By: Dr. Shadee Elmasry
“Are we alone? Are there extra-terrestrials?” These are two questions Americans have always been fascinated by, observed Shaykh Mahdi Lock recently, and even more so after the topic of UFO’s made it to a Congressional hearing. As we were listening in the audience, a young man asked me if I believed in extra-terretstrials. “Of course not,” I said. “Why not?” He argued back. Then suddenly, our speaker contradicted me: “There are extra-terrestrial beings and I can prove it.” The youth got excited. “I told you!”
Sh Mahdi continued: “If extra-terrestrial is defined broadly as ‘life that did not originate on Earth,’ and Adam and Hawa were created in the Heavens, then by necessity, there are extra-terrestrials: us. We are the ET’s.”
Imagine that. After all this time, it turns out that we, human beings, are the aliens here on earth. What would be some hallmarks of non-earthly beings? If they successfully arrived here, then they can obviously survive here. But are they a natural fit? Because they’re not from here, they constantly need an artificial environment. The wind bothers them, so they need walls. The sun roasts them and the rain makes them sick, so they need roofs. They can eat earthly food, but not directly. They have to cook to suit their non-earthly bodies.
Now let's think about their interaction with the natives, Earth’s natural dwellers: those who don’t need body covering, artificial homes, or cooked food. You can only imagine the conflict that will ensue. Threatened by the natives, we can imagine the extra-terrestrials hunting, jailing, and eating them, the earthlings. As their territory gets invaded, the natives would retreat further and further away from the ET’s, and if they don’t, they risk extinction.
Because it’s not their home, the ET’s would likely wreak havoc all over the planet, exhausting its resources, polluting it, and consuming its reserves. Psychologically, they would never be completely satisfied; there would always be the feeling that something is missing. The subsequent generations would begin asking, how did we get here? Why are we here? But many, we can imagine, would never believe that they came from anywhere else.
Does this sound familiar? We are the only being on this planet that does not fit in. The snow freezes us, the desert roasts us, and the wind destroys us. Without fire or metal, cutting down trees, or using up animals for meat and hides, we could not survive. We need so much just to stay alive. The natives, meanwhile, are built for this planet. They don’t need any of the above.
Left to our own devices, we are a purely destructive force. Everyday it seems, a different species from amongst the natives of this planet goes extinct. At our worst, we have the potential to extinct our own selves. It’s pure irony that human beings are worried about aliens.
And yet there are good times and good people; mainly when we are in touch with our source, fulfilling a noble mission, and having a set of rules to live by. The Heavens is the origin, and Paradise is the ultimate home of the human being. So do we belong here or not? The answer is yes, but temporarily, just like an ambassador sent on a mission: his plane ticket is paid for, the apartment is waiting for him, the government will make sure he’s fed and has all he needs to fulfill his duty. The foolish one is he who gets carried away by the trappings of the ambassador’s residence and begins competing with the other ambassadors for who has a bigger stipend from their government. The intelligent one is he who focuses with tunnel vision solely on what they were asked to do, awaiting the day they get called back.
All of our psychological states can be traced back to our foreignness. Paradise is vast, bright, and perfect, which explains why we love beauty, kindness, and open space but are bothered by imperfections and injustices, and get depressed in closed, gloomy spaces. We always feel a void of some sort and seek to create a Paradise on earth.
But we have to be here temporarily. It is as if we were dropped off at a hotel with a reservation in our name. The hotel is a place of good and bad. The signs of the truth are just enough to believe but not bold enough to make the test irrelevant. There are cameras everywhere. When we’re done, we will be picked up then assessed if we deserve to go back home or not. Nothing can be worse than the return of an ambassador who failed his king.
Knowing our status on this earth, and the nature of existence here is one of the greatest sources of mental, spiritual, and emotional stability. This is what prophets brought us. We have to strive for excellence, otherwise, we feel empty and purposeless. Simultaneously, this world is an inevitable admixture of good and bad, happiness and sadness, joy and anxiety. “This is so that you do not despair about what has gone and do not become boastful about what He has given you, for Allah does not love every prideful, arrogant one” (57:23 Hadid).