Islamic purpose of life is very lovely, vast, comprehensive and superior. It states that we are bondmen and we have to live a purposeful life by fulfilling the requirements of being the bondmen of the Almighty and that we also have to gain salvation in the Hereafter, perpetual happiness and closeness of the Real Lord. On the contrary, atheists and those denying the Lord have no real purpose of life. This is the reason why they do not even think about anything else except earning wealth, fulfilling desires and enjoying more and more pleasures in the worldly life. Even if they do something for the betterment of others, they usually do that, secretly desiring fame and renown. In this scenario, it’s up to them whether to make some effort or not for the benefit of others. On the other hand, a Muslim has not only been advised but also been ordered to do good to others. He must attempt to do good to others under every circumstance because his purpose of life is to gain perpetual success in the afterlife. In order to achieve this purpose, he is to do everything in the world in conformity with the Divine commandments. He has to fulfill the rights of his own being as well as of his family, relatives, neighbours and even all human beings. He is to make efforts for the guidance and success of others even if they do no fulfill his rights. Therefore, if this purpose of life is deeply-rooted in the heart of a Muslim, so he tries to set himself on the path to achieving it in some way. Sometimes, he may forget this purpose and indulges in the desires of his Nafs. But the base of this purpose exists in his heart in the form of Islam. Therefore, whenever he ponders that the worldly things are mortal, worldly pleasures are impermanent and he will be presented in the Divine court in the Hereafter, so he immediately returns to his purpose, feeling ashamed.
There is a need to realize the difference. On the one hand, there is a non-Muslim who has the choice whether to do something for the success of mankind and for the help of the destitute or not. On the other hand, there is a Muslim for whom it is essential to help the destitute, to avoid causing loss to others, to do the well-wishing of others and to prevent them from the path of evils.
There is another point to be kept in mind. Having a certain opinion about one’s own status also plays a part in determining one’s purpose of life. That is, whether he considers himself to be a superior creature or an inferior one may also influence his purpose of life. For example, when some people noticed that the sun is very bright and is brightening up the whole world, bringing millions of benefits, so they began to worship it. Now what was considered to be superior? Indeed the sun. These people bowed down to the sun, assuming it to be god. Here man forgot his own status. Similarly, many people observed the benefits of trees, animals and many other things. Considering these things to be better than them, they bowed down to them. This purpose of life is based on the inferiority of human beings. In fact, no purpose of life can be really beneficial to humans unless it gives great and real status to them without adding and lacking anything.
Other theories either lack what was mentioned above or exceed the limit where all facts are denied and mortal man who is answerable to the Almighty is shown to be free from all sorts of obligations. In contrast to all these theories, Islam and Quran have revealed to mankind that the things you are bowing down to, are under your control and are for your benefit. The universe is for you but you are for Someone Else Who is none other than your Almighty.
Na tu zameen kay liye hay na aasman kay liye
Jahan hay tayray liye, tu nahin jahan kay liye
Translation: ‘You are neither for the earth nor for the sky. The world is for you but you are not for the world.’
The dignity of man and the creation of the entire universe for him have been mentioned in the Holy Quran at several places. The creation of the sky and the earth, movement of the sun and the moon and the alternation of day and night have all been made for the benefit of man. Therefore, the Holy Quran stated:
وَ سَخَّرَ لَكُمْ مَّا فِی السَّمٰوٰتِ وَ مَا فِی الْاَرْضِ جَمِیْعًا مِّنْهُؕ-
Translation: And (He) has made whatever is in the skies and in the earth subservient to you, by His command. (Part 25, Surah Al-Jaasiyah, Ayah 13)
It is also stated:
وَ سَخَّرَ لَكُمُ الشَّمْسَ وَ الْقَمَرَ دَآىٕبَیْنِۚ-وَ سَخَّرَ لَكُمُ الَّیْلَ وَ النَّهَارَۚ(۳۳)
Translation: And He made the sun and the moon subservient to you, which are constantly moving; and made the night and the day subservient to you. (Part 13, Surah Ibraheem, Ayah 33)
The Holy Quran stated that whatever is in the earth has been made for the benefit of man:
هُوَ الَّذِیْ خَلَقَ لَكُمْ مَّا فِی الْاَرْضِ جَمِیْعًاۗ-
Translation: It is He (Allah) Who created for you all that is in the earth.
(Part 1, Surah Al-Baqarah, Ayah 29)
The dignity of man is also shown by the fact that the origin of man, i.e. Sayyiduna Aadam عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلَام was the one to whom angels prostrated themselves:
وَ اِذْ قُلْنَا لِلْمَلٰٓىٕكَةِ اسْجُدُوْا لِاٰدَمَ فَسَجَدُوْۤا اِلَّاۤ اِبْلِیْسَؕ-
Translation: And recall when We ordered the angels, ‘Prostrate to Aadam’, so they all prostrated except the devil. (Part 15, Surah Bani Israel, Ayah 61)
Humanity was made honourable and respectable and was blessed with superiority over a large number of creatures:
:( وَ لَقَدْ كَرَّمْنَا بَنِیْۤ اٰدَمَ ۔۔۔۔۔ وَ فَضَّلْنٰهُمْ عَلٰى كَثِیْرٍ مِّمَّنْ خَلَقْنَا تَفْضِیْلًا۠(۷۰)
Translation: Indeed We have honoured the descendants of Aadam....... and made them superior to many of Our creatures. (Part 15, Surah Bani Israel, Ayah 70)
The Holy Quran says that man was created in the best mould:
لَقَدْ خَلَقْنَا الْاِنْسَانَ فِیْۤ اَحْسَنِ تَقْوِیْمٍ٘(۴)
Translation: We have indeed created man in the best mould. (Part 30, Surah At-Teen, Ayah 4)
The picture of human dignity that emerges in the light of Islamic and Quranic teachings can easily be seen. The Islamic purpose of life is based on the very same human dignity.
To be continued in the next issue of Magazine Faizan-e-Madinah…