Anthropology: A New Scope

The Relationship between Recognizing Oneself and Recognizing God

The Holy Prophet of Islam has said,

من عرف نفسه فقد عرفه ربه

"Know yourself, and you will know your God."

Let us study 20 significant points on the above hadith:

1-The human nature is abstract – it is not a physical entity. God is also far beyond materiality and all of its attributes.

2-God possesses true unity, and so does the human nature, which is in charge of man's internal and external components.

3-Although the human nature is related with the human body, it manages all of the body organs, natural instincts, forces and potentials.

4-The Almighty God, though connected to the universe, is far superior to space or time; the human nature is also superior to the human body organs in regard to time.

5-God is virtually united, but also has many innate characteristics that do not conflict with the divine unity. 

6-God has created the universe out of complete nothingness; there was no sign or history of it before whatsoever – without any matter previously. The human nature does the same with its imaginations, analyses and discoveries.

7-God is aware of both the unchangeable and the variable; however, his awareness about the variable does not cause his knowledge to multiply. Likewise, knowledge created by pertinence to the variable does not lead to change.

8-God and the human nature are both doers equipped with free will. There are some differences, however, between divine and human free will. 

9-God knows all generalities and details, and this knowledge of the details does not affect God's divine nature. The human nature, also capable of awareness about details, does not change by intuitive knowledge, either. 

10-God is dominant over all components and events in the universe, and He dominates all components of the universe equally.

11-We can recognize the principle that God exists and has glory and beauty; however, we are unable to comprehend God's divine nature, for our tools of recognition do not have the capability to dominate the nature of divinity. In the same way, the sacred nature of man is not identifiable either; we can only identify man's principles of existence and his characteristics.

12-God has affection for all of His creations, especially mankind. This affection does not rise out of instinctive factors or seeking benefit. The human nature is also capable of being affectionate to man's inventions and creations, and can develop his affection to be free of any motives of advantage-seeking or instinctive factors.

13-God loves beauty and perfection, and although He infinitely possesses beauty and greatness, He wants His creations to possess them too. Regardless of all social and cultural factors, the human nature also has a tendency for beauty and perfection; seeking beauty and perfection can be considered as some of the most important of man's nature.

14-Whatever God creates, God's divine nature remains unchanged; in other words, God's creations are not parts of a whole, which break away from it when created. Likewise, the human nature can create billions of ideas, imaginations, decisions and deeds, but none of them affect it.

15-The Almighty God is constantly active, and all of the changes and developments in the universe eventually refer to God's continual activity. 

16-God created the universe without intending to gain any advantages. The human nature can also fulfill its duties without expecting any benefit in return. By purifying his soul, man can learn to do things for their own sake, not for a reward or escaping punishment. 

17-We can never interpret the universe reasonably unless we accept God and the fact that the universe depends on God.

18-Since God has absolute knowledge and control over the universe, His patience is endless. The human nature has some of that patience, too. 

19-By means of intuitive knowledge, God is aware of His nature and characteristics. The human nature is also capable of gaining such knowledge.

20-The universe cannot limit God – in other words, the creatures in the universe cannot occupy space or locations where God is absent. The human nature is also so dominant over the human body that no body organ can never be limited or denied.


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