As-salaamu alaikum. My topic today is “The nafs and Mind-body dualism.” I want to begin with a verse from the Holy Qur’an. Allah revealed in Surah Fussilat, 41:19-23:
“And (remember) the Day that the enemies of Allah will be gathered to the Fire, then they will be driven. Until, when they reach it, their hearing and their eyes and their skins will testify against them of what they used to do. And they will say to their skins, "Why have you testified against us?" They will say, "We were made to speak by Allah, who has made everything speak; and He created you the first time, and to Him you are returned. And you were not covering yourselves, lest your hearing testify against you or your sight or your skins, but you assumed that Allah does not know much of what you do. And that was your assumption which you assumed about your Lord. It has brought you to ruin, and you have become among the losers."
This chapter is referencing Mind-Body Dualism, it is a concept that proposes that your body isn’t actually you. You are some force outside of your body. However you are tied down to it, manipulating it like a puppet. And somewhere at the beginning of this chain of events that leads to you thinking and moving is a immaterial push that gets it all started. And the Qur’an confirms that there is a non-physical component to our existence called the Nafs or soul.
Some of y’all might think that the concept of the soul maybe crazy or hard to follow. After all... we know we can affect a person’s personality, memories, and thoughts to some degree by just poking around in someone’s brain right? Shouldn’t that prove the human consciousness is inside the brain? Not necessarily.
Think of it like an old school television set. And if you found one of these things, one of these old floor model TVs, and had no idea what it was, and took off the back and started messing around with the wires. You would probably notice that you can manipulate the color, picture, and sound pretty drastically. In fact, if you had more precise measurements and tools, you could probably get it to display or voice whatever you wanted. That’s a TV.
So it might seem quite sensible that you would come to the conclusion that these pictures and sounds come from the components of the television set, but you would be wrong. The television is receiving its input from an invisible wave of energy being broadcast thru the sky by a television station far away. And you will have no way with interacting directly with it.
Take the fact that we change overtime. If you compare the current you, to when you were a baby. You are completely different, but the current-you and the baby-you is still you.
If we dig into this a little deeper. Scientists have found that cells in our body are always created and destroyed in the human body. They say about 300 million cells die every minute in our bodies! It’s a miracle that we are still alive, Alhamdulillah. And according to researchers at Stanford University, Northrup, the body replaces itself with a largely new set of cells every 7 to 10 years, and some of our most important parts are revamped even more rapidly. Like we get new skins every 2 to 4 weeks, the lining of our stomach and intestines replenish itself every 5 days. Our bones change out every 10 years. The brain's hippocampus (that gives us our memory) & olfactory bulb (that gives us our sense of smell) replenishes itself also. They say our neurons don’t change, but the minerals within the brain does replenish itself. But the strange thing is, with all of these body changes, our sense of self remains in tact.There is almost no similarities between who you are now and when you were a baby. You look different, you have different properties, and you are made up of completely different cells and organs, you have different atoms but…. you still are recognized as you.
(Continue for part 2 by clicking here)