How Should the Hadith Allah created man in the form of Rahman (the All-Merciful, Most Gracious). Be Understood?
It is said that every being who is freed from the darkness of non-existence reaches a great mercy. Mercy, with this definition, is manifested on every beings living or nonliving. Mercy is dominant on every creature from the stars of the sky to the fish of the sea, from the rays to the angels, from a half-living plant to man; all of them are more or less, partial or universal recipients of mercy.
The Noble Prophet (PBUH) expresses this utmost manifestation of mercy which man has attained in one of his glorious Hadiths as follows: Doubtlessly, Allah created man in the form of Rahman. Some points must be taken into consideration in order not to judge this glorious Hadith wrongly. In the glorious Hadith, the names of Allah, Rahman and the act of creating are mentioned.
God Almighty is free from matter and form. However, when a person reads this Hadith, his nafs (soul) and Satan seduces his imagination and they try to convince him that the Hadith means Allah created man in the form of his own. It must be paid attention especially to the name Rahman, and that word of truth must be regarded as The mercy of Allah is manifested mostly on the face of man among all the existing realms.
Appearance exists for matters and for material beings. The material body of man is the assistant of his spirit. Then, when man is in question, firstly, spirit should be understood. Mans spirit is the best indication that Allah is free from matter and form. Then, how could man interpret the word form in that glorious Hadith wrongly?
Another important word in that Hadith is the word created. The body of man is a creature, so is his soul and so are all of the attributes of that soul. Some attributes are bestowed to our spirits such as knowledge, will and power in order to be a guide for believing Almighty Gods attributes. Certainly, those created attributes do not resemble Divine attributes by any means, they only indicate those attributes.
A form could not be assumed for any of those Divine attributes; nor could a form, a shape be assumed for the entire of them. While interpreting that glorious Hadith, it must be taken into account that a clerk does not resemble his scripture, a craftsman does not resemble his work and the Creator does not resemble his creatures. Only this way will it be possible for man to be free from unreal assumptions and deceitful fantasies.
There are significant clues and precious guidance signs in the Flashes from the Risale-i Nur Collection regarding the issue: Some Sufis considered mans spiritual nature to be in the form of Rahman; it is added that while discussing the matter, sights point to mans realms of spirit, heart, intelligent and emotions and so the material face of the body is not considered. In the Rays from the Risale-i Nur Collection it is informed that the concentration of the names is manifested on the faces of living beings, which are the fruits of the tree of creation.
From that statement, it is understood that not only man, but also the other living beings have the form of Rahman due to manifesting the Attributes of God and reflecting the Divine Names. Therefore, when man is looked at in order to draw a lesson, all of the Attributes and Names of Allah could be read. When we think that all of those manifestations, for man, are of sheer Divine mercy, we seem to be watching the truth of mercifulness. The Divine attributes and names could be watched on every being, but the most luminous and the brightest indications can be perceived on man. No other being is created who is more advanced than man about being an indication of Divine attributes and names, manifesting and reflecting them.
Just as we recall white when the word black is uttered, the word form reminds the words character and truth to our minds. The images of the letters are their forms. Those forms indicate a meaning. For example, knowledge is a meaning, a superiority and a merit. The image of the word knowledge is a form indicating us that meaning. Otherwise, looking for knowledge among the letters, surely, is not correct.
Mans spiritual nature is as a word or a form conveying us the lesson of the meaning of Rahman. Our heart, intelligence, memory, imagination and altogether the realm of our emotions always us about the mercy and remind Rahman.
This manifestation has been reflected to our body, which is the residence of our spirit. Everything, we have from our tongue to teeth, from hair to nail, from lungs to kidneys, is a bounty of Rahman. Each of them is a word and a form. The blessings and the favors of Rahman can be read on all of them. As a result, it can be summarized as the brightest mirror and the nicest manifestation of the mercy of Allah.