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Transformation – our purpose in life

Publishing Date : 07 August, 2018

IQBAL EBRAHIM
UNDERSTANDING ISLAM



There is a very fundamental and important question that we need to remind and ask ourselves: “What is the goal and purpose of life?” “Why and what are we on this earth for?” The answer lies in the Quranic verse below in which our Creator says: “And I did not create the Jinn (Spiritual beings) and mankind except that they should serve and worship Me. No sustenance do I require of them, nor do I require that they should feed Me. For Allah is He who gives all sustenance” (Quran 51: 56).  


However, in most cases, we are bound to get many different answers as to what is our purpose in life, many of us will simply say what someone else said: What my parents said, what the Imaam / priest said, what my teacher in school said, what my friend said, etc. is the purpose of life.


Think about it. Is our purpose in this world simply to eat, sleep, dress, work, acquire some material things and enjoy ourselves? Is this our purpose? Why are we born? What is the object of our existence? What is the wisdom behind the creation of man and this tremendous universe? Think about those questions.


So what is our purpose in this life? There can be different answers for each one of us: making a comfortable life for us and our families; amassing wealth and worldly possessions; getting a better education; climbing higher up the ladder of success; etc. and other such worldly desires - no problem for those ambitions. But our true purpose in addition to these worldly desires should be to achieve and create a better afterlife for us upon our death. This means that when that time comes we will have to account for our daily deeds.


Either we haven’t thought about it, or are we confused or we don’t really know. But if we were to ask about the purpose of eating or why do we eat, everyone will say in one way or another that they are hungry or it is for nutritional purposes, because eating sustains our life. If we ask anyone why they work, they will say because it’s a necessity in order to support themselves to provide for the needs of their families or to buy a home or a car etc. If we ask anyone why they sleep, why they wash, why they dress, etc., they will answer with appropriate answers, for these are common necessities for all human beings.


If we continue with this line of questioning and ask anyone why they work, they will say because it’s a necessity in order to support ourselves, and to provide for the needs of their families. Why is it when we ask the question, “What is the goal and purpose of life?” We get all sorts of different answers. Is it because we are confused; some of us don’t really know because we have not given it much thought.


Whether we thought about it or not, or even accept it or not, but our purpose in this life is to recognise The Creator, to worship Him, to be grateful to Him, to surrender ourselves to Him and to obey the laws that He has determined for us. It means worship is our purpose in life. Whatever we do in the course of that worship, (i.e., the eating, the sleeping, the dressing, the working, the enjoying,) between birth and death is should be in line with our belief in God. Therefore the main reason for our creation is to worship and obey the Laws of the Almighty.


Virtually every religion or faith has the belief that upon death and the on the Day of Reckoning / Resurrection every soul will be called to account for his or her life on this worldly existence of ours. If we have lived a righteous life in the way of our Lord we will be rewarded with entry into Paradise – on the other hand is our life was spent in the way of Satan – we will face the wrath of the burning fires of Hell.


Therefore we need to create and establish a closer relationship with our Lord and Creator through sincere faith and right conduct in order to live our lives in His way. In doing so, we will discover true happiness in this life and in the Hereafter. What we need to do is to link up with Him to make ourselves worthy of His Grace, Mercy and Blessings. ‘If you remember Me, I will remember you……seek help with patient perseverance and prayer; for Allah is with those who patiently persevere’ (Quran 2: 152-153) 


This is why we need to transform ourselves: ‘….Because Allah will never change the Grace which He has bestowed on a people until they change what is in their own souls’ (Quran 8: 53). Many of us believe that happiness comes from material possessions; while this is true that we need some material possessions to make our lives more comfortable, it should not become our sole objective in life to amass wealth and possessions. No doubt about it, wealth does make life easier but it cannot always bring happiness because money can buy you medicine, but it cannot buy your health. As Allah says in the Quran; ‘Your riches and your children may be but a trial’. (64:15).
 

‘Do the people think that they will be left to say, ‘We believe’ and they will not be tested? But We have certainly tried those before them, and Allah will surely make evident those who are truthful, and He will surely make evident the liars. (Quran 29:1-3)
We need to stop every now and then and take a breather to consider focusing on making life changing goals to our inner self. We can achieve many goals materially and spiritually if we follow the Guidance of our Lord. So our worldly possessions are just a blessing in this temporary life – we should not forget that whilst we may be blessed with them, many others may not be as fortunate as us.
 

Unfortunately in this life we become conditioned to accept these great blessings without ever thinking about them or even being grateful for them – ‘To Allah belongs the mystery of the heavens and the earth…… It is He who brought forth from the wombs of your mothers when you knew nothing; and He gave you hearing, sight, intelligence and affections; that you may give thanks to Allah’ (Quran 16:78) ‘ Verily Allah is full of Grace and Bounty to men yet most of them give no thanks’ (Quran 40;61). As the verse states not many of us ever stop to say ‘thank you Lord for our Blessings’.


So while we have the energy and life within us we should take this opportunity to transform ourselves and should we not also show gratitude to Him and say “thank you”? Once we establish, base and live our lives on the edicts of our religious, commands, Scriptures and beliefs we will be on the road to achieving the goal of Paradise. It is a long road that is filled with many challenges and as one saying goes: This world is a prison for the Faithful, but a Paradise for unbelievers.

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