WHAT MAKES US HUMAN?
Humans have two features that separate them from animals: reason and the heart. Humans and animals share one common feature: the nafs (ego).
Reason is the second greatest blessing that God created after faith. It lets us distinguish truth from falsehood. God addressed humans because of their reason and sent them holy books and prophets for their guidance. Many verses of the Quran advise people to use their reason. Someone who doesn't use his reason cannot get to know God no matter how many good deeds he would do. Knowledge is the fuel of reason; an increase in knowledge triggers an increase in reason. Knowledge and reason are both exalted in Islam. The Quran invites people to ponder over the entire creation. Those who use their reason for petty matters waste this blessing of God and misspend their worldly lives. These people’s faiths would not reach beyond imitation even if they happened to born into Muslim families. "And it is not for a soul to believe except by permission of God, and He will place defilement upon those who will not use reason. Say, ‘Observe what is in the heavens and earth.' But of no avail will be signs or warners to a people who do not believe. (Qur'an 10:100-101)"
Islam exalts reason so much because it guides us to God and to his decrees. Even the inspection of a single cell leaves us in awe of its magnificent structure. Each organelle, each atom fulfills its duties as if it knows what it is doing despite not having mind or consciousness. When we inspect the bodies of organisms, we witness that every organ functions so perfect as not to allow coincidence account for anything in the system. God can only be known by reason as he cannot be perceived with the five senses. Some atheists reject all functions of reason by saying, “We only believe in what is visible and testable”; because for them knowledge can be attained only with the five senses, not by reason.
People usually deviate as they find it easier to follow the majority than to exert themselves to use their reason. Whereas indeed imitating the beliefs of others, especially those of parents, is a consequence of not reasoning and this leads one to disaster. If all people believed in falsehood, this wouldn't make it less false. "And when it is said to them, "Follow what God has revealed," they say, "Rather, we will follow that which we found our fathers doing." Even though their fathers understood nothing, nor were they guided? (Quran 2:170)"
The Quran invites us to even ponder over God's laws. For example: "And for divorced women is a provision according to what is acceptable - a duty upon the righteous. Thus does God make clear to you His verses that you might use reason. (Qur'an 2:241-242)" The Quran must not be regarded as a dogma that should be unquestioningly followed; on the contrary, it is a guide that induces people to question and think about everything. The Quran prohibits assumption and prejudice, and orders people not to reach certain conclusions on matters that they do not have a certain knowledge of. "O you who have believed, if there comes to you a disobedient one with information, investigate, lest you harm a people out of ignorance and become, over what you have done, regretful. (Qur'an 49:6)" For instance, people in this age believe the fake or skewed news of the media unquestioningly, thus reaching false conclusions. If one can be manipulated so easily, it is due to his ignorance and unreason. Many people are unfortunately manipulated so easily, and this manipulation makes them impersonal slaves of the system. Those who cannot think for themselves and have entrusted their minds to others can never break the molds of society and the system.
The Quran values evidence and emphasizes that a case must depend on proof to be considered true. "Is He [not best] who begins creation and then repeats it and who provides for you from the heaven and earth? Is there a deity with God? Say, "Produce your proof, if you should be truthful." (Qur'an 27:46)" When we consider the verses of this kind, we see that Islam is the only religion that openly challenges the intellectual basis of other religions by inviting them to bring their proof. Although the advice of deciding based on evidence may sound like a cliché that is taken for granted, the presence of millions of superstitious beliefs in our societies that do not depend on any evidence reveals that we have not internalized this cliché enough. For instance, astrology is quite popular all around the globe although it has no logical, scriptural or experimental evidence at all. In our societies, there are numerous unfounded superstitious beliefs that have unknown roots but are still followed to this day. Even a single verse of the Quran commanding evidence-based decision-making suffices to refute numerous superstitious beliefs in our societies.
The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was a very smart man. He hated idolatry even when he was a kid though he was born and raised in a pagan society. Muhammad (pbuh) was illiterate, he had not read any book in his life, he had no deep knowledge of any religion until he became a prophet. In spite of all these negative factors, he had understood by reasoning that idols are not worthy of worship, and many accepted norms and practiced customs of his society are wrong. He would seclude himself in a cave for months in order to question life and God. He never gave in to the pressure of his society and always went after what he believed in no matter what consequences they would entail.
Animals have instincts instead of reason. God gave every animal the instincts that they need for survival. Instincts cannot be learned, improved nor can they be imparted to others. Animals do not think and evaluate the consequences before making decisions; they do whatever their instincts prompt them to do. Humans do not have instincts; they only have some urges that facilitate survival. Humans learn everything during their lifetimes, whereas animals are born with the instincts they need in life. For instance, every animal is quite successful in sexuality and in raising offspring although they don't learn these from anywhere. However, a human who is not taught sexuality wouldn't know how to use it despite having sexual urges. A human that is not taught child-rearing would likely feed the baby with the same food he eats himself. The intelligence of a mentally disabled person may be considered about the same as that of an animal. Is it possible for this mentally disabled person to raise kids properly? No. Whereas animals can raise offspring properly despite their intelligence matching that of a disabled person. This means they have something inherent that we do not have: instincts. The honeybee's making of honey and its construction of honeycombs with perfect hexagonal shapes are thanks to the inspiration that God granted it, this doesn't prove that bees are more intelligent than us for accomplishing more sophisticated tasks.
All people have different beliefs and opinions. Even the same person attains different characteristics each year because his knowledge and attitude evolve over time. This is not the case for animals. Since their instincts are unchangeable, all animals of the same species are somewhat identical. Animals cannot progress, there is no difference between a young dog and an old dog in their attitudes towards life. They resemble ignorant people in this aspect. Ignorant people squander the blessing of this worldly life; they live blind and deaf, and they die blind and deaf. On the other hand, the one who takes advantage of this worldly life climbs up the ladder of faith and gets closer to God with each step. Finally, he becomes of those who are closest and most beloved to God in his eternal life.
The major reason why some rationalists think that Islam contradicts reason is that they fall into the trap of limiting their reason by their past experiences. These people who can’t expand their reason and conception beyond their material senses and worldly experiences find abstract Islamic beliefs such as angels, devils, heaven and hell illogical. If we asked someone living in the Middle Ages: “In the future, people will be able to see places hundreds of thousands of miles away from them just by clicking a button, they will be able to talk with those hundreds of thousands of miles away from them with no effort, they will complete your month-long trips in a few hours, moreover, one day they will step on the Moon”, he wouldn’t believe us and blame these predictions for being irrational. This is because this man would have limited his reason by the small world surrounding him and by his finite experiences, and the situation of modern rationalists who blame Islam for being irrational is no different than this.
Another mistake of the rationalists is that they expect Islamic belief to be proven as certainly as “2+2=4”. Whereas in reality, Islamic belief is founded on faith, and faith comes from the heart which fills up the gap that reason cannot reach. It is impossible to have certain faith in Islam if you remove the heart from the equation and try to found your religion on reason alone, because reason is insufficient to prove Islam with full certainty. The one whose heart is adamantly averse to faith can ask these questions even if he concedes that the universe has a creator: “Even if we accept the existence of God, what if he has never sent any revelation as the deists believe? Even if we accept the Qur’an to be the word of God, what if God tricks us in the Qur’an by lying? Even if God doesn’t trick anyone and he will reward those who believe in him in Heaven, what if we do not like the palaces in Heaven?” It is virtually impossible to prove anything to the human mind as certainly as “2+2=4” since it is capable of imagining the most bizarre possibilities. We can reply to the one who asks these questions as such: “It is much more logical that the universe is created by a creator than it coming out of thin air. It is much more logical that God introduce himself to mankind and inform them of the purpose of creation than him creating everything in vain and neglecting his creation altogether. It is much more logical that he tell the truth in his revelation than him deceiving people. It is much more logical for God who promised lots of rewards for people in the hereafter to create rewards that people will like than to create rewards that people will dislike.” In fact, this is the essence of scientific reasoning. No scientific theory can be proven as certainly as “2+2=4” nor can it claim certainty, scientific theories are the possibilities that best explain natural phenomena among numerous possibilities. If we were to reject everything that our reason cannot prove with full certainty, then we would have to reject the modern sciences altogether. The one who evaluates the universe with scientific reasoning will eventually see that Islamic belief is the most logical explanation for the universe. His heart will consolidate this belief over time to the point of believing with certainty. Reason shows the address of the truth, and the heart goes to this address and finds the truth.
Reason is by and large the product of the brain. I will finish this topic by mentioning an important Quranic miracle related to the functions of the brain. The Quran describes the forelocks of disbelievers as lying and sinning: "No! If he does not desist, We will surely drag him by the forelock - A lying, sinning forelock. (Qur'an 96:15-16)" This description sounds odd at first glance because there is no reason for any forelock to be lying and sinning, the forelock is one of the last organs one can commit sin with (I cannot think of any possibility except for head-butting). We have now gained a new insight into this verse after exploring the nervous system to some degree. The front part of the brain is called the prefrontal cortex and it is situated right behind the forehead. This part plays a determining role in our character and is responsible for volitional acts. It is very appropriate for the Quran to describe this character-determining part as sinful and a liar. The functions of the brain were unknown in the age the Quran was revealed, and people used to believe that reason is independent of the physical body. This verse once more illustrates that the Quran is way beyond the time and place it was revealed in.
The heart is one of the primary things distinguishing humans from animals and believers from disbelievers. The heart in this context should not be confused with the physical organ that pumps blood and is present in many species. The heart as we use in this context is a part of the soul and its presence is exclusive to human beings. Reason, the heart, and the nafs (ego) are abstract concepts; they are intangible but their presence can be felt.
Let's assume you left home for going to a supermarket. A car crashed you on your way to the supermarket and you lost one of your legs. You're doomed to live with a single leg during the rest of your life. Imagine the consequences this would entail: you won't be able to play your favorite sport, you won't be able to walk alone easily, nobody will be attracted to you as this incident took away much of your charm, and you will constantly be in need of help from other people. Reason cannot find anything to object to in this situation, because this is the expected physical harm that the body suffers when impacted by a fast and heavy object. However, the heart has a lot to object to:
If you had not left home for the supermarket on that day, you would've had a much nicer life.
If you had gone to the supermarket a few seconds earlier or a few seconds later, you would've had a much nicer life.
If the car that crashed you hadn't passed through that particular street on that particular day, you would've had a much nicer life
If you were a bit more careful at the instant the car rammed you, you would've had a much nicer life.
We can infinitely extend these possibilities. The question that should be asked at this point is this: is this car crash that ruined your life a tiny coincidence that is constituted by the combination of lots of tiny possibilities? You could never convince your heart of this. You could not convince your heart that this very tiny coincidence was able to create such a huge impact. Your heart can only accept that this is not a coincidence, but an ordained destiny, thus inducing you to believe in destiny. This is an example of the heart seeing what reason cannot see. Can someone who was born handicapped as a result of a mutation convince himself that what altered his life completely is a mistake made by a microscopic, unconscious and mindless protein while replicating the DNA? Let's extend these examples, and apply it to the greatest question in life: Does God exist, is the universe created by God? Scientists cannot explain logically how the universe came into being without a divine force from outside. But let's suppose that one day they will give a logical explanation for everything. This explanation may persuade our reason not to believe in God, but we cannot say the same for our heart. Our hearts will ask these questions in this case:
Did we come into being thanks to the combination of millions of very small possibilities? Is this what existence is all about?
If we came into being thanks to coincidences and will disappear forever after a short lifespan, what is the point of life?
Is it the coincidence that determines in which family we are born and what features we inherently have? If that is so, how can this be fair for poor and weak people?
Will cruel people get away with their crimes? Aren't those who were wronged ever going to get compensated?
Many questions of this kind would disturb our hearts. These examples illustrate that our hearts always guide us to God and to the pillars of faith. Our hearts seek mercy and justice; but there cannot be justice, mercy and inner peace without God. Those who have functioning bright hearts hate blasphemy, living in disbelief would feel worse than living in prison to them. The pleasures that we get out of satisfying our hearts are superior to those we get out of satisfying our bodies. For example, the spiritual pleasure of feeding the poor is greater than the pleasure of savoring a nice food. The human being is not a selfish entity that only aims at beating other species for the sake of survival as proposed by the theory of evolution; on the contrary, the human heart gets pleasure out of helping others and showing compassion. Evolution totally fails to account for “mercy”, for mercy is detrimental from the perspective of natural selection.
We can prove the superiority of spiritual pleasures over physical pleasures with simple math. What percentage of an average day does an average person spend experiencing physical pleasure? This ratio is very small with respect to the total time of the day. What is even worse is that he has to spend more than the duration of that pleasure for working to attain that pleasure, in other words, physical pleasures are pretty expensive. One cannot eat his favorite food without earning money to buy the ingredients of it and putting in effort to cook it. Namely, he has to work for hours to achieve a 15-minute long pleasure. In contrast, spiritual pleasures are free and are not limited by a specific duration. A person can spend his entire day feeling spiritual pleasure if he has a profound relationship with God. Those who run after expensive and short-lived physical pleasures at the expense of infinite and costless spiritual pleasures undoubtedly engage in a terrible trade.
The heart is the communication center between the human and God. God lifts up the veils on the heart of his slave who wants to get close to God and lets him taste the spiritual pleasures of faith. A believer feels a repulsive force against it in his heart when he intends to commit a sin. If he doesn't feel this repulsive force while doing evil, it is a sign that he has a problem with his faith. Good things seem more attractive to one whose heart is open. For instance, the sound of the Quran's recitation may not affect the one whose heart is sealed, but the same sound may affect the open-hearted man to the point of bursting into tears. Many people think that Islam is a difficult religion to follow with lots of prohibitions and obligations. Whereas indeed, prohibited acts seem so repulsive to the one who has firm faith in his heart that he wouldn't commit that act even if he knew there was no punishment for it in the afterlife. God controls everything by controlling the human heart. He can save the lives of millions by putting instantaneous mercy into the heart of a tyrant. He can prevent a harmful action by showing that action displeasing to the heart of its executer. The destiny of everything depends on God; because God is the one in control of human hearts, not the humans themselves.
We often think of God as an entity outside the universe and very far away from us. This notion actually is the basis of paganism; pagans worship entities whom they consider the proxies of God in the world since they think of God as far away and too lofty to concern himself with the affairs of humans. This conception of God is rejected in the Quran. The Quran and the Prophetic traditions inform us that God is always with us; he sees and hears us, and remembers us when we remember him. "Have you not considered that God knows what is in the heavens and what is on the earth? There is in no private conversation three but that He is the fourth of them, nor are there five but that He is the sixth of them - and no less than that and no more except that He is with them [in knowledge] wherever they are. Then He will inform them of what they did, on the Day of Resurrection. Indeed God is, of all things, Knowing. (Qur'an 58:7)" God is always near us, we are not actually alone when we are alone. God doesn't give us a verbal response when we pray to him, he delivers the response into our hearts. As we have mentioned earlier, the heart is the communication center between God and his slave. We can see God with our hearts although not with our eyes. The believer who is thoroughly conscious of this state worships God with Ihsan as stated by the Messenger of God. He will never feel depressed or desperate in the company of a friend who is always near him and is capable of doing everything.
The hearts of disbelievers have been sealed due to their arrogance; they can neither feel God nor internalize the principles of faith. "Already the word has come into effect upon most of them, so they do not believe. Indeed, We have put shackles on their necks, and they are to their chins, so they are with heads [kept] aloft. And We have put before them a barrier and behind them a barrier and covered them, so they do not see. And it is all the same for them whether you warn them or do not warn them - they will not believe. (Qur'an 36:7-10)" Disbeliever cannot understand the Quran just like they cannot feel God. "And among them are those who listen to you, but We have placed over their hearts coverings, lest they understand it, and in their ears deafness. And if they should see every sign, they will not believe in it. Even when they come to you arguing with you, those who disbelieve say, ‘This is not but legends of the former peoples.' (Qur'an 25)" Disbelievers are not different in this aspect from animals because their hearts do not function. Disbelievers must pray to God with modesty for their hearts to be unveiled, and accept that there is no sanctuary and source of help but God. A Muslim may have his heart sealed as well. "Verily, when the servant commits a sin a black spot appears upon his heart. If he abandons the sin, seeks forgiveness, and repents, then his heart will be polished. If he returns to the sin, the blackness will be increased until it overcomes his heart. It is the covering that God has mentioned: No, but on their hearts is a covering because of what they have earned.’" This narration of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) informs us that committing a sin dims the heart of the believer. This is why Muslims should stay away from all sins and make repentance as often as possible. Our hearts are in the hands of God, we cannot change them even if we spend millions of dollars. Man is a weak creation that cannot even control his own heart. A disbeliever may have good morality, but he cannot have a good heart, for all disbelievers are arrogant and ungrateful to God.
It is very difficult for many to establish a balanced relationship between reason and the heart. For instance, most Jews deviated from God's path for relying on reason to the exclusion of spirituality. They neglected the hereafter and greedily went after worldly ambitions, they removed mercy from their lives and regarded everything that leads them to their ambitions as legitimate. Religion became a mundane tradition instead of a spiritual passion for them. However, reason is not sufficient to perceive reality by itself. If reason alone could provide us with true conclusions, all those who can reason would have thought and believed the same things; but in history, there have never been two people who agreed on every single topic. The holy books guide the human mind; a mind that tries to think detached from the Quran will eventually get lost. In contrast, Christians have exalted spirituality to the exclusion of reason, and this caused them to deviate in the long run. They deified Christ out of excessive love and adopted the Trinity which totally defies reason. Even today, Christians fail to bring up a single rational argument in favor of their religion; they consider reason and science as threats to their belief. In fact, the heart that is not lead by reason is blind. Islam rejects these two extreme attitudes, and commands that Muslims keep a middle path between these two extremes: "Thus We made you a moderate community), so that you should be witnesses over the people, and the Messenger a witness to you (Qur'an 2:143)" This balance is not only important at the individual level, but also for the society level. Western European societies who only value reason but neglect nationalistic and patriotic sentiments are doomed to disappear as they don't have the passion to protect their countries. On the other hand, societies that exalt nationalism so much as to compromise the rational view of the world go after unrealistic dreams, and they cannot evaluate the facts logically and clearly. Napoleon Bonaparte and Adolf Hitler are nice examples of these overemotional leaders; their ultra-nationalism dragged their countries into unnecessary conflicts, and ultimately into defeats.
God breathed into humans of His spirit, this is why the souls of humans are superior to those of animals. The heart distinguishes us from animals and it is also a part of the soul. It is not possible to explain the soul in detail because God didn't give us much information in regards to it. "And they ask you, [O Muhammad], about the soul. Say, ‘The soul is of the affair of my Lord. And mankind has not been given of knowledge except a little.' (Qur'an 17:85)" Our souls were created long before our birth and they waited until our bodies were born. The soul can leave the body as in the case of sleep during which they temporarily leave the body, due to return at the time of waking. The soul is taken by the angels at the time of death and it cannot return anymore. Sleep is called "the half of death" due to its similarity with death in this aspect. The dead's life in the grave (Barzakh) is similar to the state of sleep because the soul is independent of the body during that period. One can feel pleasure or fear during his sleep but cannot clearly evaluate events; just like this, one can feel reward or punishment in his grave but cannot clearly and logically evaluate what is happening to him until Judgement Day comes.
Atheists resort to rejecting the existence of the soul since they cannot explain where it comes from. In fact, the one who rejects the existence of the soul rejects himself. Atheists think of themselves as nothing but currents in the brain. Matters cannot see, hear or feel; these abilities of humans prove that they are not comprised only of matters. For example, our eyes take the lights reflected from objects upside down and send it to the brain, which flips these images so that we can have a straight vision. It is the work of the soul to watch the vision that is created because matters have no ability to see, matters can only be mediums in creating the vision.
One of the signs that humans are not only comprised of matter is that they have free will. Matter doesn’t have free will and its motions are deterministic as they are prompted by unchangeable physical laws (its output is certain and is not contingent on anything.) For example, if we toss a ball in the air with a certain velocity, we can calculate when it is going to land on the ground with no room for deviation. Atheists claim that humans are comprised of sheer matter and all of our cells are subject to deterministic physical laws. If we were to believe that all of our parts including our brain cells are governed only by deterministic laws, then we would have to accept that we do not have free will. On the contrary, although we have inherent impulses that entice us into certain actions, no impulse forces us to do anything by repressing free will. This is one of the main features that distinguish us humans from recently popular artificial intelligence models: artificial intelligence is deterministic and has no free will. We are sure about the output that will be produced by a robot when we give it a specific input because the output is created through a mathematical model. On the other hand, the actions of humans are unpredictable because they depend on free will. The soul is the source of free will and it is one of the main traits of humans that distinguish them from robots.
Richard Dawkins, one of the most renowned atheists of our time, once told in an interview that we are very lucky to have made it to this world because we have the genetics that has made it to this world although the human DNA has room for infinitely many people. He thinks that it is great luck that we exist when there could have been infinitely many possibilities of DNA sequences which would have created infinitely many different people. This demonstrates how distorted perception of existence he has. What makes me "me" is my soul, not my genetics. Our genetics only determine our features, they don't make us a different person. I could have been taller and more handsome, I could have been more intelligent, but I would have been "me" in any case. Having one of my genes different wouldn't have made me a different person. Almost everybody has something that they don't like in their physical appearances. For instance, many people wish that they had blue eyes. Would one of these people say that "Thank God I have brown eyes because somebody else would have existed instead of me if I had blue eyes"? I have not seen this comment from anyone so far. My mother miscarried before she gave birth to me, and got pregnant with me two months after her miscarriage. Wouldn't I ever have been born if my mother hadn't miscarried her first baby? Do I owe my entire life to this tiny luck? No, I would've been born anyway, only would've had different traits.
The nafs is basically the animalistic side of humans. It comprises our ego, pleasures, and desires. Angels don't have nafs, therefore they do not disobey God. The Nafs is the greatest enemy of believers and the biggest obstacle between the human and God. A person can raise up to the level of angels if he suppresses his nafs, and he can fall down to the level of animals if he becomes a slave to his nafs. The nafs only thinks about the present, that's why it often clashes with reason. If we ask someone "you are either going to be lashed fifty times at the moment or going to be lashed a hundred times a month later. Make your choice between these two." He will first choose fifty lashes by using his reason because this will bring him less harm at the end of the day. However, as soon as the lashing begins, his nafs will step in and will accept whatever is necessary to save him from that pain. The man will change his mind and accept delaying the punishment as soon as he starts feeling the pain even though the punishment will multiply in the future. This is what the nafs does to us; it prevents us from following our reason and heart by taking us under its control. Our reason and our nafs are often in conflict. For example, although cigarette addicts are aware of the health risks of smoking and most of them seek to stop smoking, their nafses show smoking so attractive as to resign them to all health risks that come with it.
Arrogance is the nastiest dirt in the heart and it is the product of the nafs. One should know that he is in need of God both physically and spiritually, and always live by this awareness. God will remove the dirt from our hearts and open them to Islam only if we beat our arrogance. The primary difference that separates disbelievers from believers is arrogance, having arrogance in the heart is a sign of hypocrisy for the Muslim. We see weakness when we look at our past, we weren't able to take care of ourselves when we were kids. We again see weakness when we look at our future, people become senile and lose their strength when they get old, thus becoming in need of help from others. God has made both our past and our future the periods of weakness so that we understand how absurd arrogance is. Moreover, he reminds us of death and resurrection every day by putting us to sleep each night and waking us up each morning. God has thus made even our daily cycle a sign for us.
We have to realize that nothing belongs to us except those that are entrusted temporarily to us by God. We have done nothing to earn our body, it is gifted by God; we don't carry out any of the reactions inside our body, God carries them out for us. Our body is nothing but an entrusted cloth. Just like we wear different clothes for different activities in a day (we wear pajamas while sleeping, we wear coats when it's cold, we prefer formal wear while going to ceremonies...), God gives us different clothes that suit our environment throughout our lives. This is why we are going to leave this body here and put on a different body in the hereafter that suits its conditions. None of these bodies is actually ours, they all belong to God. We don't lose our own arm when it is chopped off in an accident, it only means that God took some of his trust back that was due to him in the first place. We will internalize how preposterous arrogance and claiming ownership of anything is as long as we live in awareness of these facts.
We cannot do whatever we want in a house that we visited as a guest because nothing in that house belongs to us. We have to take permission from the host in everything that we do and we have to abide by the host's rules whether we like them or not. The worldly life is a short visit to one of the properties of God. The host of this world is God and he forbade us from taking certain actions. We have no right to object to his rules because he is the owner and the sustainer of this house. God could have forbidden everything had he wished and we still wouldn't have had the right to object to it, but God has treated us quite generously and forbidden only those that are harmful to us out of his mercy.
Teenagers who have been raised under Western influence often think of Islam as merely a set of rules that ban everything pleasurable in life, and they abstain from following the Islamic way of life in place of the Western lifestyle that promises them unlimited physical pleasure. In reality, physical pleasures are short-lived and they never fully satiate the human being, they only increase the craving for more. There has never been anyone who has reached happiness just by following his/her physical desires. People make decisions considering their instant state of feelings because their animalistic desires never let them think beyond the very present. This is why people make many sacrifices for their instant ambitions and whims, they don't take into account the fact that their ambition for something will fade away when they acquire that thing and that thing (whim) will become indifferent in their eyes as soon as they attain it. They falsely think that the appeal of their goals will always be like how it was in the beginning. This is the case for physical pleasures too. Even when we eat our favorite food, the pleasure we get from the last bite is not equal to that we get from the first bite because every bite we take makes us get used to its savor more, thus decreasing the pleasure we will get from the following bite. As Islam knows that our zeal for certain things tends to fade away over time, it forbids us from going after them because the appeal of those things will be so minute in comparison to all the sacrifices we make for them in the long run. People view Islam as a religion that prohibits everything; whereas indeed the prohibitions of Islam are meant to prevent instant desires from deluding people and to save people from the foolishness of spending and sacrificing more than how much those short-lived ambitions are actually worth. People make evaluations based on the present moment; Islam makes evaluations based on long-term profits with a broader scope, and Islam attracts criticism for disillusioning people.
It has become easier in this age to prove the existence of Satan than to prove the existence of God. When looking at all the ridiculous things that people do and believe in, one cannot help but think that there is an external force inducing them to do these. "And thus We have made for every prophet an enemy - devils from mankind and jinn, inspiring to one another decorative speech in delusion. But if your Lord had willed, they would not have done it, so leave them and that which they invent. (Qur'an 6:112)" God permitted the temptations of devils so that he can test our faith and piety. Devils are of two categories: human devils and jinn devils. Both infidel jinns that deceive people and infidel humans that turn people away from religion are called devils. It is stated in one narration that human devils are more dangerous than jinn devils. The world of jinns has both Muslim and non-Muslim individuals just like the world of humans. They can see and influence us though we cannot see them. Lucifer (Satan), the jinn who refused to prostrate before Adam (pbuh), is the head of devils. We can liken devils to microbes. Although there is no separate species called microbes in biology, we generally refer to harmful microorganisms as microbes. Just like this, although devils are not a species of their own, we refer to humans and jinns that have bad influence as devils. God tells us why he permitted Satan to do his work: "[That is] so He may make what Satan throws in a trial for those within whose hearts is disease and those hard of heart. And indeed, the wrongdoers are in extreme dissension. (Qur'an 22:53)" This life is a test, and the presence of Satan increases the difficulty of this test. The higher difficulty of this test allows for the easier separation of believers from disbelievers.
Imagine that you found yourself in a desolate island when you woke up, and you saw nearby a letter on which it is written that the letter is sent to you. What is the first thing that you would do? Anybody who has a little bit of sense would immediately open the letter and read it. Actually, we all opened our eyes to an unknown life. We do not know why we are created, why we are sent to this world and what is going to happen to us after we die. Moreover, the emotion of curiosity that is put inside us never leaves us alone. What is the first thing that we should do? Undoubtedly, it is reading the letter that was allegedly sent to us by the one who put us here, which we call the Quran. However, the proportion of those who have read the entire Quran in Muslim countries is not more than five percent. This proportion is definitely less than one percent globally. What occupation can be more important in this life than reading the book that was allegedly sent to us by God? Why do those who read thousands of books in their lives omit reading the Quran? Most atheists have not read the Quran from beginning to end, how come do these people have an opinion on the book they do not know? Most Muslims today do not pray five times a day (which is an obligation for every Muslim), what occupation do these Muslims have in this world that is more important than praying to their creator? Devils have a huge credit in all of these bizarre statistics. Devils always try to induce people to waste their time; they adorn idle activities so as to keep people from the remembrance of God. It cannot be denied that they are pretty successful on most people.
THE SUPREME CREATION OF HUMAN BEINGS
The human being is superior to all other creatures because it resembles God the most, God created humans spiritually in his own image. Many attributes of God appear in human beings as well. Our Prophet (pbuh) stated that human beings will never thoroughly comprehend God even in the hereafter. We cannot conceive of God just like an entity living in two dimensions cannot conceive of the third dimension. If we could comprehend God genuinely with all his attributes, his divinity would no longer be valid and meaningful as far as we are concerned. Yet we can have an idea about God by examining his attributes that appear in nature and in ourselves. The attributes of God appear imperfectly in humans because the only perfect entity is God. God is al-Hayy (the ever-living) and he is the source of life. The life of God is much superior to that of humans because God doesn't need anything and anyone to sustain his life. God is al-Alim (The All-Knowing) and there is not a single thing that is unknown to him. Since human beings can learn new things unlike other creatures, this attribute of God appears exclusively in humans. Human beings have volition like God, but unlike the almighty God, our freedom of choice is limited because we are not capable of doing everything. We do not go out of our way to move our arms, legs, fingers; it is enough that we wish to do them for these motions to be executed. God can control this universe just as we can control our bodies, this is not difficult for him. "His command is only when He intends a thing that He says to it, "Be," and it is. (Qur'an 36:82)" If we didn't have volition (if this attribute of God hadn't appeared in us), we wouldn't have had an idea of what God's infinite volition is like. God can see and hear everything, whereas the sight and hearing of humans are dependent on external factors. God is al-Khaliq (The Creator) and he created everything out of nothing. The human being is the only creature that can manufacture new things out of existing materials, this demonstrates that this attribute of God appears in humans. God has the attribute of Kalâm (speech), and he can speak without the need for sounds and letters. God taught the human being how to speak and made him the only species capable of speaking, this attribute of God appears in humans too.
God says in the Quran: "Indeed, We created humans in the best form. (Qur'an 95:4)" Our physical body fits well with its purpose of creation. For example, our ability to speak is the product of our supreme creation. One needs to have an appropriately formed tongue, larynx, vocal cords, lungs, diaphragm, palate, lips, a functioning auditory system, and a brain that can establish a connection between these organs along with the ability to think soundly. Our hands are very different from those of animals; they are created in the perfect shape for writing and doing delicate works. Animals wouldn't be able to write because of their unfit hands and unfit balance systems even if they were as smart as us. The human being is the only species that stands upright in ninety degrees with respect to the ground, and it is clear that this position facilitates all the fine works we do with our hands such as writing, constructing, and deskbound jobs. God gave humans the sentiment of shame and ordered them to cover themselves, this is why God made humans suitable for wearing garments. If we were as hairy as other mammals, it would be a torment to cover ourselves in hot weathers because hairs act as garments that warm us up anyway; and people would regard garments as redundant in cold weathers because hairs would protect us from cold anyway, thereby causing irreligious people to go out completely naked and to corrupt the public morality. It would have been difficult to wear garments if we didn't stand upright. If we had a penis bone like most placental mammals including monkeys have, it would have been difficult to put on a garment and would have been morally inappropriate to have a visible sexual organ. The human being is created suitable and in need of covering himself in every aspect. God gave humans the privilege of sweating that almost no other species have, and this feature helps us keep our temperature low in hot weathers. Also, the fact that we can consume both plants and meat (omnivorous) unlike many other species allows us to savor many blessings of this world. For instance, if we were carnivores, we would be deprived of the pleasant tastes of fruits and vegetables. As we see, all of our organs fit well with the purpose of our creation.
There is wisdom in the fact that we humans look physically like animals and have similar body systems with them. The primary benefit of this is that it allows us to understand the human body by experimenting on and scrutinizing the bodies of animals. As tearing the human corpse to pieces for examination and experimenting on live humans are not well-received by the public, these processes have been carried out on animals throughout history, and the results have been assumed to apply to the human body as well. If the human body were very different from animal bodies, this convenient option wouldn't be feasible.
The similarity of all animals including humans proves that they are the creation of the same God. If humans had a build that is starkly different from those of animals, it could have been claimed that he is the creation of a different god. However, the similar cell-tissue-organ structure of every animal including the human being demonstrates that they are the artworks of the same craftsman. The theory of evolution claims that all creatures have come from a common root. This claim is true, but this common root is nothing but the almighty God. The origin of all creatures, animate or inanimate, is the almighty God. Each similarity between different species is a seal of monotheism, and all these similarities declare that their creator is one.
Every organ in the human body has the seal of God on it. Just like the seal of a president makes a blank paper valuable, the human being is a valuable creature thanks to the numerous seals of God he carries on itself. A centuries-old antique clock is worth hundreds of thousands of dollars today, but its value is no more than that of a piece of metal as far as a scrap dealer is concerned. Wouldn't it be a very foolish act if the man who owns this clock sold it to a scrap dealer for a small amount of money instead of selling it to a museum for hundreds of thousands of dollars? The human being who carries the seals of God all over himself is very valuable in this aspect and he can elevate to the point of surpassing angels if he uses his valuable self for the sake of God. However, if he were to use his valuable body for momentary and temporary pleasures instead of for the sake of God, he would waste a giant potential in exchange for a small benefit just like the fool who sells his antique clock to the scrap dealer. Those who engage in this foolish commerce are not cognizant of the value of being a human, and they evaluate themselves from the viewpoint of scrap dealers.
 Sunan al-Tirmidhī 3334
 FFreeThinker. "The Comfort Of Religion And The Purpose Of Life."YouTube. YouTube, 05 Oct. 2008. Web. 30 June 2016.