“In the Bible story of “The Tower of Babel,” we are given the cause of the fall, the ruin, and the trouble that came -upon the society (nation). That cause was the confusion that came into human life because of the accumulation and the massive increase of knowledge that was other than revealed knowledge. The word “Babel’ has in it the word “bab,” which in Semitic language means “door” or “book.” A book or a body of knowledge is an opening because it opens the way to new understanding and to broader discoveries. This simple word “bab” gives the invitation for men to open up and come into a new field of knowledge.
The Tower of Babel is a story, which gives a description of the many diverse philosophies that grew up among the people. Because these philosophies did not respect the idea of God or divine worship, they caused nothing but confusion. Of the many philosophies that grew out of the human study, some were built upon the knowledge of the ground (knowledge of the physical environment); some were built upon the knowledge of fertility in nature; some were built upon the knowledge of emotionalism in the human being; some were built upon the knowledge of greed; and some were built upon the knowledge of love and lust.
These philosophies grew up as “bab,” or “babel,” as baby talk. There is a hint or a suggestion of baby in the word “babel.” We could go on with further discussion on this word and we could go into other definitions of scriptural language to make the word clear to you, but it may be confusing at this time. For now, it is enough that you understand that the Tower of Babel was a tower or a great mass of philosophies, which were not based on respect for God.
When we read the history of the world, we find that there came a great period of philosophies behind the great religious teachings. Behind that period of philosophies there came a period of spiritual darkness. After God gave man the instruction, to fill the earth, to subdue it, and to make good use of it understand what brought about the fall of great nations that rose up on the earth. We must also understand the terminology of scripture to understand the cause, the fall, and the effect of the Tower of Babel on humanity.
From Genesis to Revelations we have the three concepts of land, water, and air taking on different outer appearances but having the same inner nature and function. The ancient people in religion saw water as a good symbol for the moral makeup of the human being because morals are like water. Water, which has to be contained in something, has the property to clean (remove filth) but it can also be made filthy and polluted.
The land contains the water, so the ancient people used the land to symbolize laws. Some land is softer than other land like some laws are softer than other laws. Air was used as a symbol to represent prophecy and spiritual teachings. So we see that the ancient religious people used good words as symbols for great ideas that they had in the body of their religion.
Brother and Sister, it is important that each one of you understand that you are a power in creation. The thing that separates you from other creation is your freedom of movement. As a human being, you have a greater freedom of movement than any other creature in creation. You can master your flesh, which responds to you and follows you and you follow it.
You dictate to your hands and your hands do what you want them to do. You dictate to your feet and your feet do what you want them to do. Your heart, which is the sentimental part of yourself, responds to emotions and it responds to what is morally right and morally wrong. The heart is related to the human conscience.
The third part of our makeup is the intelligence. If you are to worship God, you have to worship Him in the physical flesh by submitting your physical body to do what is right. You -also have to submit your heart (sentiments) to God and do what you feel in your heart is good for you. You avoid the thing that you feel in your heart that is bad for you.
You also have a brain that is able to question the movements of the feet (flesh) and the heart. Sometimes your brain will tell the heart not to go a certain way because it knows that the way is not good for you. Th6ref ore, the human being should worship God in that part of his makeup that is superior. That part is his brain (mind).
If the religious language of today had been interpreted from the original religious language and composed in the likeness of the original religious language, we would have an intelligent religious world instead of the confused, false religious philosophies of a Tower of Babel. In an intelligent religious world, there is religious life, light, human success, and prosperity. We would have these benefits not only in the physical world, but in the moral world and in the intellectual world also.”
Imam W. D. Muhammad, Muhammad Speaks (Muslim Journal), “THE TOWER OF BABEL,” 11/07/1975.