Parable[i]: Blind Follower vs. A Person who uses intellects

And God puts forward the example; a chattel slave, he has no power of any sort, and a man on whom We have bestowed a good provision from us, and He spends thereof secretly and openly. Can they be equal? All the praises and thanks be to God. Nay! Most of them know not (16:75)


Let us analyze each of the symbols used in this parable:

Chattel Slave – The Quran uses the similitude of a Chattel Slave for a person who does not have his own opinion and blindly follows someone else, just like a slave obeys a master. Due to this blind obedience, the slave like person would not use the intellects – the faculties of knowing and reasoning - given by God to every human being. Typically, if such a person is asked about any subject the reply would be: “I believe because such and such person – his master - has said this or written in his book”. No reasoning, evidence or arguments would shake his belief in his master. Such a subservient attitude leads to a life of subjugation.

A man on whom We have bestowed a good provision:
symbolizes a person who has a free mind. He uses his intellectual faculties to decide what is wrong and what is right, in the light of the principles given by God, just like Prophet Abraham (PBUH), the spiritual father of all the believers. He follows principles, instead of the vain desires of others. This attitude leads to a good life; a life of spiritual and material abundance, which is shared by that person with others openly or secretly.

Other references – This subject is also covered in numerous verses.
Some of them are 13:16, 13:19, 17:72, 25:73, 30:53, 35:19, 40:58, 43:40, 47:23, and 25:44.

Moral of this parable is that a person, who uses his intellects to judge, based on the principles of God, is on the right path and is rewarded accordingly. And the one, who blindly follows others, without understanding the principles, is like a slave.

Notes & References

[i] A parable is a narrative of imagined events used to illustrate or convey a moral or spiritual lesson. Quran uses parables to convey its message. Quran says “And these similitudes we put forward for humankind, but none will understand them except those who have knowledge” (29:43)





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