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The Purpose of Life

Description: What is the meaning of life? Why am I here? The answers you are looking for.

By Aisha Stacey (© 2015 NewMuslims.com)

Published on 08 Jul 2015 - Last modified on 02 Aug 2015

Printed: 93 - Emailed: 0 - Viewed: 6025 (daily average: 7)

Category: Lessons > Merits of Islam > Excellent features of Islam


Objectives

·       To understand the reason for our creation.

·       To understand that worship encompasses all aspects of daily life and obedience to Allah’s commands.

Arabic Terms

·       Dunya - this world, as opposed to the world of the Hereafter.

·       Akhirah - the Hereafter, the life after death.

·       Sunnah - The word Sunnah has several meanings depending on the area of study however the meaning is generally accepted to be, whatever was reported that the Prophet said, did, or approved.

·       Jinn - A creation of Allah that was created before humankind from smokeless flame. They are referred to at times as spirit beings, banshees, poltergeists, phantoms and so forth. 

·       Hadith – (plural – ahadith) is a piece of information or a story.  In Islam it is a narrative record of the sayings and actions of Prophet Muhammad and his companions.

Why am I here is an age old question that has plagued humankind for millennia.  What is the purpose of my life, what is the purpose of anyone’s life? Those and other similar questions have been asked by people as long as human life has existed.  It is expressed by someone, somewhere all the time.  It is expressed in many different forms, such as "What should I do?", "Why are we here?", "What is life all about?", and "What is the purpose of existence?" and even "Does life exist at all?"  In the great scheme of things Muslims are in a very privileged position because when these existential questions pop into our minds we are able to comprehend the answer.

The reason that we (humankind) are here, on this tiny planet spinning in a seemingly infinite universe, is to worship Allah and Allah Alone.   This is the purpose for which we were created.  It is not a secret or a mystery nor is it an enigma or a puzzle.   Finding the meaning of life is possible with only one thing, a desire to fulfil Allah’s plan.  There is no need for hours or months or years of searching and yearning.

“And I (Allah) created not the jinn and humankind, except to worship Me (Alone).” (Quran 51:56)

“Oh humankind, worship Allah, you have no other Allah but Him.” (Quran 7:59)

However it is important to understand that Allah is not in need of human worship.  If not a single human worshipped Allah, it would not diminish His glory in any way, and if all of humankind worshipped Him, it would not increase His glory in any way.[1]   

“If Allah helps you none can overcome you, and if He forsakes you, who is there, after Him, that can help you? And in Allah (alone) let believers put their trust." (Quran 3:160)

"O humankind! It is you who stand in need of Allah, but Allah is Rich (Free of all wants and needs), Worthy of all praise." (Quran 35:15)

Because we are fragile humans we need the comfort and security of worshipping Allah.  In addition to that we will not find true happiness and contentment until we at the very least attempt to fulfil our purpose in life.  The purpose of our existence is more meaningful than being slaves to the dunya.  Allah states that the reality of this dunya is full of deception and warns us not to fall for its temporary enjoyments.  We should focus on our purpose in life in order to secure our place in the Akhirah.

In a hadith Prophet Muhammad tells us that, “Allah says, 'Son of Adam, fill your time with my worship and I will fill your heart with richness, and end your poverty.  But if you do not, I will make your hands busy (in dunya affairs) and I would not end your poverty.’”[2]

The religion of Islam explains our purpose plainly, whilst giving us clear guidelines to follow in order to make our worship easier and more fulfilling.  Everything is explained in the Quran and the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad.  They are our guide books for a life full of purpose and contentment.    They are the only means to true happiness but this however does not mean that we will not be tried and tested.   Allah states very clearly in Quran that He will test us.   

“He who created death and life to test you [as to] which of you is best in deed...” (Quran 67:1-2)

Of course the life of a human being can be filled with play and pleasure, but this is not the purpose of our lives.  Allah says in the Quran that we were indeed created for a purpose beyond that of mere delight and enjoyment.  The reality of life is that we will be resurrected to account for every detail of our lives.

“Did you think that We had created you in play (without any purpose), and that you would not be brought back to Us?” (Quran 23:115)

One of the easiest ways to have the best of everything is to worship Allah in everything that we do.  Islam makes this easy.  It is as simple as following the guidelines set out for us.  To remember Allah at every opportunity and to conduct our lives knowing that Allah is watching us, and angels are recording our every move.  By worshipping Allah we are doing ourselves a favour.  When we are God-conscious we act in an upright manner and stay away from being evil and oppressing others.  And we also know that the laws of Islam are designed for our own benefit and they guide us to the best course of action in all situations.   

Remembering Allah relieves stress and worry and leaves a person focussed on the true purpose of life.  However the human condition is not always peaceful, anxiety can touch us at any moment, and we have no control over that however we are able to control our reaction.  If we react to stress and anxiety by turning to Allah we will successfully navigate life’s thoroughfare.    

“Verily, in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest” (Quran13:28)

The purpose of life is to recognise Allah and His signs, and to be grateful to Him.  It entails being thankful, counting our blessings and obeying Allah’s commandments.  The meaning of life is contained within our worship.  Every time we live our lives surrendered to the will of Allah we are fulfilling our purpose.  Worship the Creator, is the purpose of life and the message has come down to humankind through all Allah’s prophets and messengers.

“And your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him…” (Quran 17:23)

“And We did not send any messenger before you (O Muhammad) but We revealed to him (saying), none has the right to be worshipped but I (Allah) so worship Me (Alone and none else).” (Quran 21:25)



Footnotes:

[1] 1 The Purpose of Creation by Dr Abu Ameenah Bilal Philips.

[2] Classified as good by At Tirmidhi

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