By: Samsul Nizar
Professor and Head of STAIN Bengkalis
A bottle is one of the containers used to store liquids such as water, milk, soft beverages, medication, syrup, and ink. Bottles are typically made of glass, ceramic, clay, aluminium, plastic, or similar materials. Although everyone is familiar with and utilises bottles on a daily basis, their existence is based solely on the principle of utility for their function. Perhaps humans need more leisure to consider the significance of a bottle in depth. This is because bottles are deemed too straightforward and a waste of mental effort. A bottle teaches humans vital lessons and correlates with their character. This is due to the fact that, upon closer inspection, the existence of a bottle is closely correlated with the human personality. The bottle represents the physical aspect, while its contents represent the spiritual side. Several connections between beverages and personality are noteworthy, including:
First, the container conforms the water to its shape and dimensions. However, the water only conforms to the shape of the container as long as it is contained within it. However, when the water is outside of the bottle, it cannot alter its shape unless it freezes. Such is the symbolic relationship between the bottle’s physical form and water’s spiritual form. If the body “shepherds” the spirit, the behaviour will be in opposition to the interior word. If the spiritual becomes the physical’s torch, then noble conduct will manifest. One of them will be dominant in terms of good and evil behaviour and values, good and bad, honest and treacherous, and other variants of attitudes. The behaviour of the body may appear to “display” spiritual qualities, but it does not always reflect its true nature. This is due to the fact that the appearance of physical virtue is not necessarily indicative of spiritual purity, especially as inclinations are constantly evolving. And likewise. Allah reminds us of this in His word: “Dear believers! Do not make outsiders (of the same religion) your closest confidants, as they will continue to cause you trouble. They anticipate your demise. Indeed, hatred emanates from their mouths, and what lies concealed within their souls is even worse. Indeed, We have conveyed (Our) verses to you, if you are able to comprehend” (al-Imran: 118).
In a similar vein, the Prophet issued the following warning: “Love the one you love rationally, for he may one day become the one you despise. And hate the one you loathe as much as you can, maybe one day he who you hate will become the one you love” (HR. Tirmidzi).
The preceding verse and hadith remind us of our humanity. This is due to the fact that the outward manifestations of kindness do not always reflect the inner state of the individual and can last a long time. The opposite may be true. The appearance of a round vessel only ensures that the water within it will always be round. Because if water is moved in an oval vessel, the water itself will take on an oval shape. In actuality, a pretty bottle does not inherently indicate that the water inside is delicious and fresh or vice versa.
Second, the bottle’s entrance and neck are narrower than its body. The objective is to store more material while preventing water loss. At the same time, some humans choose to have a more enormous mouth and neck than abdominal size. The mouth speaks beyond its capacity, and the throat consumes everything that exceeds the stomach’s capacity. While the “body” is unbalanced in order to accommodate the excessive contents. Sheikh Nawawi al-Bantani reminded us of this through his advice: “The cause of the corruption of the people before you are three things: too much talk, too much food, and too much sleep.” The initial two items are harmful to the mouth and oesophagus (neck). In addition, this corruption is exacerbated by lengthy “sleep” and closed eyes, which result in apathy and structured negligence. When this occurs, civilisation and human dignity will inevitably be destroyed.
Third, water bottles of various labels are beautifully named and offer various flavours. The packaging varies and is adorned with enticing promotional materials that offer various benefits. With varied shapes, brands, flavours, and enticing marketing, the price and value vary. All bottled goods feel superior and compete to be the best. In reality, the contents are the same, namely drinking water, which only sometimes tastes as good or as aesthetically pleasing as the bottle’s shape.
Thus, humans are similar to bottles in that they always rely on and exhibit the pursuit of prey.
The pursuit can take various forms, including physical appearance, materials, ranks, positions, and titles. Or, the argument is limited to a persuasive rhetorical display and cloud-shattering promises, but they are all false and contain nothing but falsehoods. The prioritised substance for the proprietor of such a chase is limited to accessories that dazzle the eyes. The focus is solely on achieving the primary objective (material). Because of this, efforts to beautify and enhance the pursuit are always prioritised, despite the fact that the substance behind the chasing is vastly different, frequently disappointing, and contradictory.
Fourth, In general, the value of a bottle depends on the grade of its contents. The price of a bottle will vary depending on whether it contains mineral water, nectar, milk, honey, fragrance oil, or other substances. The value of each container increases with the calibre of its contents. Harmonising bottles and their contents do not require publication and striking each other down for humans to consider it valuable.
Consequently, the actual value of a vessel will increase or decrease based on its contents. Even if the container is made of plastic and has an ordinary appearance, but it contains honey of the highest quality, the price will be high. Even if the bottle is made of glass and has a beautiful appearance, if the contents are filthy, excrement or poisonous, the bottle will lose value and may even be discarded. This is a characteristic of every human being. When the spirit contains virtue or truth, the body (chase) will be helpful and valuable. However, suppose the spirit is fertile with reproach, spreading hatred and enmity, believing oneself to be the most noble and virtuous, distorting facts, or other variants of negative characteristics. In that case, it will only reveal the inferiority of the self. Even if the body is polished by material, position, rank, and even a series of titles, humiliation will be garnered if the spirit and mind contain only “dirt.” Although many are deceived, the deception will not last long. He will only receive praise proportional to his “power” or the “stench” he has concealed. If “power” vanishes and “stench” is exposed, accolades will become demeaning and shameful. This appears to be a magnificent bottle, but it contains toilet water that will be discarded and shunned.
Fifth, the water has been consumed and savoured; the bottle is typically discarded. When the spirit has separated from the body, the corpse will return to the earth. It comes out that when the spirit (content) is no longer present, the body will be “abandoned” from the splendour of the world, despite the fact that it is worshipped and adorned with colours and accessories during life.
This symbol can also manifest itself in living humans. When the self is helpful, everyone will be near, and praise will “win sympathy” and prevent the “bottle from breaking.” But if you are no longer able to provide benefits and “the contents have run out,” everything will be discarded as trash.
Sixth, empty bottles are only available at a low price as used items. In contrast, contents without containers cannot provide additional benefits and will only leak. This is the situation with humans. If the body lacks the spirit, it cannot provide any benefits and will be abandoned. In contrast, the spirit without a physical body cannot benefit others. When the body and spirit do not meet, they will be abandoned and unable to provide benefits.
However, it is odd that humans frequently choose empty vessels. It makes no difference whether it is vacant or full, nor the quality of its contents. For him, it is essential to be able to fill his “stomach” with water. The objective is to appear satiated while actually consuming only poison. For him, the danger is not in the container (self) but in the drinker.
Seventh, if a bottle’s cap is loose or unscrewed, the entire contents will stream out. Similarly, if Allah reveals his shame, everyone will be humiliated. Likewise, a bottle without a cap allows dust and other contaminants to infiltrate and contaminate the water. The bottle lid represents the faith of the servant.” Indeed, We created man in the finest form, then We return him to the lowest, except for those who believe and perform good deeds; they will be rewarded without interruption” (QS. at Tin: 4-6).
Allah, according to Quraish Shihab, created man from particles and the divine spirit. Both are components of a whole. If the allure of the earth is stronger than the attraction of the divine spirit, then he will fall to the lowest level, even below animals. Allah reveals this in His words: “Indeed, We have created for them souls, but they do not use them to comprehend; eyes, but they do not use them to see; and ears, but they do not use them to hear. They resemble livestock and are even more disoriented. They are the ones who are naive” (QS al-A’raf: 179).
Quraish Shihab said Allah created man from dust and the divine spirit. Both are part of a whole. If the attraction of the earth overcomes the attraction of the divine spirit, he will fall to the lowest level, even lower than animals. Allah reveals this through His words: “And indeed We have made for them of the Jinn and men, they have hearts, but they do not use them to understand, they have eyes, but they do not use them to see, and they have ears, but they do not use them to hear. They are like cattle, and they are even more astray. They are the ignorant ones” (QS. al-A’raf: 179).
In reference to the verse above, Allah SWT has endowed humanity with four (four) fundamental capacities through the union of earth and divine spirit: (1) Physical potential leads to physical prowess in humans. (2) The potential for existence enables humans to work, protect one another, and engage in productive endeavours. (3) the capacity of reason that enables humans always to ponder, populate, and construct civilisation rather than destroy it. (4) the capacity of the heart that enables humans to experience the delicacy of faith and develop into “tasty” civilised (moral) individuals.
When faith exists as the instructor, the four possibilities above will be brought into harmony. Harmonising this potential will lead to vertical and horizontal salvation for humans. Therefore, Buya Hamka’s analogy that “faith without knowledge is like a lantern in the hands of a child” is not excessive. However, without faith, knowledge is like a lantern in the hands of a criminal.” This is due to the fact that only the combination of knowledge and faith, which results in adab, will elevate human status. This is consistent with the apostolic mission of the Prophet Muhammad SAW, as expressed in his words: “Indeed, I (Muhammad) was sent to perfect morals (adab)” HR. Bukhari, Baihaqi, Ahmad, and al-Hakim.
Suppose that the quality of a container is determined by its contents or that the quality of a physical object is determined by its spiritually-motivated practises. In this case, the character of a scientific degree is determined by its work and demeanour. Indeed, human history turns out to be a repetition. The only distinctions are the actors and the period. History should serve as a lesson so that positive behaviours are continued and harmful behaviours are abandoned. When the opposite decision is made, however, the self is degraded like a bottle filled with filth that destroys civilisation. Or, perhaps the bottle is more noble because it once contained the perfume that perfumed the civilisation of heaven and earth. However, once the fragrance has been exhausted, the container will be discarded. Even though the humans have forgotten the contents of the bottle that they once relished because it has “evaporated” and lost its fragrance, they will discard the bottle. Rest assured, however, that the inhabitants of heaven will never forget the scent of the fragrant oil of sincerity that was once contained in the bottle.
Wa Allahua’lam bi al-Shawwab.
Translated by Riska Saputra
Alumni STAIN Bengkalis