreams:

In the course of a detailed introduction they define dreams as being the gratification of repressed tendencies which, with alterations, creep into the arena of self-consciousness, to deceive the “I” within man.

Explanation: After accepting the fact that the human mind is comprised of two parts: The self-conscious part (that, which is associated with the day-to-day thoughts, voluntary knowledge and the freedom of choice of man) and the sub-conscious part (that, which is concealed within the inner-self as an unfulfilled tendency and inclination), they go on to state: It frequently happens that in the state of sleep, when the ‘self-conscious’ apparatus has shut down, the inclinations and tendencies which we have been unable to gratify due to certain reasons and which have accumulated in our inner-self turn to the sub-conscious in order to achieve a kind of fictitious and imaginary gratification.

At times this is reflected without any change (like an aficionado, who witnesses his beloved, whom he has lost, in his dreams), while at other times there occurs a change in form which is reflected in appropriate appearances, in which case there arises the need for interpretation (of the dreams).

Accordingly, dreams are always associated with the past and never informative of the future. It can only be a useful for reading the unconscious self, and it is for this reason that the dreams of patients are utilized for the treatment of psychological disorders that rely on exposing the unconscious mind.

Some of the experts of the field of nutrition believe that there exists a relationship between ‘dreams’ and ‘the nutritional need of the body’, and are of the opinion that if, for example, a person happens to witness blood trickling from his gums in his dreams, it means that the quantity of ascorbic acid in his body has diminished! And if he dreams that his hair have turned white, it can be inferred that he suffers from an inadequacy of vitamin B!!

However, spiritual philosophers offer a different explanation for the occurrence of dreams. They state that dreams are of several kinds:

– Dreams that are related to the bygones, inclinations and desires – and these constitute a major portion of man’s dreams.

– Dreams that are distressing and incoherent; these are an outcome of delusion and imagination (although it is possible that they could possess psychological reasons)

– Dreams that are related to the future and provide information in connection with it.

Undoubtedly, dreams that are related to the past and the embodiment of the scenarios that man has seen in the course of his life do not possess any particular interpretation. Similarly, distressing dreams – technically referred to as أََضْغاَثُ أََحْلاَم – which are an outcome of disturbing thoughts and are similar to the thoughts that manifest themselves for man in the state of delirium, too cannot possess any particular interpretation in connection with the future issues of life.

However, psychologists and psychoanalysts utilize them and consider them to be a door for the comprehension of the human unconscious self and a key for the treatment of psychological disorders. As such, interpretation of these dreams is used for the purpose of uncovering the mysteries of the mind and the origins of diseases, and not for revealing future happenings of life.

As for the dreams that are related to the future, they too are of two kinds: One kind consisting of dreams that are plain, clear and explicit, and which do not require any interpretation whatsoever; and amazingly enough, at times, materializing exactly as witnessed either in the near or distant future – without the slightest of differences.

The second kind are those dreams which prophesize future events but, due to the influence of certain mental and spiritual factors, have undergone a change of form and hence need to be interpreted.

There are so many instances for each of these dreams that the existence of all of them cannot be denied. Not only have they been mentioned in religious sources and books of history, but these have also been noticed in our own lives and the lives of those who are known to us, in a measure that prevents us from considering them to be mere coincidence.1

1. Tafsir-e-Namuna, vol. 9, pg. 312

Is the theory of evolution of species inconsistent with the viewpoint of the Noble Qur’an with regards to the creation of Prophet Adam (a.s.)?


Interestingly the supporters of the theory of Evolution of Species, as well as those from amongst the Muslims who oppose it, have sought to adhere to the Qur’an to prove their stances. However, probably being influenced by their own beliefs, some have sought to base their arguments on verses which do not have a complete bearing on their views. Accordingly, we shall select, from both the sides, only those verses which can be placed under discussion with regards to the issue under consideration.

The most important verse upon which the supporters of evolution lay great stress is verse 33 of Surat Ale ‘Imran:

إِنَّ اللٌّهَ اصْطَفى‏ آدَمَ وَ نُوحاً وَ آلَ إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَ آلَ عِــمْرَانَ عَلـى الْعَالَمِينَ
“Surely Allah chose Adam and Nuh and the descendants of Ibrahim and the descendants of ‘Imran above the nations.”

They reason that since Nuh (a.s.) and the descendants of Ibrahim (a.s.) and the descendants of ‘Imran (a.s.) lived in their ummah and were chosen from amongst them, therefore the case of Adam (a.s.) too ought to be similar. That is, during his period, humans – who have been referred to as the nations – must have necessarily existed and Adam (a.s.) had been chosen by Allah (s.w.t.) from amongst them. And this reveals that Adam (a.s.) was not the first human on the earth but rather, there had been humans before him; the distinction of Adam (a.s.) over the other humans was his superior intellect and spirituality, and this was the factor that resulted in his selection from amongst the individuals, similar to him.

These supporters have also mentioned numerous other verses, some of which have no relation whatsoever with the issue of evolution such that interpreting them to mean this would be interpreting the Qur’an by personal opinion, while other verses are such that they can be considered to be consistent with the theory of evolution as well as with the independent creation of Adam (a.s.). Hence, we have decided against mentioning them here.

As for the objection against this argument, it can be stated that if the term العالـمين (nations) in the verse is in the meaning of ‘contemporary people’ and اصطفاء (to choose) means that the selection must have necessarily taken place from similar individuals, then this argument could be accepted. However if one were to say that العالـمين includes individuals, who are contemporary and those who are not, just as has been reported in the well-known tradition of the Noble Prophet (S), in connection with the excellence of Hadhrat Fatimah (s.a.), wherein he says:

أَمَّا ابْـنَتِي فَاطِمَةُةَ فَإِنَّهَا سَيِّدَةَُ نِسَآءِ الْعَالَمِينَ مِنَ الأَوَّلِينَ وَ الآخِرِينَ‏.
“As for my daughter Fatimah, she is the chief of the ladies of the world, from the first to the last.”

Then, in such a case, their argument on the basis of the above verse would be inappropriate. This is because it would be exactly as if one says: Allah (s.w.t.) had chosen a group of people from amongst the humans (humans of all eras and epochs), one of whom is Adam (a.s.). In such a case, there is no need for humans to have existed during the time of Adam (a.s.) such that the term العالـمين becomes applicable to them or that Adam (a.s.) is chosen from amongst them. This is especially so when the choosing was being done by Allah (s.w.t.), Who had been fully cognizant of the future and of all the generations that were to come.1

However, more importantly, the verses which the proponents of ‘constancy of species’ have selected as proof from the Qur’an are those that say:

Allah (s.w.t.) has created man from dry clay, which had been taken from dark-coloured and stinking mud. Interestingly, this expression has been utilized in connection with the creation of ‘insan’…

وَ لَقَدْ خَلَقْنَا الإِِنْسَانَ مِنْ صَلْصَالٍ مِنْ حَمَإٍاءٍ مَسْـنُونٍ‏
“And certainly We created man of clay that gives forth sound, of black mud fashioned in shape.”2

as well as for ‘bashar’…

وَ إِذْ قَـالَ رَبُّكَ لِلْمَلاَئِكَةِ إِنِّي خَالِــقٌ بَشَراً مِنْ صَلْصَالٍ مِنْ حَمَإٍاءٍ مَسْـنُونٍ
“And when your Lord said to the angels: Surely I am going to create a mortal of the essence of black mud fashioned in shape.”3

And later, also for Adam (a.s.) – this being inferred contextually from the mention of the prostration of the angels (Note the verses 29, 30 and 31 of Suratul Hijr.)

At first glance, the apparent meaning of the verse appears to be that initially Adam (a.s.) was created out of black mud and then, when his form was completed, the divine soul was blown into it subsequent to which the angels fell down in prostration before him, except Iblis.

The style of speech indicates that between the creation of Adam (a.s.) from mud and the emergence of the present form no other species existed.

The term ‘ثـم’, appearing in some of the verses and used in the ‘Arabic language to denote ‘a sequence with intervening time intervals’, can never be taken as evidence to claim the passage of millions of years and the existence of thousands of species; rather, it could quite possibly allude to the intervals that existed between the various stages of Adam’s (a.s.) creation – from mud and then from dry clay and then the blowing of the divine soul.

And it is for this reason that this very term ‘ثـم’ has been employed in connection with the creation of man in the embryonic world and the stages of his development within it. The Noble Qur’an says:

يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ إِنْ كُنْـتُمْ فِي رَيْبٍ مِنَ الْبَعْثِ فَإِنَّا خَلَقْنَاكُمْ مِنْ تُرَابٍ ثُمَّ مِنْ نُطْفَةٍ ثُمَّ مِنْ عَلَقَةٍ ثُمَّ مِنْ مُضْغَةٍ مُخَلَّقَةٍ وَ غَيْرِ مُخَلَّقَةٍ لِنُبَيِّنَ لَكُمْ وَ نُقِرُّ فِي الأََرْحَامِ مَا نَشَآءُ إِلـى‏ أَجَلٍ مُسَمًّى ثُمَّ نُخْرِجُكُمْ طِفْلاً ثُمَّ لِتَبْلُغُوا أَشُدَّكُمْ‏
“O’ people! if you are in doubt about the raising, then surely We created you from dust, then from a small seed, then from a clot, then from a lump of flesh, complete in make and incomplete, that We may make clear to you; and We cause what We please to stay in the wombs until an appointed time, then We bring you forth as babies, then that you may attain your maturity.”4

You observe that there is no necessity for ‘ثـم’ to indicate upon a lengthy interval; rather, just as it is employed for protracted intervals, it can also be utilized for short intervals too.

From what we have mentioned above, we infer that although the verses of the Qur’an do not directly mention the issue of evolution or ‘constancy of species’, nevertheless, the apparent meanings of the verses is more in accordance with the concept of independent creation (of course, this is as far as the creation of man is concerned).

Despite not being entirely explicit, the apparent meanings of the verses dealing with the creation of Adam (a.s.) mostly tend to revolve around the concept of independent creation; but with regards to the other living beings, the Noble Qur’an remains silent.5


1. Another possibility is that within a short time, the children of Adam (a.s.) constituted a small society and Adam (a.s.) was the chosen one from amongst them.
2. Suratul Hijr (15), Verse 26
3. Suratul Hijr (15), Verse 28
4. Suratul Hajj (22), Verse 5
5. Tafsir-e-Namuna, vol. 11, pg. 86

What is the philosophy behind Du’a and Invocations?


Those, who have not comprehended the reality of du’a, and its educative and psychological effects, have levelled various objections against it:

At times they say: Du’a brings about a state of narcosis within people for, instead of exhorting them towards effort and utilization of advanced means, it directs them towards supplications and teaches them that they should pray, rather than exert themselves!

And occasionally they say: Basically, is supplicating not interference in Allah’s (s.w.t.) work? Allah (s.w.t.) performs whatever He deems to be the best; He loves us and knows better than us what is best for us and so, why should we seek things from Him at times as we please?

At other times they say: Apart from all these, does du’a not conflict with the attribute of ridha1 and taslim2?

Those who propound these objections are oblivious of the psychological, social, educative and spiritual effects of supplication. This is because man, in order to strengthen his determination, and eliminate his distresses, is occasionally in need of a support, and it is the du’a that lights up the lamp of hope within him.

People, who neglect du’a and supplication, shall eventually face undesirable social and psychological effects in the long run.

In the words of a well-known psychologist: “Absence of invocations amongst a nation is equivalent to the collapse of that nation! A society that has strangulated within itself the need for invocations is usually not safeguarded from degradation and degeneration. Of course, it should not be forgotten that invocating only in the mornings while passing the entire day akin to barbarians, is futile; supplications ought to be performed continuously and in every state, and care should be taken to ensure that its profound influence upon man is not lost.”3

Those, who claim that du’a possesses a narcotic effect, have failed to comprehend the meaning of du’a. Supplicating to Allah (s.w.t.) does not mean that we withdraw ourselves from all the natural means that lie at our disposal and instead, raise our hands and set about praying; rather, it means that after utilizing all the means available before us to the best of our abilities and if we fall short, we resort to du’a and, by turning towards and leaning on Allah (s.w.t.), we invigorate within ourselves the spirit of hope, seeking succour from the unfailing assistance of the Great Origin.

Accordingly du’a is confined to inadequacies and dead-ends, and not a means that acts as a substitute for natural factors.

Although invocations induce serenity, at the same time, they also stimulate a kind of amazement and internal expansion with respect to cerebral activities, and occasionally also inspire a spirit of courageousness and heroism within man. Invocations make manifest our excellences with unique indications – pure look, composed behaviour, internal expansion and happiness, firm conviction, ability to accept guidance and confront the adversities.

These are the things that indicate upon the existence of a concealed treasure deep within us, and by means of this strength, even those who are backward and less capable can better utilize their mental and ethical abilities, and derive greater benefits. However, it is rather unfortunate that in our present world, those who can comprehend (the concept of) supplication correctly are very few indeed.4

From what we have stated above, the answer to the objection that the concept of du’a is inconsistent with ridha and taslim also becomes clear. This is because du’a, as has been explained above, is a kind of quest for the ability to acquire a greater share of the infinite grace and blessings of Allah (s.w.t.).

In other words man, by means of du’a, develops within himself a great worthiness for acquiring increased blessings of Allah (s.w.t.), and it is self-evident that exertion towards perfection is, in reality, taslim in the face of the laws of creation and not something in contrast to it.

Additionally, du’a is a kind of worship, (and an exhibition of) servitude, and by means of it man achieves a fresh attentiveness towards Allah (s.w.t.). Therefore, just as all the other acts of worship possess an educative influence, du’a too possesses such an influence.

And when they say that du’a is interference in Allah’s (s.w.t.) work! Allah (s.w.t.) does whatever is advisable and prudent, they have overlooked the fact that distribution of Allah’s (s.w.t.) bounties is dictated by capability – the greater the capacity, the greater shall be the share of the Divine gifts that shall come a person’s way.

And it is for this reason that Imam as-Sadiq (a.s.) has said:

إِنَّ عِندَ اللٌّهِ مَنْزِلَةً لاَ تُـنَالُ إِِلاَّ بِمَسْأَلَةٍ.

“Allah (s.w.t.) has ordained ranks, which cannot be achieved except by means of supplication.”5

A scholar has stated: “When we supplicate, we link and associate ourselves to the infinite Power, Who has interconnected the entire universe.”6

He also states: “Today, the most recent science, i.e. psychiatry, teaches the same things that the prophets used to teach. Why? The reason being that psychiatrists have discovered that du’a, prayers and possessing a firm conviction with respect to religion eliminates worries, anxieties, agitations and fear – factors that are cause for more than half of our inconveniences.”7 and 8

1. Satisfaction and pleasure over divine decree. (Tr.)
2. Submission to Allah (s.w.t.). (Tr.)
3. Niyayish – a Persian translation of a book written by the well-known doctor and psychologist Alexis Carrol.
4. As written by Alexis Carrol.
5. al-Kafi, vol. 2, pg. 338, Chapter Fadhl al-Du’a Wa al-Haththu ‘Alaihi, no. 3
6. Aain-e-Zindagi, pg. 156
7. Ibid., pg. 152
8. Tafsir-e-Namuna, vol. 1, pg. 639

What is the reality of the Jinn?


It can be deduced from the literal meaning of this word that the Jinn is an entity that is invisible; numerous characteristics of this being are mentioned in the Qur’an, such as:

1. It is an entity that has been created from the flames of fire, unlike man, who has been created from earth:1

وَ خَلَقَ الْجَآنَّ مِنْ مَارِجٍ مِنْ نَارٍ

2. Possesses knowledge, perception, the faculty of logic, the power of reasoning, and can distinguish between truth and falsehood (various verses of Suratul Jinn).

3. Possesses (religious) obligations and responsibilities (verses of Suratul Jinn and al-Waqi’ah).

4. Some of them are believers while others are disbelievers:

وَ أَنَّا مِنَّا الصَّالِحُونَ وَ مِنَّا دُونَ ذٌلِكَ‏…

“There are among us some that are righteous, and some the contrary…”2

5. They shall be resurrected:

وَ أَمَّا الْقَاسِطُونَ فَكَانُوا لِجَهَنَّمَ حَطَباً

“And as to the deviators, they are fuel of hell.”3

6. They initially possessed the power to penetrate into the skies, eavesdrop and procure news but were later prohibited:

وَ أَنَّا كُنَّا نَقْعُدُ مِنْهَا مَقَاعِدَ لِلسَّمْعِ فَمَنْ يَسْتَمِعِ الآنَ يَجِدْ لَهُ شِهَاباً رَصَداً

“And that we used to sit in some of the sitting-places thereof to steal a hearing, but, he who would (try to) listen now would find a flame lying in wait for him.”4

7. They used to establish contact with some of the people and, by means of the limited knowledge of the Unseen that they possessed, endeavoured to misguide the people:

وَ أَنَّهُ كَانَ رِجَــالٌ مِنَ الإِِنْسِ يَعُوذُونَ بِرِجَالٍ مِنَ الْجِنِّ فَزَادُوهُمْ رَهَقاً

“And that persons from among men used to seek refuge with persons from among jinn, so they increased them in wrongdoing.”5

8. From amongst them there are those who, like some humans, possess great powers:

قَالَ عِفْرِيتٌ مِنَ الْجِنِّ أَنَا آتِيكَ بِهِ قَبْلَ أَنْ تَقُومَ مِنْ مَقَامِكَ‏

“One audacious among the jinn said: I will bring it to you before you rise up from your place; and most surely I am strong (and) trusty for it.”6

9. They possess the power to perform some of the tasks that are required by man:

وَ مِنَ الْجِنِّ مَنْ يَعْمَلُ بَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ بِإِذْنِ رَبِّهِ وَ مَنْ يَزِغْ مِنْهُمْ عَنْ أَمْرِنَا نُذِقْهُ مِنْ عَذَابِ السَّعِيرِ يَعْمَلُونَ لَهُ مَا يَشَآءُ مِنْ مَحَارِيبَ وَ تَمَاثِيلَ وَ جِفَانٍ كَالْجَوَابِ‏

“And of the jinn there were those who worked before him by the command of his Lord; and whoever turned aside from Our command from among them, We made him taste of the punishment of burning. They made for him what he pleased of fortresses and images, and bowls (large) as watering-troughs and cooking-pots that will not move from their place.”7

10. Their creation on the earth was prior to man’s creation:

وَ الْجَآنَّ خَلَقْنَاهُ مِنْ قَبْلُ‏ مِنْ نَّارِ السَّمُوْمِ

“And the jinn We created before, of intensely hot fire.”8

In addition, it can be clearly inferred from the verses of the Noble Qur’an that, contrary to what is popular amongst the common masses, humans are a species superior to them. This can be concluded by the fact that all the divine prophets had been chosen from the humans; moreover, many jinn too had believed in the Noble Prophet (S) – who was a human – and pledged allegiance to him. Additionally, the obligation upon the Shaytan of prostrating before Adam at a time when he (the Shaytan), according to the explicit statements of the Qur’an, had been of the elders of the Jinn9, further reinforces this idea of superiority.

The discussion thus far has revolved around the aspects that can be inferred about this invisible entity from the Noble Qur’an, which is devoid of all superstitions and non-scientific issues. However, we do know that the general and the unaware masses have concocted great superstitions about this entity which neither conforms with logic nor intellect, and consequently have imparted an irrational appearance to this being such that whenever the word ‘jinn’ is uttered, a handful of strange ideas immediately come to mind – entities possessing dreadful appearances, who have horns and tails, are harmful, troublesome, malicious and ill-mannered, who can set a house on fire by pouring a cauldron of boiling water in one corner of the house! These are examples of such fanciful and superstitious beliefs!

If our perspective of the existence of jinn is purified from such superstitions, the main issue is totally acceptable for, there exists no reasoning to restrict living entities to only those that can be seen by us. On the contrary, scholars of natural sciences state: The entities that man can perceive by means of his senses are marginal in comparison to those that cannot be perceived by means of them.

Prior to the discovery of microscopic organisms, no one would have believed that in one drop of water or blood, there existed hundreds of thousands of living entities that man could not see.

The scientists also state: Our eyes can perceive a limited (range of) colours and our ears can hear a limited (range of) sound waves; the colours and sounds that cannot be perceived by means of our eyes and ears are more numerous than those that can be perceived by them.

When the state of the world is such, why should the existence of a species of living entities, whom we cannot perceive by means of our senses, be so fantastic and astonishing? And why should we not accept it when we have been informed of it by a truthful informer like the Noble Prophet (S)?

In any event, on the one hand, the Qur’an has informed us of the existence of the jinn possessing the aforementioned characteristics; while on the other hand, there exists no rational proofs which deny the existence of such an entity. Accordingly, we ought to accept their existence but simultaneously disregard the inappropriate superstitions of the general public in connection with these beings.

It is important to note that at times, the term jinn is used in a more expansive meaning – one that tends to encompass a number of invisible entities, irrespective of whether they possess intellect and perception or not. In this expanded meaning of the word, even animals that are not seen by the eyes, usually remaining hidden in their lairs, are included.

This is proved by a tradition of the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) wherein he says: “Allah (s.w.t.) has created the jinn in five kinds – some are like the wind in the air (invisible), some are in the form of snakes, some in the form of scorpions, some in the form of the insects of the earth while some are like the humans and they shall be subjected to Reckoning and punishment.”10

In the light of the above tradition and its expansive meaning, numerous problems encountered in narratives with respect to the jinn appear to be solved.

For example, in some of the traditions of the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.), we read:

لاَ تَشْرَبُوا الْمَآءَ مِنْ ثُلْمَةِ الإِِنَاءِ وَ لاَ مِنْ عُرْوَتِهِ فَإِنَّ الشَّيْطَانَ يَقْعُدُ عَلَى الْعُرْوَةِ وَ الثُّلْمَةِ.

“Do not drink water from the broken portion of the vessel nor from the portion of the handle, for surely, the Shaytan sits upon the handle and the broken portion.”11

In view of the fact that Shaytan is from the jinn, and knowing the fact that the broken portion of the vessel and similarly its handle are places of accumulation of numerous microbes, it does not appear too far-fetched that jinn and Shaytan, in their expansive meanings, should also include these entities too, in addition to possessing a specific meaning, i.e. an entity, who possesses understanding, intelligence and religious obligation.

And traditions in this regard are numerous.12 and 13
1. Suratul Rahman (55), Verse 15
2. Suratul Jinn (72), Verse 11
3. Suratul Jinn (72), Verse 15
4. Suratul Jinn (72), Verse 9
5. Suratul Jinn (72), Verse 6
6. Suratul Naml (27), Verse 39
7. Surat Saba (34), Verses 12, 13
8. Suratul Hijr (15), Verse 27
9. Suratul Kahf (18), Verse 50
10. Safinatul Bihar, vol. 1, pg. 186 (under جن)
11. al-Kafi, vol. 6, pg. 385, Kitab al-At’imah wa al-Ashribah, Chapter Bab al-Awani, no. 5.
12. In vol. 1 of the book Awwalin Danishgah Wa Aakhirin Payam, approximately 20 traditions have been complied in this regard.
13. Tafsir-e-Namuna, vol. 25, pg. 154

Why does Allah (s.w.t.) test people?

The topic of Divine trial is an issue of great debate and discussion. The first question that comes to mind is: Are trials not for understanding matters which are obscure, hence eliminating our ignorance? If so, why does Allah (s.w.t.), Who possesses knowledge of the hidden and the manifest of everything within the heavens and the earth, have to examine and test (the people)? Does there exist something, which is concealed from Him and which may become manifest for Him by means of examination?The answer lies in the fact that the concept of examination with respect to Allah (s.w.t.) is vastly different from that, with respect to us.

Our examinations are that which has been stated above, i.e. for a better comprehension and for clearing away ambiguity and ignorance, whilst the Divine trials are, in reality, development and training.

In the Noble Qur’an there are more than twenty instances of examinations that have been attributed to Allah (s.w.t.). This is a general law (of conduct) of Allah (s.w.t.), implemented by Him for the development of man’s hidden abilities (and bringing them from potentiality into actuality), thereby enabling him to progress. Just as iron, for acquiring greater strength, is put into a furnace to make it tempered, similarly man is also nurtured within the furnace of adversities in order that he becomes steadfast.

In reality, the examination of Allah (s.w.t.) resembles the work of an experienced gardener, who sows the seeds in a fertile soil. These seeds, benefiting from the natural bounties, begin to grow gradually – combating adversities, battling unfavourable conditions and enduring violent storms – until they end up in the form of a spray or a copious gargantuan tree, capable of continuing their existence in the face of hardships.

For the purpose of making soldiers tough, militarily, they are made to participate in numerous different exercises and war games, wherein they are subjected to various hardships such as hunger, thirst, heat, chillness, adverse conditions and severe obstacles, in order that they develop into accomplished, conditioned and proficient soldiers.

And this is the secret of Divine examinations.

The Noble Qur’an has asserted this reality, when it says:

وَ لِيَبْـتَلِيَ اللٌّهُ مَا فِي صُدُورِكُمْ وَ لِيُمَحِّصَ مَا فِي قُلُوبِكُمْ وَ اللٌّهُ عَلِيمٌ بِذَاتِ الصُّدُورِ

“And that Allah (s.w.t.) might test what was in your chests and that He might purge what was in your hearts; and Allah (s.w.t.) knows what is in the hearts.”1

The Commander of the Faithful (a.s.), in a statement very profound in meaning regarding the philosophy of Divine trials, says:

وَ إِنْ كَانَ سُبْحَانَهُ أَعْلَمَ بِهِمْ مِنْ أَنْـفُسِهِمْ وَ لٌكِنْ لِتَظْهَرَ الأََفْعَالُ الَّتِي بِهَا يُسْتَحَقُّ الثَّوَابُ وَ الْعِقَابُ‏.

“Although Allah (s.w.t.) s more aware of their souls than they themselves are, He tries them so that their deeds, which necessitate reward and punishment, become manifest.”2

Accordingly, the internal attributes of man can only be a measure for reward or chastisement when they manifest themselves in man’s actions. Allah (s.w.t.) tries man to enable that which he possesses in the interior to become manifest in deed and, his talents and abilities emerge from potentiality into actuality.

In the absence of Divine examination, these talents and abilities would have never flourished, and consequently the fruits of deeds would have never manifested themselves upon the branches of the tree of human existence; and this is the philosophy of Divine trials from the Islamic perspective.3
1. Surat Ale ‘Imran (3), Verse 154
2. Nahjul Balagha, Short Saying 93
3. Tafsir-e-Namuna, vol. 1, pg. 526

What is the purpose of the perfection of man?


Some ask that although the aim of our creation is human perfection, what is the purpose of this goal?
The answer to this question shall become clear by considering the fact that perfection is the final aim or in other words, it is:

غَايَةُ الْغَايَاتِ.


If we were to ask a student: Why do you study? He would say: So that I can gain admission into a university.

If we ask: Why do you desire to get yourself admitted into a university? He would answer: So that I can become an able doctor or an engineer (for example).

If we ask again: Why do you desire to possess a medical or an engineering degree? He shall say: So that I may engage myself in a productive activity and also that I earn a good income.

If we were to persist and ask: Why do you need a good income? He would say: So that I can lead a respectable and comfortable life.

Finally if we ask him: Why do you desire to lead a respectable and comfortable life? At this juncture we shall notice that his tone changes and he will say: Well, so that I can lead a respectable and comfortable life.

He repeats his previous answer.

This proves that he has reached his final answer and, technically speaking, he has reached the غَايَةُ الْغاَياَت – the final aim of his efforts beyond which there exists no answer and which constitutes his final aim and objective. This is with regard to the material life.

The case is similar in respect to the spiritual life too. When it is said: What was the purpose of the prophets, the revelation of the Divine Books, the religious obligations, and the educative set-up? We say: For achieving human perfection and attaining proximity to Allah (s.w.t.).

Now, if it is said: What is the purpose of achieving human perfection and attaining proximity to Allah (s.w.t.)? We say: For proximity to Allah (s.w.t.)!

This is the final aim. Expressing it differently, we desire everything for the sake of perfection and attaining nearness to Allah (s.w.t.), but we seek nearness to Allah (s.w.t.) for itself (i.e. nearness to Allah (s.w.t.) ).1
1. Tafsir-e-Namuna, vol. 22, pg. 393