- Read! In the Name of your Lord, Who has created (all that exists),
- Has created man from a clot (a piece of thick coagulated blood).
- Read! And your Lord is the Most Generous,
- Who has taught (the writing) by the pen [the first person to write was Prophet Idrees (Enoch)],
- Has taught man that which he knew not.
- Nay! Verily, man does transgress all bounds (in disbelief and evil deed, etc.).
- Because he considers himself self-sufficient.
- Surely! Unto your Lord is the return.
The first words uttered in revelation to Prophet Muhammad are the reason Islam is to me, my absolute truth. These first words, revealed to an illiterate man in the center of the desert in Arabia, have a depth of meaning, that in my humble opinion summarizes the basic needs for human survival. Exploration, curiosity, and basic human dignity, are what drive us.
Read! A message sent not to encourage simply conventional literacy, but a term that pushes all human beings to look at life around us, explore, understand and discover more about his creation. The only two absolute truths whether you believe in God or not are creation and death. How these two happen are still a mystery to many, but the fact of the matter is they happen, and this is the first message God chose to send through his last messenger.
Read and your lord is most generous. The abundance of information and substance for exploration are boundless. An abundance that man-made interpretations, understandings, concepts have restricted. Modern labels tagged to understand human behavior in social settings have limited the basic human instinct to explore and venture forward in God's creation. Clear definitions tend to do that and while exploring and understanding are a basic human right, in attempting to identify and define, the infinite characteristics of this creation is suddenly bound by limited human knowledge. The individuality that my Truth has encouraged, has taken a different shape, I do not necessary care for.
Recently, I have started to identify my main source of discomfort in my endless quest for understanding.
A term which I feel has become too absolute to many people. Cultural understanding, a man-made concept, has become so revered that to many they will quash basic human rights to discovery and dignity to uphold these cultural ideals. Ironically, cultural ideals that developed and were defined by people who unknowingly, or knowingly, followed the first piece of advice sent by God through his last messenger.
Merriam Webster's definitions for culture have terms like,
the customary beliefs...the characteristic features of everyday existence,
the set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterizes an institution or organization,
the set of values, conventions, or social practices associated with a particular field, activity, or societal characteristics etc.
Riddled with terms that are rigid and restrictive, when culture becomes too overpowering in the discourse of understanding human behavior, human individuality and relativity begins to take a back seat. As an attempt to observe and understand, cultural understanding can be beneficial, but when given more weight than it deserves, it becomes another form of restriction to the basic human need to explore.
The only collective absolute truths happen on an individual level. Why do humans so revere the collective understanding of such an individual concept?