God created man in a most complete state and equipped him with superior
characteristics. His superiority over all creatures - as shown by his
distinctive intellectual skills of thought and comprehension, and his
readiness to learn and develop cultures - is unquestionable.
Have you ever thought why it is that despite all these superior features
man has such a fragile body, which is always vulnerable to external and
internal threat? Why is it exposed to the attacks of microbes or bacteria,
which are so tiny they are invisible to the naked eye? Why does he have
to spend a certain part of each day keeping himself clean? Why does he
need bodily care? And why does he age in the course of time?
People assume that these needs are natural phenomena. Yet, being in need
of care as a human serves a special purpose. Every detail of the needs
of man is specially created. The verse "man
was created weak" (Surat an-Nisa: 28) is the manifest statement
of this fact.
Man's infinite needs are created on purpose: to make him understand that
he is a servant of God and that this world is a temporary residence for
Man has no influence whatsoever on the date and place of his birth. Likewise,
he never knows where or how he will die. Moreover, all his efforts to
eliminate the factors negatively affecting his life are vain and hopeless.
Man has indeed a fragile nature requiring a lot of care to survive.
He is intrinsically unprotected against, and feeble in the face of, abrupt
and unforeseeable incidents that occur in the world. Equally, he is exposed
to unpredictable health risks, no matter whether he is a resident of a
high civilisation or of a remote, undeveloped mountain village. It is
quite likely that at any moment man can develop an incurable or fatal
disease. At any time, an accident may happen dealing unrecoverable harm
to one's bodily strength or one's most enviable charms. Furthermore, this
applies to all people: status, rank and race, etc., know of no exception
to such an end. Both the life of a celebrity with millions of fans and
that of a common shepherd may well be completely altered one day by an
The human body is a weak organism of bones and flesh averaging 70-80
kilograms in weight. Only a frail skin protects it. No doubt, this
sensitive skin can easily be hurt and bruised. It becomes cracked and
dry when exposed to too much sunlight or wind. In order not to surrender
to natural causes man always has to be on guard against the effects of
Although man is equipped with marvellous bodily systems, the "materials"
- the flesh, muscles, bones, nervous tissue, cardiovascular system and
fat - are prone to decay. If man were of a different material, rather
than flesh and fat, a material that gave no access to external intruders
such as microbes or bacteria, there would be no chance of becoming sick.
However, flesh is the frailest 'substance': it becomes rotten and even
worm-eaten when left at room temperature for some time.
As a constant reminder of God, man often feels the fundamental needs
of his body. Exposed to cold weather, for instance, he runs health
risks; his immune system gradually "collapses". On such an occasion,
his body may fail to maintain the constant body temperature (37°C)
that is fundamental to good health. His heart rate slows, the blood
vessels contract, and arterial pressure increases. The body starts to
shiver as a means of regaining heat. A lowered body temperature of 35°C
accompanied by a depressed pulse and contracted blood-vessels in arms,
legs and fingers signals a life-threatening condition. A person with
a body temperature of 35°C suffers severely from disorientation and constantly
falls asleep. Mental functions slow. A slight decrease in body temperature
can cause such consequences, but even more exposure to cold weather, bringing
body temperature below 33°C, causes loss of consciousness. At 24°C,
the respiratory system fails to function. The brain is damaged at 20°C
and finally the heart stops at 19°C bringing on the unavoidable end: death.
These are only very few examples. The purpose in providing these examples
is to emphasise that, due to the inexorable factors endangering his being,
man will always fail to find profound satisfaction in his way of living.
The aim is to remind the reader that man should avoid blind attachment
to life and stop spending all his life running after dreams and, instead,
always remember God and the real life, the Hereafter.
There is an eternal Paradise promised to man. In paradise, man will be
entirely insulated from all the physical weaknesses and imperfections
that surround him on earth. Everything he desires will be within easy
reach. Furthermore, fatigue, thirst, exhaustion, hunger, and injury do
not exist in paradise.
Man is in need of the guidance of God is surely of great relevance to
everyone. God states this in the following verse:
O mankind! You are the poor in your relation to
God. And God! He is the Absolute, the Owner of Praise. (Surah al-Fatir: