Every Man for Himself

30 07 2010

Do we love because we really care or just because we feel good for being loved back ?
Do you work in order to serve others or just to get the pay check at the end of the month ?
Does the fireman save people -as a Hero- or simply does his job ?
Do you give charities because they make you feel superior ? or because you just want them to be doubled in the afterlife ?
But again, if you do every good you do in your life in order to please your God, hoping that you will be rewarded much more in the afterlife, doesn’t that make you the most selfish person on earth ?
…Is every man for himself ?

Dying – burying
Do we bury our dead because we dun like the smell or the figure ?? or because we’re afraid of the diseases ?
If these were the causes then the garbage collectors should do the job. But they actually don’t.
Religions and beliefs have played a major role in this issue. The followers of religions during the whole history have been instructed to deal with the dead in such precise processes. So is it just a religious practice ? If so, then why do we bury the people of other religions when they have nobody to take care of them ? Why do countries have budgets and places to bury the people who can’t afford it, even the non-religious countries, why do we treat the dearth and the dead with respect ? is it just because death is scary ? If death was scary then we should run away not go and serve the dead !

Once upon a time, a man bought a house. He found in that house a jar filled with golden coins, so he went back to the seller and handed him the gold. The seller gave it back saying he wasn’t aware that the house contained gold, that he bought it originally unaware and sold it unaware of their existence so it’s not his gold. Both men decided to ask someone what should be done. They stopped a man and told him the story. The man asked if they have sons. The buyer had a son and the seller had a daughter, so the man suggested that they marry them using the gold and to give charities. End of story.

The story happened in early Islam days, even the companions of the Prophet (PBUH) had an argument about whom from the 2 men to be considered having stronger belief. Funny, but it’s not the point. The point is: none of the men would have been criminalized if taken the gold, yet they weren’t interested in themselves or in their personal needs or their shopping lists, they were more interested in “proving” -maybe each one to himself- that they don’t prioritize the material values. No one mentioned that they were sahabiis or hadith tellers or whatsoever, and the more interesting thing is : they didn’t go to a judge nor to a religious man nor to a wise elder, they just picked “a man” ! As if they were certain that the “right thing to do” exists in any and everybody and maybe considering themselves a bit confused from being in the middle of the thing, but it’s out there ! so let’s grab anyone and ask him !

The stranger’s answer itself wasn’t less interesting, the guy suggested a marriage ! whether i agree or not about what he suggested, it shows that he had the same concepts the both of them were holding, he encouraged to use the money in establishing the most strongest type of relations between human beings, he valued the human life, it’s existence and presence, he valued the idea of the continuity of the human traditions and lifestyle, he valued those…over the materials, and the rest of the money, again to help in improving the quality of life of the already existing humans. AS IF…it’s all about humans, not “persons”, but Humans !
Simple statistics: given the city population, you can tell what it means to grab the FIRST man and to find his ideas about life matching theirs, it shows that they weren’t kidding when they decided to grab ANYBODY !!!

It shows that there is something inside us -and all of us- that rejects the material world, it shows that we strive to distinguish ourselves as Humans not as anything else, that we classify the world into human and non-human, and that one human worth more than the sum of all non-humans. A desire of highness is imprinted inside us of, that keeps pushing that idea (that we mean more), we are made from the same elements that animals and plants are made of, but this inner feeling just keeps pushing that we mean more than animals and plants, that we are worth more. Thereby, we should act differently

Anyone can embrace these feelings or fight them, just exactly like you decide to stay or to stop being nice to people because you’re convinced that this is right or because you’re too afraid to be considered as weak, or whatever….

What religions (most of religions) have done during history is supporting these feelings and this highness desire inside us humans
وَلَقَدْ كَرَّمْنَا بَنِي آدَمَ وَحَمَلْنَاهُمْ فِي الْبَرِّ وَالْبَحْرِ وَرَزَقْنَاهُمْ مِنَ الطَّيِّبَاتِ وَفَضَّلْنَاهُمْ عَلَى كَثِيرٍ مِمَّنْ خَلَقْنَا تَفْضِيلًا. – الإسراء:70
They gave the people the purpose and the value that they suffer to mentally shape. They encouraged them to feed these feelings and enrich them by making them realize their ability to resist their biological and psychological needs. Many religions instruct fasting periods. Animals don’t fast. That should make you remember -at least once a year- that you are different, that you should act different than just a needy creature with materialistic desires, it reminds you that you have the power to do so.

When we talk about teamwork in games or in real-life, we state all these known and proven advices about how belonging to the team and valuing the team’s entity makes it a winner team or company… The previous story shows that these people dealt with humanity as a “team”; and from that understanding endless stream of thoughts can flow ! This can explain the fact this religion spread and soon became “winner” in time and place. It explains how years after, judges found themselves useless because they can’t find people coming to court…for years !
If you KNOW that your team will be there for you, provide you with everything a team can offer to a member , why would you go steal or rob someone ? It’s that simple ! But we used to treat it as rocket science !!!
…and that’s not the main issue.

We march in funerals, we respect the dead, we carry them over the shoulders and necks because we value the team ! even if we’re not aware why we do it or have forgotten the big picture, if one team member was lost, the other members feel sorry about it because they care about the team and each member in it….it’s that simple !

So does belonging to a team makes you a machine ? Does it steal your independence and destroy your sovereignty or make you a fool ?
When you join a workplace as a worker, no one considers you responsible for the company’s success or failure, but they still await your contribution to the place ! For yourself, the way of proving it is by working really hard and showing that you are useful for the place, again, the “place” not “yourself”…That’s how people make careers, and by building your career no one considers you as fool nor dumb, on the contrary, they admire you more !

If you enter a workplace saying: i am getting all what i can get from here, screw everybody ! that makes you a lousy worker; and doesn’t help in making it a good working place. The place owner -if he cares about the place- will eventually fire you and get someone else.
وَإِنْ تَتَوَلَّوْا يَسْتَبْدِلْ قَوْمًا غَيْرَكُمْ ثُمَّ لا يَكُونُوا أَمْثَالَكُمْ – محمد:38

The thing is, everything religion tells you, is one way or another for the sake of the Team, The Human Team, religion does not tell you go defend your land against invaders and die for it because that’s the best for your life, well it’s basically killing it, but it’s preserving the life of the team.

IF you forgot every single instruction told in your religion, but remembered this general rule, it should be enough as a compass. On the other hand if you remembered as much as you can but missed the whole point of it, i doubt you will be even implementing them properly. and that’s a very personal view.

A final argument can say that people are destined to be judged alone, and that judgment day itself will prove how self centric we are
يَوْمَ يَفِرُّ الْمَرْءُ مِنْ أَخِيهِ. وَأُمِّهِ وَأَبِيهِ. وَصَاحِبَتِهِ وَبَنِيهِ لِكُلِّ امْرِئٍ مِّنْهُمْ يَوْمَئِذٍ شَأْنٌ يُغْنِيهِ – عبس 34: 37

But again, nothing more elegant to answer, than a more detailed description for the scene:
الأَخِلَّاءُ يَوْمَئِذٍ بَعْضُهُمْ لِبَعْضٍ عَدُوٌّ إِلَّا الْمُتَّقِينَ – الزخرف:67
…and to finally being treated as teams in the finale :
وَسِيقَ الَّذِينَ اتَّقَوْا رَبَّهُمْ إِلَى الْجَنَّةِ زُمَراً – الزمر:73

So…. is it every man for himself ?…….i don’t think so !

Reda Maged

Originally posted in January 30, 2010

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