One of the amusing paradoxes about the Islamic tradition is the fact that the conception of God is quite simple (radically One), but the conception of the human being is subtle and nuanced.
That subtlety is expressed in myriad ways: the incomparable sage Rumi says: “The human being is like a jackass, with wings of angels tacked on.” We are all mixtures of good and evil, light and darkness, lower than the animal, and more sublime than the sublime. This is what the Qur’an expresses as God having created the human in the “loveliest of forms” (fi ahsan al-taqwim, لَقَدْ خَلَقْنَا الْإِنْسَانَ فِي أَحْسَنِ تَقْوِيمٍ ﴿95:4﴾) and then bringing us to “the lowest of the low.” ثُمَّ رَدَدْنَاهُ أَسْفَلَ سَافِلِينَ
Rumi continues that same paradox by a story he adapts from the Greek philosopher Diogenes: Rumi states:
Last night the spiritual teacher was wandering around the town, with a lit torch at hand. He said: "I am sick and tired of these two-legged beasts. I want to find one real human being."
Everyone said: "O, there is not even one of those to be found."
He said: “That very one that is not to be found, that’s the one that I seek with heart and soul.”
Diogenes’ tale is one of cynicism, bemoaning the fact that there is not a single honest person to be found.
Rumi’s tale is a classically Muslim one, acknowledging the paradox that each and every single one of us is created by God, in the image of God, containing the spirit of God inside, in the primordial nature (fitrah).
At the same time, very few of us actually live life to that full potential, and fail to live life as a full and complete human being.
In other words, we do not live as a real and complete human being, we have to become a real human being.
The one we seek is the one we have to become.
May God help make of us a real human being.
دی شیخ با چراغ همی گشت گرد شهر کز دیو و دد ملولم و انسانم آرزوست