The purpose of the ‘human I’ is to act as a unit of measurement with which to gauge the attributes of God.
Just as ‘I’ build a house, so too, then, does God construct the whole universe. Just as ‘I’ am merciful to my children, so too, then, is God merciful to His creation.
The ‘I’ finds within itself hundreds of ‘samples’ of Divine attributes, placed there so that it is able to make a connection between itself and its Creator, the True Owner of those attributes.
Thus when the ‘I’ sees within itself wisdom, it is moved to consider the existence of Divine wisdom. And when the ‘I’ sees within itself justice, it is moved to consider the existence of Divine justice.
The purpose of the ‘I’, then, is simply to show its owner Who its real Owner is.
Once the ‘I’ has realized that attributes such as mercy and wisdom can in reality belong to One and One only, it must begin to give up its temporary and imaginary ownership of its own attributes and surrender (taslim) them to their rightful Master.
But this is where the problems begin. For ‘I’ does not want to give up the attributes it considers to be its own; it does not want to admit that the hundreds of ‘samples’ of perfection it finds within it are not really its own.
And so the battle begins: ‘I’ or He, me or Him, man or God….
Dr. Colin Turner
Author of “Islam: The Basics”