I have had the fortune of being able to spend this past year focusing on studying, amongst other things, the Qur’an (the Islamic scripture). Every day after class, I am left more and more in awe of God’s absolute wisdom, might, and undeniable mercy. I wish to share with you a verse from the second chapter of the Qur’an; although this is a discussion of a Qur’anic verse, it offers a beautiful lesson for humanity. I hope you may find as much benefit in it as I have.
In the Islamic tradition, when God decided to create Adam (Peace Be Upon Him), He informed the angles of His decision. The angels responded asking, “Are You going to put upon the earth a race of people who will spill blood and create corruption on the earth? We praise You and glorify You and submit ourselves to You.” God responded by simply saying, “I know what you don’t know.”
I find it amazing that God knew there would be bloodshed, injustice, racism, poverty, and misery, and yet still created Adam (PBUH). I find it amazing that God knew that there would be orphans, dreaming every night of being with their parents, that there would be loss, hurt, pain, and heartbreak. I find it amazing that God knew there would be people like Pharaoh, Hitler, Bashar al Assad that would roam the earth causing destruction to hundreds of thousands of lives. God knew there would be people who would create humanitarian, social, moral, and political corruption. He knew what mankind was capable of, and so did the angels.
But He tells them, “I know what you don’t know.”
In other words, despite God knowing mankind would cause destruction in the world, He knew mankind would be responsible for amazing, beautiful, and beneficial causes. He knew that mankind’s innate goodness would somehow outweigh the bad.
I realized something that shook me to my core. We are God’s promise to the angels. We are what God meant when He said, “I know what you don’t know.” We are God’s promise that mankind will rise beyond the shackles of our errors, mistakes, injustices, vulgarity, and immorality to become the epitome of moral and ethical excellence.
I invite us all to reflect on how heavy this is. From one side this is an unbelievable responsibility on our shoulders that we are to fulfill the expectation of God. From the other side, there is nothing more comforting and hope-inspiring that God knows that we have so much to offer in terms of love, compassion, and selflessness.
I hope and pray we live up to God’s expectation, and that we fulfill the promise of God to the angels.