[Al-Quran 50:6-8] Have they not looked at the heaven above them - how We structured it and adorned it and how it has no rifts? And the earth - We spread it out and cast therein firmly set mountains and made grow therein [something] of every beautiful kind, Giving insight and a reminder for every servant who turns [to Allah].

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Wronging the Nafs

No change should there be in the creation of Allah [Quran 30:30] 
Mission of the Messengers-XII 

Q13:11 is famously quoted to encourage people to change their condition. According to the context, it is a warning to not to make changes in the Nafs. Understanding the harm we may suffer as a consequence of making changes in the creation of Allah. 

Full Text 
قَالَا رَبَّنَا ظَلَمْنَا أَنفُسَنَا 
 وَإِن لَّمْ تَغْفِرْ لَنَا وَتَرْحَمْنَا لَنَكُونَنَّ مِنَ الْخَاسِرِينَ  

[Al-Quran 7:23] Both of them said "Our Lord we have wronged our nafs,
and if not You forgive [for] us and have mercy (on) us, surely, we will be among the losers."

Note: in the Arabic ayaat and its translations quoted in this post, I have highlighted the word نفُسَ in blue bold letters, and edited the translations to retain the Arabic word. 

To Wrong the Nafs 
Adam and his wife cried out that they had wronged their nafs (أَنفُسَنَا). The Qur’an informs us that the creation of Allah should not be changed, and warns us that changing what is within will result in Allah changing our condition. When Adam was placed in the Garden, he was warned to not to let Satan get him out of the state he was in: 

[Al-Quran 20:117 – 20:119] Then We said, "O Adam! Indeed, this (is) an enemy to you and to your wife. So not (let) him drive you both from Paradise so (that) you would suffer. Indeed, for you that not you will be hungry therein and not you will be unclothed. And that you not will suffer from thirst therein and not exposed to the sun's heat."

Obeying Satan made them slip from the wonderfully comfortable state they were in:

[Al-Quran 2:36Then made [both of] them slip the Shaitaan from it, and he got [both of] them out from what they [both] were in [it]. And We said, "Go down (all of you), some of you to others (as) enemy; and for you in the earth (is) a dwelling place and a provision for a period."

We, the progeny of Adam, have also been forewarned to not to let Satan get us out as he got Adam and his wife out of the Garden:

[Al-Quran 7:27O Children (of) Adam! (Let) not tempt you [the] Shaitaan as he drove out your parents from Paradisestripping from both of them their clothing to show both of them their shame. Indeed, he sees you - he and his tribe from where not you see them. Indeed, We have made the devils friends of those who (do) not believe.

[Related Post: Satan's Enmity: Origin & Objective || Adam's Attempt to Improve upon Allah's Creation

The Nafs in Pledge 
[Al-Quran 7:172-174And when your Lord took from (the) Children (of) Adam - from their loins - their descendants and made them testify over their Nafs, "Am I not your Lord?" They said, "Yes we have testified." Lest you say (on the) Day (of) the Resurrection, "Indeed, we were about this unaware." Or you say, "Only our forefathers associated partners (with Allah) before (us) and we are descendants after them. So will You destroy us for what did the falsifiers?" And thus We explain the ayaat (signs) so that they may return.

Since we have witnessed our creation and testified, now our Nafs is in pledge:
[Al-Quran 5:105] O you who believe! Upon you (is to guard) your Nafs. Will not harm you (those) who (have gone) astray when you have been guided. To Allah (is) your return - all; then He will inform you of what you used to do.

[Al-Quran 39:15] So worship what you will besides Him." Say, "Indeed, the losers (are) those who (will) lose their Nafs and their families (on the) Day (of) the Resurrection. Unquestionably, that - it (is) the loss the clear.

[Related Post: Rethink Genetic Engineering in the Light of the Quran (a presentation)

The Nafs
Nafs, generally (mis)translated as self or soul, is something the body can survive without:
az-Zumar 39:42 Allah takes the Nafs (at the) time (of) their death, and the one who (does) not die in their sleep. Then He keeps the one whom, He has decreed for them the death, and sends the others for a term specified. Indeed, in that surely (are) signs for a people who ponder.

The Quran states that the people in Hell will be neither alive nor dead. However, the Nafs can not be assumed to be consciousness, as the Quran also describes the condition of the people in Hell: it describes their food and drink; how they will try to escape, and how they will beg for mercy.

Perhaps the Nafs is or contains the master-copy of our genome. Human: Body or Soul? explores the concept in some detail. While we may still be unclear about what exactly the Nafs is, we need to heed to the warnings in the Quran about wronging the Nafs.

[Al-Quran 86:4] Not (is) every Nafs but over it (is) a protector. 

[Related Post: Human: Body or Soul?

Consequences of Wronging the Nafs

Surah ash-Shams informs us that our Nafs has been inspired what is right (taqwa) and what is wrong (fujoor), and our success lies in purifying our Nafs. In Surah ar-Rum, our Creator has forewarned us to not to tinker with His creation.
Advances in Genetic Engineering promise revolutionary changes in health and longevity, if not immortality. It is tempting to get swayed by them, just as Adam got tempted by the promise of immortality. When we change what is within us, we earn the harm and cause ourselves to be removed from the state we are in into a worse state of being:

[Al-Quran 13:10 - 13:11] (It is) same (to Him) [of you] (one) who conceals the speech or (one) who publicizes it and (one) who [he] (is) hidden by night or goes freely by day. For him (are) successive (Angels) before him and behind him, who guard him by (the) Command of Allah.
Indeed, Allah (does) not change the condition of a people, until they change what (is) in their Nafs. 
And when Allah wills for a people misfortune, then (there is) no turning away of it, and not for them besides Him any protector. 

[Al-Quran 64:5 - 64:6Has not come to you (the) news (of) those who disbelieved before? So they tasted (the bad) consequence (of) their affair, and for them (is) a punishment painful. That (is) because had come to them their Messengers with clear proofs, but they said, "Shall human beings guide us?" So they disbelieved and turned away. And Allah can do without them. And Allah (is) Self-sufficient, Praiseworthy.

When the Ancients Wronged the Nafs  
The Ancients were punished for similar crimes:

[Al-Quran 8:52 - 8:53] Like (the) way (of) people of Firaun and those who (were) before them. They disbelieved in (the) Signs (of) Allah, so Allah seized them for their sins. Indeed, Allah (is) All-Strong (and) severe (in) the penalty.
That (is) because Allah is not One Who changes a favor which He had bestowed on a people until they change what (is) in their Nafs.
And indeed, Allah (is) All-Hearing, All-Knowing.

When the People of the Book Wronged
The Quran informs us that our judgement is being delayed until a fixed time: [Q3:178,Q11:110Q14:42Q16:61Q18:58Q19:84Q20:129Q35:45]. Therefore, when the People of the Book defiantly disobeyed, they were not annihilated. However, they did suffer the consequence of defiant disobedience, and insights into the genomes of apes and pigs are confirming what the Quran states:

[Al-Quran 2:65 – 2:66] And indeed, you knew those who transgressed among you in the (matter of) Sabbath. So We said to them, "Be apes, despised." So We made it a deterrent punishment for those (in) front (of) them and those after them and an admonition for those who fear (Allah). 

[Al-Quran 5:59 - 5:60 – 5:61] Say, "O People (of) the Book! Do you resent [of] us except that we believe in Allah and what has been revealed to us and what was revealed before, and that most of you (are) defiantly disobedient." Say, "Shall I inform you (of) worse than that (as) recompense from Allah? Whom Allah has cursed and He became angry with him and made of them [the] apes and [the] swines, and (who) worshipped the false deities. Those (are) worse (in) position and farthest astray from (the) even way." And when they come to you they say, "We believe." But certainly they entered with disbelief and they certainly went out with it. And Allah knows best [of] what they were hiding.

[Al-Quran 7:164 - 7:166] And when said a community among them, "Why (do) you preach a people, (whom) Allah (is going to) destroy them or punish them (with) a punishment severe?" They said, "To be absolved before your Lord and that they may become righteous." So when they forgot what they had been reminded with [it], We saved those who forbade [from] the evil, and We seized those who wronged with a punishment wretched, because they were defiantly disobeying. So when they exceeded all bounds about what they were forbidden from it, We said to them, "Be apes, despised."

The Correct Religion 
We have been commanded and warned:
[Al-Quran 30:30So set your face to the religion upright. Nature (made by) Allah (upon) which He has created mankind [on it]. No change (should there be) in the creation (of) Allah. That (is) the religion the correct, but most men (do) not know.

[Al-Quran 30:41Has appeared the corruption in the land and the sea for what have earned (the) hands (of) people, so that He may let them taste a part (of) that which they have done so that they may return.
[Related Post: The Right Religion (Deen) || adDeeni Haneefan (The Religion Upright)

A Message of Hope
To those who wish to keep their duty and follow the guidance, The Quran offers hope:  

وَالَّذِينَ إِذَا فَعَلُوا فَاحِشَةً أَوْ ظَلَمُوا أَنفُسَهُمْ ذَكَرُوا اللَّهَ فَاسْتَغْفَرُوا لِذُنُوبِهِمْ وَمَن يَغْفِرُ الذُّنُوبَ إِلَّا اللَّهُ وَلَمْ يُصِرُّوا عَلَىٰ مَا فَعَلُوا وَهُمْ يَعْلَمُونَ

أُولَٰئِكَ جَزَاؤُهُم مَّغْفِرَةٌ مِّن رَّبِّهِمْ وَجَنَّاتٌ تَجْرِي مِن تَحْتِهَا الْأَنْهَارُ خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا وَنِعْمَ أَجْرُ الْعَامِلِينَ

قَدْ خَلَتْ مِن قَبْلِكُمْ سُنَنٌ فَسِيرُوا فِي الْأَرْضِ فَانظُرُوا كَيْفَ كَانَ عَاقِبَةُ الْمُكَذِّبِينَ

هَٰذَا بَيَانٌ لِّلنَّاسِ وَهُدًى وَمَوْعِظَةٌ لِّلْمُتَّقِينَ
[Al-Quran 3:135-138] And those when they did immorality or wronged their NAFS - they remember Allah then ask forgiveness for their sins - and who (can) forgive the sins except Allah? And not they persist on what they did while they know.
Those - their reward (is) forgiveness from their Lord and Gardens flows from underneath it the rivers, abiding forever in it. And an excellent reward (for) the (righteous) workers.
Verily passed before you situations, then travel in the earth and see how was (the) end (of) the deniers.
This (is) a declaration for the people and guidance and admonition for the God-fearing.  

Scientific Experiments, Findings and on-going Research 

The science journal Nature reported:
"The bonobo genome shows that more than 3% of the human genome is more closely related to either bonobos or chimpanzees than these are to each other. This can be used to illuminate the population history and selective events that affected the ancestor of bonobos and chimpanzees. In addition, about 25% of human genes contain parts that are more closely related to one of the two apes than the other. Such regions can now be identified and will hopefully contribute to the unravelling of the genetic background of phenotypic similarities among humans, bonobos and chimpanzees."

In Genome-wide characterization of PRE-1 reveals a hidden evolutionary relationship between suidae and primates, the authors write:
"Although mammals share most of the same genes, the pig has always been thought to be a better biomedical model to humans than rodents due to its similar biochemical and physiological functions. The pig genome has been decoded, providing an necessary resource for mining similar genomic elements in non-coding regions. The SINE composition, being the second most abundant in terms of genome coverage, was the first to be considered for genomic mining. In this report, we described a parallel world of porcine PRE-1 that almost copies all of the genomic performance of the human Alu element in the genome. In addition, we further explained that the formation of PRE-1 fragments of different lengths is based on a mutation hot spot-dependent fracture mechanism. Lastly, we compared the evolutionary behavior of porcine PRE-1 with that of human Alus and concluded that they are both descended from 7SL RNA and generated by different, independent evolutionary pathways. Therefore, all of the genomic evidence for a closer taxonomic relationship between the suidae and primate are not limited to the genes but also extended to the SINEs."

Gene Editing Technology
In CRISPR gene-editing tool causes unintended genetic mutations, on May 29, 2017 it was reported in online journal New Atlas:

It's not hyperbolic to say that the CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing technique has been a revolutionary breakthrough, allowing scientists the ability to quickly, easily and precisely edit sections of DNA. But questions over how precise the CRISPR tool is have been raised in a new study from Columbia University Medical Center, which shows this gene-editing technology can introduce hundreds of unintended mutations into the genome.

In Human-Pig Hybrid Created in the Lab—Here Are the Facts, on January 26, 2017, it was reported in National Geographic: 
In a remarkable—if likely controversial—feat, scientists announced today that they have created the first successful human-animal hybrids. The project proves that human cells can be introduced into a non-human organism, survive, and even grow inside a host animal, in this case, pigs.
That’s now one step closer to reality, an international team of researchers led by the Salk Institute reports in the journal Cell. The team created what’s known scientifically as a chimera: an organism that contains cells from two different species. 
There are two ways to make a chimera. The first is to introduce the organs of one animal into another—a risky proposition, because the host’s immune system may cause the organ to be rejected.
The other method is to begin at the embryonic level, introducing one animal’s cells into the embryo of another and letting them grow together into a hybrid. 

In Welcome to the era of transhumanism, on February 15, 2017, New Atlas discusses the:
… movement that advocates for the transformation of humanity through embracing technology.
With the pace of technological advancement dramatically accelerating into the 21st century, transhumanist thinking began to manifest in more specific futurist visions. Cryonics and life extension technology was one focus of transhumanists, while others looked to body modification, gender transitioning and general biohacking as a way of transcending the limits of our physical bodies.

Lest we get carried away by the false promises of technology, the Quran warns us:
O mankind! Is set forth an example, so listen to it.
Indeed, those whom you invoke besides Allah will never create a fly even if they gathered together for it.
And if snatched away from them the fly a thing not they (could) take it back from it.
So weak (are) the seeker and the one who is sought.
[Al-Quran 22:73]

Last updated on: December 21, 2017