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11 March 2011

What is the Purpose of this Life? ما هو الغرض من هذه الحياة؟

  • Do you know the purpose of life?
  • Have you thought about this question?
  • If you do know the purpose of life are you sharing it with others? 
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The story of Adam and Eve is, in reality, an allegory of human destiny. In his earlier state of virtuousness man was unaware of the existence of evil and, therefore, of the ever-present necessity of making a choice between the many possibilities of action and behaviour: in other words, he lived, like all other animals, in the light of his instincts alone. Inasmuch, however, as this innocence was only a condition of his existence and not a virtue, it gave to his life a static quality and thus precluded him from moral and intellectual development. The growth of his consciousness-symbolized by the willful act of disobedience to God’s command-changed all this. It transformed him from a purely instinctive being into a full-fledged human entity as we know it – a human being capable of discriminating between right and wrong and thus of choosing his way of life. In this deeper sense, the allegory of the ‘fall’ does not describe a retrogressive happening but, rather, a new stage of human development: an opening of doors to moral considerations. By forbidding him to “approach this tree”, God made it possible for man to act wrongly-and, therefore, to act rightly as well: and so man became endowed with that moral free will which distinguishes him from all other conscious beings.
Freedom of Choice through Guidance, Intellect and Reason: God does not want to force the ‘Faith’ upon human, He says:
 “If your Lord had so willed, He would have certainly made mankind one single nation but that is not what He wants, so they will continue to differ except those on whom He has bestowed His mercy; and that very freedom of choice and action is the whole purpose of their creation. That is how the Word of your Lord, that; ‘He will fill Hell with jinns and human beings all together’, will be fulfilled.”(Qur’an;11:118-119)
“If it had been the will of your Lord that all the people of the world should be believers, all the people of the earth would have believed! Would you then compel mankind against their will to believe? Notwithstanding that no human being can ever attain to faith otherwise than by God’s leave, and (that) it is He who lays the loathsome evil (of disbelief) upon those who will not use their reason?(Qur’an;10:100)
“If We wanted, We could send down upon them a sign from the heaven before which they would bend their necks in submission, but that is not what We want.”(Qur’an;26:4). 
Man has been provided with natural inspired guidance and endowed with intellect, so that he can use his reason and freedom of choice: “by the soul and Him Who perfected it and inspired it with knowledge of what is wrong for it and what is right for it: indeed successful will be the one who keeps it pure, and indeed failure will be the one who corrupts it!”(Qur’an;91:7-10); “Who hath ordained laws and granted guidance;” (Qur’an;87:3). The responsibility of misdeed and unbelief is upon the man: “It was not We that wronged them: they wronged their own souls :”(Qur’an;11:101); “O Muhammad, declare: “O mankind! The truth has come to you from your Lord! He that follows guidance (Right Way) follows it for his own good, and he that goes astray does so at his own risk; for I am not a custodian over you.”(Qur’an;10:108);  “There is no compulsion in religion.” (Qur’an;2:256); “Truth has come and Falsehood perished: for Falsehood by its nature is bound to perish.”(Qur’an;17:81). The pious believers will be told: “This is Paradise; you have inherited it by virtue of your past deeds.”(Qur’an;43:72).
Individual Responsibility, Accountability & Repentance: God is very fair and Just: “The fact is that Allah does not do injustice to mankind in any way: but men are unjust to their own souls.”(Qur’an;10:44). In Islam there is no concept of original sin or inherited sin, man is born free of sin. Qur’an stress upon the individual responsibility of man, Allah says: ““If they do not believe you, say: “I am responsible for my actions and you are for yours! You are not accountable for my actions, nor I am responsible for what you do.”(Qur’an;10:41); But whoso ever repents after his wrongdoing and amends, lo! God will relent toward him. Lo! God is Forgiving, Merciful.”(Qur’an;5:39); “.. Every soul will reap the fruits of its own deeds; no bearer of burdens shall bear the burden of another.” (Qur’an;6:164). 
Bible also emphasizes the individual responsibility: “The soul that sins shall die. The son shall not suffer for the iniquity of the father, nor the father suffer for the iniquity of the son; the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself. But if a wicked man turns away from all his sins which he has committed and keeps all my statutes and does what is lawful and right, he shall surely live; he shall not die.”(Ezekiel;18:20-21); “I, I am He who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins.”(Isiah;43:25); “for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin will I remember no more.”(Jermiah;31:34 & 36:3); “To the Lord our God belong mercies and forgiveness;” (Daniel;9:9); “But there is forgiveness with thee, That thou mayest be feared”(Psalms;103:4). 

Adam (peace be upon him) committed the first sin, he repented and was forgiven by God (Qur’an;2:37), God is so merciful that He has decreed mercy upon Himself for the repentant, He is the Forgiving, the Loving (Qur’an;6:54, 85:14).
The Vicegerent: The Bible mentions that man is made in God’s image: “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creep upon the earth.”(Genesis;1:26 also mentioned at 1:27 & 9:6). The biblical theologians have interpreted “Image of God” as ‘God’s representative’. Hence it is the function of man to be God’s stead on earth. He is God’s representative, exercise dominion over all that is in universe, to fill it conquer it (Genesis;1:28).  It is confirmed at Psalms: “Yet thou hast made him little less than God, and dost crown him with glory and honor.”(Psalms;8:5). The man is God’s image because he dominates creation; so that he may exercise his domination God has vested man with God’s power and inspired every living thing with fear of him. Man has been created king of the created order, God’s vicar on earth, endowed with strength by God  so that the animal kingdom stands awe of him.
God appointed man, as His vicegerent on earth, however the disbelieves, bears the burden of his disbelief.(Qur’an;35:39). Human being enjoys a special high ranking status in the hierarchy of all known creatures. Man occupies this distinguished position because he is gifted with rational faculties and spiritual aspirations as well as powers of action. Man is not a condemned race from birth to death, but is a dignified being potentially capable of good and noble achievements. Every person is born with the nature to be obedient to God by following His natural laws (Qur’an:30:30). Every person is endowed by Allah with spiritual potential and intellectual inclination that can make him a good Muslim Every person’s birth takes place according to the will of Allah in realization of His plans and in submission to His commands. Every person is born free from sin until he commits it by freedom of choice provided to him. When a person reaches the age of maturity and if sane, he becomes accountable for all his deeds and intentions. There is no inherited sin, No Original Sin, Adam committed the first sin, he prayed to Allah for pardon and Allah pardoned him (Qur’an;20:121-122). People are created equal by the God, there is no superiority for one race over another except the most righteous (Qur’an;49:13). No one can claim that he is better than others. It is only Allah Who knows who is better, the criterion being the piety and righteousness. The mankind was chosen collectively to be Vicegerents (Qur’an;2:30), yet some among mankind fall pray to evil, due to their own wrong choice hence, they will suffer the punishment in hereafter. [Excerpts from book "Creation" http://wp.me/PCgrB-69

The purpose of creation of humanity is to serve, obey [worship]  God: He is the source and centre of all power and all goodness. The human progress depends upon putting themselves into accord with His Will using their freedom of choice, granted by Allah while rejecting the path of evil.  This is the worship or service which God demands from men and jinn: “I have not created jinns and mankind except to worship (serve) Me. I require no sustenance from them, nor do I ask that they should feed Me. Surely it is Allah Who is the giver of all sustenance, the Lord of Power, the Invincible.” (Qur’an;51:56-58).To understand why human beings need to worship God, one must first understand what is meant by  words ‘yabudun’ (worship, service) it is derived from word ‘abud’’ means ‘slave’ who surrenders to the command of his master. The English term ‘worship’ comes from the Old English “weorthscipe” meaning ‘honor.’ Consequently, worship is defined as ‘the performance of devotional acts in honor of a deity: According to this meaning, man is instructed to show gratitude to Allah by glorifying Him.

Hence worship means complete obedience, to God not mere rituals.
Allah says: “It is not righteousness that ye turn your faces towards east or West; but it is righteousness- to believe In Allah and the Last Day, and the Angels, and the Book, and the Messengers; to spend of your substance, out of love for Him, for your kin, for orphans, for the needy, for the wayfarer, for those who ask, and for the ransom of slaves; to be steadfast In prayer, and practice regular charity; to fulfil the covenant which ye have made; and to be firm and patient, In pain (or suffering) and adversity, and throughout all periods of panic. such are the people of truth, the Allah-fearing.”(Qur’an;2:177). Worship (service) is to know Him, to love Him, to obey His commands, like an obedient servant follows the commands of his master. To  implement His laws in every aspect of life, to serve His cause by doing right and shunning evil and to be just to Him, to own self and to the fellow human beings. Thus; “Thee (alone) we worship; Thee alone we ask for help.”(Qur’an;2:5). 
Therefore the purpose of human life is; ‘Willingly Obedience to God’
. However, the Almighty is not in need of human worship. “.. to Him belongs all that is in the heavens and in the earth; all are obedient to Him.”(Qur’an;2:116). The numerous angels all the time are busy in praising and glorifying Allah (Qur’an;39:75, 41:38,37:166), but there is difference, the angels are aware of the some of the mysteries of ‘Unseen World’ being part of that world,  they are aware of the presence of God and have no choice, they are programmed to obey Allah only. On the other hand the  human are not aware of ‘Unseen World’ (metaphysical), they have been granted the choice of good and evil, hence as vicegerent of God on earth, they are entitled to reward for worship and obedience while punishment for transgression. Allah did not create human beings out of a need on His part If not a single human worship Allah, it would not diminish His glory in any way, and if all of humankind worship Him, it would not increase His glory in any way. Allah is perfect. He alone exists without any needs. All created beings have needs, consequently, it is humankind that needs to worship Allah. Islam is the Din, complete code of life, hence the complete obedience to Allah makes every action performed by a Muslim according to His will as ‘worship’, be it doing honest business, performing duties, looking after destitute, speaking truth, be kind to parents, neighbors and fellow human being etcetera.
[Excerpts from;  "The Purpose of Creation in Essence": http://wp.me/PCgrB-6g ]
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