Mission of the Messengers-XII
وَإِن لَّمْ تَغْفِرْ لَنَا وَتَرْحَمْنَا لَنَكُونَنَّ مِنَ الْخَاسِرِينَ
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 2:36] Then 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 7:27] O Children (of) Adam! (Let) not tempt you [the] Shaitaan as he drove out your parents from Paradise, stripping 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.
The Nafs in Pledge
[Al-Quran 7:172-174] And 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 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.”
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.
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.
[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 - 64:6] Has 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,Q11:110, Q14:42, Q16:61, Q18:58, Q19:84, Q20:129, Q35:45]. 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 30:30] So 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.
A Message of Hope
To those who wish to keep their duty and follow the guidance, The Quran offers hope:
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."