The purpose of life from Islamic point of view
At least at one point of time during our lives we would have wondered about the meaning of our life and why were we created in the first place. Many of us spend our whole life searching for the meaning and purpose of our lives. Islam is the only thing that serves us the answer in a platter. Let’s unravel below, a brief discussion on the same.
Why Did Allah ﷻ Create Man?
Any sane person would agree that a created thing has a creator and there is a specific need or purpose for that creation. For example, the vehicles we have help us in transportation, our ears help us to hear, eyes to see etc. While one of the names of Allah ﷻ is Al-Hakeem (The All Wise), it would be a wise option for us to understand that it is Allah ﷻ that created us, not in vain but with a true purpose. This is mentioned in a lot of verses in the Qur’an.
‘And We did not create the heaven and earth and that between them in play.’ [Surah Al-Anbiya 21:16]
‘Did you then think that We had created you without purpose, and that you would never be returned to Us?’ [Surah Al-Muminoon 23:115]
Similarly, when we think deeply about the question, human beings are created with favors far better than animals. Hence, we can say that humans are not created merely to eat, drink and reproduce. But there are people who are ignorant and are on the path of disbelief that they deny the true wisdom behind creation, and only care about enjoying the pleasures of this world. Allah ﷻ describes the life of such people as that of the animals.
‘…As for the disbelievers, they enjoy themselves and feed like cattle…’ [Surah Muhammad 47:12]
‘Let them eat and enjoy themselves and be diverted by [false] hope, for they are going to know.’ [Surah Al-Hijr 15:3]
So, why was man created at all? Allah ﷻ is the one who created us and He knows the wisdom and reason behind creation of mankind. Allah ﷻ has clearly stated that the creation of heavens and the earth, life and death are for the purpose of testing, and so is for man. Whoever obeys Allah ﷻ he will be rewarded and whoever disobeys Him will be punished.
‘…that He might test you as to which of you is best in deed…’ [Surah Hud 11:7]
Another important reason and meaning behind creation, which is His greatest test for mankind- to affirm His oneness (Tawhid) and to worship Him alone without associating partners.
‘And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me.’ [Surah Ad-Dhariyat 51:56]
Let us more about worshipping Allah ﷻ after we discuss a short note on fitrah.
Fitrah- Natural Inclination
Allah ﷻ took an oath from all the descendants of Adam AS before he was born, He spread them all generation after generation, addressed all the souls directly, making them bear witness that He was their Lord. This oath is imprinted on every soul before it enters the foetus. This results in a child being born with a natural belief in the oneness of Allah ﷻ. This state of belief is known as Fitrah.
And remember when your Lord brought forth from the loins of the children of Adam their descendants and had them testify regarding themselves. Allah asked, “Am I not your Lord?” They replied, “Yes, You are! We testify.” He cautioned, “Now you have no right to say on Judgment Day, ‘We were not aware of this. [Surah Al-Araf 7:172]
Consequently, every person has the seed of oneness sown in his heart when he is born and it is either reinforced or dampened by social conditioning. If a child was left alone it would grow to believe in the oneness of Allah ﷻ but environmental influence plays a huge role.
Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, “No child is born but has the Islamic Faith, but its parents turn it into a Jew or a Christian…” [Sahih Al-Bukhari 6599, 6600]
Allah ﷻ does not account a child for the religion he follows as it is made custom for him by his parents or the society. When the child matures into an adult, he must choose the religion of knowledge and reason. As adults, people struggle to choose between their natural disposition towards Allah ﷻ and their desires. Thus, Islam is rooted as a natural inclination and a predisposition in man, which makes the soul to yearn for worship of Allah ﷻ.
Worshipping Allah ﷻ
In Islam worship is ‘obedient submission to the will of Allah ﷻ’. It simply means that every created being submits to its Creator by following the physical laws created by Him.
‘And to Him belong all those in the heavens and the earth—all are subject to His Will.’ [Surah Ar-Room 30:26]
This obedience to divine laws as shown by the Prophets sent by Allah ﷻ forms the basis of worship in Islam. Whoever submits to Allah ﷻ and does whatever is enjoined upon him will be successful but whoever turns away from the divine command will be the loser. Inevitable all people will be gathered in the hereafter where Allah ﷻ will reward or punish people according to their deeds.
Allah ﷻ mentions how the polytheists deny the rewards or punishments.
‘…But if you were to say to them: ‘You shall indeed be raised up after death,’ those who disbelieve would be sure to say, ‘This is nothing but obvious magic’’ [Surah Hood 11:7]
Islam is the only response to the search for meaning of life. The purpose of creation of all men and women of all times is one: To Know and Worship Allah ﷻ. Our universe and all elements in it run in harmony only by submitting to the physical laws set by Allah ﷻ, the Supreme Creator. Only when humans worship Allah ﷻ, submitting to Him and His divine laws, can people have peace and harmony in their lives and the hope for heaven. If the concept of hope for heaven is removed then life loses its ultimate value and purpose.
May Allah guide us all to the straight path and widen our understanding. Aameen.