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Amaanah That Makes Us Human


The following is a brief comment about the questions that were raised about what distinguishes human beings from animals and what is the trust (amaanah) that was given to human beings.

All creations of Allaah SWT, except for human beings and Jinns, are pre-programmed to submit to Him in obedience. The pre-programming has been done through the laws of nature and through animal instincts. Those creations have no choice but to follow the laws of nature applicable to them or their instincts they are born with. In addition to their biological and instinctive nature, human beings and Jinns enjoy flexibility in social behaviour where they have been given freedom to make choices and decisions and to choose to act differently than responding instinctively to a stimulus. With this freedom, they have also been given a sense of right and wrong, good and bad, best and worst, justice and grace, etc. this freedom of choice is a kind of delegation of authority from the Creator who owns all the knowledge, wisdom, power and authority. This delegation of authority is what is termed as Amaanah in the verse 72 of Al-Ahzaab 33. Along with this authority and freedom to act, comes the responsibility of maintaining the balance and equilibrium for the maintenance of peace, tranquility, fairness, justice and sustainability of the environment, a job which is extremely difficult, especially when one does not possess absolute wisdom and knowledge needed to do it perfectly. Also, with this authority and responsibility came the accountability for the quality and performance of the job. That is why all the other creations shuddered and were scared to be accountable for such a difficult task.

To help human beings fulfill their responsibility properly, not only the Merciful Lord provided them with the guidance from His own wisdom and knowledge to compensate for its imperfection in the human beings, but also he gave them the capacity to watch over themselves to evaluate how each one is doing. Human beings are equipped with the capacity to look inward at any time and objectively review, as if an outsider is looking in, their own mental state and evaluate their own ideas, thoughts and actions whether they are good, bad, worst, best, etc. (conscience or Nafs Lawwaamah in verse 2, Qiyaamah 75). This is what distinguishes people from other life forms. For more details, please read my comments on Soorah At-Teen (will be sent on request).

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