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The True Purpose of Life
The True Purpose of Life
The True Purpose of Life
The True Purpose of Life
The True Purpose of Life
The True Purpose of Life
The True Purpose of Life
The True Purpose of Life
The True Purpose of Life
The True Purpose of Life
The True Purpose of Life
The True Purpose of Life
The True Purpose of Life
The True Purpose of Life
The True Purpose of Life
The True Purpose of Life
The True Purpose of Life
The True Purpose of Life
The True Purpose of Life
The True Purpose of Life
The True Purpose of Life
The True Purpose of Life
The True Purpose of Life
The True Purpose of Life
The True Purpose of Life
The True Purpose of Life
The True Purpose of Life
The True Purpose of Life
The True Purpose of Life
The True Purpose of Life
The True Purpose of Life
The True Purpose of Life
The True Purpose of Life
The True Purpose of Life
The True Purpose of Life
The True Purpose of Life
The True Purpose of Life
The True Purpose of Life
The True Purpose of Life
The True Purpose of Life
The True Purpose of Life
The True Purpose of Life
The True Purpose of Life
The True Purpose of Life
The True Purpose of Life
The True Purpose of Life
The True Purpose of Life
The True Purpose of Life
The True Purpose of Life
The True Purpose of Life
The True Purpose of Life
The True Purpose of Life
The True Purpose of Life
The True Purpose of Life
The True Purpose of Life
The True Purpose of Life
The True Purpose of Life
The True Purpose of Life
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The True Purpose of Life

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This is my first published book "The True Purpose of Life". I wrote it at the age of 17. You are free to download and distribute it. Comments and Suggestions are most welcome.

This is my first published book "The True Purpose of Life". I wrote it at the age of 17. You are free to download and distribute it. Comments and Suggestions are most welcome.

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  • 1. CONTENTSDedication 5Acknowledgments 6Foreword 7Caution 9Introduction 10The Existence of a Creator 14The Essence of Religion 24What is Life? 29Life as a Purposeful Creation 34Concept Of the After Life 44Concept of Life in Various Religions 54Life in Islam - The Only Choice 65Islam - The Universal Religion 78Benefits and Unique Features of Islam 85Return to Your Lord, The Most Loving 94How does one Become a Muslim? 99Living Islam 100Conclusion 108Afterword 111For Further Reading 113Bibliography 114Softwares 116
  • 2. DEDICATION This book is dedicated to all those people who sincerely wantto know about the True Purpose of Life and the Right Path leadingtowards the achievement of this sublime goal.
  • 3. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS FOREWORD My acknowledgments are due to my beloved teacher, In The Name of God, Most Gracious, Most Mercifulinstructor and guide Shaykh Zahoor Ahmad Shah Al Madni The sole aim of writing this book is to acquaint the reader withwho not only gave a direction to my knowledge but also by his a very fundamental topic; The Purpose of Life. This topic is indeedcharacter, left an everlasting impression on my heart. My of a very significant nature for, the various issues that exert a greatacknowledgments are also due to my family especially my mother influence upon life on this planet are actually founded on theMasarat Shah, my father Farooq Ahmad Sikander and my fundamental question of the purpose of our lives. This book isbrothers Mushtaq Ul Haq Ahmad Sikander & Raies Ul Haq meant for every sound-minded and logical human being irrespectiveAhmad Sikander who have always encouraged me to carry on of religion or ideology, provided that one reads this book with ansuch tasks. I am also very much thankful to Iesha Javed who not open heart and mind, without any bias or prejudice. Fresh air canonly emended this book but also assisted me to accomplish this come in only when the windows are let open. If the windows aretask with her utmost support and encouragement.And above all, kept closed, one is deprived of the much needed fresh air and isI am really grateful to GodAlmighty without whose help, this work forced to breathe foul air leading to suffocation. The same holdswould have never been achieved. If there is anything good in this true for knowledge and guidance. Only an open mind can graspbook, it is from God. All mistakes are mine. the truth. The one who has already made his mind rigid and stagnant and is not ready to accept the truth will be always divested from guidance. I have dealt with the subject matter of this book in a simple and lucid style, using simple English so as to make this work accessible for an average reader, keeping under consideration its size. I have discussed each topic briefly and precisely and have avoided going into arguments as my aim of writing this book is to make the reader think about this subject and not to indulge in any futile arguments which would have rendered this book inappropriate for a common man. From a quite long time I was getting some continuous requests to deal with this subject both in speech and in the form of a book. So I started writing this book to explain the real purpose of life
  • 4. 8 The True Purpose of Lifethat I have personally grasped after years of research andinteraction with people from different countries and ideologies. Ihope that this book will prove as a means of Hidayah (guidance)for the reader. CAUTION It is intended that this book will provide its reader with an In the following pages, you are now going to read about theinsight about this subject after which he can himself reflect upon real purpose of your life which is the most fundamental topicthe Truth and then find the path to God. It is also intended that this pertaining to life on Earth. Read through the pages carefully andbook arouses your interest in this very topic and then make you attentively with a relaxed and free mind so that what you readthink for a while that "Where I am and Where I am heading may change your outlook towards life.towards?" and if you are treading a wrong road then this bookwill definitely help you rediscover the true path of life. No matter When you finish, go through the contents and ponder upon alleven till now if you havent realized the true purpose of life, dont what you read in this book and thereby reflect.be disheartened because "It is never too late to mend." God willaccept you whenever you turn to him at any moment of your life.Its my humble prayer to God that may the readers of this bookfind the true purpose of their lives before the end of this brief life. REMEMBER that unlike any ordinary book, this bookaddresses the most fundamental question of your life. This bookis therefore not to be pushed into the corner of a book shelf butrather should serve as a source of inspiration for you. Oh God! Accept this work from me and bring True Peace inthe lives of all humans.
  • 5. The True Purpose of Life 11 that have we come into this world just for getting wealth, luxury and sex? Or is there anything beyond about which we often forget to ponder and consequently it makes our statements contradictory INTRODUCTION about the purpose of life. First and foremost, he (man) needs to know his own nature A single glimpse at things around us will very soon make us and the nature of the world he lives in, how he came into thisrealize how complex in nature this world is, much more than what’s world and what will happen to him after death. More than anythingapparent and same is true of human life. People today have become else, it is man’s nature to seek answers to these questions. Thetoo busy in their personal jobs to take time out to reflect. Each world in which he lives in lacking in nothing; it lacks only theday so many people are born and so many die but globally no one answers he seeks. The sun provides him with heat and light, butis bothered. There are people all around us but it seems that they he does not know the sun’s true nature, or why it has been putare engrossed in the world to such an extent that they barely think to service. The wind is a source of life for man, but he is not ableof anything beyond this material world.Almost everybody around to stop the wind in its course and ask it what it is, and why it actsus is concerned with the present world only and are directing their as it does. Man’s own being stares him in the face, but he remainsbest efforts towards achieving and amassing as much as possible in the dark as to what he is, and what he has come into thisduring the short course of their lives. Most of the humans become world for. It is beyond the human mind to work out answers tohappy on getting food, clothes and other stuff. But it’s same like these questions. Yet answers he must have. Not everyone putsanimals that go happy on finding a prey. these questions in words, but still they linger in the human soul, When we exercise this materialistic type of behaviour in our causing untold anguish and sometimes welling up with such forcelives, it often makes us heedless about the true purpose of life, that they lead to insanity1.which is otherwise most fundamental. If only for a few moments, So the only and the best way left is to turn towards GOD andwe were to free our souls from our selfish motives and vested see what he has mentioned about this matter. If we say that God isinterests, and just ask our inner selves, “What’s the purpose of the creator then he must definitely has laid some rules and guidancemy life?” then we will truly come to some conclusion provided for his creation just like we see an operating manual with everyour thinking is rightly guided by authentic information on the gadget2.subject. What is life? Where have we come from? Where will What would you think of a person who tried to use a straw hatwe go after death? These are some critical questions that have, as a cooking pot or a glass bottle as a hammer? What would yousince the very ancient times, fascinated the philosophers along think of a person who used up all his life before finding out itswith the rest of the humankind. And these profound questions purpose? Until we put our lives to the use they were made for, weabout the purpose of life generally strike the minds of everyone are like that hat on the fire, or the bottle used as a hammer. Wesomewhere in life. destroy ourselves without finding the satisfaction of fulfillment. God We are so ignorant about the purpose of our lives. Let’s think has a purpose and plan for your life. He has a work for you to do
  • 6. 12 The True Purpose of Life The True Purpose of Life 13on earth and has prepared a wonderful home for you in heaven. FootnotesYou were born to fit into God’s plan...If you don’t have fellowship [1] God Arises, Maulana Wahiduddin Khan, p. 243-244.with God, you have missed the main purpose of life3. [2] For more information about the existence of the creator (God), see the next chapter. The fact worth mentioning is that human beings are imitative [3] The Great Questions of Life, International Correspondence Institute,by nature. We possess a natural tendency to blend into our p. 25-26.surroundings. We are always ready to follow what others are [4] Holy Qur’an Chapter 6, verse 116.doing, not realizing where it will lead us. Humans exhibit thisimitative nature because it’s very easy to do so. Following thecrowd is very easy as it will surely lead us to somewhere... evenif it be an evil destination. Our illustration is that We are all walkingand if somebody asks, “Why are we walking?” we will replybecause all are walking. But to follow the truth and finding outthe truth about life requires a deep thinking and study whichmajority of people are not ready to accept. But “were you tofollow the common run of those on earth, they will lead youaway from the Way of God. They follow nothing but conjecture;they do nothing but lie”4. In Reality, we need just a brief moment of time to understandthe purpose of our life. It will not take long. We just have toprepare our self to find it and then face the facts about the truthof life. We all desperately need a Divine code that will guide usand show us the true purpose of life. When we will finally get it,only then our minds will be stabilized and our heart will find restand tranquility, which is indeed a great joy for us all. Only aftergetting satisfied with life, can we devote our minds to other fieldsand get excellent results. If our life is well and peaceful, onlythen will our activities bear fruit. Just as every cause has an effect,Life is a cause and if this cause is good, so will be its effect. Thusthe dire need of today is to address this topic in context of thepresent world scenario and modern society in order to give aright direction to our lives and so as to make this world a betterplace to live in.
  • 7. The True Purpose of Life The True Purpose of Life 15 is in it and we call that Creator as GOD. "The question of Gods existence has preoccupied the great minds for many centuries. Those who believe in God seem to agree that the limited finite THE EXISTENCE OF A human intelligence cannot prove the existence of the Infinite Boundless God Who is. It can only illustrate or demonstrate His CREATOR existence to the satisfaction of the curious human mind. Those I came not knowing from where, but I came. who deny claim to rely on science, philosophy, or special theories And I saw a pathway in front of me, so I walked. of knowledge. Their arguments are sometimes inapplicable, And I will remain walking, whether I want this or not. sometimes irrelevant, always complex, and often incomprehensible. How did I come? How did I see my pathway? However, the developed free mind will find its way to God. Failure I do not know! to find the way does not mean that there is no way. Denial of Am I new or am I old in this existence? reality does not make it unreal2.” Am I free and unrestrained, or do I walk in chains? There are many people who question that, "Who created God?" Do I lead myself in my life, or am I being led? but it is a very illogical question as it contradicts the very definition I wish I know, but… of God i.e. He is uncreated and not made. He was there always I do not know! and will remain till eternity. He is infinite while as the creation is And my path, oh what is my path? Is it long or is it short? finite. The God makes His presence felt to His creation by the Am I ascending in it, or am I going down and sinking? means of His signs. God says: Am I the one who is walking on the road, "Soon will We show them Our Signs in the or is it the road that is moving? (furthest) regions (of the earth), and in their own Or are we both standing, but it is the time that is running? souls, until it becomes manifest to them that I do not know! this is the Truth. Is it not enough that your Lord Before I became a full human, do you see witnesses all things?"3 if I were nothing, impossible? Or do you see that I was If we just begin to observe this massive universe, we will surely something? find the signs of God in it. There are billions of galaxies in the Is there an answer to this puzzle, or will it remain eternal? universe and each galaxy consists of billions of stars. Our earth is I do not know ... and why do I not know?? one of the smallest stars of the universe. The marvellous wonders I do not know! 1 of universe, the major astral bodies of the solar system, the sun, To know about the true purpose of life, it is indeed very the moon and the stars, all work in a perfect unison without asignificant to know the creator who has bestowed us with the slight deviation. There is a perfect order in whole of the universe.precious asset called life. There indeed exists a supreme and an Each of the celestial bodies are swimming perfectly in theirultimate creator who has created the entire universe and whatever respective orbits without any collision. How could all this just
  • 8. 16 The True Purpose of Life The True Purpose of Life 17happen by an accident or by a chance? Just see the human body heavens and the earth and the alternation ofand its complexes. See the marvels of DNA and RNA. We can the night and the day are Signs for those ofsee the miracles of God everywhere in this universe. If you have a understanding-Who remember Allah whilereasoning mind at all, all you have to do is just to observe the standing or sitting or lying on their sides andcreation of God to realize that somebody has put it there together, give thought to the creation of the heavens anddesigned it, and then make it work like it does. the earth, [saying], "Our Lord, You did not create this aimlessly; exalted are You [above As Dr. Robert A. Millikan (1868-1953), the great nuclear such a thing]; then protect us from thephysicist and pioneer of cosmic ray research, said, "If you would punishment of the Fire."6say that this watch just put itself together, invented itself, you wouldbe crazy! And just as there had to be a watchmaker behind the The vast majority of human beings have always believed insynchronized perfection and order of every watch, so there had God. From the most ancient civilizations to the most primitive ofto be a Divine Designer and Creator behind the intricate precision modern societies, religions with God at their center have formedof the Universe." And similarly if we see a beautiful painting, the the foundation of human culture. In fact, the denial of Godsconcept of its creator automatically hits our mind that there must existence (atheism) throughout history was limited to a fewbe some artist who has designed it, then the concept of the individuals until the rise of communism in the 20th century. Evenformation of so much complex universe with its perfect order today, in the secular societies of the West, where modern socialcoming into existence just by a chance sounds illogical. scientists armed with Darwinian theories have argued that God is merely a figment of the human collective imagination, the The famous physicist Sir Fred Hoyle makes a very striking overwhelming majority of citizens, laymen and even scientists, holdobservation about the origin of life. In his book The Intelligent steadfast to their belief in God.7 Even the anthropologists andUniverse he writes: The chance that higher life forms might have historians have found that the people of ancient civilizations haveemerged in this way (by coincidence) is comparable with the always believed in God as they have found various statues andchance that a tornado sweeping through a junk-yard might assemble other data that confirms their staunch belief in God. Howevera Boeing 747 from the materials therein.4 they just differed in the concept of God. The Bible says: "For the invisible things of Him (God) from As above mentioned that only a minority of people have deniedthe creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood the existence of God through the ages. The atheists believe thatby the things that are made, even His eternal power; so that this universe came into existence just by a mere chance but wethey are without excuse." 5 have already refuted this claim. They also believe that matter and Further the Quran says: time have always been there and the universe will keep on going "And to Allah belongs the dominion of the till eternity but today science has proved that both matter and time heavens and the earth, and Allah is over all had a beginning and will come to an end8. Even the atheists believe things competent. Indeed, in the creation of the that life came into existence by a mere chance but till now science
  • 9. 18 The True Purpose of Life The True Purpose of Life 19has failed to prove this claim9. "If man were to come into being byaccident or by sheer chance, his entire life would be based onchance, and his whole existence would be meaningless. But nosensible man can conceive of his life as meaningless, and no rationalbeing would leave his existence at the mercy of fluctuating chance.Every reasonable human being tries to make his life as meaningfulas possible and set for himself a model of conduct according tosome design. Individuals, groups and nations do plan their courseof action, and every careful plan produces some desired effects.The fact of the matter is that man does engage in planning of onesort or another, and can appreciate the merits of good planning."10 It must be noted that human beings have a natural inclinationtowards God and there exists a spiritual vacuum in human beingsthat can only be filled by believing in One Supreme God. Itsinteresting to see that the people who dont believe in God likeatheists and materialists do show respect to their ideals like KarlMarx, Fredrick Engels and Lenin in order to fill their spiritualvacuum. If one doesnt believe in God then the life becomespurposeless. Consequently, the overwhelming body of archeological datain support of Gods existence has led some anthropologists toconclude that belief in God (deism) must be inborn and not learnt.Although the vast majority of social scientists proposed otherwise,recent scientific discoveries appear to support the minority viewthat deism is innate. In an article entitled "God Spot is found inthe Brain," Dr. Vilayanur Ramachandran of the University ofCalifornia at San Diego said that the phenomenon of religiousbelief in God is hard-wired into the brain.11 unbelievers do not have credible answers to the purpose of ones This feeling of doubt and confusion about the presence of a existence. And thus they say that man lives for himself and for theCreator and whether He sent messengers and Prophets to guide pleasures of this life. So what happens when life turns sour? Whatmankind must be quite painful because it deprives the Atheist and happens when one goes through hardships? It is no coincidencethe Agnostic of tranquility, security and peace of mind. The then that the largest number of suicides takes place amongst
  • 10. 20 The True Purpose of Life The True Purpose of Life 21Atheists, Agnostics and people who do not know their purpose in John Ray (the most important name in British natural history).life. Do you know which country has the largest number of Nicolaus Steno (a famous stratiographer who investigatedsuicides? Its Japan. In the year ending March 2000, there were earth layers).33,000 suicides in Japan. That is 91 suicides per day or 1 suicide Carolus Linnaeus (the father of biological classification).every 15 minutes! This despite Japan being the second largest Georges Cuvier (the founder of comparative anatomy).economy in the world wherein people do not have to worry about Matthew Maury (the founder of oceanography).providing a roof over their heads or about food or medical care.12 Thomas Anderson (one of the pioneers in the field of organic There are hundreds of scientists that had a complete faith in chemistry)..14God because there comes a stage in science when a person is left "The root cause of the majority of the ills of modern life lies inwith no other alternative except to believe in a Divine Creator i.e. personal philosophies and social aims being so often diametricallyThe God. Johannes Kepler, Samuel Morse, Isaac Newton, opposed to each other. What we call crime, corruption and all theMichael Faraday, James Prescott Joule, Louis Pasteur, J J other attendant evils are nothing other than the results of any givenThomson, Maxwell, Max Planck, John Dalton are some of the societys members setting their sights on material happiness.many examples of great scientists who had a staunch belief in Whether individuals, groups or nations are concerned, the momentGod. Albert Einstein, who is one of the most important scientists the goal in life becomes individual prosperity, the seeds ofof the last century, was also known for his faith in God. He did not destruction are sown for the rest of the humanity.hesitate to defend that science could not exist without religion. As The insatiable lust for self-fulfillment leads to innumerable socialhe put it: "I cannot conceive of a genuine scientist without that evils: fornication, robbery, looting, fraudulence, kidnapping,profound faith. The situation may be expressed by an image: science treachery, terrorism, murder and, ultimately war. All these are thewithout religion is lame."13 result of people pursuing their own happiness, come what may - Some other scientists who admit that the universe is created and, inevitably, it is society that pays the price.by a Creator and who are known by their cited attributes are: The only solution to this problem is for humanity to turn to its Robert Boyle (the father of modern chemistry). true purpose in life. The fact that materialism has given rise to such Iona William Petty (known for his studies on statistics and conflict between individual aims and social purpose clearly indicates modern economy). that mans true goal in life is quite other. Rather than aim at worldly Michael Faraday (one of the greatest physicists of all times). satisfactions, he should set himself to earning the approbation of Gregory Mendel (the father of genetics; he invalidated his Creator in the life after death, for this is what mans purpose in Darwinism with his discoveries in the science of genetics). life truly is. If he were to adopt this course, the individual and Louis Pasteur (the greatest name in bacteriology; he declared society would be able to progress in harmony with one another, war on Darwinism). for there would then be no confrontation between the two; the John Dalton (the father of atomic theory). individuals who constitute the society would then be working Blaise Pascal (one of the most important mathematicians). towards ends which did not clash with those of society as a whole,
  • 11. 22 23but which contributed positively to the general good. Making [7] Did God become man, Dr. Bilal Philips, p.5.eternity ones goal results in harmony. The pursuit of false objectives [8] For more information please refer to the book "Timelessness and the Reality of Fate" By Harun Yahya.can bring nothing but discord."15 [9] For more information please refer to the book "Tell Me About There are various ways to know God, and there are many Creation" By Harun Yahya.things to tell about Him. The great wonders and the impressive [10] Islam in Focus, Hammudah Abdalati p. 19.marvels of the world are like open books in which we can read [11] Did God become man, Dr. Bilal Philips, p.5. [12] The Purpose of Life By Mostafa Malaekah. Source: www.islam-about God. Besides, God Himself comes to our aid through the guide.commany messengers and revelations He has sent down to man. These [13] Science, Philosophy and Religion, New York 1941.messengers and revelations tell us everything we need to know [14] The existence of God, Harun Yahya p.56.about God. So by reflecting on nature, by hearing the words of [15] God Arises, Maulana Wahiduddin Khan p.254-255.the messengers, and by reading the divine revelations we can gain [16] Islam in Focus, Hammudah Abdalati p. 26.most convincing knowledge about God and find the Straight Pathto Him.16 Be assured that GOD exists and He is close to you. He seesand knows everything that we do and he will one day definitelycall us for account.Footnotes[1] This poem has been written by an Arab poet Elya Abu Madhi (A born Christian) to express his uncertainity about the purpose of life in his Arabic poem Al-Talasim meaning "puzzles" and has been translated to English by Mostafa Malaekah.[2] Islam in Focus, Hammudah Abdalati, p.18. For an interesting comparative view see, for example, Jacques Maritain, Approaches to God. (New York:The Macmillan Company, 1954); Muhammad Zafrulla Khan, Islam: Its Meaning For Modern Man. (New York: Harper & Row, 1962); John Hick, ed., The Existence of God. (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1964). Also refer to "The Way to Find God" by Maulana Wahiduddin Khan.[3] Holy Quran Chapter 41 verse 53.[4] Nature, 12 November, 1981.Quoted By Harun Yahya in "The Existence Of God" & also quoted by William Bonner in the book, "What went wrong in 20th century".[5] Bible, Romans 1:20.[6] Holy Quran Chapter 3 verse 189-191.
  • 12. The True Purpose of Life 25 It is not to deprive him of anything useful, or to burden him, or to oppress his qualities but to open for him inexhaustible treasures of sound thinking and right action. It is not to confine him to narrow THE ESSENCE OF limits but to launch him into wide horizons of truth and goodness.” In short, true religion is to acquaint man with God as well as with RELIGION himself and the rest of the universe. This is by no means an oversimplification of the function of religion. Here is what it means. "Throughout history religion has been abused andmisunderstood. Some people use it as a means of exploitation "When the purpose of true religion is carefully examined, it willand suppression, as a pretext for prejudice and persecution. Some be found that religion satisfies the spiritual and moderate materialother people use it as a source of power and domination over the needs of man. It unties his psychological knots and complexes,elite and the masses alike. In the name of religion unjustifiable sublimates his instincts and aspirations, and disciplines his desireswars have been launched, freedom of thought and conscience has and the whole course of life. It improves his knowledge of God -been oppressed, science has been persecuted, the right of the the Highest Truth in the universe and of his own self. It teachesindividual to maturity has been denied, and mans dignity and honor him about the secrets of life and the nature of man and how tohave been flagrantly debased. And in the name of religion an treat them, about good and evil, about right and wrong. It purifiesinjustice has been inflicted upon humanity with the result that religion the soul from evil, clears the mind from doubts, strengthens theitself has suffered many losses. character and corrects the thinking and convictions of man. All this can be achieved only when man faithfully observes the spiritual These are historical facts which no one can deny. But is this duties and physical regulations introduced by religion.the proper function of religion or the right approach to religion?Could this be the purpose of religion? The indisputable answer is On the other hand, true religion educates man and trains him inan emphatic “no”. There are many religions in the world, and each hope and patience, in truthfulness and honesty, in love for the rightone claims to be the one and only true religion. Each religion is and good, in courage and endurance, all of which are required forsupposed to have come from God for the right guidance of man. the mastery of the great art of living. Moreover, true religion insuresBut these claims contradict each other and have caused dissentions man with peace and security and makes his life meaningful."2among people and vehement reactions to religion - instead of "Despite growing evidence that man is hard-wired with awelding mankind into one universal brotherhood under the One "physical facility for belief," the fact that the concept of God hasUniversal Benevolent God. This situation makes any neutral varied greatly among human societies still leads some thinkers,observer confused and perhaps averse to all kinds of religion."1 even those who believe in God, to conclude that religions must be man-made. However, thorough research reveals a common "Religion is not only a spiritual and intellectual necessity but theological thread linking the various religions. That link is the beliefalso a social and universal need. It is not to bewilder man but to in a Supreme Being among the various gods, a monotheisticguide him. It is not to debase him but to elevate his moral nature. foundation that can be found in even the most externally pantheistic
  • 13. 26 The True Purpose of Life The True Purpose of Life 27of religious systems. For example, the concept of God in Hinduism came to be regarded as lesser gods in some cases and asexists as a single example among many religions, which supports intercessors in others. Nevertheless, a Supreme God, in whateverthe view that human beings were originally monotheistic and through form He takes, is at the core of most religions."3various degenerative processes became polytheistic. In spite of Arnold Toynbee studied the history of the man through theits many gods and idols, Hinduism has a single Supreme God ages and put his findings in a monumental work consisting of tenabove all, Brahma. volumes. He summarized that in the History of the man, religion Traditionally, most anthropologists have concluded that religion stood at the centre. In an article in The Observer on October 24devolved from various stages of polytheism to monotheism, 1954, he wrote:beginning with early mans deification of the forces of nature, then, "I have come back at the belief that the religioneventually, devolving into ditheism to consolidate all of the holds the key to the mystery of existence;"4supernatural powers into two main gods (a god of good and a "But the “Trust in the God” has been misunderstood; it isgod of evil), and, finally, simplifying into a belief in one god, often taken to mean helpless fatalism and or categorical denial ofmonotheism. human free will and self-realization. An over emphasis on Thus, religion, according to anthropologists and social scientists, spirituality and resignation is bound to give rise to a counterhas no divine origin; it is merely a by-product of the evolution of emphasis on materialism, rationalism, "free will", and so on.early mans superstitions, based on his lack of scientific knowledge. Stressed beyond certain limits, spirituality may become superstition,Hence, these same theoreticians believe that science will eventually and confusion. Likewise, a counter stress may turn materialismunlock all of the secrets of nature, resulting in the disuse of religion into laxity, free will into libertinism, and rationalism into sheer vanity.to explain natural phenomena, and, the consequential extinction The intellectual history of the last few centuries demonstrates theseof religion altogether. tendencies only too well." 5 Mans innate belief in a Supreme Being, however, seems to It must be noted that only the society based upon religioussupport the opposite view, proposing instead that man began as a principles can prosper and excel in every field. When a society ismonotheist, but in time, strayed into various forms of polytheism. made according to the Divine will of God then there will be harmonyThis view is further supported by fact that all of the so-called and a peaceful coexistence among its components and members.primitive tribes, which have been "discovered," have been found But the society based upon the principles of man cant survive forto hold a belief in a Supreme Being. No matter what their long. For Example, after the Russian Revolution of 1917, theevolutionary stage of religious development is found to have been socialists transformed the society according to their own rulesat the time of "discovery," most were found to believe in a Supreme and motives and this was a reason for their failure6. Human beingsGod over all other gods and spirits. As such, the concept of a are fallible but God is not. He has created us and only He knowssingle Supreme Being remains in most of the religions as evidence which is the path for us. A society based upon human principlesthat the masses strayed away from monotheism by giving some of often leads to laxity and moral degradation along with many otherGods attributes to other aspects of creation, which eventually social ills. We can see various placards on roads which are to be
  • 14. 28 The True Purpose of Lifefollowed like Do not spit around, Stay away from illegal sex, PayTaxes, etc. but still the people do opposite as there is no strongpower to enforce them. But when a society is based upon Religion,and its individuals frame their lives according to it, then these goals WHAT IS LIFE?can be achieved without even advertising them because the religiondevelops the concept of accountability and an individual will "The meaning of life constitutes a philosophical questionautomatically mould his life according to it. concerning the purpose and significance of human existence. The concept can be expressed through a variety of related questions, such as Why are we here? Whats life all about? And What is theFootnotes meaning of it all? It has been the subject of much philosophical,[1] Islam in Focus, Hammudah Abdalati p. 57. scientific, and theological speculation throughout history and there[2] Islam in Focus, Hammudah Abdalati p. 58-59. have been a large number of answers from many different cultural[3] Did God become man, Dr. Bilal Philips, p.7-8. and ideological backgrounds.[4] Concept of God in Major Religions, Dr. Zakir Naik p. 2.[5] Islam in Focus, Hammudah Abdalati p. 86. The meaning of life is deeply mixed with the philosophical and[6] For details read, "What went wrong in 20th Century" by William religious conceptions of existence, consciousness, and happiness, Bonner. and touches on many other issues, such as symbolic meaning, ontology, value, purpose, ethics, good and evil, free will, conceptions of God, the existence of God, the soul and the afterlife. Scientific contributions are more indirect; by describing the empirical facts about the universe, science provides some context and sets parameters for conversations on related topics."1 Popular Views2 "What is the meaning of life?" is a question many people ask themselves at some point during their lives, most in the context "What is the purpose of life?" Here are some of the life goals people choose, and some of their beliefs on what the purpose of life is: ...to realize ones potential and ideals • ...to live life to the fullest. • ...to lead a full and productive life. • ...to chase dreams.
  • 15. 30 The True Purpose of Life The True Purpose of Life 31...to live ones dreams. to avoid suffering caused by ignorance and find happiness.• ...to spend it for something that will outlast it. • ...to face our fears and accept the lessons life offers us.• ...to matter: to count, to stand for something, to have made • ...to find the meaning of life. some difference that you lived at all. ...to find the purpose of life.• ...to expand ones potential in life. • ...to find a reason to live.• ...to become the person youve always wanted to be. • ...to resolve the imbalance of the mind by understanding the• ...to become the best version of yourself. nature of reality.• ...to seek happiness and flourish. ...to do good, to do the right thing• ...to be able to put the whole of oneself into ones feelings, • ...to leave the world a better place than you found it. ones work, ones beliefs. • ...to do your best to leave every situation better than you• ...to follow our destiny. found it....to submit to our destiny. • ...to benefit others.• ...to shape your own destiny. • ...to give more than you take.• ...to fight lifes game(s) and win, or draw, or, at the very • ...to end suffering. least, lose with dignity. • ...to create equality.• ...to create your own reality. • ...to challenge oppression....to achieve biological perfection • ...to distribute wealth.• ...to survive, that is, to live as long as possible, including pursuit • ...to be generous. of immortality (through scientific means). • ...to contribute to the well-being and spirit of others.• ...to live forever or die trying. • ...to help others, to help one another.• ...to evolve into something more. • ...to take every chance to help another while on your journey• ...to evolve into the most harmonious state. here.• ...to replicate, to reproduce. "The dream of every cell is to • ...to be creative and innovative. become two cells." • ...to forgive.• ...to be fruitful and multiply. (Genesis 1:28) • ...to accept and forgive human flaws....to seek wisdom and knowledge • ...to be emotionally sincere.• ...to expand ones perception of the world. • ...to be responsible.• ...to follow the clues and walk out the exit. • ...to be honorable.• ...to learn as many things as possible in life. • ...to seek peace....to know as much as possible about as many things as • ...to be a true authentic human being.possible. ...to love, to feel, to enjoy the act of living• ...to seek wisdom and knowledge and to tame the mind, as • ...to love more.
  • 16. 32 The True Purpose of Life The True Purpose of Life 33• ...to love those who mean the most. Every life you touch will One should not seek to know the meaning of life touch you back. • The answer to the meaning of life is too profound to be known• ...to be glad of life. and understood.• ...to treasure every enjoyable sensation one has. • You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life.• ...to seek beauty in all its forms. • To live a meaningful life, one must forget about the search for• ...to have fun. the meaning of life....to enjoy life. • Its best to just get on with life and stop worrying about what• ...to seek pleasure and avoid pain. it means.• ...to be compassionate.• ...to be moved by the pain and sorrow of others, and try to Life has no meaning help them out of love and compassion. • Life or human existence has no real meaning or purpose• ...to love others as best we possibly can. because human existence occurred out of a random chance• ...to love something bigger, greater, and beyond ourselves, in nature, and anything that exists by chance has no intended something we did not create or have the power to create, purpose. something intangible and made holy by our very belief in it. • Life has no meaning, but as humans we try to associate a• ...to love God and all of his creations. meaning or purpose so we can justify our existence.• ...to glorify God by enjoying him forever. • There is no point in life, and that is exactly what makes it so...to attain spiritual enlightenment special. Dante and Beatrice see God as a point of light surrounded by Or its minimal counterpart: Life has meaningangels; from Gustave Dorés illustrations for the Divine Comedy: • ...uncertain, but there must be something• ...to reach the highest heaven and be at the heart of the Divine. Its very difficult to give a universally acceptable definition of• ...to have a pure soul and experience God. life as various religions, philosophers and thinkers have interpreted• ...to understand the mystery of God. life from various views and angles.So there are so many views• ...to know God. about life which even contradict each other. So in order to get the• ...to know oneself, know others, and know theWill of heaven. right meaning of life, we must adhere to the right religion and then• ...to attain union with God. mould the purpose of our life according to it....to have power, to be better• ...to strive for power and superiority. Footnotes• ...to rule the world. [1] Source: Wikipaedia.• ...to know and master the world. [2] Ibid....to know and master nature.• ...to fill the Earth and subdue it. (Genesis 1:28)
  • 17. The True Purpose of Life The True Purpose of Life 35 man by God, and He is the only Rightful One to take it back; No one else has the right to destroy a life. When God gives life to man, it is not in vain that He endows LIFE AS A PURPOSEFUL him with unique qualities and great abilities, nor is it in vain that He CREATION charges him with certain obligations. God means to help man to fulfil the purpose of life and realize the goal of existence. He means If we just analyze once our immediate surroundings, we will to help him to learn the creative art of living and enjoy the goodsoon realize that everything around us and every object in the taste of life according to the divine guidance. Life is a trust fromuniverse has got some definite purpose. The plants provide us God, and man is a trustee who should handle His trust with honestyfood and oxygen and maintain the environmental balance, the sun and skill, with mindfulness of God and with consciousness ofgives us heat and light, the animals perform various fruitful activities responsibility to Him.and so on. So everything in the universe has got its respective job Life maybe likened to a journey starting from a certain pointto do and this principle holds true for every object whether minute and ending at a certain destination. It is a transitory stage, anlike bacteria or enormous like the planets and stars. Everything in introduction to the Eternal Life in the Hereafter. In this journeythe universe is carrying on its purpose and is not futile in anyway, man is a traveler and should be concerned with only what is of usethen how can the complex creation of man with his complex to him in the Future Life. In other words, he should do all thefaculties of reason, sight, hearing, etc. be useless? Its illogical to good he can and make himself fully prepared to move any minutesay so. Gods creation is not in vain. God has created us for a real to Eternity. He should consider his life on this earth as a chanceserious purpose that needs our high attention. "Life is real, life is provided for him to make the best of it while he can, becauseearnest,And the grave is not its goal", as famous poet Longfellow when his time to leave comes he can never delay it for one second.truly says.1 If his term expires, it will be too late to do anything about it or to "Did ye then think that We had created you in extend it. The best use of life, therefore, is to live it according to jest and that ye would not be brought back to Us the teachings of God and to make it a safe passage to the Future (for account)?” 2 Life of Eternity." 3, 4 "Life is a brilliant demonstration of Gods wisdom and "Man attains a highest distinction only when he leads aknowledge, a vivid reflection of His art and power. He is the Giver purposeful life. Such a life characterizes the most advanced stageand Creator of life. Nothing comes into existence by chance, and of human development. And this does not mean that by taking upnobody creates himself or anybody else. Life is a dear and a just any task which is apparently significant mans life becomescherishable asset, and no sensible or normal person would like to truly purposeful. A really purposeful life is one in which manlose it by choice. Even those who feel so desperate and take their discovers his supreme status; a life in which his personality makeslives by committing low suicide, try in the last minute to regain manifest its unique distinctive quality. An animal strives to obtaintheir existence and wish to capture a breath to live. Life is given to food; a bird flies in the search of a better country when the season
  • 18. 36 The True Purpose of Life The True Purpose of Life 37changes; a wasp busies itself building up its own home from tiny from within.particles of earth; a herd of deer takes measures to protect itself It is in this unique conceptual quality of man that we can conceivefrom the wild beasts of prey. All of these appear to be purposeful of what his higher purpose in life should be. The latter can only beactions. But when the phrase a purposeful life is applied to man, one which does not result from the pressures of desire or ofthen it does not refer to efforts of this nature. Without doubt immediate exigencies. It must emanate from his own urge toarranging for ones food, clothes and habitation are sure of the worship God.tasks that man has to perform in this world; but this is a level of Mans true purpose in life can only be one which reflects thepurposefulness in which men and animals, being concerned only higher side of his personality; one which displays him as the superiorwith bare survival, are equal. Its true application in relation to man being he is…..can only be one, in which he appears in all his dignity. Mans life Only when a person goes beyond his self and his environmentbecomes purposeful only when it goes beyond common animalism can he understand that there is a higher purpose, on which heand takes the form of superior humanism. should focus his life. The motive force towards the fulfillment of Gods creation in this world fall into two categories: animate this purpose is not the urge to satisfy ones needs or those ofand inanimate. Obviously, animate objects enjoy a certain others…It is purpose, which sets before man a goal far above allsuperiority over inanimate objects. The former can be divided these things - a goal which does not follow internal needs orinto three classes: the vegetable, the animal and the human. Modern external pressures, but results purely from conceptual thought.scientific research has shown that plants also possess life, in that When a person works, makes money, builds a house, makesthey nourish themselves, they grow and they have feelings. an effort to improve his standard of living, he appears to be engaged But animals and men surely represent a higher form of life. In in efforts towards some worthy end. But a life of this nature cannotwhat way does man excel animals? Many theories have been be called a purposeful life, for these activities do not demonstrateadvanced in answer to this question over the ages, and great minds mans unique status. It might seem as if they are the result of aare still, studying it. But modern biologists have come to the deliberation, but if one looks at the matter in depth, one will seeconclusion that it is mans capacity for conceptual thought, which that in actual fact the motive force behind these actions is thedistinguished him from other life forms. Animals lack this quality, same urge that motivates an animal in various ways, its concernwhereas man is conscious of the fact that he is thinking. He for its own survival. It is the driving force of ones desires; theconsciously forms all plans of action in his mind; in his everyday pressure of ones needs, and the wish to fulfill the demands oflife his actions are determined by him. Whereas this is not the case ones self that underlie such a life. These are the considerationswith animals. Though many of their actions appear to be those which, in fact, guide a person in his search for his livelihood.like of men, these actions are not the result of thought. They all When man grows up, he realizes that there are certain materialstem from pure instinct.Animals are simply led intuitively by their necessities without which he cannot live. He requires food, clothes,desires and their needs in certain direction. Their actions are a place to live; he requires a reliable source of income to sustaingoverned by environmental stresses without any physical pressures
  • 19. 38 The True Purpose of Life The True Purpose of Life 39him throughout his life. He is forced by these considerations to colour are to be found in abundance in the cosmos, so shouldobtain these things. Then he sees that those who have an abundance mans life be enhanced by the fairness and honesty of his dealings.of these material things enjoy respect and apparently possess every He should be like the tree which breathes out oxygen in return forform of happiness and luxury in this world. Thus he is driven on to the carbon dioxide which it breathes in: that is, he should returndo more than just seek a livelihood; he desires to earn a degree good for evil; he should be kind to those who wrong him. Hegreatly in excess of his actual requirements. should learn too, from the fact that nothing in the cosmos ever In bustling markets, grandiose offices and opulent buildings, encroaches upon anything else. Each physical entity concentrateshe is not really guided by deliberate thought. Rather, he is being solely upon playing its own part in the order of the universe. Manguided by inflated ideas of his own needs, desires, longings and must also engage in the same positive action avoiding all negativeambitions to achieve fame and high status in this world. For this activities. Innumerable activities are going on throughout the cosmosreason these activities cannot be considered as being directed on the grandest of scales, but without any recompense. In liketowards the purpose, which sets man apart from the animal and manner, man should keep on discharging his responsibilities withoutlends him a higher distinction. any hope of reward. He should reflect upon how the lofty Mans greater dignity can be based only on a purpose, which mountains and the trees cast their shadows upon the earth, withemanates from inner desires and pressures of environment. Mans no thought for what anyone can do for them in return, and shouldtrue purpose in life can only be to seek the pleasure of God. When emulate this act in all humility…man seeks the pleasure of his Lord, his human qualities find full The activities going on in the world at every moment proclaimmanifestation. This is a purpose loftier than the one towards which who are the worthy and who are the unworthy. Those who arean animal directs its energies. It distinguishes man from animals. It motivated solely by the superficial interests of money, honour oris the ultimate station of human dignity. fame are little better than miserable misfits in this selfless world of To determine the purpose of life, in short, the effort to make God. They are not true to the standards set in this universe, whichlife meaningful. It must surely, therefore, be one which is in is a living manifestation of divine ethics. Only those who can beaccordance with mans unique status; it must be one which leads motivated by the truth, pure and simple, who can rise aboveman on the path to success and progress in terms of his true nature."5 personal interests, freeing themselves from complexes and obsessions, shall be deserving of honour and glory from God. In "The purpose and wisdom, which manifest themselves in the the heavenly world to come, all those who have been activatedwider universe under the direct control of God have to be adopted solely by their immediate worldly interests, will be marked downby man of his own accord in his personal life. What God has as unworthy, and cast out from it. This beautiful and blissful worldestablished on a physical plane, man has to establish on a moral will be inherited only by those who, motivated by unworldlyplane. With the same strength as is possessed by the iron which is interests, lifted their eyes from the immediate, material things infound everywhere in the cosmos, man must have real staunchness order to be able to see things distant and unseen…of character. But kindheartedness must spring from him too, in theway that springs gush forth form the rocks. Just as fragrance and Those who refuse to learn their lesson and persist in following
  • 20. 40 The True Purpose of Life The True Purpose of Life 41the path of selfish passion are wrongdoers of the worst kind. Those my soul, and my soul lives from You.”who refuse to see Gods signs, although they have eyes, and refuse Saint Augustine, 354-430, theologian and philosopher,to hear Gods voice, although they have ears, are, in the eyes of Confessions .God, the worst animals .6, 7 “No man is good without God: is anyone capable of rising Allah has provided to man faculties of hearing and sight along above chance unless with Gods help? Its Him that prompts us towith the power of decision making and complex thinking. But still noble and exalted endeavors. In each and every good man, asin spite of all these blessings still when a man turns away from the Virgil says, a god (what god we are uncertain) dwells.”real purpose of life, he becomes like a boat without oars and his Seneca , Roman philosopher and politician, Letters to Luciliuslife loses the right direction. Thats why God says: “You are the Truth, oh my God, my light, health of my face.All "They have hearts wherewith they understand people want this path, the only happy path, the joy that lives in not, eyes wherewith they see not and ears truth.” wherewith they hear not. They are like cattle Saint Augustine, 354-430, theologian and philosopher, nay more misguided: for they are heedless (of Confessions. warning)." 8 Listen to the words of Pascal, in the seventeenth century: Further the Bible says: "When I consider the short duration of my life, "Seeing they do not perceive, and hearing they swallowed up in the eternity that lies before and do not listen, nor do they understand". 9 after it, when I consider the little space I fill and And then Allah affirms that good and bad can never be equal I see, engulfed in the infinite immensity of spacesand so a purposeful and a purposeless life too can never be equal. of which I am ignorant, and which know me not,God presents a contrast before us: I rest frightened, and astonished, for there is no "The blind and the seeing are not alike; Nor reason why I should be here rather than there. are the depths of Darkness and the Light; Nor Why now rather than then? Who has put me here? are the (chilly) shade and the (genial) heat of By whose order and direction have this place and the sun; Nor are alike those that are living and time have been ascribed to me?" those that are dead. Allah can make any that Pensees (Penguin Classics). He wills to hear; but thou canst not make those to hear who are (buried) in graves."10 Some Quotes Describing Life as a PurposefulGod as a Source of a Meaningful Life11 Creation12 “When I seek you, my God, I am seeking happiness. I will Man can will nothing unless he has first understood that heseek you in order for my soul to live, because my body lives from must count just with himself; that he is alone, abandoned on earth,
  • 21. 42 43in the midst of his infinite responsibilities, without help, with no Footnotes:other aims than those he sets himself, with no other destiny than [1] Quoted by Abdullah Yusuf Ali in his commentary to the Holy Quran,the one he forges for himself on this earth. footnote No. 2950. [2] Holy Quran Chapter 23 verse 115. Jean Paul Sartre, 1905-1980, French writer and philosopher, [3] Islam in Focus, Hammudah Abdalati p. 55-56.Being and Nothingness. [4] Please refer to the chapter, The Concept of After Life. Life is nothing until it is lived, but it is yours to make sense of; [5] Islamic Studies Text Book for Class XI by Dr. Farida Khanam p. 36- 38the value of life is nothing other than the sense you choose. [6] Holy Quran Chapter 8 verse 22. Jean Paul Sartre, 1905-1980, French writer and philosopher, [7] Islamic Studies Text Book for Class XI by Dr. Farida Khanam p. 34-Existentialism is a Humanism . 35. [8] Holy Quran Chapter 7 verse 179. Man is the artificer of his own happiness. [9] Bible, Matthew 13:13. Henry Thoreau, 1817-1862, American essayist, Journal. [10] Holy Quran Chapter 35 verse 19-22. [11] Source: www.meaningsoflife.com Life has the meaning we give it. It has our richness, our [12] Ibid.enthusiasm, our pride. Or our cowardice. Miguel Torga, 1907-1995, Portuguese writer, Diário. These then are my last words to you: Be not afraid of life.Believe that life is worth living, and your belief will help create thefact. William James, 1842-1910, American philosopher, The Willto Believe. Man is the only animal for whom his own existence is a problemwhich he has to solve and from which he cannot escape. Erich Fromm, 1900-1980, American philosopher andpsychologist, Man for Himself. Ignorant men do not know the excellence of whats in theirhands, until theyve flung it away. Sophocles, 496-406 BC, Greek Poet, Ajax.
  • 22. The True Purpose of Life 45 compassion and selflessness and these are the qualities that are required most for a healthy society to flourish. It must be noted that many researchers and scientists after THE CONCEPT OF doing research concluded that there definitely exists an After Life. AFTER LIFE For instance there is Dr. Raymond A. Moodi ofAmerica who is a doctorate in philosophy but he has done extensive research on As mentioned earlier too that life is not an end in itself. Life is NDE (Near Death Experiences) in which the doctors mention avery short and in this brief time, man must realize his true purpose patient that he is "Clinically Dead" but after some time the patientof life and prepare himself for the life to come. The life is a test and comes back to life again like normal. Dr. Raymond A. Moodithe one who lives it according to the divine will of God will only be made research and did surveys on many such persons and all ofsuccessful in the life to come as He is the One who gave us this life them narrated that they had seen some unusual things during theand it should obviously be lived only according to His will. Some time those persons were supposed to be dead. Like they sawpeople claim that there is no after life and this life is an end in itself. souls moving here and they even saw glimpses of the ParadiseBut this statement is really illogical. Say for example a child enters and Hell and then a voice appeared and said to them that, "Whata school and then leaves it at a particular stage and same holds do you have to show me that you have done with your life". Andtrue for an employee who retires from his office after his tenure is all the patients had seen these similar things but they just usedover. So similarly after we die there must be a life to come. If different words to express it. Then Dr. RaymondA. Moodi pennedthere is no hereafter life and if the world is an end in itself then one down his research in the form of three books namely:may really say that God has created us for a stupid purpose. Life After Life, If there is no hereafter then every person will try to acquire as The Light Beyond, &much material wealth as possible without caring for others because Reflections on Life after Life.it is actually the concept of hereafter that guides this present life Dr. Moodis book (Life after Life) was first published in 1975and the sense of accountability before God that guides the actions after he made a research of 8 years and interviewed around 150of the humans in this world. When hereafter is our context then people and then this interesting topic made many other doctors toour life will become hereafter-oriented and this will make us to act research further on this topic.After this a pediatrician by the nameaccording to the will of God and we will do every deed to please of Dr. Melvin Morse wrote another book namely Closer to theHim only and to get His good pleasure and this in turn will make Light in which he has mentioned that children have also undergoneour life fruitful. The commandments of God will act like a tether through this experience and he himself interviewed such childrenthat will restrict our actions and stop us from doing injustice and and then put his research in his 236 page book. Then another manungodly acts. When our life is hereafter-oriented then we will do namely Pollster George Gallup did a survey of people inAmericaevery deed just to please our Lord and not to seek reward from and to his astonishment he found that around 5% of the US peoplepeople for our deeds. This will inculcate in us the feelings of got NDE and then Dr. Raymond A. Moodi continued his research
  • 23. 46 The True Purpose of Life The True Purpose of Life 47further and again interviewed a 1000 people and wrote another Many people wonder as to how a person with a scientific andbook The Light Beyond. So all these facts give us a glimpse of logical temperament, can lend any credence to the belief of lifethe After Life and make us conclude that there really is another after death. People assume that anyone believing in the hereafterLife to come and the human reason confirms it too.1 is doing so on the basis of blind belief. My belief in the hereafter is "There are people who commit sins, neglect God and indulge based on a logical argument.in immoral activities, yet they seem to be "superficially" successful 2. Hereafter a logical beliefin business and prosperous in life. And there are virtuous and There are more than a thousand verses in the Glorious Quran,God-minded people, yet they seem to be getting less rewards for containing scientific facts (refer my book "Quran and Moderntheir sincere efforts and more suffering in the present world. This Science-Compatible or Incompatible?"). Many facts mentionedis puzzling and incompatible with the Justice of God. If the guilty in the Quran have been discovered in the last few centuries. Butpeople can escape the mundane law unharmed and, in addition, science has not advanced to a level where it can confirm everybe more prosperous, what is, then, left for the virtuous people. statement of the Quran. Suppose 80% of all that is mentioned inWhat will promote the cause of morality and goodness? There the Quran has been proved 100% correct.About the remainingmust be some way to reward goodness and arrest evil. If this is 20%, science makes no categorical statement, since it has notnot done here on this earth - and we know that it is not done advanced to a level, where it can either prove or disprove theseregularly or immediately - it has to be done someday, and that is statements. With the limited knowledge that we have, we cannotthe Day of Judgement. This is not to condone injustice or tolerate say for sure whether even a single percentage or a single verse ofmischief in this world. It is not to sedate the deprived or comfort the Quran from this 20% portion is wrong. Thus when 80% oftheir exploiters. Rather, it is to warn the deviants from the Right the Quran is 100% correct and the remaining 20% is not disproved,Path and remind them that the Justice of God shall run its full logic says that even the 20% portion is correct. The existence ofcourse sooner or later."2 the hereafter, which is mentioned in the Quran, falls in the 20% Dr. Zakir Naik has very logically proved the concept of life ambiguous portion which my logic says is correct.hereafter in his book Answers to non-Muslims common questions 3. Concept of peace and human values is useless withoutabout Islam3 and I would like to reproduce that here in order to the concept of hereaftersatisfy the reader. Though Dr. Zakir Naik has proved it according Is robbing a good or an evil act? A normal balanced personto the Muslim perspective but still the arguments provided are would say it is evil.logical and universal to people belonging to all religions. How would a person who does not believe in the hereafter Question:— How can you prove the existence of convince a powerful and influential criminal that robbing is evil?hereafter, i.e. life after death? Suppose I am the most powerful and influential criminal in the Answer:— 1. Belief in the hereafter is not based on blind world. At the same time I am an intelligent and a logical person. Ifaith. say that robbing is good because it helps me lead a luxurious life. Thus robbing is good for me. If anybody can put forward a single
  • 24. 48 The True Purpose of Life The True Purpose of Life 49logical argument as to why it is evil for me, I will stop immediately. am a logical person and I see no benefit in caring for other humanPeople usually put forward the following arguments: beings. a. The person who is robbed will face difficulties f. It is a selfish act Some may say that the person who is robbed will face Some may say that robbing is being selfish. It is true that robbingdifficulties. I certainly agree that it is bad for the person who is is a selfish act; but then why should I not be selfish? It helps merobbed. But it is good for me. If I rob a thousand dollars, I can enjoy life.enjoy a good meal at a 5 star restaurant. 1. No logical reason for robbing being an evil act b. Some one may rob you Hence all arguments that attempt to prove that robbing is an Some people argue that someday I may be robbed. No one evil act are futile. These arguments may satisfy a common man butcan rob me because I am a very powerful criminal and I have not a powerful and influential criminal like me. None of thehundreds of bodyguards. I can rob anybody but nobody can rob arguments can be defended on the strength of reason and logic. Itme. Robbing may be a risky profession for a common man but is no surprise that there are so many criminals in this world.not for an influential person like me. Similarly raping, cheating etc. can be justified as good for a person c. The police may arrest you like me and there is no logical argument that can convince me that these things are bad. Some may say, if you rob, you can be arrested by the police.The police cannot arrest me because I have the police on my 2. A Muslim can convince a powerful and influentialpayroll. I have the ministers on my payroll. I agree that if a common criminalman robs, he will be arrested and it will be bad for him, but I am Now let us switch sides. Suppose you are the most powerfulan extraordinarily influential and powerful criminal. Give me one and influential criminal in the world, who has the police and thelogical reason why it is bad for me and I will stop robbing. ministers on his payroll. You have army of thugs to protect you. I d. Its easy money am a Muslim who will convince you that robbing, raping, cheating, Some may say its easy money and not hard-earned money. I etc. are evil acts. Even if I put forth the same arguments to proveagree completely that it is easy money, and that is one of the main that robbing is evil the criminal will respond the same way as hereasons why I rob. If a person has the option of earning money did earlier. I agree that the criminal is being logical and all histhe easy as well as the hard way, any logical person would choose arguments are true only when he is the most powerful and influentialthe easy way. criminal. e. It is against humanity 3. Every human being wants justice Some may say it is against humanity and that a person should Each and every human being desires justice. Even if he doescare for other human beings. I counter argue by asking as to who not want justice for others he wants justice for himself. Somewrote this law called humanity and why should I follow it? This people are intoxicated by power and influence and inflict pain andlaw may be good for the emotional and sentimental people but I suffering on others. The same people, however, would surely
  • 25. 50 51object if some injustice was done to them. The reason such people try which of you is best in deed; and He is thebecome insensitive to the suffering of others is that they worship Exalted in Might, Oft-Forgiving."power and influence. Power and influence, they feel, not only allows [Al-Quran 67:2]them to inflict injustice on others but also prevents others from 8. Final justice on day of judgementdoing likewise to them. The Glorious Quran says: 4. God is Most Powerful and Just "Every soul shall have a taste of death: and only As a Muslim I would convince the criminal about the existence on the Day of Judgement shall you be paid yourof Almighty God (refer to answer proving the existence of God). full recompense. Only he who is saved far fromThis God is more powerful than you and at the same time is also the Fire and admitted to the Garden will havejust. The Glorious Quran says: attained the object (of life): for the life of this "Allah is never unjust in the least degree" world is but goods and chattels of deception." [Al-Quran 4:40] [Al-Quran 3:185] 5. Why does God not punish me? Final justice will be meted out on the Day of Judgement. After The criminal, being a logical and scientific person, agrees that a person dies, he will be resurrected on the Day of JudgementGod exists, after being presented with scientific facts from the along with the rest of mankind. It is possible that a person receivesQuran. He may argue as to why God, if He is Powerful and Just, part of his punishment in this world. The final reward anddoes not punish him. punishment will only be in the hereafter. God Almighty may not punish a robber or a rapist in this world but he will surely be held 6. The people who do injustice should be punished accountable on the Day of Judgement and will be punished in the Every person who has suffered injustice, irrespective of financial hereafter i.e. life after death.or social status, almost certainly wants the perpetrator of injustice 9. What punishment can the human law give Hitler?to be punished. Every normal person would like the robber or therapist to be taught a lesson. Though a large number of criminals Hitler incinerated six million Jews during his reign of terror.are punished, many even go scot-free. They lead a pleasant, Even if the police had arrested him, what punishment can the humanluxurious life, and even enjoy a peaceful existence. If injustice is law give Hitler for justice to prevail? The most they can do is todone to a powerful and influential person, by someone more send Hitler to the gas chamber. But that will only be punishmentpowerful and more influential than he, even such a person would for the killing of one Jew. What about the remaining five million,want that person perpetrators of injustice to be punished. nine hundred and ninety nine thousand, nine hundred and ninety- 7. This life is a test for the hereafter nine Jews? This life is a test for the hereafter. The Glorious Quran says: 10. Allah can burn Hitler more than six million times in hellfire "He who created death and life, that He may Allah say in the Glorious Quran:
  • 26. 52 The True Purpose of Life The True Purpose of Life 53 "Those who reject Our signs, We shall soon cast Footnotes: into the Fire; as often as their skins are roasted [1] For further details, refer to the book, "Dunya ke us Paar" (Urdu) By through, We shall change them for fresh skins, Maulana Taqi Usmani. [2] Islam in Focus, Hammudah Abdalati p. 36. that they may taste the penalty: for Allah is [3] Answers to non-Muslims common questions about Islam, Dr. Zakir Exalted in Power, Wise." [Al-Quran 4:56] Naik, p.37. If Allah wishes he can incinerate Hitler six million times in the [4] Holy Quran Chapter 39 verse 42.hereafter in the hellfire. [5] Holy Quran Chapter 45 verse 24-26. [6] For further details on this subject, refer to the book, "Life, Death and 11. No concept of human values are good and bad without the After Life" by Dr. Ahmad Sakr and also refer to the chapter,the concept of hereafter Arguments for the Life Hereafter from God Arises by Maulana It is clear that without convincing a person about the hereafter, Wahiduddin Khan.i.e. life after death, the concept of human values and the good orevil nature of acts is impossible to prove to any person who isdoing injustice especially when he is influential and powerful. "It is Allah that takes the souls (of men) at death; and those that die not (He takes) during their sleep: those on whom He has passed the decree of death, He keeps back (from returning to life), but the rest He sends (to their bodies) for a term appointed. Verily in this are Signs for those who reflect."4 "And they say: "What is there but our life in this world? We shall die and we live, and nothing but Time can destroy us." But of that they have no knowledge: they merely conjecture: And when Our Clear Signs are rehearsed to them, their argument is nothing but this: they say, "Bring (back) our forefathers, if what you say is true!" Say: "It is Allah Who gives you life, then gives you death; and He will gather you together for the Day of Judgment about which there is no doubt": But most men do not understand." 5, 6
  • 27. The True Purpose of Life The True Purpose of Life 55 of birth and rebirth, and liberation). Existence is conceived as the progression of the Atma (similar to the western concept of a soul) across numerous lifetimes, and its ultimate progression towards CONCEPT OF LIFE IN liberation from karma. Particular goals for life are generally subsumed under broader yogas (practices) or dharma (correct VARIOUS RELIGIONS1 living) which are intended to create more favorable reincarnations, though they are generally positive acts in this life as well.Traditional Prior to the expansion of the major universal religions - from schools of Hinduism often worship Devas which are manifestationsthe first or second centuries BC to the sixth century CE, depending of Ishvara (a personal or chosen God); these Devas are taken ason the faith - the meaning of life was investigated in terms of human ideal forms to be identified with, as a form of spiritual improvement.potential and the relationship of individuals to the natural world.Devotion to god or gods was an important aspect of sometraditions, but was generally viewed in terms of personal Judaismdevelopment (as in the Hindu relationship between Atma and Judaisms most important feature is belief in a single, omniscient,Brahma, or as a social relationship, as in the Jewish covenant). omnipotent, omnibenevolent, transcendent God, who created theOther traditions relied heavily on reason, discipline, or the universe and governs it. Per traditional Judaism, God establisheddevelopment of other human faculties, either as meaningful in their a covenant with the Jewish people, at Mount Sinai, revealing Hisown right, or as tools to reach other decisions. Laws and Commandments in the Torah. In Rabbinic Judaism, the Torah comprises the written Pentateuch (Torah) and the oral lawHinduism tradition (later transcribed as sacred writing). Hinduism is a diverse religion: there are some tenets accepted In the Judaic world view, the purpose of life is to serveby most Hindus, but no doctrines that are universally accepted by God and to prepare for the world to come. The "Olam Haba"all. Most believe that the Atma (spirit, soul) - the persons true thought is about elevating oneself spiritually, connecting to God inself - is eternal. In part, this stems from Hindu beliefs that spiritual preparing for "Olam Haba"; Jewish thought is to use "Olam Hazeh"development occurs across many lifetimes, and goals should match (this world) to elevate oneself.the state of development of the individual. There are four possibleaims to human life, known as the purusharthas (ordered from least Zoroastrianismto greatest): Kama (love and sensual pleasure), Artha (wealth), Zoroastrianism is the religion and philosophy based on theDharma (righteousness, morality), and Moksha (liberation from teachings ascribed to the Prophet Zoroaster, after whom the religionthe reincarnation cycle). is named. Zoroastrians believe in a universe created by a In all schools of Hinduism, the meaning of life is tied up in the transcendental God, Ahura Mazda, to whom all worship isconcepts of karma, samsara and moksha (causal action, the cycle ultimately directed.Azhura Mazdas creation is asha, truth and
  • 28. 56 The True Purpose of Life The True Purpose of Life 57order, and it is in conflict with its antithesis, druj, falsehood and liberated and attaining Moksha. The Jain view of karma is thatdisorder. Malevolent force is represented by Angra Mainyu, the every action, every word, every thought produces, besides its"Destructive Principle", while the benevolent is represented through visible, an invisible, transcendental effect on the soul.Ahura Mazdas Spenta Mainyu, the instrument or "Bounteous Jainism includes strict adherence to ahimsa (or ahinsa), a formPrinciple" of the act of creation. of nonviolence that goes far beyond vegetarianism. Jains refuse Since humanity possesses free will, people must be food obtained with unnecessary cruelty. Many practice a lifestyleresponsible for their moral choices. By using free will, people similar to Veganism due to the violence of modern dairy farms,must take active role to play in the universal conflict, where good and others exclude root vegetables from their diets in order tothoughts, good words and good deeds to ensure happiness and preserve the lives of the plants from which they eat.to keep chaos at bay. Ahura Mazda will ultimately prevail, at which point the universe Early Buddhismwill undergo a cosmic renovation and time will end (cf: Zoroastrian Buddhism is a non-dual religious view, in which subject, object,eschatology). In the final renovation, all of creation - even the and action are all seen as illusory. Buddhists believe that life issouls of the dead that were initially banished to "darkness" - will suffering. The suffering is caused by attachment to objects materialbe reunited in Ahura Mazda. At the end of time a savior-figure [a or non-material. The meaning of life is to end sufferingSaoshyant] will bring about a final renovation of the world, and in through detaching oneself from cravings and conceptualwhich the dead will be revived. attachments. Suffering can be overcome through human activity, simply by removing the cause of suffering.Attaining and perfectingJainism dispassion is a process of many levels that ultimately results in the Jainism is a religion originating in ancient India, its ethical system state of Nirvana. Nirvana means freedom from all worries, troubles,promotes self-discipline above all else. Through following the complexes, fabrications, and ideas.ascetic teachings of Jina, a human achieves enlightenment (perfect Theravada Buddhism is generally considered to be close toknowledge). Jainism divides the universe into living and non-living the early Buddhist practice. It promotes the concept ofbeings. Only when the non-living become attached to the living Vibhajjavada (Pali), literally "Teaching of Analysis", which saysdoes suffering result. Therefore, happiness is the result of self- that insight must come from the aspirants experience, criticalconquest and freedom from external objects. The meaning of investigation, and reasoning instead of by blind faith. However,life may then be said to be to use the physical body to achieve the Theravadin tradition also emphasizes heeding the advice ofself-realization and bliss. the wise, considering such advice and evaluation of ones own experiences to be the two tests by which practices should be Jains believe that every human is responsible for his or her judged. The Theravadin goal is liberation (or freedom) fromactions and all living beings have an eternal soul, Jiva. Jains believe suffering, according to the Four Noble Truths. This is attained inall souls are equal because they all possess the potential of being the achievement of Nibbana, or Unbinding which also ends the
  • 29. 58 The True Purpose of Life The True Purpose of Life 59repeated cycle of birth, old age, sickness and death. Lifes purpose in Christianity is to seek divine salvation through the grace of God and intercession of Christ. The New TestamentTaoism speaks of God wanting to have a relationship with humans both in this life and the life to come, which can happen only if ones The Taoists cosmogony emphasizes the need for all sentient sins are forgiven (John 3:16-21, 2 Peter 3:9). In the Christianbeings and all man to return to the primordial or to rejoin with the view humankind is inherently and innately sinful, but Christs deathOneness of the Universe by way of self-correction and self and resurrection provide the means for transcending that impurerealization. It is the objective for all adherents to understand and state (Romans 6:23). The means for doing so varies betweenbe in tune with the ultimate truth. different sects, but all rely on one form or another of subjugation Within the theology of Taoism, all men were originally a being to Gods will.called yuanling from Taiji and Tao, the meaning in life for the Under the Christian view, the main purpose in life is to live likeadherents is to realise the temporal nature of the existence, Christ did, to give glory to God in all that we do, and to serve andand all adherents are expected to practise, hone and conduct their love Him.mortal lives by way of Xiuzhen and Xiushen, as a preparation forthe spiritual transcendence thereafter. "Only introspection can then Catholics believe that penance is required in earning forgivenesshelp us to find our innermost reasons for living...the simple answer of sin, especially mortal sin. Orthodox Protestants and evangelicalsis here within ourselves." do not believe that ones actions, in themselves, have an impact upon ones personal salvation and entry to Heaven; instead, onesConfucianism acceptance of Christ as saviour and repentance of sin determine existential fate. Confucianism recognizes human nature in accordance with the In the Westminster Shorter Catechism, the first question is:need for discipline and education. Because mankind is driven by What is the chief end of Man?, that is, What is Mans mainboth positive and negative influences, Confucianists see a goal in purpose?. The answer is: Mans chief end is to glorify God,achieving the good nature through strong relationships and reasoning and enjoy Him forever. God requires one to obey the revealedas well as minimizing the negative energy. This emphasis on normal moral law saying: love the Lord our God with all our heart,living is seen in the Confucianist scholar Tu Wei-Mings quote, with all our soul, with all our strength, and with all our mind;"we can realize the ultimate meaning of life in ordinary human and our neighbour as ourselves.[43] The Baltimore Catechismexistence." answers the question "Why did God make you?" by saying "God made me to know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him in thisChristianity world, and to be happy with Him forever in heaven." Though Christianity has its roots in Judaism, and shares muchof the latter faiths ontology, its central beliefs derive from the Mahayana Buddhismteachings of Jesus Christ, as presented in the New Testament. Mahayana Buddhist schools de-emphasize the traditional view
  • 30. 60 The True Purpose of Life The True Purpose of Life 61(still practiced in Theravada) of the release from individual Suffering the characteristics and qualities inherent in being a living entity.(Dukkha) and attainment ofAwakening (Nirvana). In Mahayana, The notion of lila (play) denotes the universe as cosmic game,the Buddha is seen as an eternal, immutable, inconceivable, wherein meaning is a "play of significance". Lila is manifest in theomnipresent being. The fundamental principles of Mahayana inexhaustible richness of being and event that are the keys to thedoctrine are based around the possibility of universal liberation meaning of life.from suffering for all beings, and the existence of the transcendent Dvaita Vedanta and other bhakti schools have a dualistBuddha-nature, which is the eternal Buddha essence present, but interpretation. Brahma is seen as a supreme being with a personalityhidden and unrecognised, in all living beings. and manifest qualities. The ãtma depends upon Brahma for its Philosophical schools of Mahayana Buddhism, such as Chan/ existence; the meaning of life is achieving Moksha through loveZen and the Vajrayana Tibetan and Shingon schools, explicitly of God and upon His grace.teach that Boddhisattvas should refrain from full liberation, allowingthemselves to be reincarnated into the world until all beings achieve Sikhismenlightenment. Devotional schools such as Pure Land Buddhism The monastic Sikh religion was founded by Guru Nanak Dev,seek the aid of celestial Buddhas - individuals who have spent the term "sikh" means student, which denotes that followers willlifetimes accumulating positive karma, and use that accumulation lead their lives forever learning. This system of religious philosophyto aid all. and expression has been traditionally known as the Gurmat (literally the counsel of the gurus) or the Sikh Dharma. The followers ofAdvaita and Dvaita Hinduism Sikhism are ordained to follow the teachings of the ten Sikh gurus, Hinduism made a resurgence in India in the 7th century CE, or enlightened leaders, as well as the Holy Scripture entitled theafter several centuries of Buddhist predominance. While retaining Gurû Granth Sãhib, which includes selected works of manyearlier Hindu theosophy, new schools reinterpreted the Vedas to philosophers from diverse socio-economic and religiousfocus on Brahma, "The One Without a Second", as a central backgrounds.God-like figure. The two main schools of the time are the monist The Sikh Gurus tell us that salvation can be obtained byAdvaita and the dualist Dvaita. The main distinction between the following various spiritual paths. Therefore, Sikhs do not have aschools is their understanding of the nature of Atma. monopoly on salvation: "The Lord dwells in every heart, and every In Advaita, atma is ultimately indistinguishable from Brahma, heart has its own way to reach Him." Sikhs do not consider theyand the goal of life is to know or realize that ones atma have an "exclusive" right to salvation. Sikhs believe that all people(soul) is identical to Brahma. To the Upanishads, whoever are equally important before God. Sikhs balance their moral andbecomes fully aware of the atma, as ones core of self, realises spiritual values with the quest for knowledge, and they aim toidentity with Brahma, and, thereby, achieves Moksha (liberation, promote a life of peace and equality but also of positive action.freedom). Brahma is conceived as a divinity without characteristics A key distinctive feature of Sikhism is a non-anthropomorphicor qualities, and moksha is pursued by separating oneself from
  • 31. 62 63concept of God, to the extent that one can interpret God as the itself by rightful self-development. Shinto wants individual humanUniverse itself (pantheism). Sikhism thus sees life as an opportunity life to be prolonged forever on earth as a victory of the divineto understand this God as well as to discover the divinity which spirit in preserving its objective personality in its highest forms.lies in each individual. While a full understanding of God is beyond The presence of evil in the world, as conceived by Shinto, doeshuman beings, Nanak described God as not wholly unknowable. not stultify the divine nature by imposing on divinity responsibilityGod is omnipresent (sarav viãpak) in all creation and visible for being able to relieve human suffering while refusing to do so.everywhere to the spiritually awakened. Nanak stressed that God The sufferings of life are the sufferings of the divine spirit in searchmust be seen from "the inward eye", or the "heart", of a human of progress in the objective world.being: devotees must meditate to progress towards enlightenment. So thats the concept of life and its purpose in various religionsNanak emphasized the revelation through meditation, as its rigorous as mentioned above. But if we analyze carefully the purposes ofapplication permits the existence of communication between God life in that various religions offer, we will conclude that they areand human beings. either defected or incomplete. The concept of rebirth in Hinduism According to Sikhism, every creature has a soul. In death, the to get salvation till one is incarnated as Brahma and then the soulsoul passes from one body to another until final liberation. The gets united with the Paramatma seems so impractical. Thisjourney of the soul is governed by the karma of the deeds and concept leads to the division of the society into various classesactions we perform during our lives, and depending on the and then lower class is looked down upon because they had donegoodness or wrongdoings committed by a person in their life they sins in previous life. The concept of this inherited sin makes thewill either be rewarded or punished in their next life. As the spirit life ultimately purposeless. And according to this philosophyof God is found in all life and matter, a soul can be passed onto humans even get incarnated as animals and low life and Hinduismother life forms, such as plants and insects - not just human bodies. believes that there can exists innumerable ways to God but AllA person who has evolved to achieve spiritual perfection in his ways do not lead to Rome and there is only one straight way tolifetimes attains salvation - union with God and liberation from God and saying that there exists so many ways to God deviatesrebirth in the material world. us as to which path is right. Then if we turn to Judeo-Christian traditions, the OldTestamentShinto is a mixture of History, Poetry, etc. and it has details of Historical Shinto is the native religion of Japan. Shinto means "the path of events and the rise and fall of kingdoms. But it is almost silent onthe kami", but more specifically, it can be taken to mean "the divine the purpose of life. The purpose of creation is mainly defined incrossroad where the kami chooses his way". The divine crossroad the Book of Genesis or creation that when Adam and Eve weresignifies that all the universe is divine spirit. This foundation of free created and then their fall, it says that after making universe Godwill, choosing ones way, means that life is a creative process. rested which is absurd. It also says that God regretted after creating man. Then there is New Testament and most of it has been written Shinto wants life to live, not to die. Shinto sees death as pollution by St. Paul. His books throughout contradict the gospels andand regards life as the realm where the divine spirit seeks to purify
  • 32. 64 The True Purpose of Lifetheory of original sin which states that sin is inherited which isreally an injustice and it contradicts the Old Testament whileconcept of Trinity further perplexes the mind. Therefore, in Bibleyou will never get a satisfactory answer for the purpose of life. LIFE IN ISLAM-THE Then there is Zoroastrianism which was founded by Zarathustra. ONLY CHOICEThey believe in a supreme power called Ahura Mazda and an evilforce called Ahriman. According to Zoroastrianism, there is a In the preceding chapter you studied about the concept andcontinuous struggle going on between the two and in the end former purpose of life according to various world religions. But as statedwill prevail. But the most teachings of Zoroastrianism are based earlier too that concepts about life in other religions (except Islam)upon paganism and have no relevance with the current world. are not perfect in the real sense. Those are just a set of rituals orThen Jainism & Buddhism lay so much stress on the renouncement lay an overwhelming stress upon renouncing the pleasure of theof this world and believe in forsaking the worldly pleasure to get world. Many of those concepts are impractical and not well definedsalvation that these religions offer nothing practical. There are just and they make us conclude that religion and daily life of a man arerituals and no practical code. separate entities and consequently those concepts render the life A religion can never be true unless it fulfils the spiritual and as purposeless. But only ISLAM is the complete code of life andworldly demands of people of all times and gives a code of life it guides us minutely in every aspect of our daily lives. Islam followswhich is universal and ever applicable. Religion and life of man the principle of moderation or the golden mean. It doesnt believeare not any separate entities. Islam has only maintained this golden in renouncing the world to attain salvation nor does it believe thatmean and moderation and Islamic concept of life is straight forward. life is an end in itself. The concept of life in Islam has been veryIslam tells us to do good deeds and teaches high moral values like clearly defined and Islamic view of life make it highly purposefulother religions do, but in Islam all fundamentals are completely and Islam provides guidance to man in every aspect of his life sostated in full sense and moreover Islam, unlike other religions, tells as to be successful in the world to come.us the solutions too of various problems challenging the mankind. Allah1 created man according to his own divine plan. AfterIn next coming chapter the concept of life in Islam has been creating man, Allah sent him to earth not because of fall of Adamdiscussed. but according to His own Will in order to test man on earth.Allah has honoured man by giving him a very high status of His viceroyFootnotes: to manifest His attributes and qualities and to represent Him on[1] Adapted from Wikipaedia. the earth. Man has been put temporarily on earth and then he will be brought back to Allah. Allah has granted man free will in this world in order to test him. Those who lead their lives according to Will of Allah pass the test while the rest fail. "Man maybe a masterpiece of divine creation, but he must
  • 33. 66 The True Purpose of Life The True Purpose of Life 67nevertheless remain subservient to plan of God. Making a full Behold thy Lord said to the angels:acknowledgement of these two aspects of the mankind is the key "I will create a vicegerent on earth." They said:to human progress. "Wilt thou place therein one who will make Man succeeded in building a modern industrial civilization by mischief therein and shed blood? Whilst we dodiscovering and exploiting the laws of nature. Similarly in the next celebrate Thy praises and glorify Thy holyworld man will achieve lasting success on a much vaster scale, but (name)?" He said: "I know what ye know not."only after striving earnestly to comprehend the Gods creation And He taught Adam the nature of all things;plan for humanity and then adhering unflinchingly to its edicts."2 then He placed them before the angels and said: Allah has created man from moulded clay and then he blew his "Tell Me the nature of these if ye are right." Theyspirit into it and He bestowed man with various sublime qualities. said: "Glory to Thee of knowledge we have noneThe Quran mentions: save that Thou hast taught us: in Truth it is Thou "From the (earth) did We create you and into it Who art perfect in knowledge and wisdom."He shall We return you and from it shall We bring said: "O Adam! tell them their natures." When you out once again."3 he had told them Allah said: "Did I not tell you that I know the secrets of Heaven and Earth and "We created man from sounding clay from mud I know what ye reveal and what ye conceal?"And molded into shape."4 behold We said to the angels: "Bow down to "Behold! thy Lord said to the angels: "I am Adam"; and they bowed down. Not so Iblis: he about to create man from sounding clay from refused and was haughty, he was of those who mud molded into shape; "When I have reject Faith. We said: "O Adam! dwell thou and fashioned him (in due proportion) and breathed thy wife in the Garden and eat of the bountiful into him of My spirit fall ye down in obeisance things therein as (where and when) ye will but unto him." 5 approach not this tree or ye run into harm and "Man is a dignified honourable being. His dignity derives from transgression." Then did Satan make them slipthe fact that he is infused with the spirit of the Creator. What is from the (garden) and get them out of the statemore important is that such dignity is not confined to any special (of felicity) in which they had been. We said:race, colour, or class of people. It is the natural right of man, "Get ye down all (ye people) with enmity betweenevery man, the most honourable being on earth." 6 yourselves. On earth will be your dwelling- place Adam was the first man to be created by Allah and the and your means of livelihood for a time." Thendescription of the creation of man and his unique status is very learnt Adam from his Lord words (of repentance)well defined in the Quran: and his Lord turned toward him; for He is Oft- Returning, Most Merciful.7
  • 34. 68 The True Purpose of Life The True Purpose of Life 69 So man has been created as a vicegerent (Khalifa) on earth. In with various qualities just in order to test him that how he will useother words man is a viceroy of Allah on earth. Allah has indeed the authority and power bestowed by Allah upon him.given a very high rank to man and honoured him by making him As mentioned in the earlier verses that Allah ordered all theHis own representative on earth and created man to manifest His jinns and the angels to prostrate before Adam. All did it exceptattributes and qualities. the Iblis (Satan) and afterwards he was expelled from the kingdom "Man enjoys an especially high-ranking status in the hierarchy of ofAllah. So after thatAllah placedAdam and the Eve in the paradiseall known creatures. He occupies this distinguished position because and told them to enjoy all its pleasures but He just forbade themhe alone is gifted with rational faculties and spiritual aspirations as from approaching to a tree.Allah told them that they will perish ifwell as powers of action. But the more his rank excels, the more his they tasted its fruit. But Satan by his deceit persuaded both ofresponsibility grows. He occupies the position of Gods viceroy on them to taste that fruit and they did so and it consequently broughtearth. The person who is appointed by God to be His active agent, about their fall:must necessarily have some power and authority, and be, atleast "But Satan whispered evil to him: he said "Opotentially, endowed with honour and integrity. And this is the status Adam! shall I lead thee to Tree of Eternity andof man in Islam; not a condemned race from birth to death, but a to a kingdom that never decays?" In the resultdignified being potentially capable of good and noble achievements. they both ate of the tree and so their nakednessThe fact that God chose His messengers from the human race shows appeared to them: they began to sew together,that man is trustworthy and capable, and that he can acquire immense for their covering, leaves from the Garden: thustreasures of goodness." 8 did Adam disobey his Lord and allow himself "Man also is created by God and is commissioned to be Gods to be seduced. But his Lord chose him (for Hisviceroy on earth. He is so chosen to cultivate the land and enrich Grace): He turned to him and gave himlife with knowledge, virtue, purpose and meaning. And to achieve guidance. He said: "Get ye down, both of you,this goal, everything in the earth and the heavens is created for him all together, from the Garden with enmity oneand is made subservient to him. Life on this planet is not a prison to another; but if, as is sure, there comes to youfor man; his coming into the world was not an arbitrary punishment Guidance from Me, whosoever follows Myfor previously committed sins. Nor was he expelled from another Guidance, will not lose his way, nor fall intoworld and cast out into this one. His existence was no mere chance misery." 10or undersigned occurrence. "So by deceit he brought about their fall: when Knowledge is the unique faculty of man and is an integral part they tasted of the tree, their shame becameof his personality and his being. It is knowledge that qualifies man manifest to them and they began to sew togetherto be the viceroy of his Creator and entitles him to command the the leaves of the garden over their bodies. Andrespect and allegiance even of the angels of God."9 their Lord called unto them: "Did I not forbid As Allah has created man as a ruler on earth and endowed him you that tree and tell you that Satan was an
  • 35. 70 The True Purpose of Life The True Purpose of Life 71 avowed enemy unto you?" 11 to discipline the first man, to give him actual experience of fall and But then both of them realized their mistake and repented before rise, moral defeat and triumph, straying from and reconciliationAllah and He accepted their repentance: with the Creator. In this way, man would become better prepared They said: "Our Lord! we have wronged our for life and more enlightened to face its uncertainties and trying own souls: if Thou forgive us not and bestow moments." 13 not upon us Thy mercy, we shall certainly be It must be mentioned here that after creating Adam, Allah lost." (Allah) said: "Get ye down with enmity extracted all his descendants to be born until the last day, from between yourselves. On earth will be your him and took covenant from them all and made them bear witness dwelling-place and your means of livelihood for that He was their Lord. The Quran mentions: a time."He said: "Therein shall ye live and "When thy Lord drew forth from the Children of therein shall ye die; but from it shall ye be taken Adam-from their loins-their descendants and made out (at last)." 12 them testify concerning themselves, (saying): "Am After that Allah sent Adam and Eve to earth but it was not as I not your Lord (who cherishes and sustains you)?"punishment as their repentance was already accepted by Allah. It They said: "Yea! We do testify!" (This), lest yewas rather according to divine plan ofAllah to send man on earth. should say on the Day of Judgment: "Of this weOtherwise after accepting their repentance,Allah could have again were never mindful." Or lest ye should say: "Ouradmitted them into paradise. But it must be noted that if Allah fathers before us may have taken false gods but wewould have retainedAdam and Eve in paradise then there would are (their) descendants after them: wilt Thou thenhave been no test of life and no distinction between the worthy destroy us because of the deeds of men who wereand unworthy people. And then again if Allah would have sent us futile?"14to earth as a punishment then our life would have been futile and "The Prophet (Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him)purposeless having a blot of sin upon it that would never let us explained that when Allah created Adam, He took from him alead a purposeful life. So both the cases render the life as covenant at a place called Namaan on the 9th day of the 12thpurposeless. Thats why Allah sent man to earth as an honoured month. He then extracted from Adam all of his descendants whobeing and not as sinful. would be born until the end of the world, generation after "The first phase of life on earth began not in sin or rebellion generation, and spread them out before Him to take a covenantagainst the Creator. The "Fall" from the garden of Eden and what from them also. He spoke to them, face to face, making themfollowed thereafter - the remorse of Adam and Eve, their bear witness that He was their Lord. Consequently, every humanrepentance, Gods forgiveness of and compassion for them, the being is responsible for belief in God, which is imprinted on eachenmity between man and Satan - all this was no surprise to the and every soul."15Creator. Nor was it an accident in the course of events. It was too According to Islam, man has been created to worshipAllah asmeaningful to be accidental. Rather, it seems to have been designed He is the Only Creator and Sustainer. And creation of Allah is not
  • 36. 72 The True Purpose of Life The True Purpose of Life 73futile. It has been definitely created for some serious purpose. duties, he shall be responsible to God for his wrong deeds."17The Quran mentions: Even the message of all the Prophets to people was to worship "I have only created jinns and men, that they One Supreme God. Obedience to Allah in all matters of life is may worship Me."16 worship in Islam.Allah is our sole Creator and Cherisher and only Now lets first understand the meaning of the word worship. He deserves our worship. As He is the Supreme Power, so ourThe Arabic word for worship is Ibadah and it comes from the life can get a direction and become purposeful only when weroot word Abd meaning slave. It means that in every case and surrender according to His Will.in every aspect of our lives, we must surrender to the Will ofAllah According to Islam life is a test for man and man has been sentas in the same way a slave obeys his master. As Islam is the to earth for test byAllah. The Quran mentions:complete code of life, so whenever you do any act according to "He Who created Death and Life, that He maythe commandment of Allah, you are worshipping Him. So this try which of you is best in deed: and He is theunique worship is beyond ritualism. Exalted in Might Oft-Forgiving."18 "Gods creation is meaningful and that life has a sublime purpose "That which is on earth We have made but as abeyond the physical needs and material activities of man. The glittering show for the earth in order that Wepurpose of life is to worship God. This does not simply mean that may test them—as to which of them are best inwe have to spend our entire lives in constant seclusion and absolute conduct."19meditation. To worship God is to know Him; to love Him; to On this earth,Allah has given authority and free will to man.obey His commandments; to enforce His law in every aspect of NowAllah wants to test humans that how they will use the authoritylife; to serve His cause by doing the right and shunning the evil; bestowed to them. This world is a trial for the man. If we use ourand to be just to Him, to ourselves, and to our fellow human authority according to the divine Will of Allah then only will webeings. To worship God is to "live" life not to run away from it. In succeed in the life after to come, otherwise, we will perish. Thisbrief, to worship God is to imbue ourselves with His Supreme world is a step for the next to come. Here the man will be tested,Attributes. This is by no means a simple statement, nor is it an then he will be rewarded according to his deeds done in the world.oversimplification of the matter. It is most comprehensive and This world maybe likened to a field where we have to sow and inconclusive. So if life has a purpose and man is created to serve the hereafter we will reap as per our deeds. So the more hard wethat purpose, then he cannot escape the responsibility. He cannot work in the field, the better our life hereafter will be. And thedeny his existence or ignore the vital role he has to play. When virtuous will succeed while the evil doers will be doomed to hellGod charges him with any responsibility, He provides him with forever.the required assistance. He endows him with intelligence and powerto choose his course of conduct. Man, thus, is strongly commended "Truly he succeeds that purifies it, And he failsby God to exert his utmost to fully serve the purpose of his that corrupts it! "20existence. Should he fail to do that, or misuse his life or neglect his "But those will prosper who purify
  • 37. 74 75 themselves."21 a dignified status. But man on the other hand, must always bear in When Allah sends man to earth, it is indeed according to a mind that he is temporarily in this world and one day he has to beplan and not futile. Allah with His infinite knowledge knows our accountable for his deeds. So the man always prepare himself forneeds in this life and consequentlyAllah has provided us with all the life to come and take every step according to divine Will ofthose qualities required by humans to inherit this earth. Allah the Allah and surrender to Him always and mould his life according togood and lawful things have been created by Allah for the service the commandments ofAllah.and benefit of mankind. The Quran mentions: Allah, the Most High, says in the Quran: "Allah is the one Who created the heavens and "We have indeed created man in the best of the earth and sends down rain from the sky and moulds."25 with it brings out fruits for your provision. He It means that Allah has created man in the best stature, form has put ships in your service, sailing through and nature and it is an obligation upon man to preserve the fitrah the sea by His Command; and likewise He has (nature) on which Allah created him. It is this nature that exalts the put the rivers in your service. He has also put humans even higher than the angels. The next verses continues the sun and moon in their orbits to be of service and says: to you; and He made the night and day in your "Then do We abase him (to be) the lowest of service."22 the low."26 "[It is He] who causes the daybreak, makes the This verse implies that when man doesnt recognize his status night for rest, and the sun and moon for and position and lives his life blindly, then he goes even lower than calculating [time]. That is the determination of the animals. Allah has sent humans to earth as His viceroys in the All-Mighty, the All-Knowing. It is He who order to manifest His qualities and Attributes. The Qualities and has made the stars for your guidance in the Attributes thatAllah exhibits on divine plane, man has to establish darkness on land and at sea. We have explained the same on physical plane.Allah is Compassionate and Forgiving, in detail these Signs for people who know."23 so man has to be same to his fellow beings. God is Loving and Allah has put various facilities for the service and ease of Peace, so a similar attitude has to be adopted by man in his lifemankind. Islam encourages scientific enquiry and science and and he has to represent the various qualities ofAllah. But often wetechnology. Allah asks man at many places in the Quran to ponder do opposite to this by spreading hatred and mischief on the earthand observe the signs in the universe. Islam also encourages man which in turn makes us the representatives of the Satan. But weto excel on every front be it religion, science, social work, justice, must realize that being Allahs representative on earth is a veryequality, fraternity, universalism, economy, etc. Islam has provided high honour and we have to protect and maintain this honour andbasic guidelines and injunctions to us in every sphere of life.24 dignity. And when we do soAllah makes us the Best of all Creation:(Read Living Islam). So life in Islam is not purposeless but rather "Surely, those who believe and do righteousIslam makes the life highly meaningful and creative by giving man
  • 38. 76 The True Purpose of Life The True Purpose of Life 77 deeds, are the best of creation." 27 [22] Holy Quran Chapter 14 verse 32-33. [23] Holy Quran Chapter 6 verse 96-97. "It is He who hath made you (His) agents, [24] For details please read the Chapter "Living Islam" from the Book. inheritors of the earth: He hath raised you in [25] Holy Quran Chapter 95 verse 4. ranks, some above others: that He may try you [26] Holy Quran Chapter 95 verse 5. in the gifts He hath given you: for thy Lord is [27] Holy Quran Chapter 98 verse 7. quick in punishment: yet He is indeed Oft- [28] Holy Quran Chapter 6 verse 165. [29] Holy Quran Chapter 24 verse 55. Forgiving Most Merciful." 28 "Allah has promised to those among you who believe and work righteous deeds that He will, of a surety, grant them in the land, inheritance (of power), as He granted it to those before them."29Footnotes:[1] Allah is the Proper term for God in Islam.[2] Islamic Studies Text Book for Class XI by Dr. Farida Khanam p. 36.[3] Holy Quran Chapter 20 verse 55.[4] Holy Quran Chapter 15 verse 26.[5] Holy Quran Chapter 15 verse 28-29.[6] Islam in Focus, Hammudah Abdalati p. 91.[7] Holy Quran Chapter 2 verse 30-37.[8] Islam in Focus, Hammudah Abdalati p. 39.[9] Islam in Focus, Hammudah Abdalati p. 88-89.[10] Holy Quran Chapter 20 verse 120-123.[11] Holy Quran Chapter 7 verse 22.[12] Holy Quran Chapter 7 verse 23-25.[13] Islam in Focus, Hammudah Abdalati p. 89.[14] Holy Quran Chapter 7 verse 172-173.[15] Dr. Bilal Philips. Source: www.purposeofcreation.com[16] Holy Quran Chapter 51 verse 56.[17] Islam in Focus, Hammudah Abdalati p. 38.[18] Holy Quran Chapter 67 verse 2.[19] Holy Quran Chapter 18 verse 7.[20] Holy Quran Chapter 91 verse 9-10.[21] Holy Quran Chapter 87 verse 14.
  • 39. The True Purpose of Life The True Purpose of Life 79 all called MUSLIMS. So Islam has been, and will continue to be, the true universal religion of God, because God is One and Changeless, and because human nature and major human needs ISLAM are fundamentally the same, irrespective of time and place, ofTHE UNIVERSAL RELIGION race and age.And of any other considerations."2 Most of the people have the misconception that Islam is a Islam is derived from the two fold word, salaam and silm new religion and it was founded by Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)meaning Peace and Submission respectively. It also means purity. in Arabia almost 1400 years ago. Thats why many people in theSo Islam means peaceful submission to God. It means that one western countries call Islam as Mohammedanism and Muslims assubmits to Him peacefully without resisting or denying His divine Mohammedans. But these are big misnomers. Islam was foundedWill and commands. And its only by submitting to God that we by God Himself to guide the humanity according to His Will and itcan achieve real happiness and experience the peace and purity in came into existence when Adam put his foot on the earth. Afterour lives. Islam unlike other religions is not named after any religious that he was followed by a series of Prophets who came to theirpersonality or leader like Christianity has been named after the respective nations and all of them were Muslims and they submittedJesus Christ, Buddhism after Buddha, Zoroastrianism after the to One Supreme God. And whenever the humans strayed fromZoroaster and Confucianism after Confucius, etc. But the Islam the path of God, Allah sent down Messengers to guide them andhas been chosen by God Himself in His Holy Book to make it a show them the right path. God says:Universal religion: "Abraham was not a Jew nor yet a Christian; "This day have I perfected your religion for you, but he was true in Faith, and bowed his will to completed My favour upon you, and have chosen Allahs (which is Islam), and he did not join for you Islam as your religion."1 gods with Allah."3 "The Islamic concept of religion is unique in the broadest sense "To every people (was sent) a Messenger: whenof the word. It is true that genuine religion must come from God their Messenger comes (before them), the matterfor the right guidance of man. And it is equally true that human will be judged between them with justice, andnature and major needs are basically same at all times. This they will not be wronged".4conception leads to one conclusion, and that is: There is only one "Verily We have sent you in Truth, as a bearertrue religion coming from the One and Same God, to deal with the of Glad Tidings, and as a warner: and thereoutstanding human problems of all times. This religion is ISLAM. never was be people, without a warner livedBut it should be borne in mind that Islam was not taught by Prophet among them (in the past)."5Muhammad alone. On the contrary, Islam had been taught by all "The same Religion He has established for youthe Prophets before Muhammad, and the true followers of as that which He enjoined on Noah - the whichAbraham and Moses as well as those of Jesus and the rest were
  • 40. 80 The True Purpose of Life The True Purpose of Life 81 We have sent by inspiration to you - and that Muhammad (pbuh) completed the chain of Prophets and the House which We enjoined on Abraham, Moses and of Islam got completed and now anyone can enter it without any Jesus: namely, that you should remain steadfast discrimination. He was not only the Prophet of the Muslims but in Religion, and make no divisions therein: to the Prophet for all humankind. those who worship other things than Allah, The Prophet (pbuh) said, hard is the (way) to which you call them. Allah "My similitude in comparison with the other chooses to Himself those whom He pleases, and Prophets is that of a man who has built a house guides to Himself those who turn (to Him)."6 completely and excellently except for a place of So all the earlier Prophets like Moses, Noah, Abraham, etc. one brick. When the people enter the house, theywere all Muslims. "Muslims do not believe that Islam was founded admire its beauty and say: But for the place ofby Muhammad, although it was restored by him in the last stage this brick (how splendid the house will be)! "10of religious evolution."7 Muslims make no discrimination between Further Muhammad (pbuh) said,various Prophets. The Quran mentions: "My similitude in comparison with the other "We believe in Allah, and the revelation given Prophets before me, is that of a man who has to us, and to Abraham, Ismail, Isaac, Jacob, and built a house nicely and beautifully, except for a the Tribes, and that given to Moses and Jesus, place of one brick in a corner. The people go about and that given to (all) Prophets from their Lord: it and wonder at its beauty, but say: Would that We make no difference between one and another this brick be put in its place! So I am that brick, of them: And we bow to Allah (in Islam)." 8 and I am the last of the Prophets."11 Islam is the religion of whole mankind and not just of Arabs or The Quran mentions:any particular tribe or nation. The teachings of Islam are universalin nature. The earlier Prophets came for their respective nations "We sent you not, but as a Mercy for alland spread the teachings to only those places to which they were creatures."12sent. But this was not the case with Muhammad (pbuh). He was a "We have not sent you but as a (Messenger) touniversal Messenger sent to the whole humanity without any all mankind, giving them Glad Tidings, anddiscrimination and he was the last Prophet of God. The Quran warning them (against sin), but most men domentions: not understand ."13 "Muhammad is not the father of any of your But most of the people including Muslims are unaware of this men, but (he is) the Messenger of Allah, and fact unfortunately. And it is really sad to know that Muslims think the Seal of the Prophets: and Allah has full that Quran is only their book i.e. It is a book for Muslims only but knowledge of all things."9 it is totally wrong. Nowhere the Quran mentions that it is meant A document is sealed when it is complete and similarly Prophet for Muslims only but its Message is universal and is directed
  • 41. 82 83towards all people and times. It is mentioned in Quran no less is the natural and primordial religion.All nature lives in submissionthan seven times that its Message is universal and for all humankind. to its Creator; all Messengers Adam to Muhammad brought the "This is no less than a Message to (all) the same religion. Worlds." 14 This does not mean any change in the basic position of Islam. "But it is nothing less than a Message to all It does not mean that all religions, as they are, are equally true. the worlds."15 One will still be invited to follow the Prophet Muhammad, blessings "Verily this is no less than a Message to (all) and peace be on him, because he is the last Messenger, and to the Worlds."16 accept the Quran as the last revelation from God."21 "A Book which We have revealed to you, in So the truth about Islams Universality must be hopefully clear order that you may lead mankind out of the to you now. And always refer to authentic scriptures to know the depths of darkness into light - by the leave of truth about Islam. Dont look at the actions of Muslims. The your Lord - to the Way of (Him) the Exalted in teaching is pure. The people may not be pure. Islam is your own Power, worthy of all praise."17 and natural religion. The Prophet Muhammad reported that Allah said, "I created my servants in the right religion, but "Here is a Message for mankind: Let them take devils made them go astray." The Prophet also said, "Each warning therefrom, and let them know that He child is born in a state of Fitrah. Then his parents make him a is (no other than) One God (Allah): let men of Jew, Christian or a Zoroastrian."22 Thats why you dont have understanding take heed."18 to convert but to revert to Islam as Islam is your own religion. Ramadhan is the (month) in which was sent You just have to come back to the right path of God that will down the Quran, as a guide to mankind, also lead you to salvation. So its an open invitation to you to ponder clear (Signs) for guidance and judgment upon the truth and then revert to your own path i.e. ISLAM. Its (between right and wrong).19 never too late to mend. Come back and return to your Lord and Verily We have revealed the Book to you in he is always there to accept you.23 But there is a great danger Truth, for (instructing) mankind… 20 awaiting if we still after coming of the truth dont accept it. "We do not invite people to a new religion; we invite them The Quran says:to the oldest religion, indeed to their own religion, the religion "If anyone desires a religion other than Islamof living in total surrender to their Creator, in accordance with (submission to God), never will it be acceptedthe guidance brought by all His Messengers. Indeed, if I am not of him."24misunderstood, we may be bold enough to say that we do notinvite anyone to change his religion, to transfer his allegiance to Furthermore Muhammad (pbuh) said:a rival religion. For, by our own admission, Islam is not a new or "Whoever among the Christians and Jews hearsrival religion among the many competing for human allegiance; it of me but does not affirm his belief in what I
  • 42. 84 The True Purpose of Life brought and dies in this state will be among the inhabitants of hell."25Footnotes: BENEFITS AND UNIQUE[1] Holy Quran Chapter 5 verse 3.[2] Islam in Focus, Hammudah Abdalati p. 57-58. FEATURES OF ISLAM[3] Holy Quran Chapter 3 verse 67.[4] Holy Quran Chapter 10 verse 47. I have always held the religion of Muhammad in high estimation[5] Holy Quran Chapter 35 verse 24. because of its wonderful vitality. It is the only religion, which[6] Holy Quran Chapter 42 verse 13.[7] Islam in Focus, Hammudah Abdalati p. 27. appears to me to possess that assimilating capacity to the changing[8] Holy Quran Chapter 2 verse 136. phases of existence, which can make itself appeal to every age. I[9] Holy Quran Chapter 33 verse 40. have studied him - the wonderful man - and in my opinion far from[10] Sahih Bukhari, Vol 4 Hadith 734. being an Antichrist, he must be called the Savior of Humanity. I[11] Sahih Bukhari, Vol 4 Hadith 735. believe that if a man like him were to assume the dictatorship of[12] Holy Quran Chapter 21 verse 107.[13] Holy Quran Chapter 34 verse 28. the modern world, he would succeed in solving its problems in a[14] Holy Quran Chapter 38 verse 87. way that would bring it much needed peace and happiness. I have[15] Holy Quran Chapter 68 verse 52. prophesied about the faith of Muhammad that it would be[16] Holy Quran Chapter 81 verse 27. acceptable to the Europe of tomorrow as it is beginning to be[17] Holy Quran Chapter 14 verse 1. acceptable to the Europe of today lauds Geroge Bernard Shaw.1[18] Holy Quran Chapter 14 verse 52.[19] Holy Quran Chapter 2 verse 185.[20] Holy Quran Chapter 39 verse 41. BENEFITS OF ISLAM[21] Dawah among Non- Muslims in the West, Khurram Murad. Source: Online Library, www.youngmuslims.ca. Islam is the complete code of life. It guides us in all the spheres[22] Bukhari and Muslim. of life. Islam has its own social, political, economic, moral and[23] Refer to the chapter, "Return to your Lord". judicial system and thus Islam fills all the necessities of the societies[24] Holy Quran Chapter 3 verse 85. and the world as a whole. Islam follows the principle of moderation[25] Sahih Muslim [English Translation], Vol.1 P.91 No. 284 and there is a perfect balance mentioned in different matters and this golden mean is one of the basic characteristics of Islam. Practicability is another characteristic of Islam. Like other religions, Islam is not a set of rituals but it is a complete code of life.All the teachings of Islam are well preserved till now and are applicable to all times as Islam is a Universal Religion. Islam encourages research and Science & Technology and tells us to use our intellect
  • 43. 86 The True Purpose of Life The True Purpose of Life 87to discover the mysteries of nature. Whatever is good for mankind said: Didnt you know that converting to Islam erases allis considered good in Islam too. Below mentioned are in detail previous sins?6some of the Benefits and Unique features of Islam. After converting to Islam, the person will be rewarded for his or her good and bad deeds according to the following saying ofReal Happiness and Inner Peace2 the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh): Your Lord, Who is Blessed and Real happiness and peace can be found in submitting to the Exalted, is Most Merciful. If someone intends to do a goodcommands of the Creator and the Sustainer of this world. God deed but does not do it, a good deed will be recorded for him.has said in the Quran: And if he does do it, (a reward of) ten to seven hundred or many more times (the reward of the good deed), will be Truly, in remembering God do hearts find rest.3 recorded for him. And if someone intends to do a bad deed On the other hand, the one who turns away from Quran will but does not do it, a good deed will be recorded for him. Andhave a life of hardship in this world. God has said: if he does do it, a bad deed will be recorded against him or But whoever turns away from Quran, he will God will wipe it out.7 have a hard life, and We will raise him up blind Below mentioned are the unique features of Islam and these on the Day of Judgment.4 can be also termed as the Benefits of Islam apart from being its This may explain why some people commit suicide while they unique features.enjoy the material comfort money can buy. For example, look at The concept of accountability is a basic and very importantCat Stevens (now Yusuf Islam), formerly a famous pop singer concept in Islam. It rules mans life on earth and determines hiswho used to earn sometimes more than $150,000 a night. After fate in the Hereafter. That is because according to Islamic viewpointhe converted to Islam, he found true happiness and peace, which man is not born in this world only to make money and die afterhe had not found in material success. spending here a hundred years or so. The real truth is that human life is an eternal life and we live in this world for a small fraction ofForgiveness for All Previous Sins5 our real lives only. The actual and eternal life is to be lived in the When someone converts to Islam, God forgives all of his next world. The present mundane world is made merely for humanprevious sins and evil deeds. A man called Amr came to the trial. The consequences of our good or bad deeds will be reapedProphet Muhammad (pbuh) and said: "Give me your right in the life, in the next, eternal world. It is to gather this harvest thathand so that I may give you my pledge of loyalty." The Prophet we strive.(pbuh) stretched out his right hand. Amr withdrew his hand. This way of understanding life makes life an extremely seriousThe Prophet (pbuh) said: What has happened to you, O Amr? business. It produces a strong incentive in a man to take even theHe replied: "I intend to lay down a condition." The Prophet smallest matters of life very seriously. A person therefore should(pbuh) asked: What condition do you intend to put forward? be alert at every moment.Amr said: "That God forgive my sins." The Prophet (pbuh)
  • 44. 88 The True Purpose of Life The True Purpose of Life 89 UNIQUE FEATURES OF ISLAM8 Islam is completely based upon Divine Revelation. Not only is the concept of God in Islam characterized by purity and clarity, but it is also not marred by myths, superstitions or man-made philosophicalUniqueness of the Name ideas. Islams concept of God can be called pure and straightforward The name for the religion of Islam is much more than just a because there is a clear distinction made between the Creator andname because it expresses a deep spiritual meaning as well as an the created.As such, there is no ambiguity in divinity — it is madeoverall outlook on life and concept of worship. The word "Islam" clear that there is nothing divine or worthy of being worshippedis an Arabic word which means "complete submission to the except for Almighty God. In Islam, calling someone other thanWill of Almighty God". Other religions are named after their Almighty God "Lord" or "Savior" is completely prohibited becausefounders, such as Christianity and Buddhism; after a tribe or ethnic such terms compromise Gods uniqueness and because all of ourgroup, such as Judaism; or after a specific geographical region, trust should be put inAlmighty God.such as Hinduism. Direct Relationship with GodUniversality & Continuity of the Message In other religions, even the ones which claim belief in "One The command to worship none other thanAlmighty God and God", people often approach God through an intermediary, suchto submit to His will has been revealed by God to all of His as a saint, an angel, the Virgin Mary or Jesus. However, it is onlyProphets throughout mankinds long history. The pure essence of in Islam that a person is required only to pray to God.Additionally,the beliefs and teachings that were revealed by God to the Prophet in Islam there are no priests or clergy -- each worshipper, man orMuhammad are the same as God taught to Abraham, who was woman, has a direct relationship with their Merciful Creator --one of the earliest and greatest Prophets. So actually, Muhammad Almighty God. Since God is the Owner and Sustainer of everything,is the final Prophet of Islam -- not the first. From the very beginning as well as the only one who can provide true and completeof the mission of Prophet Muhammad, his followers came from a forgiveness, it is completely futile to try to approach Him throughwide spectrum of individuals -- there was Bilal, theAfrican slave; anyone else.Suhaib, the Byzantine Roman; Ibn Salam, the Jewish Rabbi; andSalman, the Persian. Since religious truth is eternal and unchanging, Unique Concept of Worshipand mankind is one universal brotherhood, Gods revelations to According to the teachings of Islam, everything that a humanman have always been consistent and universal. Submission to being does with the pure intention of pleasing God is an act ofthe Will of God, and worshipping Him alone without intermediaries, worship. Due to this, Islam has an all encompassing concept ofhas always been the only religion acceptable to Almighty God. worship unlike any other religion. Like other religions, Islam hasA Straightforward Concept of God required acts of worship, however worship in Islam is not limited to rituals. Since Islam is an all-encompassing religion with guidance Unique among the religions of the world, the concept of God in for all aspects of life, almost every action in a Muslims life becomes
  • 45. 90 91an act of worship if it is done to build a better relationship with without guidance in their daily lives -- thus His guidance is allGod. encompassing.Based on Authentic Sources Moderation The teachings of Islam, since they are divinely revealed, are The preservation of the scripture of Islam -- the Holy Quran - balanced in all of their aspects. Even though Islam is an all-- is unique among world religions. No other religion has a scripture encompassing way of life, it preaches moderation and rejectswhich is both as old and as well-preserved as the one possessed extremism. On the one hand, Islam does not preach completeby Muslims today. Even scholars who are hostile to Islam admit rejection of all worldly pleasures in view of the life hereafter; andthat the Quran that exists today is exactly the same as the one that on the other hand it does not teach that earthly life is just forexisted in the time of the Prophet Muhammad. pleasure and enjoyment. In Islam, wealth and worldly pleasures can be partaken of in this life as long as they are enjoyed in a wayAn Eternal Message that is in obedience to God. Islam has just as much meaning and is just as applicable topeople living in todays "modern world" as it did for people living A Positive Outlook1400 years ago. Since the message of Islam is eternally true it is Most people will agree that having a strong self-esteem and aalso very robust, and as such still has a strong spiritual impact on positive outlook on life is conducive to achieving happiness andmillions of people living in the world today. The Pure Monotheism success. Unique among the religions of the world, Islams view ofof Islam, as well as its universal brotherhood, strong morals and both the nature of the human being and the purpose of life arepositive outlook on life, is still very relevant and meaningful to extremely positive. Islams view of the nature of the human beingmodern man. is balanced. On the one hand they are not viewed as being inherently evil, but on the other they are not considered to beA Complete Way of Life perfect - nor are they expected to be so.According to the teachings of Islam, every human being, man or woman, is born with a clean Islam not just a "religion" in the traditional sense, because it is slate and is equally capable of both good and evil. Since God hasnot just confined to acts of worship, morality and other aspects of bestowed limited free-will on human beings, they will ultimatelypersonal piety. The Prophet Muhammads mission encompassed be held responsible for their actions. Believing that "salvation" isnot only spiritual and religious teachings, but also included guidance based on "faith alone" reduces human life to a near meaninglessfor such things as social reform, economics, politics, warfare and and fatalistic existence. The teachings of Islam make it clear thatfamily life. Thus due to the diversity and success of Muhammads human beings, since their nature is basically good, are capable ofmission, Muslims have clear guidance from God and His Final positive action in this life, and that the best way to achieve aProphet on all aspects of life. This goes hand-in-hand with the balanced, happy and fulfilled life is complete submission toAlmightyIslamic belief that Almighty God does not leave human beings God. Certainly, no person can completely submit to God by simply
  • 46. 92 The True Purpose of Life The True Purpose of Life 93wanting to do so, but by first realizing that none has a right to be Simplicity, Rationality and Practicality9worshipped and obeyed except forAlmighty God, and then makinga reasonable effort to follow Gods commands, all human beings Islam is a religion without any mythology. Its teachings arecan fulfill their reason for existence - which is to worship God simple and intelligible. It is free from superstitions and irrationalalone. The Holy Quran tells us that "man was created weak" beliefs. The oneness of God, the Prophethood of Muhammad,and thus falls into sin often. On the other hand, man is not to think and the concept of life after death are the basic articles of its faith.of himself as so evil and corrupt as to despair of Gods mercy. As They are based on reason and sound logic. All of the teachings ofa recourse to this, and since Islam condemns self-righteousness, a Islam flow from those basic beliefs and are simple andpious life can only be lived by trusting in God -- since there is no straightforward. There is no hierarchy of priests, no farfetchedpower or strength except through God. As such, spiritual felicity abstractions, no complicated rites or rituals. Everybody mayis achieved by a combination of both faith and action.As such, the approach the Quran directly and translate its dictates into practice.most righteous person is not one who thinks that repentance is Islam awakens in man the faculty of reason and exhorts him to useunnecessary, but the one who admits and realizes his mistakes - his intellect. It enjoins him to see things in the light of reality. Theand then repents. According to the word of Almighty God as Quran advises him to seek knowledge and invoke Allah to expandrevealed in the Holy Quran, mankind is Gods trustee on earth; his awareness.and as such the life of this world is a test, not a punishment. Even Footnotes:before God created the first man, He knew that he would sin, [1] George Bernard Shaw, The Genuine Islam, Singapore, Vol. 1, No. 8,however God created man in spite of this.According to the Quran, 1936. Quoted by Khurshid Ahmad in "Islam: Basic Principles &God has bestowed on human beings a great trust and given them Characteristics".dignity. It is only by worshippingAlmighty God, directly and without [2] A Brief Illustrated Guide to Understanding Islam, I.A. Ibrahim p. 43.intermediaries, that a human being can fulfil their true innate nature [3] Holy Quran Chapter 13 verse 28. [4] Holy Quran Chapter 20 verse 124.and purpose of existence. In short, Islam is realistic. It portrays [5] A Brief Illustrated Guide to Understanding Islam, I.A. Ibrahim p. 44.human beings just as they are and the life of the world just as it is. [6] Narrated in Saheeh Muslim, #121, and Mosnad Ahmad, #17357.Since the outlook of Islam is divinely revealed, is not based on [7] Narrated in Mosnad Ahmad, #2515, and Saheeh Muslim, #131.wishful or negative thinking, but simply on reality. Islam also has a [8] Unique Features of Islam, Article (Abridged) by Daniel Masters,positive view of mankind in general, since it teaches that the best Ismail Kaka and Abdur Rahman R. Squires [9] Islam: Basic Principles & Characteristics, Khurshid Ahmad, p.12.person in the sight of God is the one who is most God-conscious.In this way the truth of Islam and the universality of Gods messagetranscends all of the barriers of race, nationality, ethnic group andeconomic status.
  • 47. The True Purpose of Life 95 her breasts to feed and whenever she found a child amongst the captives, she took it over her chest and nursed it (she had lost her child but later she found him). The Prophet said to RETURN TO YOUR LORD, us, "Do you think that this lady can throw her son in the fire?" We replied, "No, if she has the power not to throw it (in THE MOST LOVING the fire)." The Prophet then said, "Allah is more merciful to His slaves than this lady to her son."4 As stated earlier also, that Islam is a universal religion belongingto all humanity. Islam doesnt believe in the concept of Original "I heard Allahs Apostle saying, Allah divided Mercy intoSin that the sin is inherited or the human nature is wicked. one-hundred parts and He kept its ninety-nine parts with HimAccording to Islam man is born sinless and every child is innocent. and sent down its one part on the earth, and because of that,It frees a mans soul from the blot of sin. And Islamic concept tells its one single part, His creations are Merciful to each other, sous that there is much good in man than evil. Islam is the religion of that even the mare lifts up its hoofs away from its baby animal,Mercy. Allah is always Most Loving & Most Merciful. Allahs lest it should trample on it."5love for His creation is beyond limits. Muslims greet each other We can never pay back Allah for his favours that He hasby saying Assalaamu Alikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuhu bestowed upon us:meaning "MayAllahs Peace, Mercy and Blessings be upon you". "And He gives you all of that you ask for. But ifEach chapter of the Quran begins with the words Bismillahir you count the favours of Allah, never will youRahmaanir Raheem meaning “In the Name of Allah, Most be able to count them."6Gracious, Most Merciful”. There are so many verses of The Quran Allah knows that its natural for man to commit sins because towhich sayAllah is Oft-Loving, Most Merciful. One of the Allahs err is human. ButAllah loves those who after committing sins turnattribute is Rahman meaning Compassionate. Allah is not only back to Him in repentance because its onlyAllah who can forgivesomething to be afraid of but Allah is very loving and He is the our sins and we must always turn only to Him to get our sinsOne to be Loved more than anything. Muhammad (pbuh) said washed off.that when Allah started to initiate the creation, he inscribed these The final Prophet (Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him)words on his throne (Arsh): informed his followers of this reality, saying, "If you did not "Verily My Mercy shall prevail over my wrath" 1 commit sins and turn to Allah, seeking His forgiveness, He Allah says: would have replaced you with another people who would sin, "Your Lord is Most Forgiving, full of Mercy"2 ask Allahs forgiveness and He would forgive them."7 "My Mercy extends to all things"3 The Quran mentions: Some war prisoners, children and woman were brought "For Allah loves those who turn to Himbefore the Prophet and a woman amongst them was milking constantly and He loves those who keep
  • 48. 96 The True Purpose of Life The True Purpose of Life 97 themselves pure and clean."8 "And never give up hope of Allahs soothing Say: "O My servants who have transgressed Mercy: truly no one despairs of Allahs soothing against their souls! Do not despair of the Mercy Mercy, except those who have no Faith."14 of Allah: For Allah forgives all sins: for He is And we must always put our trust in Allah only. Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. You turn to your "And if anyone puts his trust in Allah, sufficient Lord (in repentance) and bow to His (Will), is (Allah) for him."15 before the penalty comes on you: after that you "The decision rests only with Allah. I put my shall not be helped. 9 trust in Him alone, and all who trust should "And O you Believers! You turn all together trust only in Him."16 toward Allah, that you may attain Bliss."10 So if you have now realized the true purpose of your life, then "Tell My servants that I am indeed the Oft- please dont wait more or else it will be too late. Just turn to Allah Forgiving, Most Merciful."11 and enjoy His ever lasting Mercy and good pleasure. Come back "When My servants ask you concerning Me, I to Islam - Path of peace.17 In the next chapter you will learn how am indeed close (to them): I listen to the prayer to become a Muslim and return back to your native Islam. of every supplicant when he calls on Me: let "Our Lord! In You do we trust, and to You do them also, with a will, listen to My call, and we turn in repentance: to You is (our) final believe in Me: that they may walk in the right destination."18 way."12 Further Muhammad (pbuh) said: Footnotes: [1] Narrated by Bukhari & Muslim. "If a person embraces Islam sincerely, then Allah [2] Holy Quran Chapter 18 verse 58. shall forgive all his past sins, and after that starts [3] Holy Quran Chapter 7 verse 156. the settlement of accounts, the reward of his good [4] Sahih Bukhari Vol 8 Hadith 28. deeds will be ten times to seven hundred times [5] Sahih Bukhari Vol 8 Hadith 29. for each good deed and an evil deed will be [6] Holy Quran Chapter 14 verse 34. [7] Quoted by Dr. Bilal Philips in his "Purpose of Creation". Source: recorded as it is unless Allah forgives it" 13 www.purposeofcreation.com Its true that man is weak and has a natural tendency towards [8] Holy Quran Chapter 2 verse 222.sins but man must repent to Allah for his sins andAllah strengthens [9] Holy Quran Chapter 39 verse 53-54.the man by His scriptures and He sent many Prophets to guide [10] Holy Quran Chapter 24 verse 31. [11] Holy Quran Chapter 15 verse 49.mankind. We may forget or ignore Allah but He never leaves us [12] Holy Quran Chapter 2 verse 186.and He always responds to our pleas. We must always be hopeful [13] Sahih Bukhari vol. 1 Book 2 Hadith 40.of Allahs Mercy and never loose hope in Allah. He says: [14] Holy Quran Chapter 12 verse 87.
  • 49. 98 The True Purpose of Life[15] Holy Quran Chapter 65 verse 3.[16] Holy Quran Chapter 12 verse 67.[17] Holy Quran Chapter 5 verse 16.[18] Holy Quran Chapter 60 verse 4. HOW DOES ONE BECOME A MUSLIM? A Muslim is a person who submits his will to God by accepting Islam as the complete way of life. Becoming a Muslim is very easy. One just has to pronounce with conviction the words, "La ilaha illallah, Muhammadur rasoolullah," meaning, "There is no true god but God (Allah), and Muhammad is the Messenger (Prophet) of God", one reverts to Islam and becomes a Muslim and comes back to his own religion ISLAM. Then he enjoys all the rights bestowed by God upon him. "The first part, "There is no true god but God," means that none has the right to be worshipped but God alone, and that God has neither partner nor son. To be a Muslim, one should also: • Believe that the Holy Quran is the literal word of God, revealed by Him. • Believe that the Day of Judgment (the Day of Resurrection) is true and will come, as God promised in the Quran. • Accept Islam as his or her religion. • Not worship anything nor anyone except God."1 Footnotes: [1] A Brief Illustrated Guide to Understanding Islam, I.A. Ibrahim p. 52-53.
  • 50. The True Purpose of Life 101 This man takes out a newspaper and starts to read it. By this time his children start playing making lots of noise in the compartment. The first man gets angry but he sees that the father of these children LIVING ISLAM is not bothered and is still reading the newspaper. Then he goes angrier and finally he tells the man to make his children silent. The Its a truth that facts about Islam in the current age are being man puts the newspaper down and replies that I am just returningdistorted by the media and other agencies before the common from the hospital and the mother of these children has just died.masses in order to defame the Muslims globally and that naturally Then suddenly the expressions of the first man change and headds to the growth of misconceptions about a peaceful religion of begins to feel pity and starts loving those children with whom heIslam. But thanks to Allah that with His grace there are still so was much angry before.2 And this happened only when he camemany people that are spreading the peaceful message of Islam in across the truth and accordingly changed his context of mind. Justits purest form to the world to remove the hate and to promote a switch the context and bring it from authentic Islamic scripturestrue understanding of Islam. But it is my request to the readers and surely all your hate for Islam will vanish and your perceptionsthat dont believe and draw conclusions based on heresy but study and approaches to Islam will change. You will feel that Islam isIslam yourself from the authentic sources (Quran and Hadith) totally different from the one portrayed in the media. Our contextand then only truth will be clear to you. Dont askAngelina Jolie for Islam must first come from Quran then other sources.or the western media that What Islam is? Dont ask the western Coming to Islam is actually not a mere conversion but awomen what Hijab is but rather ask it to that Muslim girl who Complete Intellectual Transformation.3 It makes a man responsibleobserves it. Ask the concerned people and the practicing Muslims to God and his own fellows. Islamic view of life is really worththat what Islam gave them. There are so many examples of people living. It gives an inner joy and peace that is too difficult to expresswho reverted to Islam in the west. One such example is Yusuf in words. And it must be noted that Islam is the most practicedIslam (formerly pop singer Cat Stevens) who accepted Islam and religion of the world. It is the religion of peace and mercy. "Inbecame a peace activist. "He used to earn sometimes more than short when a person adopts Islam first of all it is his thinking,$150,000 a night. After he converted to Islam, he found true which comes under Islam, then his desires, his feelings, his interests,happiness and peace, which he had not found in material success."1 his relations, his loves and his hatred. All are coloured by his We definitely have to change our context regarding Islam. Our obedience to God.context regarding Islam comes from the biased western media When man comes under Gods command in his daily life, hisand those people who have never experienced Islam and this in behaviour with people, his dealings, all are moulded by theturn leads us to draw wrong conclusions about Islam. I would like demands of Islam. Faith prepares him to lead a worthy life amongto quote an example here. Suppose a man is sitting alone in a train the people adopting an attitude of modesty, sympathy and good-compartment in a calm and peaceful manner. Suddenly then another will in all his dealings. In short, faith perfects mans relation withman comes along with his little children in the same compartment. God as well as with other human beings."4
  • 51. 102 The True Purpose of Life The True Purpose of Life 103 After faith in God, when you offer Salah (Muslim prayer which intellectual cultivations; never for all combined. But in Islam it isis obligatory five times a day), you are directly communicating to for all these gains and many other purposes, social and economic,your Lord. In Islam there exists a direct relationship between man moral and humanitarian, private and public, personal and common,and God without any priesthood or any intermediates. The Salah inner and outer, local and national-all combined together7. "Throughis a programming towards righteousness5. "When we analyze the the experience of fasting in Islam, you will be able to have self-Islamic prayer and study its unique nature, it will reveal to us that control, self-restraint, self-discipline, self-education, self-evaluation,it is not merely a physical motion or a void recital of the Holy and self-obedience to Allah the Creator. You undoubtedly will beBook. It is a matchless and unprecedented formula of intellectual able to improve health, personality, character, and behaviour."8mediation and spiritual devotion, of moral elevation and physical After fasting there is one more pillar of Islam namely Zakaatexercise, all combined. It is an exclusively Islamic experience where or charity that is paid annually to the poor and needy. Zakaatevery muscle of the body joins the soul and the mind in the worship means purity. It will not only purify your money but also yourand glory of God."6. When you will enter the Masjid (Mosque) heart from greed, selfishness & miserliness. If everyone among usfor prayer you will see that the people will greet you with will give Zakaat then no one on the face of earth will die ofAssalaamu Alikum (May Allahs peace be upon you) and you starvation. Zakaat stablizes the various sections of the societywill feel so much love and brotherhood for others. Every person and when you will spend for others you will feel so much joy inin Salah stands shoulder by shoulder irrespective or any creed, your heart and you will exalted before your Lord.status or colour which will inculcate in you qualities of equality Then the last pillar of Islam is Haj or the pilgrimage to Makkahand brotherhood along with humility. When you will be called for that is done annually and its obligatory on every Muslim who canSalah by Adhaan (Muslim Call to Prayer), you will feel so afford so to do Haj atleast once in a lifetime. Its the largestsplendid and there are many people who accepted Islam after gathering of the people in the whole world and a great sign ofhearing Adhaan and you will get acquainted with the Islamic Islams universality. Everyone is clad in the same white clothesculture of architechture and minarets of Masjids and Salah will and everyone stands shoulder to shoulder and you will come acrossalso make you punctual and disciplined. people from all parts of the world. You will feel love, peace and Then Sawm (Fasting) is another pillar of Islam. It teaches you brotherhood and you will get acquainted to the environment inself-control and it makes you feel pity for the poor sections of the which Muhammad (pbuh) lived and you will get committed tosociety and it develops in you the qualities of patience, discipline Islam and your faith will subsequently increase. "By performingand selflessness and fasting is considered to be a great worship in pilgrimage to Makkah, you will transcend yourself from beingIslam and usually during Ramadhan (The Islamic month of fasting) nationalistic, sectarian, or denominational into being universal.Youyou will see a different Islamic environment in Masjids and home will be part and an essential constituent of the rainbow of Islam.and you will be more devoted towards Ibadah (Worship). "The You will be also part of the brotherhood of Islam with those whopurpose of fasting in other religions and philosophies is invariably already submitted themselves to the Creator. At the same time,partial. It is either for spiritual aims, or for physical needs, or for you will get rid of any inferiority or superiority complexes. You
  • 52. 104 The True Purpose of Life The True Purpose of Life 105will also find yourself in synchrony and harmony with all the "Your Lord, Who is blessed and exalted, is mostProphets and messengers ofAllah since the creation of Adam and merciful. If someone intends to do a good deedEve until the last final messenger to mankind, Prophet Muhammad but does not do it, a good deed will be recorded(pbuh). While in Makkah, you will be able to visit the places of for him. And if he does do it, (a reward of) ten torevelation of the Qur’an as well as the places visited by Prophet seven hundred or many more times (the rewardAbraham and members of his family such as Hagar and Ishmael. of the good deed), will be recorded for him. AndYou will visit the place where the first astronauts,Adam and Eve if someone intends to do a bad deed but does notlanded on earth."9 do it, a good deed will be recorded for him. And if Then Islam encourages you to excel in this world and it he does do it, a bad deed will be recorded againstencourages you to acquire knowledge and seeking knowledge is him or God will wipe it out."14obligatory for every man and women according to Islam. So Islam encourages you to do good deeds and encouragesMuhammad (pbuh) said: positive attitude and optimism and it discourages pessimism. Acquire knowledge, it enables its possessor to distinguish "A man asked Muhammad (pbuh) about evils.right from wrong; it lights our way to heaven. It is our friend He replied: dont ask me regarding evils but askin the desert, our company in the solitude and companion me regarding good (he repeated it thrice)." 15when friendless, it guides us to happiness, it sustains us in The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said,misery, it is an ornament among friends and armour against "Leave aside whatever causes you doubts orenemies. (Hadith)10 misgivings in favour of what does not cause you Apart from it, Islam teaches you very high moral values like doubts and misgivings. For truth is peace of mindtruthfulness, humility, dealing justly, treating women kindly, honesty, while falsehood is mental disquiet." 16etc.11 and also provides you the solutions of the problems like To conclude, Allah says in the Quran:AIDS, pre-marital and extra-marital relations, moral degradation "It is not righteousness that you turn your facesetc. that are today confronting the humanity12. In Islam whenever toward East or West; but it is righteousness - toyou do a good deed it’s reward gets multiplied ten times or even believe in Allah and the Last day, and themuch more than that depending upon the devotion and intention Angels, and the Book, and the Messengers, toits done. The Quran says: spend of your substance, out of love for Him, "Whoever brings a good deed, will have [the for your kin, for orphans, for the needy, for the value of] ten like it, and whoever brings an evil wayfarer, for those who ask, and for the ransom deed will only be punished with one like it, and of slaves; to be steadfast in prayer, and practice they will not be wronged." 13 regular charity; to fulfil the contracts which you And Muhammad (pbuh) said: have made; and to be firm and patient, in pain
  • 53. 106 107 (or suffering) and adversity and throughout all [15] Mishkat Ul Masabih 5:90, Quoted by Kaleem Ullah Khan in his periods of panic. Such are the people of Truth, book, "Islam: The Source of Universal Peace" p. 73 [16] Ibid. those who fear Allah." 17 [17] Holy Quran Chapter 2 verse 177. So Islam is not a mere lip service but every aspect of Islam ispractical and applicable. Faith without action is futile and uselessand vice versa. So come to Islam and see the REAL life and TRUTH yourself.Stop surviving and start LIVING ISLAM. Come and a new worldis awaiting for you.And remember isolation and confrontation isnot any solution but communication is!Footnotes:[1] A Brief Illustrated Guide to Understanding Islam, I. A. Ibrahim p. 43. The present mailing address of Cat Stevens (Yusuf Islam), in case you would like to ask him about his feelings after he converted to Islam, is: 2 Digswell Street, London N7 8JX, United Kingdom.[2] This example was quoted by A.W. Sadatullah Khan in his 3 day workshop, "Discover Yourself" and that really inspired me to write a chapter by name of "Living Islam" in my book.[3] For further details, please refer to the book, "Conversion: An Intellectual Transformation" by Maulana Wahiduddin Khan.[4] Islamic Studies Text Book for Class XI by Dr. Farida Khanam p. 80[5] For further information, please watch the video tape of Dr. Zakir Naik by name, "Salah: A Programming towards Righteousness".[6] Islam in Focus, Hammudah Abdalati p. 96.[7] Islam in Focus, Hammudah Abdalati p. 143.[8] Benefits of becoming Muslim, Article by Dr. Ahmad Sakr.[9] Ibid.[10] Quoted by Kaleem Ullah Khan in his book, "Islam: The Source of Universal Peace" p. 90.[11] For further details, please refer to the book, "The Moral values of The Quran" by Harun Yahya.[12] For further details, please refer to the book, "Solution the values of The Quran" by Harun Yahya.[13] Holy Quran Chapter 6 verse 160.[14] Narrated in Mosnad Ahmad, #2515, and Saheeh Muslim, #131.
  • 54. The True Purpose of Life 109 Abdullah ibn Masoud relates that Allahs Messenger (pbuh) drew a line for them one day and then said "This isAllahs path", then he drew several lines (branching off) to the right and to the CONCLUSION left and said, "These are the paths (of Misguidance) on each of which is a devil inviting people to follow it" and then he recited Life is really a precious asset and a trust from God. Life is (the verse) "Verily this is My Path, leading straight, so follow it.really worth living only we realize its real purpose and our own And do not follow the (other) paths for they will scatter you aboutself in this universe. Without knowing the purpose of life, life from (Allahs) path. This is His Command to you in order that youbecomes aimless without any final goal. "The contemporary world may be conscious of Allah.”2, 3is clearly baffled by numerous problems. But it is equally baffled So there is only one path and only one way that will lead us toby the conflicting diagnoses and prescriptions to cope with these success both in this world and the hereafter and will lead us toproblems. Some people sing along with the popular lyric, "What eternal success. And thats the path of ISLAM. Rest are deviationsthe world needs today is love…etc." Some call for a human rebirth. as already mentioned. Life is a highly purposeful creation and weOthers turn to Marxism, Humanism, Satanism, or Scientism as are in this world for some significant purpose and life becomesthe ultimate solution. Still more are awaiting the arrival of some purposeful only when it is lead according to the Divine Will offuture Savior. Yet this long list does not even include the indifferent, God. Its only after that we can taste the sublime flavour of life.the hopeless, and the apathetic who may in fact outnumber the And we must realize this before it is too late. Except Islam, in alloptimist clubs combined. But it seems that the greatest need today other religions and philosophies, the purpose of life is incomplete,is the pressing need for "understanding". What man needs most of or defected, or impractical or not moderate.You must have realizedall is to understand himself and his nature, his potentials and that only Islam has a very practical and straightforward purposelimitations, his place in the universe and relationships with its of life. Only Islam provides the complete code of life and onlyelements.1 Islam is the universal religion belonging to all humanity. And if man will realize his potentials and recognize himself, The question now is how can Islam help man to understandthen he can surely bring about a revolution in his life and in the himself, unclog his mind, and clear his blurred vision? To try anworld too. Then only he can draw out best from his life and become answer to this question, it will be necessary to keep in mind thesuccessful in the after life. basic concepts of Islam which have been discussed and to There are so many existing definitions and philosophies of life elaborate further some elements of its value system. This analysisas already mentioned and each way tries to justify its features and will hopefully show how they may relate to modern man in hisclaims to be true and genuine. It can often create confusion in the contemporary predicament, and how they may help him to findmind of a common man as to what way and philosophy of life he his way through.should follow. But there is a simple answer to this question. The principle of "moderation" is most characteristic of Islam.Muhammad (pbuh) the Messenger of God said: It is probably best expressed in the way Islam views human nature,
  • 55. 110 The True Purpose of Lifethe meaning of life, and the idea of God. Islam does not subscribeto the one-sided "humanistic" philosophy, which almost defies manand recognizes nothing beyond. Neither does Islam endorse theequally one-sided verdict that human nature is inherently vicious, AFTERWORDwicked, or sinful, Islam rejects the idea that life is nasty, brutal,short and miserable. But it equally rejects the idea that life is an After reading the whole book, the true purpose of life wouldend in itself, pleasurable, and carefree. Islam does give life a be hopefully clear to you now and you must certainly have drawnpositive meaning, a purpose. It would devalue life on earth only some conclusion in your mind about your true purpose of life.relative to the Hereafter. It is not concerned exclusively with the And when you discover it, it will drastically change your outlookhere and now, the instant hedonism, and the immediate pleasures. and views about yourself and the external world and will stabilizeNor does it completely bypass the here and now in pursuit of a your mind and make you more creative.future paradise in the hereafter. It addresses itself to both the human It should be noted that the barbaric Arabs who used to burycondition here on earth and the human destiny in the Hereafter. their daughters alive and did so much evils, after accepting IslamSuch concern is, of course, proportionate; it values each phase of became the leaders of the world. Europe got developed just afterexistence according to its relative effect on the general well-being renaissance. But the Arabs were far superior to them in scienceof man."4 and technology while Europe was still in dark ages. Europeans And we just realize our purpose in life, our status gets exalted had believed in many false concepts but the Arabs didnt. It wastill Allah mentions us as the best evolved people: only because when they accepted Islam and started to live their lives according to it, it stabilized their minds and brought "You are the best of peoples, evolved for brotherhood and many other features along with giving a direction mankind, enjoining what is right, forbidding to their life and Islam made their lives purposeful and then only what is wrong, and believing in Allah."5 they employed themselves to other field after getting a definite aimFootnotes in life.[1] Islam in Focus, Hammudah Abdalati p. 87. The history repeats itself. The world is in distress and the current[2] Holy Quran Chapter 6 verse 153. order has no ultimate solution to offer. Science has failed to yield.[3] Authenticated by Ahmad Shaakir in al-Musnad vol.6 #4142. Only Islam is the solution to all problems confronting the humanity.[4] Islam in Focus, Hammudah Abdalati p. 87-88.[5] Holy Quran Chapter 3 verse 110. The west has begun to realize this fact. Thats why Islam is the fastest growing religion there as it provides them with solutions to their problems. Many big personalities of the west likeYusuf Islam, Micheal Jackson, Dawud Wharnsby Ali, Sheik Yusuf Estes, etc. have accepted Islam after knowing the truth about it. Only if everyone among us will realize the real purpose of life, then this
  • 56. 112 The True Purpose of Lifeworld will truly become a better place to live in. But to achievethis we have to take the initiative and transform ourselves and armourselves with the true purpose of life. And unless we changeourselves nothing is going to change. The Quran mentions: FOR FURTHER READING: "Verily never will Allah change the condition God Arises by Maulana Wahiduddin Khan of a people until they change it themselves."1 The Existence of God by Harun Yahya And Benjamin Disraeli has rightly said: "Men are not a creation of circumstances but The True Religion of God by Dr. Bilal Philips circumstances are a creation of men.” Islam in Focus by Hammudah Abdalati Islam provides you answers to all your perplexing questions A brief illustrated guide to understand Islam by I.A. Ibrahimabout life and the universe. So what are you waiting for? Dont The Purpose of Creation by Dr. Bilal PhilipsWAIT, just ACT! Life, Death and the After Life by Dr. Ahmad Sakr "I only desire reform to the best of my power; Towards Understanding Islam by Maulana Maududi and my success (in the task) can only come from Did God become Man by Dr. Bilal Philips God. In Him I trust, and unto Him I look."2 Islam: Basic Principles and Characteristics And lastly, I hope that the book must have served you the by Khurshid Ahmedpurpose for which it has been written. Websites:Footnotes: www.turntoislam.com[1] Holy Quran Chapter 13 verse 11. www.islam-guide.com[2] Holy Quran Chapter 11 verse 88. www.purposeofcreation.com www.shareislam.com www.thetruecall.com
  • 57. The True Purpose of Life 115 Yahya, Harun, The Existence of God, www.harunyahya.com. BIBLIOGRAPHY Naik, Dr. Zakir, The Concept of God in Major Religions, Khan, Kaleem - Ullah, Islam: The Source of Universal Islamic Research Foundation, www.irf.net.Peace, Goodword Books, (New Delhi - 2004). Naik, Dr. Zakir, Answers to Non-Muslims Common Ahmad, Khurshid, Islam: Basic Principles and Questions About Islam, Islamic Research Foundation,Characteristics, Crescent Publishing Company, (New Delhi - www.irf.net.1996). The Great Questions of Life, International Correspondence Philips, Dr. A.B., Did God Become Man, Darul Islam, Institute, (New Delhi).(2004). Khan, Wahiduddin, God Arises, The Islamic Centre, (NewDelhi - 1991). Yusuf Ali, Abdullah, The Holy Quran, Goodword Books,(New Delhi - 2005). Ibrahim, I.A., A Brief Illustrated Guide to UnderstandingIslam, Darrusalam, (Houston). Abdalati, Hammudah, Islam in Focus, Adam Publishers &Distributors, (New Delhi - 2006). Khanam, Dr. Farida, Islamic Studies Class XI (textbook),Devra Books, (New Delhi - 2007). The Holy Bible, The New Revised Standard Version,Theological Publications in India. The Holy Quran - English Translation of the meanings andcommentary, The Custodian of the two Holy Mosques KingFahd Complex. Murad, Khurram, Dawah among Non-Muslims in West,Online Library, www.youngmuslims.ca Muhsin Khan, Dr. M., Summarized Sahih Al Bukhari,Darrusalam, (Riyadh - 1994). Muhsin Khan, Dr. M., The Noble Quran, Darrusalam,(Riyadh - 1996).
  • 58. SOFTWARES:• Alim for Windows, Version 4.5, ISL Software Corporation, 1996.• The Hadith Software, Version 1.0, Islamasoft Solutions.Websites:• www.purposeofcreation.com• www.islam-guide.com• www.irf.net• www.harunyahya.com• www.jannah.org• www.meaningsoflife.com• www.wikipedia.org

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