Allah, the Almighty has made the nature of man almost similar to that of animals, having almost similar sense organs e.g. eyes, nose, ears etc. Man is stimulated more or less the same way as animals are arouse by their carnal desires like thirst, hunger and sex. Despite of these similarities, animals still live in the same way as their ancestors lived millions of years ago whereas man progressed gradually and formed great civilizations.
The cause of human advancement is man’s ability to learn from observation and experience. In addition, he has an internal desire to step forward. These two very ingredients of life aid a person in continuous improvement, whereas animals do not have such capabilities. The motivation of man to move forward stimulates him to rise again and continue the efforts. We can also see the ability to learn and progress among animals, but they limit this capacity to fulfill their basic needs only. Whereas man use these abilities also for self-rectification, self-development, behavioral modification and for continuous improvement.
But there are many people who use these abilities on the pattern of animals’ life. They eat, drink, get married, have children and strive for the survival. Actually these efforts to fulfill ones materialistic needs only and ignoring the spiritual aspect of one’s life leads to a life not different than that of an animal.
Moral side of man’s personality is the actual part of man’s existence which can influence the society in a good or bad way. Such morality is the one which makes the history of man, and brings change in ideologies and behaviors of others. It is this moral aspect of the personality, whether good or bad, which will be presented in front of God in the hereafter. Then eternal future of man will be decided based on his good or bad deeds.
The basic difference between a man and an animal is that, an animal strives for the physical existence irrelevant of morality, and its life revolves around the monotony of fulfilling basic needs by any means, whether justifiable or not. On the contrary, man’s life revolves around achieving some higher goal. It depends on the moral orientation of a person what sort of higher goal could he achieve. A personality like Moses عليه الصلوة والسلام brings liberty and great development to a big nation like Israelites but one like the Pharaoh causes destruction both for himself and his nation. A character like Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم, brings light and salvation for the whole humanity but that of Hitler causes death of millions.
It is essential to improve one’s personality so that he should not limit all capacities and efforts to sensual requirements but also consider moral development as important part of life. One should engage in entertainment but must not ignore knowledge and learning. One should enjoy the marital life and children but should not neglect doing something big for his society. One should work to make his career but should not overlook his career in the hereafter.
One should not feel ashamed if he strives for the fulfillment of animalistic needs in rightful way, but should be guilty if he limits himself to such needs.
(Derived from the works of Rehan Ahmed Yousufi, Translation: Tahira Malik Tabassum)
Think about it!
a. What is the basic difference between man and animal?
b. Evaluate your life and find out, how much time we spend to fulfill sensual desires? And how much time we spend for the advancement of humanity?