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The Purpose and Meaning of Life Explained

God is real. He is the One and the Only God. He is worthy of worship and veneration. He is All-Loving. He is All-Knowing, All-Seeing, All-Hearing. He owns everything, including you and I, the Sun, the Moon, the World, everything it contains. He is in control of all things. He wants people to believe in Him, to do good and to avoid evil so they can achieve the reward of Paradise. God sent all of humanity on this worldly journey as a test, to weed out the worthy from the unworthy, to test which of those amongst His servants would perform best. Humanity would be lost on Earth if they were left to their own devices because they wouldn't know what God expects of them. When one acts according to their feelings, desires, and passions, they become oppressed by the sadness, worry, and fear that results from these impulsive actions.

Humans can't navigate the twists and turns of this life without God's Guidance. Humans must ask their Creator for guidance, and to show them the Straight Path. God bestowed Guidance unto His servants in the form of Revelation and through prayer; the form of communication through which Muslims connect with God at least five times a day. The goal of a follower of Islam is to become a faithful servant of God by submitting to His Will and to worship Him Alone. Those who pass this test would enter Paradise eternally; those who fail, meanwhile, would enter hellfire in the afterlife.

Let's take a closer, more in-depth look at this subject. Everything populating the Heavens and Earth, including animals, the Mountains, the Skies, and the Earth, are all in a state of submission to the Sovereignty of Allah, the Glorious. They are all living for, obedient to, in submission to, and are at the disposal of God and His Laws. They all exist in a state of Islam (submission to Allah). God states in the Quran:

"To Him submits whatever is in the Heavens and the Earth" (Quran 3:83)

Everything in nature functions according to fixed laws set forth by God and cannot deviate from those laws. The Sun knows its role---it knows the cycle of its rotation; it knows its role as the giver of light, heat, and energy on Earth. The Earth knows its rotation cycle around its axis. Your own eyes, heart, brain, your entire body and all of its components, are working subject to the laws of nature—and have no choice but to do as they are intended. All of God's creation worships Him in a manner appropriate to their situation. The Sun, the Moon, the Stars, the Mountains, the trees, the animals, the whole Universe all exist in a state of subjugation to Allah, the Almighty. All prostrate to Him, with all of them worshipping Him in an appropriate manner. God, the Almighty said:

"Do you not see that to Allah prostrates whoever is in the Heavens and whoever is on the Earth and the Sun, the Moon, the Stars, the Mountains, the trees, the moving creatures and many of the people? But upon many, the punishment has been justified. And he whom Allah humiliates - for him there is no bestower of honor. Indeed, Allah does what He wills" (Quran 22:18)

Man is expected to worship and praise his Creator, much like the surrounding creations are continuously praising God in humility; in a way we may not understand. All the creation praises, worship, and lives in submission to the Almighty, in their unique style. God's creation prostrates to Him as per its nature, even if they do not press their foreheads to the ground.

"The seven heavens and the Earth and whatever is in them exalt Him. And there is not a thing except that it exalts [Allah] by His praise, but you do not understand their [way of] exalting. Indeed, He is ever Forbearing and Forgiving" (Quran 17:44)

All of God's creations know their mission and purpose. Just like the physical world submits to its Lord, human beings must submit to the Will and Laws of God. Unlike other creations of God, man was gifted with the qualities of intelligence, the ability to comprehend and understand, and the wisdom to think, reflect, and ponder over his Creator and his life purpose. Man was also gifted with the ultimate beauty of expression, and with the ability to make choices and decisions. God created many astounding creations, and the noblest of those creations are human beings. God states in the Quran:

"We have certainly created man in the best of stature" (Quran 95:4)

Man faces a choice: the offer to submit before God like all other creations or to go astray and violate God's laws. All will be held accountable for their decisions and choices.

All humans are born with an innate eagerness and ability to seek God, to recognize and understand the existence of their Creator. Once many discover the truth, they hasten to submit to Allah; entering a state of total submission. Islam answers the questions that trouble the conscience of every human being: Why was I created? What am I doing here? What is my life's purpose for existence? Islam answers these massive life questions.

Mankind was also born in a pure and pristine original state; one that inclines toward that which is ethical, morally and spiritually pure, upright and wholesome. They incline to help others, removing objects from the road, thanking people, etc. Everyone has an internal moral conscience, calculator, compass. If it is not corrupted, man's intrinsic moral conscience suffers discomfort and upset when someone wrongs; this because this conscience always points toward good, which brings one closer to God. This goodness, which is programmed in humans, compels them to be grateful when something good comes its way.

Every human has an instinct to believe in and worship a Creator who is One—who has no partners. This belief does not come about as a result of learning or personal reflection but is placed by God into the heart of every human. With time, the changing of one's environment, and outside influences from parents and friends, this innate belief in God affects and confuses a person. Prophet Muhammad narrated: 'Every child is born in a state of fitrah (a natural belief in God), then his parents make him a Jew, a Christian, or a Magian.' (Saheeh Muslim)

Humans have the eagerness to thank their Creator. God has reinforced man's natural disposition with the signs He has planted throughout creation, to testify to His existence. A primary aim of the Holy Qur’an is to invite people to ponder and reflect. Allah refers to the Earth, the Sun, the Moon, the merging of the night into the day, and the merging of the Day into Night, as His miraculous signs and evidence of an existence of a Creator.

The Quran teaches that the signs and proofs of God's knowledge, Wisdom, Power, Mercy, and existence are evident in the world around us. Together they point to a Creator, a Maker, a Designer, a Fashioner. This creation is flawless and perfect. Life on Earth and the Universe itself demonstrates so much order, purpose, intelligence, and design; all of which prove the existence of a Creator that designed and fashioned everything.

Thus, God calls on man to ponder, reflect, and think deeply about the design of this complex creation, to build a better understanding of his Creator. When one reflects, one realizes that the world and everything it contains was created with intelligence and Infinite Wisdom—not by chance.

Human beings—regardless of who they are, where they are, and when they live—are always curious to why they exist in this world, for what purpose? Only our Creator can tell us why we are here, and for what purpose!

God encourages one to observe and ponder over His beautiful creation. He asks man to reflect upon the Mountains, the Sun, the Moon, the Stars, the Trees, etc. so they will realize their blessings. They will witness a clear sign, evidence, and proof of His existence, look up to the sky and admire the beauty of the ocean, mountain, and sunset:

Have they not looked at the heaven above them - how We structured it and adorned it and [how] it has no rifts? (Quran 50:6)

One should ask him/herself when was the last time he/she admired and pondered over this beautiful creation?

Recognizing the signs of God's existence would require personal effort, and this recognition occurs in accordance with his or her wisdom and conscience. For the people who understand, everything around them is a sign and evidence of their creator’s existence. Pondering upon the intricacy and order of this magnificent creation would help one conclude that this glorious Universe indeed has a Wise Creator who crafted, fashioned, and molded everything. One would eventually perceive the fact that the entire Universe, including oneself, and one's own body, is created by a Superior Power. One would conclude that this world was created in proportion, and with measure and definite purpose.

"And We did not create the heaven and Earth and that between them for mere play"  (Quran 21:16)

 God also encourages people to look at their creation, their own body, and how it was constructed so perfectly.

"We will show them Our signs in the horizons and within themselves until it becomes clear to them that it is the truth. But is it not sufficient concerning your Lord that He is, over all things, a Witness?" (Quran 41:53)

Pondering over the creation of mankind and the Universe would help one realize that the Deity behind this ethereal creation can re-create it once again. One would understand that God can easily and quickly resurrect all of humanity for Judgement Day.

"How can you disbelieve in Allah when you were lifeless, and He brought you to life; then He will cause you to die, then He will bring you [back] to life, and then to Him, you will be returned" (Quran 2:28)

In today's materialistic world, the endless quest for fame and wealth distracts many from reflecting on the beautiful creation of God and the purpose behind it. We live in a world where people are obsessed with materialism, and their main aim and focus in life is to gather all the money and prizes they can. We are in a world where people are obsessed with taking as much as possible from this world. A perpetual state of excessive materialism can affect one's inner peace. One cannot achieve satisfaction in life if he or she is chasing material gains to an excessive and extreme extent; rather, one should look at the situation of those who are less fortunate. In this way, one will have a greater appreciation of the love, gifts, benefits and mercy that the Almighty has bestowed upon them regarding their wealth, family, friends, housing, etc.

Humanity was created and born with a sense of awe, of wonder, but many have killed that sense of wonder somewhere along his or her journey to adulthood. Many no longer feel the fear and awe at God's creation around them because of their excessiveness, obsession and distraction of materials of this world. Many are so occupied by useless material goods, vain talk, and gossip they have forgotten and are immune to the miracles happening around them every second of every day. One should think deeply and ask more significant questions about life and his/her purpose, rather than thinking of that which is less significant.

For the few that ponder and think deeply on this creation, which others overlook, they discover within it signs and great lessons all around them that lead them straight back to their Creator. Signs that lead one to an appreciation of the Wisdom and Wonders of the Almighty's creation, bringing them thus closer to their Lord. In the Holy Koran, God invites individuals of understanding to think about the issues which other people overlook.

"Praise be to God. He will show you His Signs, and you will recognize them. Your Lord is not heedless of anything you do" (Quran 27:93)

A person's purpose in life is to find God, build a relationship with Him, and engage in a continuous effort to submit to His will. The best joy and the most peace that one can achieve in this world is derived from the servitude to God and being an obedient slave of God. God states unequivocally that humankind was created to worship Him. God states:

"And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me" (Quran 51:56)

 One can easily misunderstand this to mean that God wants humans to be in constant prayer, to dwell on the remembrance of God at all times, and to spend their entire lives in constant seclusion and absolute meditation. This is not the case. In Islam, worshipping God includes and entails every act, belief, statement, or sentiment of the heart which God approves and loves. The act of worship in Islam is comprehensive in scope. The worship of God can include actions such as removing an object from the road, helping one in need, being kind to one's parents, lawfully making money, sharing food with neighbors, visiting an ill person, etc. The act must be done sincerely to please God and not with boastful or impure motives. The action should also be consistent with the Almighty's guidance and laws. Any thought or act that brings a person closer to his Creator would be considered an act of worship.

To worship God is to get to know Him, learn His names and attributes, to love Him, to obey His commandments, and to enforce His laws in every aspect of life. To worship God is to serve His cause; engaging in the struggle and the quest of doing right, shunning evil, and being just to others.

According to the Quran, following and obeying God's commandments and refraining from prohibited activities would make one's life easier, more comfortable, and lighten one's burdens.

"And Allah wants to lighten for you [your burden/ difficulties], and mankind was created weak" (Quran 4:28)

Some mistakenly believe that disobeying the commands of God while partying their whole life away would make for a more enjoyable, peaceful life. They also think if they find God and follow His commands, then they will deprive themselves of things they could have otherwise enjoyed—and this couldn't be further from the truth. Quite the opposite is true. While the commands of other religions are often viewed as burdensome and rigid, the rules of Islam are not seen this way by the devout Muslim. A devout Muslim would see these rules as what's best for him or her, so that they may be guided to success, happiness, honor, and contentment in this life and the next.

God states that if you abide by his advice, He will relieve the burdens of your life, rendering your existence much easier, comfortable, and more relaxed. You would find contentment in the heart. You would find more peace and harmony, not only within yourself but with the things and people around you. Each of God's commandments is enforced to benefit the one that follows them. Anything that God makes impermissible is harmful to one or society. For example, alcohol is prohibited in Islam because of its danger and evilness. A lot of studies and evidence demonstrate the effects and risks of drinking alcohol.

Those who follow these simple edicts will enjoy a pleasant, contented life in a blessed world. God promises in the Holy Quran:

"Whoever does righteousness, whether male or female, while he is a believer - We will surely cause him to live a good life, and We will surely give them their reward [in the Hereafter] according to the best of what they used to do" (Quran 16:97)

God created particular desires within the human being. One can control these desires according to God's Law or to turn them loose and go his or her separate way. Allah, the Glorious, created humanity knowing that they would sin. Therefore, God taught humans, starting with Prophet Adam peace be upon him how to repent and purify self of the sin.

Life in this world is also a test for humankind. Everyone faces a separate and unique test. Some get tested through a life of poverty; some are tempted by wealth, some enjoy good health, some suffer from bad health, etc. God states in his Holy Book:

"[He] who created death and life to test you [as to] which of you is best in deeds - and He is the Exalted in Might, the Forgiving" (Quran 67:2)

At times, the Almighty tests His creation with calamities and sometimes with blessings, to show who will be thankful and who will be ungrateful, and to show who will obey and who will disobey.

"And We will surely test you with something of fear and hunger and a loss of wealth and lives and fruits, but give good tidings to the patient" (Quran 2:155)

God is testing every individual. God tests all of humanity in different ways. One should not mistake his/her life problems for punishments; or as signs that God is displeased with him or her. Likewise, one never should interpret his or her wealth, previsions, and pleasures as signs that Allah is pleased with them, or that they are privileged. Sometimes, quite the opposite is true. Allah also says:

"Know that your wealth and your children are but a trial and that Allah has with Him a mighty reward" (Quran 8:28)

God in His Wisdom and Mercy has decreed that people be tried and tested in various ways to develop their psyches, strengthen and improve their character, and evolve them into beings which are pleasing to Him. Sometimes when one undergoes certain instances of suffering, he/she immediately thinks about and prays to God even if he' s/she's not religious. At times, the very experience of suffering leads one to God.

A Muslim view this world as a temporary stop en route to a final destination: the afterlife, where man would live eternally. Not that this temporary world is not important or shouldn't be taken seriously, but this life should not be lived sinfully and at the expense of the Hereafter—which is a lot longer and better in scope. If one's goal in life is to become wealthy, then there would be no purpose in existence after one achieves the goal of wealth. How could wealth then be considered the aim of life? This world is not about acquiring material goods or physical pleasures.

A Muslim view and interacts with this world for what it is, just a means to an end. Detachment from this world doesn't mean that you abandon all material possessions and own nothing substantial; instead, a healthy detachment from this world means that nothing should hold, own, and enslave you. This life is about attaining a higher purpose. One should be preparing for the eternal joy of the afterlife. The purpose of life in Islam is to become faithful, sincere servants of God.

"And this worldly life is not but diversion and amusement. And indeed, the home of the Hereafter - that is the [eternal] life, if only they knew" (Quran 29:64)

This life is temporary and will someday end for the individual, and an end for humanity altogether; but the Hereafter is eternal. The experience of life in this world is almost nothing compared to life in the Hereafter. Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him stated: 'What is the example of this worldly life compared to the Hereafter other than one of you dipping his finger in the sea? Let him see what he brings forth.'

Whereas the essential purpose for which humankind was created is embodied in the worship of God, God does not need human worship. He certainly did not create human beings out of a need to seek His Glory. If not a single person worshipped God, it would not diminish His Glory. God exists with no needs. On the other hand, humanity was created with needs and wants. Thus, it is mankind that requires the worship of God. Human beings need to worship and glorify God by obeying his divinely revealed laws; because obedience to God is the key to success in this life and the Hereafter.

Mankind is encouraged to remember God as often as possible for their benefit. Remembrance of God is imperative, as sin is generally committed when God is forgotten. The forces of evil operate most freely when cognizance of God is weak or lost.

"Satan has overcome them and made them forget the remembrance of Allah. Those are the party of Satan. Unquestionably, the party of Satan - they will be the losers." (Quran 58:19)

It's Satan and his children that seek to occupy one's mind with irrelevant thoughts, material distractions, and desires that make them forget their Lord.

"O, believers!  Remember God often." (Quran 33:41)

The Almighty instructs man to show gratitude to Him by glorifying Him.

"Glorify the praises of your Lord and be of those who prostrate [to Him]" (Quran 15:98)

In glorifying God, man is in harmony with the rest of the creation; an act which naturally Glorifies the Creator throughout the day and night, in its own and unique matter.

Since it is not possible for mankind to have a detailed knowledge of God, and to know what God expects of them without Divine Revelation, God sent His Messengers throughout the ages, to every nation, to guide and educate people about their Creator; advising them how to worship Him, and how one should live his/her life. The Messengers came bearing a Holy Book from the Almighty. All Messengers and all Books preached the same general Message that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah—who has no flaw and is all worthy of praise and gratitude.

Worthy Reads:

What is The Purpose of life?

What Does Islam Say About Life's Purpose?

Article & Video By: TheSincereSeeker.com


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