Purpose of Life
What is the purpose of life?
There is a famous saying: “A fool lives to eat but a wise man eats to live”. We don’t want to think of ourselves as fools so we must agree that we eat to live too. So that thought should lead us to ask ourselves, for what purpose so we live?
Basic questions we should ask ourselves:
- Where do we come from?
- Where are we headed?
- Why do we exist?
- What makes us different for all other beings, be they plant or animal
In essence, is their an aim to the life that we live? When all is said and done, is our life aimless? Are the things we do for no reason at all?
If you think about it, without an aim in life, we deprive ourselves of good things and a good life. If we don’t have an aim in life, can we have anything real and substantial?
- Peace? Security? Peace of mind? Goals? Desires? To fulfill what purpose?
Have you asked yourself: What do you live for?
- To make money? Money runs out. Money does not help us to always be happy or satisfy all our emotional or physical needs.
- To raise children? If we don’t have an aim in life, then how do we raise the children to have an aim in life themselves? ()
- To study? To what end will all that intelligence be used for if there’s no reason to share it with anyone else?
- To enjoy life to its fullest and not care for anything but your own needs? What happens when the “fun-ness” of things wears out?
What happens when there are hardships?
- Will money help you if you have an incurable disease like cancer? After what little money you have left is used to alleviate some of the physical pains, will it do anything else for your emotional happiness? Or take away the fear of dying too soon?
- Will children help you when you are in a country all by yourself and you need help at that moment?
- Will your knowledge help you if a madman comes at you with a gun? Will it help you to decide whether to take a loved one off of life support?
Allah says: Your riches and your children may be but a trial: but in the Presence of Allah, is the highest, Reward – 64:15
So what is an aim in life that might far exceed all our expectations and help us overcome our short comings?
What if the aim of our lives was to worship Allah?
57:20 - Know that the life of the world is only play, and idle talk, and pageantry, and boasting among you, and rivalry in respect of wealth and children; as the likeness of vegetation after rain, whereof the growth is pleasing to the husbandman, but afterward it dries up and thou see it turning yellow, then it becomes straw. And in the Hereafter there is grievous punishment, and (also) forgiveness from Allah and His good pleasure, whereas the life of the world is but matter of illusion
Ask yourself, if believing in Allah was the aim to life, would it give you a good life?
- Peace? Security? Peace of mind? Goals and desires? To fulfill a purpose?
- Money? Knowledge? Children?
- Self gratification?
What about through hardships? Will Allah suffice you or help you in some way that money, children, self gratification or knowledge can not give you?
As Muslims, we are told that Allah exists and that we should worship Him always.
But why should we worship Allah? As human beings don’t we need a reason to do what we do?
We must seek knowledge to gain a true understanding of who we are and to better appreciate the gift of Islam that we received.
Allah says in various ayat in the Quran:
47 (Muhammad):24 - Do they not then earnestly seek to understand the Qur'an, or are their hearts locked up by them?
54 (Al Qamar-The moon):40 -And We have indeed made the Qur'an easy to understand and remember: then is there any that will receive admonition.
We must seek knowledge about who we are and why we were created. We must seek knowledge about who Allah is and why we worship Him. When a person knows who they are and know the reason behind what they do or don’t do, it empowers them and brings confidence into their beings. This knowledge of ourselves and our surroundings puts a sense of purpose to our lives and is the key to success in our lives; not fame and fortune or children or the knowledge of a subject or any other worldly thing.
There are signs all around us to the presence of Allah.
- sunrise and sunset; the seasons;
- growing things all around us; the human being and it’s creation
- history tells us that nations were here before us that were taken away by Allah
Some examples from the Quran:
30:40 - It is Allah Who has created you: further, He has provided for your sustenance; then He will cause you to die; and again He will give you life. Are there any of your (false) "Partners" who can do any single one of these things? Glory to Him! and high is He above the partners they attribute (to him)!
57 (Al Hadid – the Iron):4 - He it is Who created the heavens and the earth in Six Days,
30:46 - Among His Signs is this, that He sends the Winds, as heralds of Glad Tidings, giving you a taste of His (Grace and) Mercy,- that the ships may sail (majestically) by His Command and that ye may seek of His Bounty: in order that ye may be grateful.
35 ():11 - And Allah did create you from dust; then from a sperm-drop; then He made you in pairs. And no female conceives, or lays down (her load), but with His knowledge. Nor is a man long-lived granted length of days, nor is a part cut off from his life, but is in a Decree (ordained). All this is easy to Allah.
35:12 - Nor are the two bodies of flowing water alike,- the one palatable, sweet, and pleasant to drink, and the other, salt and bitter. Yet from each (kind of water) do ye eat flesh fresh and tender, and ye extract ornaments to wear; and thou seest the ships therein that plough the waves, that ye may seek (thus) of the Bounty of Allah that ye may be grateful.
35:13 -He merges Night into Day, and he merges Day into Night, and he has subjected the sun and the moon (to his Law): each one runs its course for a term appointed. Such is Allah your Lord: to Him belongs all Dominion. And those whom ye invoke besides Him have not the least power.
Allah says in Quran Sura 64 (At Taghabun – Mutual Disillusion ) Verse 4-5
“He (Allah) knows what is in the heavens and on earth; and He knows what ye conceal and what ye reveal: yea, Allah knows well the (secrets) of (all) hearts. Has not the story reached you, of those who rejected Faith aforetime? So they tasted the evil result of their conduct; and they had a grievous Penalty.”
30 (Al-Room – The Romans): 42 - Say: "Travel through the earth and see what was the end of those before (you): Most of them worshipped others besides Allah."
46 (Al Ahqaf – The Wind Curved Sandhills):26 - We destroyed aforetime populations round about you; and We have shown the Signs in various ways, that they may turn (to Us).
65 (At-Talaq - Divorce):8 - How many populations that insolently opposed the Command of their Lord and of His messengers, did We not then call to account,- to severe account?- and We imposed on them an exemplary Punishment.
Some stories we will cover in the near future about the nations before us:
- Prophet Nuh as and the flood.
Prophet Lut as and the people of
- Prophet Hud as and the people of Ad who were destroyed by wind.
- Prophet Salih as and the people of Thamud who were destroyed by a mighty blast.
- Prophet Musa as and Pharoah (Firawn)
These are only a few examples.
We need to take, seriously to heart, the many warnings that Allah has given us to worship Him and to live our lives by His words and teachings.
Our Hearts and the Attainment of Ihsan
Remember: The ultimate reward is with Allah. True faith leads to Allah.
Sahih Bukhari: Volume 1, Book 2, Number 47: Narrated Abu Huraira (ra):
One day while the Prophet (saws) was sitting in the company of some people, (The angel) Gabriel (ra) came and asked, "What is faith?" Allah's Apostle replied, 'Faith is to believe in Allah, His angels, (the) meeting with Him, His Apostles, and to believe in Resurrection." Then he further asked, "What is Islam?" Allah's Apostle replied, "To worship Allah Alone and none else, to offer prayers perfectly to pay the compulsory charity (Zakat) and to observe fasts during the month of Ramadan." Then he further asked, "What is Ihsan (perfection)?" Allah's Apostle replied, "To worship Allah as if you see Him, and if you cannot achieve this state of devotion then you must consider that He is looking at you."
As Muslims, our ultimate goal should be to achieve Ihsan. To reach a state of Ihsan is to reach for Allah. For Ihsan to happen we must be able to soften our hearts and let Allah enter it. A soft heart allows us to feel that Allah is near us.
Imagine you are standing in salah. As you recite Sura Fateha, you feel something inside your heart that is starting to get heavy. As you recite your eyes start to fill with moisture and you don’t know why, but its happening. Imagine yourself finishing reciting the surah’s and you are bowing for ruku and going down for the sajdah and feelings start to overwhelm you. Your eyes begin to water more heavily and you still are not sure why its happening. You have no real worry and no one has hurt you in any way so why the tears? This state of tenderness that overcomes you is a state that you can achieve if you let your heart be open to these feelings. You can never attain it if your heart is closed.
Quranic Arabic consists of words made from 2 or more basic letters connected together with vowels. One combination of letters can be used to make many words. Just like the words used in Latin, the base letters have a similar meaning and words derived from the letters have a similar meaning or reference.
In Arabic, the word for the heart is Qlb. In Arabic the word for “say” is Ql (in its various forms as Qul or Qala).
Know that there is no randomness to the beauty of Allah and His message. He shows us His mercy in ways that we least expect.
Note that the only way you can say anything is either by having knowledge or being taught that knowledge to “say something”. This is the wonder that Allah shows us in this world so that we will be ready for the hereafter. That the word for “say” should be similar to the word for the heart is not something to overlook. That the word for the heart should be similar to a word that asks us to seek knowledge should not be a wonder. That the word Ql is such an affirmative word further shows the importance of seeking that knowledge.
Knowledge is the key to the heart. The more we know, the more we learn of the beauties of Allah and His mercy on us. The more our hearts become softer, the more quickly we can let Him into our lives.
The ultimate goal in any Muslim’s life can be found in our own abilities to seek knowledge. Allah gave us that ability from childhood. Even persons who can’t see or hear have found ways to find knowledge. Ask yourself what hinders you and you can overcome that hindrance. Once you’ve overcome that hindrance, you can start on the road to reaching Ihsan; to reaching a state where tears fill your eyes when you recite Allah’s words in salah or in dhikr or just talking to another person.
46:15 - "O my Lord! Grant me that I may be grateful for Your favor which You have bestowed upon me, and upon both my parents, and that I may work righteousness such as You may approve; and be gracious to me in my issue. Truly have I turned to You and truly do I bow (to You) in Islam."
May Allah reward us for our efforts and help us to attain Ihsan as quickly as possible. Ameen.
Article: Be Convinced - http://www.beconvinced.com/en/article.php?articleid=0166&subcatname=Selected%20Articles
Website: Quran and Hadith Search - http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/
Website: Quran- Index, Arabic Text, Transliteration in English - http://www.qurantransliteration.org/quran/index2.htm
Book: Perished Nations – Harun Yahya
Book: Sahih Bukhari