They say that a fool lives to eat and a wise man eats to live. But then the question remains: for what purpose does the wise man live? Living is not an end by itself. There has to be a purpose for man to live for. So what is this purpose?
By Bazil Hulmani
Any ignorance, however great, could be forgiven except for man to be ignorant about the secret of his existence, his aim in life and what will be his outcome after death. Some thinkers express these questions in simple words: where from? where to? And why? Meaning: where did I come from? where am I going? And why am I here?
Those who only believe in the material world and who do not believe in a Creator- the atheists- only believe in sensory data. They say that this universe and everything in it came by itself. All its order is simply due to blind coincidence. They say that man is simply like an animal or a plant and that he will exist for a short period and then end like any other animal or plant.
Doubt and Confusion
This feeling of doubt and confusion about the presence of a Creator and whether He sent messengers and prophets to guide mankind must be quite painful because it deprives the Atheist and the Agnostic of tranquility, security and peace of mind. So what happens when life turns sour? What happens when one goes through hardships? It is no coincidence then that the largest number of suicides takes place amongst Atheists, Agnostics and people who do not know their purpose in life. Do you know which country has the largest number of suicides? It’s Japan. In the year ending March 2000, there were 33,000 suicides in Japan. That is 91 suicides per day or 1 suicide every 15 minutes! This despite Japan being the second largest economy in the world wherein people do not have to worry about providing a roof over their heads or about food or medical care.
Sunrise and Sunset
To the Atheist and the Agnostic, the Muslim says: “Suppose you find a watch in the middle of a desert. What would you conclude? Would you think that someone dropped this watch? Or would you suppose that the watch came by itself? Of course no sane person would say that the watch just happened to emerge from the sand. All the intricate working parts could not simply develop from the metals that lay buried in the earth. The watch must have a manufacturer. If a watch tells accurate time, we expect the manufacturer must be intelligent.
But what else tells accurate time? Consider the sunrise and sunset. Their timings are so strictly regulated that scientists can publish in advance the sunrise and sunset times in your daily newspapers. But who regulates the timings of sunrise and sunset? If a watch cannot work without an intelligent maker, how can the sun appear to rise and set with such clockwork regularity? Could this occur by itself?
The creator who gave us light, energy, protection and beauty deserves our thanks. Yet some people insist that he does not exist.
The fact that all nations and communities throughout history believed in a Creator (with the exception of insignificant few) made the mission of all prophets in all ages concentrate on guiding their people away from the worship of creations to the worship of the one and only Creator God, i.e. rather than having to prove His existence.
Those who believe in the Creator can answer the questions: where from? And where to? They know that they have come into existence by being created by the Creator and they also know that there is an eternal life after death. But what about the answer to the third question, that is: why have we been created? If we had been created by the Creator, shouldn’t we expect that He would tell us the purpose of our creation? Shouldn’t He tell us on what basis He is going to judge us on the Day of Judgment?
Day of Judgment
Muslims say they know the answers because they have the Quran. But people of other religions also have their own scriptures, so what is so special about the Quran? The Quran is basically a book of divine guidance in areas that cannot be covered by the human senses or intellect, such as faith, acts of worship, a moral code and a code that governs the transactions between people. So what does the Creator, Allah, tell us about our purpose in life? Allah states in the Quran that He created man to be His Khalifah, His trustee on earth (Quran 2:30). Mankind’s basic trust, our responsibility, is to believe in and worship Allah.
Very simple! The purpose for man’s creation is to worship the Creator. The essence of Allah’s message through all of the prophets also was:[ O mankind, worship Allah, you have no deity other than Him. ](Quran, 7:59,65,73,85).
Also, Allah has to tell us how He wants to be worshipped, which He does in the Quran. He also tells us in the Quran that all Prophets came with the same identical message to their people – that is to believe in Allah and to worship Him. Muslims believe that the present life is a trial in preparation for the next realm of existence. Muslims know that man was not created merely for this worldly life; rather this world was created for man.
(The writer can be reached at [email protected])