I had written about the subject sometimes back, and here is a revisit and revision of the previous article.
Our existence is on THREE LEVELS: 1) Jismaniah (matter or physical forms – BODY); 2) ‘Aqliyyah (the intellect and all that relates to it – MIND); and 3) Ruhiyyah (the metaphysical part of our self – non-observable, invisible, unseen – SOUL).
Let us analyze this carefully.
The BASIC existence is the BODY. It places us within the Space (Matter) and Time. It provides us with the “physical senses” – our eyes, ears, touch, etc. It allows us to perform physical acts – walking, talking, eating, etc. It makes our existence to be “seemingly” real – because we could sense physically our surrounding – and “perceive” them as real. BODY’s existence begin inside the womb, and end with physical death.
The CORPOREAL existence is the MIND. The MIND could be categorized mainly into “Tasawwuraat” (conceptions, ideas, understandings, memories – which includes language, logic, etc.), and “Hasasiyyaat” (feelings, wants, emotions – which includes inclinations, desires, etc.). The link between MIND and Space is no longer applicable, since Space only served as a “position in Time”; but Time is the essence. For example, we developed ideas through Time, and memories through time; Past, present and future – exists in the MIND. MIND’s existence, begins from our childhood until we becomes “brain dead”. It also temporarily becoming “non-present” during our sleep or when we are unconscious, or when we become insane. These “non-presence” could be partial or total (e.g. the difference between Stage 1 coma and Stage 4 coma). It is important to understand that MIND is the one which controls the BODY. it is also important to understand that elements that not necessarily in the normal logical realm, such as feelings – are also within the domain of the MIND. Feelings such as “love” or “hatred” for other humans are among the examples. These feelings are not necessarily related to the “rational or logical” behavior of the MIND. Sometimes it could be confused to be elements of the SOUL, which is actually not the case. Evil cravings and lowly desires, are also among the elements of the MIND – such is the case when we say “mens rea” (or intention of the criminal act), or sexual lust. The physical acts (i.e. criminal acts) or sexual acts – are just bodily actions that are resulted out of the MIND.
The REAL (or Eternal) existence is the SOUL. It exists before the BODY exists, and it was present as the BODY develops (from inside the womb till death); it exists as the MIND develops (from childhood till death); but most importantly, it will exists even when both the BODY and the MIND is no longer “exists”. The question is – how much do we understand this “existence’ of the SOUL? To those who don’t believe in the Resurrection, the SOUL’s existence is not important (or could be believed to be non-existent). In fact, the existence of the SOUL could only be understood from Metaphysical point of view, and almost very hard otherwise. It couldn’t be tested empirically (since nobody could come back after death to tell us the results of after death). Mysticism and similar observations could be counted out since they are “personal in nature” and could not be hatched in the rational and logical forms. Since it is metaphysical, it is open to wide interpretations – and the only possible way is to get the answers (or guides) from religion (and not from philosophy or sciences). But religions are “flawed” with so many consistencies (at least that is seems to be case for most religions). For the case of Islam, this is only possible through Al Quran and the Sunnah (of the Prophet). In another word, only through revealed knowledge, such matters of the SOUL could be understood in Islam.
Now, the question is how could we differentiate between the SOUL, the MIND, and the BODY? And how do these three are linked and operate? What is the “forms” of the SOUL, compared to the forms of the MIND and BODY?
First, we must understand that the “King” (Malik) is the SOUL; because, only the SOUL is the REAL existence; without the SOUL, then our existence couldn’t be more than the existence of an animal (like a cow) or a tree; in the case of an animal, it have some form of existence of the MIND, and the tree have only the existence of the BODY. It is the SOUL that are in charge of the MIND, and through the MIND, it controls the BODY. But we face a major problem – that the SOUL’s presence are shrouded, and the level of “awareness” or “consciousness” of the SOUL differs (within oneself from time to time, and from one person to another). While physically and mind wise, someone could be “awake”, but the SOUL could be totally asleep or unconscious. This is the real danger that the whole existence could be in precarious state. This is where, for example, evil, desires, lust etc., could take control of the MIND – and the result could be disastrous.
The SOUL actually exists in the most “perfect” form – it encompass the all the attributes of the BODY (i.e. the SOUL has hearing (Sama’) – compared to the ear, seeing (Basar) – compared to the eyes, and senses (Fuad) – compared to all the other senses); and it also encompass all the attributes of the MIND – intellects (‘Aql), feelings (Lataif), intelligence (Fatanah), logics (Bayan), and so on. The name of the “mind” of the SOUL is “QALB”, or the Heart of the SOUL.
The problem could be that, these hearings, sights, senses – of the SOUL, as well as the mind or heart of the SOUL – could be “non-functioning” despite on the other side (i.e. physically as well as mentally) they are we functioning as “normal”. This is possible when the SOUL is corrupted, and the Heart is “dead” or totally becoming “unconscious” or “unaware”. In such a case, the person is akin to a zombie – moving “without the SOUL”.
The SOUL is also the “location” of the storage of the data of the whole life; it stores everything that happened since prior to becoming “existence in the BODY and MIND” on Earth, while it is “present” here on the Earthly life, and after “death”. Everything is in the records to the most minute details, for all the time, events, etc. What happened in physical forms, what had been seen, heard, spoken, thought off, etc., are all in the records kept within the SOUL. All that are in the MIND, are also within the records and memories of the SOUL. In another words, nothing is going to pass, happened, occurred, done – is to be unrecorded. The one that will bear, carry the full “imprint” of these – is the SOUL. And this will be carried into the Eternity; and based on that the SOUL will judged and punished or rewarded accordingly.
The SOUL, will carry the “state” from the current existence to the next – for example, if in the current existence it is “blind” and “deaf” and “inert” – then, it will be in the same conditions in the Resurrection. If it is asleep, then death will awaken the SOUL from this deep sleep. On the other hand, if it is awake, alert, conscious – then it will carry the same conditions thereafter.
If the SOUL is “fed” well in this life, then it will be in “good and healthy” conditions hereafter; but if it is left to hunger and destitute in this life, then it will be in a very bad state in hereafter – and so on.
If all of these are understood – then, what is the REAL existence that we should seek for? Which one of these existence (i.e. BODY, MIND, or SOUL) – should be one that have any real bearing and importance to us? And when we say, “us” – which of “us” is really “TRUE existence” and which of “us” are actually “FALSE existence” (or more aptly, temporal existence versus eternal existence)?
O my dear brothers, sisters and friends – truly too many of us are fooled and deceived in such forms of existence. Too many of us are chasing the existence that are “truly non-existent” – or exists only in the “Imaginary (Al Khayyaal)” forms versus Al Haqq (the Truth).
O my dear brothers, sisters and friends – know that only ONE existence is the TRUE existence, that is of AL HAQQ LA ILAHA ILLA ALLAH. Everything else, even out so-called SOUL are “AFNA”, i.e. “non-existent”, in the face of the Existence of ALLAH JALLA JALAALUH.
O my dear brothers, sisters and friends – therefore to be arrogant, proud, and indulge in this life – is truly doomed; whereas, seeking ALLAH is the ONLY meaning that is possible and true.
ALLAHU AL MUSTA’AN.