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163 Why the Khaleefah and why the Bashar?


Dear Friends,
Assalamu Alaikum,
Alhamdulillah this is the 13th talk in the series Pleasing Madrasah Reforms.
The purpose of this series of talks is to make Muslims more aware of the endless material in the
Quran that requires research and intellectual application. This intellectual application is not
necessarily confined only to Muslim Academics but this application has to be the endeavor of
every Muslim, irrespective of his academic achievement, with the belief that sincere devotion
would bring understanding and guidance.
Over the last 3 of these talks I have been trying to point out the purposes or the objectives in

)
creating the Universe or what is referred to as the (
or the Heavens and the

Earth from the Aayaths of the Quran.

In todays talk I shall try to focus on the creation of the nature of man as well as in trying to
understand the purpose or the objective of creating this man.
Now when we begin collecting material about Man from the Aayaths in the Quran one factor
that strikes us is as to the many names that Allah uses to describe or to refer to man.
For example in the Quran man is referred to as Insaan, Rijaal, Bashar and Khaleefah.
So I ask, Why the different names?
Surely there has to be a message behind each of those names?
One explanation could be that these are qualities of man.
For example we have one Allah or one God.
We also know that Allah has infinite number of Attributes and some of these attributes are
described in the Aayaths of the Quran.
So we know that Allah owns the attribute of Rahmaan or Mercy, of Hikmeth or wisdom, of
Khaaliq or creator and so on.
Now we also know that in many Aayaths Allah refers to himself as Allah as well as through His
named attributes. So we read Aayaths where these attributes are pointed out to us.
So could it be that in a similar manner Allah is pointing out to us the different qualities of man.
So when trying to learn about the creation of the nature of man it is necessary to ask the
question why the word Insaan was used in some Aayaths and why Rijaal was used in other
Aayaths and similarly why Bashar and Khaleefah were used in still other Aayaths.
Interesting isnt it?
There are many Aayaths that give us insights or pointers into the creation of the nature of man,
and I would like to read from 2 sets of Aayaths. The first set begins from Aayath No 30 of Surah
Baqarah and the second set begins from Aayath No 28 of Surah Al Hijr.
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From these Aayaths I am going to discuss some interesting and enlightening points.
I shall also number these points.
Let us begin with Point 1
What could we learn from the statement of the Malaaikah?
This is from Aayath No 30 of Surah Baqarah
This one Aayath contains 3 complete sentences as follows;

[002:030] and when, thy Rabb said to the


Malaaikah: "Indeed I am going to place
Khaleefah on the Earth
They said: "Wilt Thou place therein one who
will spread mischief therein and shed blood?
- whilst we glorify with thy praises and we
sanctify you?"

He said: "Indeed I know, what ye know not."

The point that strikes me the most from reading this Aayath is the reply of the Malaaikah when
Allah tells them that he is going to place Khaleefah on Earth.
Their response is (

) which means They said: Wilt Thou

place therein one who will spread mischief therein and shed blood?

Now this statement raises questions which in turn raise other questions.
Let me voice just 5 of them;
1. How is it that these Malaaikah know the quality of the Khaleefah or of Man even before
he was placed on Earth?
2. Is this not clear evidence that Man has been present and displaying his mischief even
before he was placed on Earth?
3. If man was present even before he was placed on Earth, then where was he?
4. Again if man was present even before he was placed on earth then in what form was he.
For example we all know that if man goes in to Space he should wear what we call a
Space Suit Similarly if he were to land on the Moon he would need to be dressed in a
suit compatible to the environment on the Moon, say a Lunar Suit
So could it not be argued that to be placed on Earth, this man would need to be equipped
with an Earthly Body or an Earth Suit
So in what Suit were we clothed whilst in that pre earthly world or in that pre earthly
environment? Or, were we suit-less; that is, were we in an environment that did not
require us to be clothed in what I would refer to as an environment customized suit?

5. The other interesting question would be since Allah had decided to place man on Earth,
what happened or what was the sequence of events that led to God telling the
Malaaikah that He is going to place man or the Khaleefah on Earth?
Now getting on to Point 2
What does Bashar mean?
This is from the Aayath No 28 of Surah Al Hijr
[015:028] Behold! thy Rabb said to the
Malaaikah: "I am about to create Bashr,
from sounding clay from mud molded into
shape;

It is a quality of all Aayaths of the Quran that when you begin to contemplate the message in any
Aayath, a number of questions begin to take shape or arises in your mind.
Let me list out 3 of these questions that strike me when I read this Aayath.
1. What is the meaning of the word Bashar?
2. Why did Allah use the word Bashar here and the word Khaleefah in the Aayath we read
earlier (Aayath No 30 of Surah Baqarah)
3. In the earlier Aayath we read evidence that Man had been present even before he was
sent to earth. So it does follow that this man who is being referred to as Bashar too had
been present before he was sent to earth. So then in this Aayath is Allah instructing us
that it is this Bashr (
) that is actually being created in the Earthly Suit

Or in other words it is the Bashr who is being fitted out with this Earth Suit of sounding
clay from mud
Interesting isnt it?
Let us first find out the meaning of the word Bashar
The triliteral root b shn r (

) occurs 123 times in the Quran, in 11 derived forms.

Let me now read a list of meanings of this root word made up of the b shn r (

Skin/Pare/Strip/Skin Contact/Epidermis (or insides)


Complexion, hue
Fineness of Beauty
Elegance of form
Bright cheerful countenance
Rejoiced, rejoicing good, good tidings, glad tidings
Announcements (bearer of),
Proclaiming,
Commencement,
Beginnings of anything
Indications
Streaks (daylight breaking, wind over land)
Conducting, managing affairs personally.
Lie with, to go in unto.
Perfect man (combining gentleness with strength).
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Dont you see that the word Bashar denotes good?


One important point that I noticed from the meanings from the triliteral root b shn r is that it
also means Skin/Pare/Strip/Skin Contact/Epidermis (or insides)
Now the epidermis is derived from the ectoderm and it is from the ectoderm that we get the
nervous system and the brain these probably contain the faculties that Allah has blessed man
with, the faculties referred to as the Samgha (or hearing) the Baswr (or seeing) the AQL (or
intelligence) Swudhoor (or the spiritual chest) Qalb (or the spiritual heart) and the Afidha ( the
spiritual feeling)
Dos this not indicate that the Bashar is a good person?
Could this also not indicate that the Bashar is good, especially because he is equipped to use
these faculties?
That is an important point!
So now I get on to the next point.
Point No 3
What does Khaleefah mean?
Now let us return to Aayath No 30 of Surah Baqarah in this Aayath we read 2 sentences as
follows;
(
) meaning "Indeed I am going to place Khaleefah on the Earth and

(

) meaning: "Wilt Thou place therein one who will spread
mischief therein and shed blood?

Now the Malaaikah are pointing out how the evil side of this Khaleefah would be utilized.
So then what does this Khaleefah mean?
In Arabic the best way of finding out the true meaning of any Arabic word would be to find out
the meaning of its root word.
In Arabic all words are built up or derived from 3 or 4 base letters commonly referred to as the
root word.
The word Khaleefah is derived from the triliteral root kh lm f (
) and refers to a number of
words
Here comes the surprising part, none of the meanings of this root word is complimentary.
Let me read a list of meanings of this root word made up of the kh lm f

To follow/come after/succeed another


Smite or strike from behind
Yearn towards other than one's spouse (in the spouses absence/behind his or her back)
Speak of/mention someone behind his or her back
Remain behind/not go forth
To be kept back from all good
To not prosper or be successful
To become corrupt or altered for the worse
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Retire/withdraw/go away
To turn away from/avoid/shun a thing
To become foolish/idiotic/deficient in intellect
Contrarious/hard in disposition
To leave behind
To appoint someone as successor
Disagree with or differ from someone
Contradict or oppose someone
To break/fail to perform a promise
To follow reciprocally/alternate/interchange
Repeatedly move to and fro (coming and going)
To differ/ be dissimilar.

So this confuses me.


Is it that Allah is instructing us that Bashar is the good person and the Khaleefah is the evil
person?
How do we work this out?
Let us read some Aayaths that point out to us what the Khaleefah does.
Let me read Aayath No 26 from Surah Saad
Let me read it sentence by sentence because then discussing as to what is being pointed out
becomes easier.
(038:026)a
(38:26) O Dawd, We have placed you as
Khaleefah on earth,

Now this really confuses me. If Khaleefah is derived from a root that denotes evil qualities and
Allah instructs us that Prophet Dawud (AS) has been made Khaleefah on Earth, then surely
Khaleefah must have a good and even honorable meaning?
Let us continue reading because maybe the reasons why he was placed as Khaleefah or the tasks
expected of a Khaleefah may be explained.
(038:026)b
so judge between people with truth,

(038:026)c
and do not follow the selfish desire, lest it
should lead you astray from Allahs path.

So Allah points out to us that the Khaleefah is given two instructions, the first is a positive
instruction in the sense the Khaleefah is instructed what he should do and the second instruction is
negative in the sense that the Khaleefah is instructed what he should not do.
And Allah concludes the Aayath by pointing out the plight of those who follow the negative
instructions for the Khaleefah.
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(038:026)d
Surely those who go astray from Allahs
path will have a severe punishment,
because they had forgotten the Day of
Reckoning.

So then could it be that the Khaleefah is indeed derived from a root word that denotes evil, but
then could it be that good people would use even this evil quality to perpetrate good and to
suppress evil?
The evil would use evil qualities to increase in evil whilst good people would channel this evil
quality that they possess for the execution or the implementation of good deeds.
How could we understand this apparent paradox?
Let me cite an example.
If we were told that a certain population is going to give or equip all its citizens with swords then
we would voice our concern that those people would use these swords for evil purposes. Crime
and insecurity has to rise.
But then we would also see that a conscientious group would use their swords to protect their
community as well as try to root out evil.
So let us read that Aayath again;
[002:030] and when, thy Rabb said to the
Malaaikah: "Indeed I am going to place
Khaleefah on the Earth
They said: "Wilt Thou place therein one who
will spread mischief therein and shed blood?
- whilst we glorify with thy praises and we
sanctify you?"

He said: "Indeed I know, what ye know not."

So it appears that the Malaaikah are voicing their concern that evil people would use this quality
to perpetrate evil whilst the answer of Allah indicates that there is also some good that is going to
emerge and in fact when we continue to read we realize a purpose for the creation of this Universe
is for this good to emerge.
Let us now read another Aayath that connects with a derivative of the same root word as
Khaleefah.
This is Aayath No 48 from Surah Maaidha.
This Aayath contains 6 meaningful sentences.
For ease of understanding I shall read this Aayath sentence wise.
Since we are trying to find out the meaning of the word Khaleefa, I would first read the last or the
6th sentence in this Aayath because this it is in this sentence that the word appears.

To Allah is the return for all of you. Then Allah


shall tell you about that in which you
disputed.

So this means that we have been disputing thakhthalifoon (


)

So it appears that the purpose of placing the Khaleefah on Earth would be to provide the arena to
identify those who argue or those who dispute to identify the trouble makers!
Now you could ask the question what do they argue about or what do they dispute about.
This is described in the earlier 5 sentences of Aayath No 48 of Surah Maaidha
(5:48) We have sent down to you the Book
with truth, confirming the Book before it, and
a protector for it.
So, judge between them according to what
Allah has sent down, and do not follow their
desires against the truth that has come to
you.
For each of you We have made a law and a
method.
Had Allah willed, He would have made a
single community of people, but (He did not),
so that He may test you in what He has given
to you.

Strive, then, to excel each other in good


deeds.
To Allah is the return for all of you. Then Allah
shall tell you about that in which you
disputed.

For the purposes of finding out what was being argued about, let me list the points from this
Aayath
1. Allah has sent down the Kithaab with Haqq or with truth
2. Good people would judge according to what Allah has sent down
3. Evil people will follow their desires
4. Those who follow their desires would work against Haqq

So does this not indicate that those who disputed thakhthalifoon (


) were in fact disputing
against the Haqq or disputing against the Kithaab?

So when we all return to Allah He will tell us about what we disputed?


Maasha Allah, we now realize that the Allah has placed us on Earth and has described as
Khaleefah. Now the word Khaleefah is derived from the triliteral root word and the meanings of
this root word is not complimentary and denotes evil.
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However just like how a sword in itself denotes bloodshed and crime, however the sword can be
used for both evil as well as good purposes. In the hands of evil people the sword would be put to
evil uses and similarly the sword in the hands of good people would be put to good or beneficial
use. In fact since the 15th century, Lady Justice has often been depicted wearing a blindfold with
the sword in one hand and the scale in the other. So we see an important element in the icon for
justice is the sword.
This is the example that would describe the Khaleefah.
Evil people would use it to perpetrate mischief and to shed blood, that was the concern of the

Malaaikah when they responded (



) which means They

said: Wilt Thou place therein one who will spread mischief therein and shed blood?

A question I would ask at this stage is what types of mischief would this Khaleefah do?
Aayaths no 8 to 11 from Surah Baqarah does give us some indication to the nature of this
mischief.
[002:008] Of the people there are some
who say: "We believe in Allah and the Last
Day;" but they do not (really) believe.
[002:009] Fain would they deceive Allah
and those who believe, but they only
deceive themselves, and realise (it) not!
[002:010] In their hearts is a disease; and
Allah has increased their disease: And
grievous is the penalty they (incur),
because they are false (to themselves).
[002:011] When it is said to them: "Make
not mischief on the earth," they say: "We
are reformers"

There are many frightening points in this set of Aayaths. Let me briefly list them;

" ) We believe in
1. Allah instructs us that some people who say (


Allah and the Last Day;" but eh Allah informs us (
) but they do not (really)
believe.

) so how do I
Now I say that I believe in Allah and the Last Day (

know whether Allah is recognizing me as a true Muslim or as a pretender or an imposter?

2. Allah also instructs us that these are people who profess to be Muslims but in their hearts
is a sickness (
) and even worse, Allah is increasing this sickness in their
hearts (
)

3. And finally Allah describes to us their diagnostic quality;


[002:011] When it is said to them: "Make
not mischief on the earth," they say: "We
are reformers"

Allahs response to that is;


[002:012] Of a surety, they are the ones
who make mischief, but they realise (it)
not.

Allah is providing us with a valuable pointer.


In other words we are being warned beware of those people who profess to believe in Allah and
the Last Day and are trying to fool us with their plans, projects and schemes for reformation.
Does this mean that all reformers are evil?
[002:220] but Allah knows the mischief
doer from the reformer

So in Aayath No 30 of Surah Baqarah where Allah instructs us about placing the Khaleefah on
Earth and the concerns of the Malaaikah, Allah concludes that Aayath with;
He said: "Indeed I know, what ye know not."

So we now realize that one of the objectives of giving us the qualities of Bashar and Khaleefah is
for Allah to demonstrate to everyone the true qualities of humans the true inner secret qualities of
each man that only Allah knows!
I sincerely praye and hope that all of you benefit from these talks as much as I benefit from
preparing and then presenting these talks to you.
May Allah Taaalah guide us all and accept us all.
Jazza Kalla Khairan.
Assalamu Alaikum

Imtiaz Muhsin
Colombo Sri Lanka
crescent786@hotmail.com

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