About the book.
This book is aimed at opening up a platform and establishing an avenue to reflect on recorded history, believed and upheld by historians to be accurate, with the hope that mankind endowed with the power to judge, choose, and refuse will say: I have now realized why the world is in chaos. I have wronged myself. Now that I have learned the truth and have seen light in the end of the tunnel, I cannot continue to be ignorant and unmindful of the truth, the past, the present, and the future.
Certainly, man is responsible to his deeds and actions. He knows his limits, for he refers to events above his understanding and power as caused by ‘nature’. He never drinks or eats something that is harmful to him. In addition, he cautions others on such harmful agents, except that he has no power to stop them from using it. He has performed his double duties: maintaining his health, and preventing one from being harmed. He is described as patriotic and loving. Certainly practice leads to perfection.
The only thing that man has failed to adequately ward off, which threatens his very existence, is immorality, injustice, and evil. If man indeed has senses and that they are connected to the gateway to his survival in the world, he must use them according to their roles and functions. If these senses are directly related and form the basis of man’s understanding of his environment and that he alone is capable of shaping his environment, fate, and destination, he cannot therefore dwell permanently in chaotic situations. That is the reason behind ‘Remembrance’ one of the mercies of the Lord of the universe mentioned 150 times in the holy Qur’ān.
Scientists claimed that the cosmos was created about fourteen billion years ago in two phases. The events of the five days mentioned in the Book of Genesis came into existence about eight billion years ago. The human vegetative phase came into existence about six billion years later. These are all empiricist theories that are immaterial. In the holy Qur’ān 41:9-12, Allāh throws light on the creation of the heavens and earth: “Do you verily disbelieve in Him Who created the earth in two Days?” He placed therein (i.e., the earth) firm mountains from above it, and He blessed it, and measured therein its sustenance (for its dwellers) in four days equal (i.e., all those four days are equal in the length of time) for all those who ask (about its creation). Then He rose over (Istawā) towards the heaven when it was smoke, and said to it and the earth: “Come both of you willingly or unwillingly.” They both said: “We come willingly.”
The beginning of creation is a question that neither a scientist nor an historian can answer with certainty. It is a question that will never have a consensus answer. It is a question that is governed by speculation from that point to the end of one’s life and eventually the world. The question is of no value, for it will never solve the world’s economic and social problems. Can it bring human beings together in understanding and loving one another?
Who created the earth, light, and darkness, the magnificent high raised blue sky and all that one sees and recognizes? They are certainly created by a power that cannot be challenged. The sun and the moon begin their course from the eastern horizon and set at the western horizon. There is only one sky, one sun, and one moon. The sky looks stationery, but in reality it is in constant motion. That high raised blue sky looks peaceful, but by the time one is in an airplane and meets turbulence, it is no longer peaceful. His desire and hope is for it to stop. He then recognizes a supernatural power and calls to it – be it the lord Jesus or Allāh the Great. It is a cry of submission and dependency. This has been going on from the very second they were created. The exact period is unknown. Moving objects generate friction, making their various components prone to erosion, demanding repairs and replacements of the worn-out surfaces. We are yet to know if parts of the sun and the moon are worn out and when and how they are to be repaired. They are permanent, unlike the clouds and other celestial bodies.
The earth is described as a bed or a spread and a wide expanse that we may go therein in broad roads. The oceans, rivers, and springs flowing have their source of water from the sky for our use in gardens and in agriculture. The mountains described as pegs are stabilizers of the earth.
Mammalians, the living creatures on the earth, have been created by the same Master. They have either two or four legs, while others crawl on their belly. Those walking on four legs are of different sizes and are either tame or live in the wilderness. They feed on different types of grass abundantly available to them, while others live by feeding on the flesh of others. They all drink water that need not be filtered or treated to remove bacteria and other harmful substances. They sleep on the open field. When they fall sick, probably no one of them attends to the sick ones. They have the ability to discriminate for they can run from danger and recognize their herd. They have their own life span. The tamed quadruplets are a joy to the eye, of economic value, and a blessing to human beings who live on their flesh and use them to transport their goods to distant places. The living creatures walking on two legs are called human beings. They are classified as higher primates and have more power of discrimination. They also live on the lower planet, far away from those living in the wilderness that are often a danger to them. In addition, there are other creatures – arthropods — that are of economic importance to mankind. From the bees we get honey that is also a medicament. Other arthropods help in cross-pollination.
The world was created as a stable, peaceful, loving, and friendly place and home. That serene and peaceful environment was in those five days the Lord and Allāh (God) of the universe created non-living things. The book of Genesis reveals God as a person who is lovingly, intimately, and totally involved in our universe and in the unfolding of history. According to the Qur’ān, that could be the moment Allāh offered Al-Amānah to the heavens, the earth, and the mountains after their creation, but they declined to bear it, for they were afraid of it. (See the holy Qur’ān 33:72. Al-Amānah in this verse means trusteeship, guardianship, custody, care, supervision. At this point one can say that the earth, heavens and mountains had the power to discern the truth and to understand the command of their Creator). Allāh then created Adam in the image of a man on the sixth day. Who can discern the experience of Adam, in particular his happiness immediately after his creation? He was endowed with the faculty of discrimination — to choose and refuse — and was placed in the Garden of Eden. According to the Book of Genesis, the Lord brought sea creatures and animals before Adam and he named them. He was commanded by the Lord to eat of the fruit but not to approach that forbidden tree lest he will suffer. That was indeed the highest honor on mankind, raising him above all other creations of the Lord of the universe. Man realizes that, for he is always hoping and looking for ways and means to a dignifying life, and warding off any threat to his very existence. That choice was never forced on him. It was as a result of the beautiful and articulate works of the creator of the heavens and earth called Allāh. (The Biblical equivalent is the Greek/Latin translation God. The meaning of the word was never given clearly in the Bible). If mankind deliberately develops a negative attitude and rejects all that is provided to him, nothing can be done to make him understand his wrongs. That is the choice of man — to reject what is best for him. That which he substituted is not that essential for his sustenance, but that which is the quintessence of his guidance. Man recognizes the value and significance of trees, rivers, mountains, the sun, and the moon. Man is always stressing the importance of tilling the soil and conserving the natural green environment. Gardens are a delight to the eye and a cure – the paradise — described as dark green with two springs gushing forth surrounded by various fruits, date-palms and pomegranates. Without food mankind has no future. But what is the percentage of that man, such that his influence and behavior in the community has made him unfit and unable to live in peace and harmony with his environment? That state is indeed possible, for he is absolutely responsible for the cleanliness of his immediate environment, from his body to his house. There are environmental health rules and regulations that compel one to keep one’s surroundings clean. One could leave one’s bedding, toilet, and room untidy, but by the time the air begins to stink, he will be forced by the environmental health regulators to keep his bedding, toilet, and room clean. There is a distinction between an individual’s rights and freedom and that of the community. Man and his community are bounded by the common good. Therefore the one with the knowledge and belief in the scriptures will say: Prophet Abraham lived about 5400. Jesus the son of Maryam lived 2013 years ago. Certainly Muhammad Rasūlullah migrated to Medina 1434 years ago. I am 66 years old. The only significance in knowing world history is in shaping man’s behavior and attitude. Man can only progress and live in harmony with one another after a careful study of past human events and the lessons drawn from there. There were wars interspersed with periods of peace and progress. This is far from the usual adage: History repeats itself.
The Book of Genesis is certainly a revelation from the Lord of the world, forming the basis of understanding the nature of Allāh. It introduces and explains the early and simple form of belief in the oneness of Allāh (Tawhīd) and servitude. It is also a book demonstrating and explaining the absolute dependency of mankind on the Lord of the universe. For example, how would the world look like today had Allāh not shown Cain how to bury the dead body of his brother? Why was Cain unable to know how to bury his brother? Was the drowning of those who flouted the common good in the time of prophet Noah (Nūh) a therapy and cure of heartlessness and heedless disobedience to the creator and regulator of our affairs? Is the rainbow a reminder that one’s existence is tied to obeying Allāh? The Talmud clearly and plainly conveys to mankind the relationship between man and his creator. Man was not created to be alone and walk on the streets and conduct his way of life without guidance. Had he been blind, he would certainly be given a guide or looked for one. Today, the blind are trained to read and write and are trained to engage in civil works. Man was never alone on the streets, walking without finding provisions. He is ever commanded, and this will stay on until the time when man no longer exists on the planet. There was never a time and moment when the guidance of Allāh failed to save humanity. Noah and his followers were rescued from the insolence and arrogance of his people after they threatened to kill him. They were the minority, weak and not influential, for they had no wealth. Abraham was not given wealth. He was commanded by Allāh to make a peace treaty with Abemilechi, who had the well. He obeyed his Lord and negotiated for a watering place and land. He lived to be bestowed with two children that are ever-remembered. The Exodus is full of warnings, threats, promises, rewards, and punishments. The Lord must be obeyed or else it is destruction! When Jesus son of Maryam was sent he reintroduced the Torah, except he made the laws easier according to the exigencies of that time.