The Purpose of Life
Humanity has progressed and evolved much over the centuries in the field of technological development including the sciences pertaining to all aspects of life, especially in the realms of sciences and studies that have to do with the medical and wellbeing of humans, still there are some questions that have gnawed at the very core of human beings since the dawn of time be it consciously or unconsciously. The issues of the metaphysics have always been there to plague the waking rational thoughts of the human creature that prides so much in its intellect. It is among these questions that the most thought one of by people of all walks of life is what is the purpose of human existence?
For centuries now philosophers and thinkers, the so called intellects of the species have been debating this issue and are still desperately seeking the answer of the reason to why humans exist. Especially after the advancement in space travel and the studies of the almost infinite universe around us, the question of what such a small and minute species like us doing among all these gargantuan celestial bodies has only gotten stronger. There are those that have taken the route of philosophy to answer this question, some went towards the way of science. To many people these two are the only logical podiums from which an answer can be found, but what they don’t realize is that there is a third type of understanding. This question has already been answered in the light of religion.
Finding the Path
Perhaps one of the things that most people who are not religious tend the hardest to believe is that the sense of finding their purpose in life and why they are here comes built in them. Let us now take a common example. Consider a man who has spent his life in every kind of indulgence in his life, and it is very common to find that even among those that have all they can in this life, they still feel like there is a void in their very existence, the feeling that something is indeed missing. There comes a time in almost every person’s life when he or she decides to get serious regarding what they are doing here. But the main obstacle that they run into from the start is, when there are so many paths, how do they find which is the right one and how to follow it.
The Thought Process of Someone Coming to the Right Conclusions
There are seldom any kinds of people that think that there is not a purpose behind the creation of this world. Even the greatest minds of science and philosophy, even thought they might oppose the concept of a higher being, tend to lean towards there being a reason why we have come into existence and the very thought that humans just came into being and will eventually die does not sit with them because in this vast universe, that is too big and obscure of a coincidence to be taken seriously. Humans coming into being are no coincidence and most people already acknowledge that there is a purpose behind them being here. No matter what the beliefs of the person, he or she cannot deny the intricate detail of our very design down to our fingernails is amazing, which means that these things couldn’t have been created without an agenda behind them.
Gratitude & Appreciation
One characteristic of decency is gratitude. If a person helps you fix your car tire, it is human decency to thank them. It will be highly indecent of you and inappropriate of you to leave without thanking the individual’s help to you. Human decency is common among all the religions. When you realize that you have a creator, you realize He has created you in such a perfect way and given you characteristics that He has not given to other creatures, He has also given you all of these faculties that are amazing that we did not even have to pay for, such as our eyes and hands etc. and on top of all these things He has given us sustenance, like the water we drink the air we breathe and the food we eat, the family that we enjoy, the house that we live in etc. All of these things are just poured on us and given to us for free, so it is only natural that in every decent person or in any person in fact, somewhere in their mind there will be a thought of at least being grateful for all that they have. It is amazing to see often that even those that are not religious, when something good happens to them, they tend to Thank God for their good luck.
Along with a sense of gratitude, there is also a sense of appreciation. Meaning the Creator did not only help us, He helped us in such a profound way. The vastness of the universe, the flawlessness’ of the sky above among countless other things, will fill a person with awe at the great power of this Creator.
Who Can Tell Us our Purpose?
The question then arises, who is the best person to tell us of our purpose. As an example, any person who manufactures something manufactures it for a reason. When humans design something, they design it for a purpose. So when a person acknowledges the fact that the Creator has created us with such intellect and features, the questions arise, what is our purpose and who can tell us that purpose. If you can’t figure out a device that you bought, you go back to the manufacturer to learn about it. Similarly, if you can’t understand your purpose in life, you have to go back to your Creator because He is the one who designed you.
Another powerful conclusion that people come to after acknowledging their Creator is, up until that point in their life, however old they are, they have been in violation of their purpose because they did not even know what it was.
For example, if you have a computer that does not perform its functions according to what you require, it crashes and has errors, you can easily throw it away. You own it, you bought it for a purpose, and it did not fit that purpose so you got rid of it. If a farmer had gotten a cow for milk, and then the cow stopped giving him milk, he would just slaughter it.
So now we come to the conclusion, that you were created for a purpose, there is a Lord over you that expect you to fill your purpose, but for the last whatever years of your life you have been violating that purpose because you did not even know it, did that Lord punish you for it? For example, one purpose of humans is not to lie. Did it ever happen that when you lied, lightning struck and burned your tongue> if you ever stole, did your hand just suddenly fall off? Every time you engaged in something evil, did you experience punishment immediately? Of course not, because the Creator lets you go, He keeps letting your transgressions slide. Human beings are not like that, if we expect something from someone, we make sure we get it and if we don’t get it we tend to manifest negative consequences for that person.
Now That You Have Realized
So you agree that you were in violation of your purpose, and that this Lord is far more merciful than anyone else in the universe, His mercy is unimaginable. But now there comes another point. Since you have realized that you have a purpose and since you did not know it, you have been getting away with it all this time, should you just forget about it? No, because if you have reached this far in your thought, you should know that the Creator also knows that you have reached a point where you realize you should be looking for your purpose. Suffice to say that if you stop here, and think that you are thinking to deep and decide to go back to your old way of life, then know this that there will be consequences.
The Next Step
Now that you have realized this, the next step is you turn to this Creator that you don’t yet know and you declare one thing to your Creator,‘I acknowledge that You are my Creator, I acknowledge that I am supposed to be in service to You, I acknowledge that in this life I have to live up to Your purpose that Youhave set for me, but, I cannot fill that purpose on my own because I don’t know where to start, so even if I want to serve You, how will I do so unless You help me.’
So let’s go over the thought process again:
1. First there was Gratitude & Appreciation.
2. Second there was His amazing Mercy that He let you slide so long.
3. Then there was the idea there are consequences if you don’t get your act together.
4. Then there is the fact that you turn to the Creator in submission and worship, but you need His help, you need guidance and directions.
So you ask Him for guidance and for the straightway. Then you come to another conclusion, if He is so merciful, you can’t be the only one who had wanted guidance. This must have happened before. There must have been people before you that asked for this guidance and were given it. So instead of being left on your own, you ask Him to show you a path that other people have already walked that the Creator favored upon. Then there are people who asked for that path but did not go on it, for example if you ask a person for the right directions, that person gives it to you but you don’t follow those directions, that person who asked for guidance, got it and then disregarded it, that is a person with whom the Creator would be very angry with and is a person who deserves His wrath.
So what was the purpose of explaining this thought process to you? The reason for going through this route is because; this is the THOUGHT PROCESS OF THE QURAN, IN THE FIRST SURAH. The very first surah of the Quran is actually the thought process of someone seeking the truth.
Surah Fatiha and the Purpose of Life
All praise is due to Allah, Lord of the Worlds O
So we talked about praise and gratitude. Then we recite,
The entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful O
This was the part where our Lord is Merciful. After this we recite,
Master of the Day of Recompense (Judgment) O
We acknowledged that there will be consequences if we tried to take advantage of His mercy. Then we Talked about reaching the conclusion that we want to worship Him, so we recite,
It is You we worship and You we ask for help O
We acknowledge that we worship only Him, but we also need His help. What is the exact help we seek? Guidance, so in the very next verse we recite,
Guide us to the straight path – O
Guide us to and along the straight path. Then we acknowledge that we are not alone on this path and there have been those who walked this path before us that the Lord favored and not of those who earned His wrath and not those who went astray. So we in the end recite,
The path of those upon whom You have bestowed favor, not those who have evoked [Your] anger or of those are astray. O
Logic of the Path
This thought process is what we as Muslims ask people to consider for this path is universal. If you have noticed while reading this, we did not take a direct approach to the Quran from the beginning, rather the focus was on making people understand and appreciate the logic of the thought process first. The main point is to be sincere to our Creator Allah (SWT), be grateful to Him, accept Him as your Lord, worship Him and ask him for guidance. For those that are seeking this truth, there are two measuring sticks,
1. Your own conscience.
2. If you acknowledge that the truth and guidance you seek is from Allah (SWT) (God), then the primary standard is that there can be no one between you and the worship of Allah (SWT). There can be those whom Allah (SWT) has favored and from whom you can learn how to worship Allah (SWT) and reach that path, but you cannot worship them.
With this standard when you try to seek a path, the only thing we humbly ask you to do is sincerely look at Islam and the Quran. What the Quran is essentially saying to humanity is, Allah (SWT) created you for a purpose.
Allah (SWT) saying in the Quran Surah Adh-Dhariyat Ayah 51:56
And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me.