Allah tries every human and group of humans through ‘khaira’/ the good or through ‘sher’/ the bad. If man responds to such trial with ‘hasana’/ pious deed, he is declared successful; if he responds to such trial with sin/ ‘esm’, he is declared failed. Actually it is trial of human soul, which is conducted through human body.
Allah tests a human being sometimes by presenting something good/ ‘khaira’ to him; and sometimes by presenting something bad/ ‘sher’ to him. In both cases, if human being’s reaction is in the form of pious deed/ ‘hasana’, he is declared successful in his trial; if reaction is in the form of bad deed/sin, he is declared failed.
Human body and human soul exist in pair. Human body contains all the potentialities contained by pairing soul. The greater human body actualizes its potentialities, the more it acts like its pairing soul. Human body does not act on its own; it acts according to dictations of its soul. In fact, human soul acts through human body. (for details plz see my article ‘ Reality of Human Soul’ ).
According to one scientific notion, all human senses (seeing, hearing, smelling etc) are connected with specific portions of brain. A person cannot see or hear any physical thing, if concerned portions of brain are not functioning properly. It means we cannot see even our own body, if our brain’s concerned portion is not working properly. In other words, a person’s body does not exist, if concerned portion of that person’s brain does not see that body. The question arises if all physical things do not exist permanently and their existence depends upon brain’s proper functioning (brain itself being a physical entity does not exist permanently), then whom human senses belong to. The scientific theory concludes that these human senses actually belong to human soul. In other words, what is presented to human being for purpose of trial is actually presented to human soul. The trial is not meant for human body; it is meant for human soul. Though, of course, this trial is done through human body.
Through this trial of human soul, everything good or bad in a human soul is made apparent to him /her. Quran describes rationale of this whole creation as “it is so because you could be made apparent to yourself”. In other words, whole system of creation has been created to make human being’s inner goodness or badness known to him/her.
This goodness or badness was created in human being when at ‘youm-e-alst’ Allah asked all human beings whether they accepted Him their Lord. Quran says:
“And when your Lord brought forth from the children of Adam, from their backs, their descendants, and made them bear witness against their own souls: “Am I not your Lord”? They said: Yes! we bear witness. Lest you should say on the day of resurrection: Surely we were ignorant of this” (al-aaraf-172).
From this above verse it is clear this witness was given by men of blood and bones; it was not given by human souls. It is a misconception this witness was given by human souls. This verse clearly states that human beings made this witness when they had been created from backs of their elders; in other words, witness was made when human beings had been begotten by their parents. It is obvious that souls do not give birth to their children; it is human of blood and bones which gives birth to his/her children.
Every human being gives witness to Allah’s Lordship when he/she has been created but still is within mother’s womb.
As the witness has been made by all human beings ever born and yet to be born, the question arises how all human beings can make witness together when they are not born together. The answer is that Allah is All Powerful; Allah is not bound by time boundaries. Allah can combine all distant incidents and make all distant incidents happen in a single moment. (plz see for details my article " Contraction of Time into Single Moment).
When Allah made all human beings give witness about His Lordship, all human beings gave witness to that effect. All human beings accepted/ submitted that Allah is their Lord, but the submissions by all human beings to Allah was not at equal levels; this submission to Allah’s Lordship by more pious people was greater than that by lesser pious people. Similarly every human being submitted to Allah’s Lordship variably in various matters/incidents which he was to face in future life. The objective behind Allah’s question was to know how much they would submit to Allah in their life matters; the reply by the people showed how much they would submit to Allah in various incidents in their life. These various levels of submission shown by individual(s) to Allah’s Lordship in various incidents of life are called intention/‘neyyat’; every individual expresses these intentions when he/she is still within mother’s womb. When child takes birth, he/she forgets about his pledge of submission to Allah or his/her intentions of submission in various life matters.
In psychological terms, these intentions are called unconscious level of human mind. These intentions or unconscious mind are not part of living memory of individual; these are part of forgotten memory. It is these intentions or unconscious mind which is made apparent to every individual during his/her life span. In other words, the levels of submission shown by individual on ‘youm-e-alst’ to Allah’s Lordship in future life incidents are made apparent to him in his life span. That is why every individual is liable to get punishment or reward for only such deeds which are based on his/her intentions, as our Nabi (saw) states that “ deeds are based on intentions/ ‘neyyat’.
As mentioned above, the intentions of submission to Allah, made on ‘youm-e-alst’, are part of forgotten memory of individual. In psychological terminology, these intentions are unconscious mind of individual; intentions are first level of human consciousness. The Quran has mentioned this first level of human conscious in al-anaam-3 which states “And He is Allah , [the only deity] in the heavens and the earth. He knows what is concealed in you and what is known of you, and He knows that which you earn”.
In this verse, three things have been mentioned: the concealed from/in the individual; apparent to the individual; and actions of the individual. The concealed in individual is not only concealed from other people but also concealed from individual himself; it is intention/ ‘neyyat’ which is neither action nor apparent to individual. Another mention about the fact that intentions are primarily hidden and not known to individual has been made in sura al-taghabun-4.
When intention becomes known to individual, it becomes individual’s wish. This is the second level of human conscious which is called sub-conscious or preconscious. Allah says:
“And you do not will except that Allah wills. Indeed, Allah is ever Knowing and Wise” al-insaan-30).
From this verse it is clear that individual’s wish comes into existence, only if Allah wills it so; in other words, without Allah’s permission, individual cannot come to know about his intentions. At sub-conscious level, human first time comes to know about his/her intention; at this level human intention becomes his desire.
When individual acts to actualize its wishes, the third level of human mind operates, which is called conscious. Human action may be physical action (performed through body) or mental action (thinking to act). The difference between sub-conscious and conscious is that at sub-conscious level, human first time comes to know about his intention without his conscious effort; but at the conscious level, human consciously thinks to act as per his desire or actually acts as per his desire.
We can conclude that there are three levels of human consciousness- intentions; wishes; and actions. Intentions in human being were developed on 'yum-e-alst', when man made witness to Allah's Lordship but in varying degree in various matters to be faced in his future life. In this way man developed his intentions as to what extent he will submit to Allah's Lordship in various life matters. These intentions become hidden from the concerned individual, when he takes birth. When Allah wills it so, He makes the individual known to his intention; when intention becomes known to individual, it becomes his desire/wish. When individual tries to actualize his wishes, he commits actions. Man is neither punished nor rewarded for his intentions because intentions are hidden from the individual. According to one hadith, individual is rewarded for his good wishes but it is grace of Allah that he is not punished for bad wishes until he acts upon such wishes. Similarly individual is rewarded or punished for his good or bad actions respectively.