Book Summary: Man & The Universe

Title: Man and The Universe
Author: Mostafa al-Badawi
Genre: Religion, Society
Release Date: 1998


Why did you choose to read this particular book?

The cover and title caught my attention. It made me ponder about our purpose and connection with the universe once more. I was curious to hear Mostafa’s thoughts on this matter, considering that we both share the Muslim faith. I wondered if he would also touch upon the Islamic perspective.

Summary of book

In his book “Man & The Universe,” Mostafa al Badawi provides a concise summary of Islam and its relationship with the universe. He explores the structure of both man and the universe, considering both individual and social contexts. To start, he delves into the concept of the cosmos and its creator. He discusses the attributes of the Creator and the Islamic belief regarding creation and the material world. Mostafa takes a literal interpretation of the texts, unlike some scholars who view them metaphorically. This may make his description of creation seem like a fairy tale, but he acknowledges that God uses symbols to describe His attributes and creation. He strikes a balance between the literal text and a broader understanding of God and His attributes, considering what is rationally possible and impossible. For instance, he highlights that God is not confined by space, and the idea of Him sitting on a throne implies many things. Mostafa also emphasizes the interconnectedness of everything in creation and the existence of different realms. He mentions pairs of creation, as Allah states that He has created us in pairs, while God Himself remains unique. This concept applies to various aspects, such as male and female, sun and moon, summer and winter, day and night, mountains and plains, land and sea, as well as knowledge and ignorance, vice and virtue, love and hate, and more. The discussion then shifts to the perception of time, both from a divine and human perspective. Mostafa explores how time is understood, measured, and whether it can be manipulated. Finally, he delves into the topic of man himself and his destiny within the vast universe and cosmos. In Islam, man is not merely a physical body but also possesses a soul. Mostafa delves into the Islamic concept of the soul and its existence before entering the human form. This leads to a discussion about the different stages of the soul.

Mostafa al-Badawi discusses the concept of man and his place in the vast universe and cosmos. In Islam, man is not just a physical being, but also has a soul. Mostafa talks about the Islamic belief regarding the soul and its existence before entering the human body. He then delves into the different stages of human life, including before birth, life in this world, death, the Hereafter, and the ultimate destinations of Paradise or Hell.

With the soul, comes the unique combination of genetics and personality, which defines an individual. Mustafa also touches upon the significance of dreams in Islam.

Moving on, he explores the different times that humans experience, whether it be times of peace or war, justice or tyranny. Mostafa discusses how people react to these times and what Islam teaches about them. He looks at it from two perspectives – the general human perspective of striving for peace and the inner struggle of a Muslim to maintain a content soul while adhering to their way of life, which may involve sin and hypocrisy. This leads to the topic of Islamic eschatology, which examines how the end of times will unfold and what we know about people’s behavior during that period. There is a constant reflection on how some of these events have already occurred and who plays a central role in them.

And then he turns his gaze towards the West. He takes a closer look at Western civilization, often portrayed as advanced, modern, and democratic. However, he sheds light on the numerous issues plaguing the West, such as indoctrination, pollution, social and moral disorders, psychological disorders, and even the questionable credibility of scientists.

This serves as a wake-up call for those Westerners who have a narrow perspective and believe they are superior. It aims to expose the reality.

In contrast, he emphasizes the normative values of Islam. It is important to note that Islam itself and the practice of Muslims are two separate things. Muslims may not always be perfect practitioners of Islam, so it is unfair to judge the religion based on their actions. He then delves into the individual values, social dynamics, virtues and vices, rules of engagement, marriage, parenthood, death, and work ethics within Islam. Finally, he discusses the concept of jihad in the context of Islam.

The chapters are as follows:

  • Chapter 1: The Universe from an Islamic perspective
  • Chapter 2: Man from an Islamic perspective
  • Chapter 3: Western Civilisation
  • Chapter 4: Normative Islamic Values
  • Chapter 5: Islamic psychotherapy
  • Chapter 6: Islamic Jihad

What stood out for you

A good book that brings together many Islamic concepts. And how Islam is a way of life, not a singular religion all about ritual and Sunday service.

Key Points

Mostafa al Badawi provides a comprehensive overview of Islam and its relationship with the universe. We are not randomly here on earth. We are beings who need to relate back to Allah. From the soul entering this realm and descending to earth, to the practice of returning and connecting back to the world. Afterall we said ‘Balaa’ to Allah in the realm of souls.

What you dislike

Some advanced concepts within the book, if you’ve never read the Qur’an, studied Islam generally, studied Islam tawhid, Aqidah or Ilm ul Kalaam, I feel there are many nuances, a person will miss out on.



Has the book met its objective?

Yes, it definitely takes one step closer to understanding mans relation. It leaves one thinking, this is the nature of man over time, and this is the Islamic proposal.

What would you change

I wonder what Mostafa would add if he wrote it in 2023.

What type of reader would enjoy this book

All readers who want direction in thinking about mans relation to the universe, and then those who want the Islamic perspective.

Would you recommend this book


Final Verdict:

Read more reviews here: Book Review – The Wise Word

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