Divine Creativity: An Analysis of the Rights and Duties of Human Creation

Collaboration essential for social innovation

We live in a world with lots of human-created ideas and artifacts. Some ideas and artifacts are concrete and others are abstract. As human beings, we constantly create new things to get through life, to solve problems, to improve the quality of life, etc. When we create this new thing – products, services, tools, technologies, processes, systems, organizations, – we engage in the creation process. At first, we come up with an idea, and to give form, structure, and function to that idea, is at the core of the creation process as a human activity. The creation process is such a natural human ability that almost everyone is engaging most of the time – whether we are conscious of it or not. The world is becoming a place full of human-created artifacts. Together with the natural world, these created artifacts make up the whole of our reality. Today we understand that our creation can dramatically change the conditions of reality experienced by people.

Creation is about bringing new things into the world. It is about creating the not-yet-exist. One of the great mysteries is where this not-yet-exist image comes from. The reasoning and logic behind an accurate explanation of the existing, are not the same as the logic and reasoning used to determine what is inspired and desired that does not-yet-exist. Therefore, bringing something into the world involves much more than a basic understanding of creativity, and a divine connection. 

The concept of the Right to Create 

The concept of human creativity is mentioned in the Quran. In Surah Al-Baqarah (2:31-34), the Quran recounts the moment when Allah taught Adam the names of all things and tested the angels’ knowledge. The verses emphasize the divine inspiration and knowledge for a creation:

“He taught Adam the names of all things, then He presented them to the angels and said, ‘Tell Me the names of these, if what you say is true?’ They replied, ‘Glory be to You! We have no knowledge except what You have taught us. You are truly the All-Knowing, All-Wise.'” This divine act signifies the initial step in the creative process, where Allah imparts inspiration and knowledge to Adam. The angels, acknowledging their limited knowledge, glorify Allah, recognizing Him as the All-Knowing and All-Wise.

“Allah said, ‘O Adam! Inform them of their names.’ Then when Adam did, Allah said, ‘Did I not tell you that I know the secrets of the heavens and the earth, and I know what you reveal and what you conceal?'” In this exchange, Allah entrusts Adam with the task of informing the angels of the names, emphasizing His inspiration turned into new knowledge for Adam. Allah’s knowledge encompasses the secrets of the heavens and the earth, reinforcing the concept of shared ownership and responsibility in the creative process.

“And remember˺ when We said to the angels, “Prostrate before Adam,” so they all did—but not Iblîs, who refused and acted arrogantly, becoming unfaithful.” This verse signifies the unique position of Adam or human as a creation endowed with knowledge and responsibility. The act of prostration symbolizes the acknowledgment of Adam’s elevated status in the divine plan. The verses demonstrate that the human ability to receive inspiration and knowledge has elevated human status to the top among all creations. Therefore, as a creation human beings are the best and most elevated ones because of their ability to receive inspiration and knowledge for creating new things.

At the basic level, Allah inspired us and provided us with information and ideas to create new things. So, we have a “Haqq” or right to receive inspiration, information, and ideas for creating things. The concept of the right to create is born here. The right to create refers to the idea that we have the right to receive inspiration, information, and ideas for our creations. 

Divine Partnership in Human Creation

So, when we create something, it is not just our own creation, but a creation in partnership with Allah. We human beings have the ability to co-create this world. We can’t create anything alone, we co-creates alongside Allah, working together to bring new things into existence. Therefore, it is not just our single ownership, but also a shared ownership between us and Allah. We argue that human creativity and innovation are not solely the product of individual human effort, but rather are seen as a partnership between humans and the divine. As a co-creator, we shared the ownership with Allah.

Therefore, our creation is not only our sole ownership but also a joint ownership between us and Allah. We argue that human creativity and innovation are not merely the product of individual human effort, but are seen as a partnership between the human and the divine. As an initiator of co-creation, we share ownership with Allah.

We have the ability to participate in the creative process and contribute to the creation of something new in the world. Creation can take many forms, such as artistic creation, the creation of physical products and services, system development, scientific discovery, or other forms of creative expression and innovation. The idea is that human creativity is not separate from the divine, but rather is seen as an interactive relationship between the human and the divine. Every human creation is therefore an interactive effort between human and Allah. At the beginning of every creation, we automatically send requests to the Creator through thoughts, inquiries, or questions and receive answers or inspirations and this is the Aha moment.

Divine Interactivity in the Creation Process

Let’s explore the creation process in more detail to understand how we create something. We will bring the concept of human creation mentioned in the Quran.  In the Quran [23:12-14] Allah mentioned the seven (7) stages creation process of a human being.  

Stage 1: Extraction from “Tin” (Clay):

[23:12] “And indeed, We created humankind from an extract of “Tin” (surface level meaning is Clay). The inner understanding of the verse is “And indeed, We created humankind from a selection of Ovum (Tin)”. Tin (clay) represents Ovum or Egg cells. The concept we use in this interpretation is called the Principle of Correspondence which means everything in nature also lives within us as in a different form and attributes of that creation. The physical world manifests through divine attributes in a differentiated mode. The physical world represents an infinitely vast panorama of existential possibilities. In contrast, human displays the properties and attributes of the divine in a non-differentiated mode. All the properties of the divine are drawn together and concentrated within human in a different form and attributes. “The outward reality is a reflection of our inward reality” – this is the concept of the Principle of Correspondence. This is our understanding from the book – Principles of Ibn Al-Arabi’s Cosmology written by William C Chittick. Ibn Al Arabi often refers this Hadith, “He who knows himself knows his Lord”. He called human the Microcosm and the cosmos the Macrocosm. 

By the way, the first man Adam was created from “Hamain” (black mud), not from “Tin”. [15:28] Remember, O  Prophet˺ when your Lord said to the angels, “I am going to create a human being from sounding clay molded from black mud.” So when Allah uses the word “Tin” in other verses for the process of human creation, it can not mean physical clay for the creation of every human.  

Stage 2: Placement as a Sperm-Drop:

[23:13] “then placed each ˹human˺ as a sperm-drop in a secure place”. Following the selection from Ovum, the verse describes the placement of humans as a sperm-drop in a secure place, highlighting the protected and nurtured nature of early human development.

Stage 3: Development into a Clinging Clot:

[23:14] “Then we developed the drop into a clinging clot”. The process continues with the development of the sperm-drop into a clinging clot, symbolizing the beginning of the physical formation of the human embryo.

Stage 4: Development into a Lump of Flesh:

[23:14] “then developed the clot into a lump ˹of flesh”. This stage involves the transformation of the clinging clot into a lump of flesh, signifying the ongoing and intricate development of the human form.

Stage 5: Development of Bones:

[23:14] “then developed the lump into bones”. The verse highlights the formation of bones within the developing embryo, emphasizing the structural aspect of human creation.

Stage 6: Clothing the Bones with Flesh:

[23:14] “then clothed the bones with flesh”. Following the formation of bones, the process involves covering these structures with flesh. This stage signifies the integration of the skeletal and muscular systems.

Stage 7: Bringing into Being as a New Creation:

[23:14] “Then We brought it into being as a new creation”. The final step is the completion of the human creation. Allah brings the developed embryo into existence as a fully formed and living being, emphasizing the miraculous nature of human life.

According to Islam and the Quran, the above creation process is an automatic interactive process between Allah and the human for a new creation. In Islam, Allah is the source of everything, creation is always dependent on Allah for its own creation process and existence at every level.

By considering the universal characteristics underlying the seven stages of human birth, we can explain any other process of creation by using it as an analogy. This comparison can be drawn between the complex development of human birth and the diversity of creations that arise from human thought. We can divide any human-made creation process into seven stages using the description of the seven stages of human creation. We argue that the fundamental principles guiding the formation of human life can be applied as a framework for understanding and analyzing the creative journey involved in bringing forth various human-made innovations. We applied the “Principle of Correspondence” to transform the physical form of creation into the attributes form of creation. The seven (7) stages process of creation of any intellectual or physical product by the human creativity faculty are discussed below.

Stage 1: Inspiration

The process begins with a question or inspiration, a spark of creativity or an idea that serves as the foundation for the creation. Questions or Inspiration are often derived from various sources, experiences, or challenges. Inspiration is the initial impetus that motivates individuals to explore and develop a concept or idea.

Stage 2: Information

Following inspiration, the next step involves gathering relevant information and knowledge related to the inspired idea. This phase includes research, learning, and acquiring the necessary insights to build a solid foundation. Information serves as the building blocks, providing the necessary background and understanding for the creative process.

Stage 3: Desire

Desire is the emotional connection to the creative idea. It goes beyond information collection and motivation; and involves a deep yearning or passion for seeing the idea materialize. Desire serves as the fuel for the mental energy required for the creative process. Desire adds a personal and emotional dimension, instilling a sense of commitment and attachment to the creative endeavor.

Stage 4: Intention

Following the deep yearning and passion of desire, comes the crucial phase of Intention. This stage signifies the purposeful commitment to manifest the inspired idea into reality. Here, one sets clear objectives and defines the direction for the creative journey. Intention acts as the guiding force, aligning actions with the desired outcome and laying the groundwork for the subsequent stages, particularly as we move into visualization.

Stage 5: Visualization

Visualization is the transformative phase where the seeds of desire begin to sprout into vivid mental images. It involves exploring the boundless possibilities and potential variations of the creative idea. Visualization is the mental process of picturing and refining the details of a creative idea. This stage is a playground of creativity where the initial desire takes shape through an imaginative exploration. It involves envisioning the desired outcome and planning the path to realization. Visualization helps solidify the concept, aligning mental imagery with the intended outcome. It helps create a roadmap for shaping the physical process of creation.

Stage 6: Conceptual Rendering

Conceptual Rendering is the mental process of vividly portraying and refining the details of a creative idea. It involves envisioning the desired outcome and strategically planning the path to its realization. This stage is akin to creating a mental blueprint, wireframe, or structured design, where the intricate details of the envisioned creation are carefully considered. Conceptual Rendering plays a pivotal role in solidifying the concept, aligning mental imagery with the intended outcome, and developing a comprehensive plan, process, and roadmap for the subsequent stage of manifestation. It serves as the bridge between visualization and the tangible manifestation of the creative endeavor.

Stage 7: Manifestation

Manifestation is the tangible realization of a creative idea in the physical or intellectual realm. Manifestation marks the transition from the realm of visualization to tangible reality. It involves translating the conceptualized vision into a concrete product, whether it be a piece of art, a technological innovation, a system, or any other creation. The planning, process, and visualization converge into actionable steps. Manifestation is the final step of the creative journey, where the idea takes a tangible form or becomes a reality. It is the culmination of desire, visualization, and conceptualization, showcasing the innovation, ingenuity, and unique contribution of the human mind.

The above creation process is an interactive process between Allah and humans. In Islam, Allah is the source of everything, everything depends on Allah for its creation and existence. The raw materials necessary for the manifestation of creation are also used from the natural creation of Allah. So, we humans are not capable of creating anything out of nothing. We depend on Allah from the spark of an idea to the manifestation of creation.

The Impact of Actualization of New Creation 

Nature is not merely a collection of organic and inorganic elements, possessing associated qualities and attributes, which exist in isolation. Nor, humanity is merely a collection of individuals in isolated proximity to one another. Everything in nature is related to everything else in different ways at different levels. These relationships produce interdependence in nature at multiple levels of complexity. Everything depends on other things for something, whether it is food, protection, shelter, or other basic needs. The human condition, in both natural and historical contexts, encounters various forms of creation when life is experienced as a flow. A new creation is realized only when it is connected and interrelated with other creations. In an ecosystem, a community of living things interacts closely with each other and exhibits qualities that come not only from relationships but also from experience.

The actualization or implementation of any creation (eg, knowledge, product, service, process, systems, or abstract concept) will invariably impact people and social systems or subsystems of social systems. This is because all things are systematically related and nothing exists in isolation. We do not live in isolation, we live socially. The implementation of a new creation always impacts the human community to a greater or lesser extent. Even in the case of individual use of a new creation, the new creation affects many other people through the social interactions of that affected person. Even at one’s individual level experience of using a new creation always affects other people through the interaction of life.

A creation such as a book, or a TV, or a mobile phone, or health, or education, or a financial system, is always connected to other people and social systems. When our creations are realized, the results of creation always impact social systems – people, nature and other systems. So, every creation is a social creation. It is impossible to predict with certainty whether a new creation will improve human life. We can hope for this, but it is impossible to say without analyzing the long-term implementation results of that creation. Besides, we will never understand what, whom, and how the long-term implementation consequences of creation will impact.

Co-creators Responsibility and Accountability

In our day-to-day lives as co-creators, we rarely spend time thinking about questions of human destiny. Instead of thinking about this, we are busy thinking about the new creation and its implementation and our benefits from it. Whether we are aware of the impacts of this creation or not, the responsibility for any consequences of its implementation is a question for us. It seems common for us as co-creators to be unwilling to accept full responsibility for the consequences of our creations. 

So, with this important issue in mind, what are our duties and responsibilities as co-creators in this new world? Do we have the right to make significant changes in the world? Do we accept responsibility for our part in world-making? What kind of changes or effects are good or justified? Can we be relieved of responsibility in some way? What are the right ways to make changes through our creations?

Our Duties as Co-creators 

As we have discussed earlier, yes we have the right to cause a significant change in the world. It is our “Haqq” or right to receive inspiration and ideas to cause changes in the world for the betterment of humanity. The creation “Haqq” or the right comes with duties to address responsibilities and accountability. This right is accompanied by two levels of duty – the first is the duty to the ultimate creator and the second is the duty to the creation. The right way to make changes in the world through our creation is to perform duties to the Creator and the creation.

Duty to Allah, the Ultimate Creator

At the basic level, Allah inspired us and provided us with information and ideas to create new things. So, we have a “Haqq” or right to receive inspiration, information, and ideas for creating things. We can’t create alone, we are co-creators alongside Allah, working together to bring new things into existence. As co-creators with Allah, we have the moral obligation to seek inspiration from the divine to have new ideas and bring the ideas to fruition. This is seen as a “Haqq” or right of Allah, as it is in alignment with Allah’s role as the ultimate creator and guide. A further duty is to hope and pray for new creations to improve human life and impact social systems positively. We never know what the unintended consequences of a realized creation will be, so seeking inspiration for the welfare of humanity is essential. By invoking Allah during the creation process, we can trust in Allah that the new creation will be realized for the betterment of humanity. 

Duty to Creations

We have two (2) essential and distinct duties for our right to create. In the following, we have briefly discussed the two essential duties – Collaboration and Access. 

Duty to Collaborate or Collaboration Duty

When we consider society and nature as an aggregated whole, then the individual singular approach to creation looks narrow in scope and limited in nature. When we consider the interactivity and complexity of social systems, it is essential to have a combined understanding of related fields of knowledge. A cooperative or collaborative approach suggests the inclusion of collective knowledge in the creation process through the participation of stakeholders. A collaborative approach therefore utilizes a holistic approach and the full intellectual potential. The duty to take a collaborative approach is essential to removing the burden of unintended consequences of the possible realization of the creation.

In the Quran, Surah Al-Ma’idah (5:2) – “O believers! …. Cooperate with one another in goodness and righteousness, and do not cooperate in sin and transgression…”

The verse encourages believers to cooperate and collaborate in actions that are aligned with goodness and righteousness. In the context of the creation process, a collaborative approach invites people to work together to create something positive, beneficial, and morally good. The prohibition against cooperation in sin and transgression emphasizes the ethical boundaries in the creation process. A collaborative approach should avoid activities that have negative impacts and consequences on society and nature. This is consistent with the idea that co-creators have a moral obligation to engage in morally responsible actions.

This verse encourages believers to cooperate in acts of righteousness and piety. In terms of the creation process, a collaborative approach invites people to work together to create something positive, beneficial, and morally good. Emphasis is placed on moral boundaries against complicity in sin and transgression in any new creation. 

The collaborative approach is framed as a moral duty for co-creators. It implies that individuals have an obligation to engage with others, share inspiration and ideas; and collectively work towards creating artifacts, ideas, products, and services that bring benefits to all. The Quranic guidance aligns with the notion that collaboration is essential for fulfilling this moral duty as co-creators.  It is a moral duty for us to bring other people’s inspiration and ideas into the creation process to reduce negative consequences. 

A collaborative approach is also essential for building and maintaining trust in society. A collaborative approach allows consideration of economic, social, environmental, health, etc. perspectives, and fine-tuned requirements and designs. A collaborative approach is an ethically binding approach to creating new artifacts, ideas, products, and services. As co-creators, it is a moral duty to collaborate with others. 

Duty to Provide Access and Right to Access

Since Allah the Ultimate Creator grants access to all His creations, in the same way, it is the duty of co-creators to grant access to the benefits of new creations. So, as co-creators, we must provide other people with access to our creations. The concept of responsibility to provide access to new creations is born here.

As a co-creator, the things we create are not just our own but should be seen as a partnership between humans and Allah. So, as co-creators, we have a moral responsibility to give others access to our creations. So that the benefits of our creation are shared and distributed equitably. The duty to provide access is similar to the duty of the right to sustenance which is to allocate and maintain resources in balance. Our creations can be seen as a form of resource and it is our moral duty to provide access to the creations to maintain balance.

By providing access, we ensure that the benefits of creation are shared among all people and that creation is used for the betterment of humanity. This duty addresses inequality in society by providing access to the benefits of innovation and knowledge for everyone. Providing access is essential to reduce the gap between rich and poor and to maintain a normal distribution of wealth in a society.  

The duty to provide access can be seen as another human right, that is, the right to access. Right to access to the new creation for all people irrespective of caste, religion, and economic status. As we have access to Allah’s creation, we should also have access to creation, created through co-creation with Allah. The right of access to creation is a fundamental human right in Islam; which ensures that individuals and communities have the ability to access the resources and services they need to live healthy, productive, and fulfilling lives. The impact of our creations to increase inequality knowingly or unknowingly is always an act of unjust. Providing access to resources and creation removes the burden of injustice. The right to access is essential to promoting social justice and equality, as it ensures that everyone has the opportunity to reach their full potential and contribute to society.

Conclusion: The Moral Imperative in Human Creation

The divine partnership in human creation is a profound understanding of the rights and duties associated with the creative process. The inherent human ability to create is a divine connection underlying this creative endeavor. The concept of the “Right to Create” from Quranic verses asserts that human beings have a right to receive inspiration and ideas from the divine for their creations.

Human creativity is an interactive and collaborative process with Allah. In Islam, Allah is the source of everything, everything whether created by the creator or co-creator depends on Allah for its existence at every level. This shared ownership and dependency signifies a responsibility to align creations with ethical considerations and the betterment of humanity. 

The impact of the actualization of a new creation on social systems, emphasizes the interconnectedness of all creations with human, nature, and societal subsystems. It is impossible to predict the consequences of a new creation unless it is placed and its full potential is realized. Just as every right comes with duties, the right to create also brings with it certain moral obligations and duties to co-creators.

The duty to Allah involves seeking inspiration for the welfare of humanity and invoking divine inspiration and guidance throughout the creative process. The duty to Creation, on the other hand, involves collaboration and providing access to new creations. Collaboration is an essential moral obligation to share inspiration, and ideas, and work collectively toward creating artifacts that benefit all. Providing access is the way to ensure equitable distribution of creation, maintain social justice and equity, and uphold the moral obligation to share resources.

Shallow Insan

We strive to break the barrier of the superficial form of thinking to understand and explain complex and interrelated designed events and systems.

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