What is the meaning and what is the purpose of our existence as human beings? What is the reason for which we are here on this earth? What are we supposed to be doing with our selves? It’s not something that, a dog or a cat or a cow or a lion, or an ant, or a cockroach, seems to be having any problem about. The cat knows what to do, so does the cow, so does the ant, so does the sun, so does the moon. These creatures or these created things know the reason for which they exist and they spend their existence fulfilling that created purpose. But it seems to be unique to the human being that we can ask this question, what is the purpose of my life? As if we realize that we are something different from the animals. There is something about the human beings that distinguishes us that separates us that makes us a different type of creation. Although we eat, we drink, we procreate like animals, and there is this fundamental, underlined question in our mind that what are we as human beings supposed to be doing with our lives, or what is the reason of our existence.
Now, every religion, or every ideology, or every philosophy, in one way or another is trying to make sense of this fundamental question. By and large today we live in a very materialistic and secular world. India professes to be a secular country. Certainly England, France, most of the European countries or democracies professes to be secular states. Of course, the soviet union clearly defines itself as atheist, communist society whose ideology were purely materialistic and whose driving force and whose underlying concept was a totally materialistic one, whereas a secular society recognizes religion but it states that religion should not have anything to do with normal and everyday affairs of state. But whether the societies claim for example in England some of the politicians sometimes say this is a Christian country and we run our society on Christian principles etc, the fact of the matter is their true religion and their basic ideology is a materialistic one.
And the materialistic society tells us that the purpose of life is life, the reason for your existence is to enjoy and to make the best of your physical existence right here right now on this planet. Thats the way to be happy and to be fulfilled as a human being by acquiring the material possessions, when you acquire these material possessions, then you find the happiness and the peace that you are looking for. Just like every religion, every philosophy, they have a rational and scientific justification for this and this is called the theory of evolution. The theory of evolution aims to root the human being very firmly in the material. This theory leads the human being to understand and to except the idea that we are just products of nature, random mutation of DNA. We are a product of natural selection. There is no hand of God, there is no work of creator, in fact there is no need for a God and there is no need for a creator. Well, If you want to believe in that, well fine you can believe in that. If you want to. But now they want to tell us and they would like us to believe that science has proven that we have descended from an ape like creature; therefore we all, the human beings, the chimpanzee, gorillas we are all descended from common ancestor. Therefore the human being and the meaning of the life of human being is not much more than the life of an animal. In fact that’s what we are, animals. We are just monkeys, little bit more sophisticated, little bit more advance but basically the theory of evolution tells us that we are animals.
And the things that make the animal happy are the ones that make us happy. So if you have a monkey how will you keep the monkey happy? You give the monkey some bananas, you keep monkey safe from lion, leopards and from predators and you give man monkey woman monkey, woman monkey man monkey, and there you have a happy monkey. Food, shelter and sex, that’s it, This is what the animal needs, this is the instinct of the animal, this is the passion of the animal, this is the driving force of animal and when the animal has the food, when the animal has shelter, when the animal has a mate, you have a happy animal. So they say the human being is not really any different. Give the human being food, give the human being the shelter, give the human being a mate and that’s it. You have a happy human being. This is the idea behind materialism. That you should satisfy your passions and animal instincts. And all this open sexuality, nudity, fornication and now homosexuality; is all just part of your natural instincts and that you should satisfy your natural passions, this is what they say, because they are trying to claim that even homosexuality is natural, that you have homo sexual genes and some people are just like that and they should just do it since that is in their instincts. And the way for you to be happy is by following your instincts and your passions. This is the claim of the consumer society, the materialistic society and most of us are caught up in this.
We say we are Muslims, we say we are Muslim. But in reality, most of us are worshipers of the Duniya. We claim that we are worshipers of Allah but most of us; we are no different than a common Hindu, or a Christian, or a Jew, or a Buddha; or any other normal person, We all, we believe that happiness comes from having a nice wife or a nice husband; one man one woman; man woman two kids that okay; and we have a nice house and we have a nice car and we have a nice life. And this is our aim; the religion is only something that goes along with all this, maybe it’s to do with our culture, maybe its to do with our society. Whatever, The fact is that most of the people follow their religion because that’s what their ancestors have been following. But really their true religion, the thing that they really believe is going to make them happy in this life, are the material things. And this in fact is truly the religion which most people follow.
Let us first examine this question, what is God? Who is a God? When we say something is a God and the people worship it, what is it? Here in India they have many gods and idols which they worship. Why do they worship those gods and why do they worship those idols. What do they believe they are going to get from it? Something, yes? Yes they believe that. True or not?
So why do people worship a God? What is a god? Your God is the thing that you believe is going to give you what you want. That’s your god. The thing that you believe is going to give you what you want is your god. In many religions they worship many gods. If I want to have a child I will worship the god that will help me have the child, so its the fertility god? If I am going to go in a battle, then I will worship the god of war. If I want the rain to fall, then I will worship the rain god. Because I believe that that is the thing that is going to give me what I want and what I need. By worshipping that thing, by sacrificing to that thing, by praying to that thing, this is what I will believe I am going to get what I want. So this is god and the sacrifice, prayers, religion is given to this god.
If we understand this wide concept, of what god is; we will also understand that the people who put their faith, put their trust, put their hope and their expectations, they approach this thing with reverence, with awe and humility. This is called the worship of that thing. These are the gods which are obvious and are taken as gods. But there are other things that people take as gods which are not as much obvious; but people worship it and people put their faith in it and their trust in it and their hope in it. And one of those gods is money. Money. Dollars, pound, euro, yen, rupees, riyals, dirham’s. How can person worship money? The question that arises is how can person worship money? We don’t ask anything to money, we don’t sacrifice to money, we don’t put money on the top of shelf and bow down to it, but still we worship it. In fact Prophet Muhammad “Woe be to the person who worships the dinar and the dirham.” Woe means like misery and unhappiness and some scholars said wail in Arabic we translated it as woe is described as a valley in hell fire, so woe be to the worshiper of Dinar and Dirham. How can someone worship the dinar and the dirham that was the name of the currency or money at the time the prophet? People worship money because they put their faith in it and they put their hope in it and they put their trust in it and they believe that when they have money and they will be happy and when they have it they are successful and they believe that money is a cause of happiness and success in life. So when they have money they are happy and when they don’t have it they are unhappy. This person is the worshiper of dinar and dirham and because they have their hope and expectations and their fear and their trust in the money.
Again, the prophet (S.A.W.S) said woe be to the one who wears finely embroided cluff .There are some people who worship fashion, they are the worshipers of fashion if they have the latest cloth, the latest style and the latest fashion They think people are looking at them, admiring them and this makes them happy and all these things they feel secure they feel happy. They put their trust in this in this and faith in this and this is the source they believe will get happiness in life so they pursue it and run after it. The latest clothes and if they don’t have the latest fashions they are miserable and they are sad. This type of person becomes the worshipper of fashion it becomes a god to him such as an idol. Money can be a god, Fame can be a god, Power and prestige can be a god, Having a high position in society can be a god! So your god is what you believe is going to give you what you want. This is the true understanding of the god and what religion is.
Now Islam gives us the same meaning and takes the same approach in understanding God. However, it differentiates between the false gods and the one True God. All of these gods are false, all these things in which you put your trust, your hope in they will not be able to give you what you need and what you want; not money not fame not fashions all the idols all the things that people worship. Actually non of them can give you what you want and what you need because all of them are helpless themselves and can achieve nothing and do nothing except for the one who has created them and controls them. So in fact the only true source of success and the only one in which we can actually put our trust and hope is not money not fashion not fame not the world and not the other things that people worship but the one who has created them all and controls them all. This means to worship Allah alone, this is what la illaha ilalah means not only that we make our salah to Allah and not only we put our dua to Allah because that is very important so that means that we put our trust in Allah, our faith in Allah, our hope in Allah and the reason why we have been created Qurans tells us “wala kalaktu jinna wal insa illah li abadun” Allah did not created the jinn and man except that they choose to worship him alone. Allah says in the Quran “wala khad ba asna fekuli ummatin rasullah anna budullahi waj tanibut tagut “ Allah says in the Quran “we did not send a messenger to any nation except he call the people (na budallh) to worship Allah (waj tani but taghut) and to reject all of the false Gods.” This is the purpose of life that to worship Allah alone, not only to believe that god exists ,not only to believe that Allah is the mode, the creator, the successor but we should put our trust in him, our faith in him our hope in him nabudullah to worship him alone. We have been created to worship Allah and worship him alone, to abandon the worship of everything else other than Allah. This is the purpose of life.
So what is ibaddah we have talked about it. We have tried to deeply understand the concept of Ibadat by understanding that why do people worship something, why do they put their trust and faith in him. so Ibadat is something very comprehensive when we translate some words from Arabic in to English or any other language unfortunately we loose a lot of meaning that is implicit in that word, so when we talk about worship the English word worship has a very narrow confined understanding. Usually most people understand that worship means a few ritual acts like a prayer, or going to Jummah or fasting in the Ramadan, or burning something, or going on sanyaas; depending upon the religion these ritual acts they understand as worship. It’s true these ritual acts that are commanded by Allah are worship but actually the term “Ibadat” covers much much more than that. One of the renowned scholar described Ibadat something like this, he said “Ibadat is every thing what Allah loves and every thing which Allah is pleased with from the actions of heart to action of the limbs”. Alright, now this is Ibadat. Just remember this definition it will be very beneficial to you to remember this definition of Ibadat. Ibadat is every thing which Allah loves and is pleased with, from the action of heart and the action of limbs is Ibadat. Therefore ibaddah or worship comprehends every thing of our life, every mood of our life and every aspect of our life and we have been created by Allah to try and achieve this. So this is the goal we are aiming, and we may never reach the perfection, because it’s human to err, but at least we can say that is what I am aiming for! We should have that in our mind and hence we should try to do every thing which Allah loves and is pleased with internally and externally.
Now what do you mean by actions of the heart? What on earth do you mean by that the action of the heart? Can anyone tell me what the action of the heart is? Intention! Jazakallah that is the action of the heart. Niyah your intention. The reason why you do something. I am going to pray, I am going to give a speech on Islam .why I am going to give a speech because I want every one to admire me,I want the people to be talking what a beautiful lecture is given by Ali and isn’t he handsome and isn’t he enchanting and I will be so popular in the world .so this is intention a person may have but is this type of intention pleasing to Allah no this is not pleasing to Allah the thing that is pleasing to Allah is when I am talking about Islam in order that word of Allah should be made highest. It is not my concern whether you like it or not, it is not my responsibility to make you happy, its my responsibility to let you know what Islam teaches whether I am popular or not should not be what motivates me . I should be motivated by seeking the face of Allah, seeking his pleasure and seeking the reward of Allah and avoid his punishment. Allah has given me knowledge and therefore my duty is to pass down that knowledge to the best of ability so this is good intention, so this niyah that is the action of the heart. It is not a statement like most people particularly Muslims they make before starting their Salah, they say from their tongue niyah of offering so and so many rakahs. This act of making Niyah loudly from mouth is a bidah, it’s an innovation, it was not the practice of Allah’s Messenger (S.A.W.S) to make niyah with the mouth before salah. Niyah in Arabic means an intention of the heart, out pouring from the heart; your firm resolution to do some thing. That is niyah. Your firm resolution to do something from your heart. So it is an action of the heart and not the statement of the tongue. So this is niyah action of the heart.
Now give me another action of the heart? Hope, so what do I put my hope in, what do I put my hope in I hope in something, I hope that such and such thing will happen. What do I believe is the source of the hope, what I believe is the motivator of hope. Do I put my hope in Allah or other than Allah and connected with hope is trust. who do I put my trust in what do I put my trust in is my trust in my bank account or how much I have in it or my trust in Allah, The test is my brothers and sisters when some one is asking you, some one needs your money, someone who needs your help a poor person or some person doing something for the sake of Allah or for the sake of Islam; and you have that money which you don’t need immediately, it is important that you regulate that money. And if you don’t and think that that money may come handy in future, believe me, it proves that your hope is in the money .Allah has told you spend oh son of Adam and I will spend on you. Even though the prophet told you will never lose because of Sadaqa. Even though Allah and his Messenger told you when you spend or when you do any good deed Allah will increase it for you for a minimum of 10 times even up to 700 times or more as Allah wills. Now where your trust is is your trust? Is your trust is in Allah or your trust in that figures in your bank account now what’s where we see where you really put your trust on.
Allah has made haram to take Interest or Riba but how many people have taken Mortgage? How many people have borrowed money from bank with interest so that they can have a house and I can buy a house? You can rent a house; I have been a Muslim for 16 years. When I first became a Muslim the first talk I heard or the first lecture I heard was about Pig and Riba. Pig was haram which I actually did not now in practicing Islam for about 6 months I did not know Pig was haram but alhamdulilah I stopped it just by thing this is rubbish I didn’t know riba at that time I had a mortgage I phoned up my friend and I was showing the house I told him we are going to sell the house today .yes in my mind shatan was putting thoughts how are you going to line where are you going to live, why are you going to do I said if Allah has made it haram for me that’s it its haram. Allah will provide for me and my trust is in Allah and for 16 years I have been staying in rented accommodation and alhamdulilah very comfortably but where is your trust brothers and sisters? Is your trust in Allah or these materialistic things, think you think it you imagine it, this is the test where really do you put your trust in? Who do you put you faith in? In Allah or other than Allah so what is the action of the heart?
What is the heart famous for Love .who do you love? Why do you love them? how much do you love them .love is actually worship if it is directed correctly it becomes worship of Allah if it is directed in correctly it can even become shirk you can also make some one partner with Allah in your love in fact Allah mentions in the Holy Quran the meaning of which is there are some people who loves other as they should love Allah there are some people who love other people as they should love Allah. You will find believers over flowing with there love to Allah. What is this love? this love is the love of submission Allah(S.W.T) mentions in the Quran some mushriks at the time of the prophet they use to say we love Allah to the Muslims I am sure you must have meet people who say we love Allah and Hindus and Christians we love God.
So Allah he gave a criterion for that, he gave a test in the Quran , he gave the means to the people who really love him or the people who claim to love him. Qul Allah said to the prophet qul say inkuntum tuhibullah fa tabiunni yahbib kum ullah say if you truly love Allah follow me prophet said if you really love me do ittaba or follow me and then Allah will love you Allah will forgive your sins so the test or the truth of the matter is so the person who loves Allah will follow the prophet and any one who claims that he loves God and doesn’t follow the prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.S.) is telling a lie and Allah rejects there claim because the chest of really following Allah is to follow the messenger of Allah because prophet Muhammad is the one who has brought guidance from Allah and the revelation from Allah through which and by which we can can obtain why Allah loves and what Allah hates ,what Allah wants us to do and what Allah wants us to abandon through this we know the revelation and this is the only way we know revelation how can we worship Allah how can we obey our Lord so this is love, this is the action of the heart but this action of the heart leads to actions of the limbs ok the same with fear Kishu means reverential oath and all of these actions of the heart are acts of worship they must be directed in away that is pleasing to Allah and they all have means and way that we all direct them ti other than Allah which is not pleasing to Allah(S.W.T) and we can know this by studying Allah’s revelation so yes worship means internally here to make our love of our heart that is pleasing to Allah.
In fact the Messenger of Allah said it doesn’t matter how much you pray how much, you fast, how much charity you gave you will never taste Halwa tul imaan the sweetness of imaan or sweetness of faith until you love Allah and his Messenger more than any thing else until you give for the sake of Allah and hold for the sake of Allah you love for the sake of Allah and you hate for the sake of Allah you meet for the sake of Allah and you depart for the sake of Allah until you know how sweet and beautiful this deen of islam is. so this is something to achieve, for something to aim for, some thing to earn for and the action of the limb is its obvious what the action of limb is yes praying, Fasting, making pilgrimage, enjoying the right forbidding the wrong ,fighting the jihad. How we dress ,how we talk ,how we behave our manners our aqlaq our adab this is all the actions of the limbs even how we go to the toilet, Islam has something to say about it and that can be done in a way pleasing to Allah and the way Allah loves and is pleased with. This is all thought to us in revelation. So my brothers and sisters this is the purpose of my life.to try to do every thing in your life in the way that Allah loves and Allah is pleased with. You almost don’t reach that definitely every day of our life all the days of your life but at least we can try this is our purpose and Allah did not create us for any other purpose except that. And this is very important to realize and this is the happiness, nobility and this is the true tranquility the purpose of life of the human being.
Let me ask you a question, something to think about how do you think how pleasant do you the life of a cat be if the cat spends its whole life thinking it was a dog. You know cat and dogs are always fighting yes you know or you don’t know so if the cat thinks he is a dog how pleasant is the life of a cat be. It is not going to be pleasant at all .if the deer thinks he is a lion and the sheep thinks he is a wolf will be the life of this animal be happy no how about the human being he thinks his life is running after this Duniya. But Allah did not create him for that.
Allah did not create him for that or her for that Allah created the human being to worship him. In the remembrance of Allah the heart finds rest. This Duniya is only for one reason the only benefit of this whole Duniya is that we can use it in order to get closer to Allah that’s it you use the Duniya in order to get closer to Allah. Apart from that it has no benefit that’s it your life very short. And this is another illusion that it’s amazing that although on one hand the materialist teaches that life is a random and we are like animals and we live in it. that’s it ,we die in reality they always forget the death beds, they always leave that they some how imagine in spite of things dying in front of them constantly time people seem to live in illusion that they are going to leave on this earth for ever. So they build fantastic houses and easing palaces and they surround them selves all sorts of thing as if they are going to enjoy this forever and really believe me because some of them they don’t think they are going to die.
How many people lived up to the age of 80 or 100? Very few! Most people die long before that. So the other reality we have to be aware of is the meaning of life is actually not life itself but the end of life. The true meaning of life is the end of life and it is explained so beautifully in a Hadith of prophet (S.A.W.S.) he said what I have got to do with this world I am like a rider on a journey who is taken rest underneath the shadow of a tree and then continues on his journey. Let’s think about this beautiful, beautiful similitude, this alogree that the prophet (S.A.W.S) has given us about this Duniya and about this world. This world is like a man first of all, you imagine some one on a long journey especially in those days through the deserts in the hear travelling for many hours, or many days or many, many weeks imagine you on your camel in the desert for many days. what will happen do you think if you didn’t stop and take a rest, if you didn’t stop and take a rest you will not complete your journey because you will fall of your camel may be in the night or the day from exhaustion your camel will keep going and you will be left alone in the desert to die. You need that rest that rest is very important because that moment that you will take to rest gives you that more strength to reach your destination when you rest under the shade of tree he is get. It is part of his zaad his own provision. So this is our existence like a traveler on journey from the time Allah has created us until we reach our destination. But our destination is not this world no.
This world is like a rider who takes shade underneath a tree that tree and that shade is not his destination is it he doesn’t say that all is over I have reached my destination here I am going to stay no his destination is that city or some other place he is just resting briefly to take what he needs this is this life brothers and sisters this life is like a journey of a man who is resting underneath a shadow of a tree on a journey we are here just to take what we need to reach our destination and what is pour destination what we want to reach or desire to reach it is Paradise and the destination which we want to avoid is Hell and the stage that we have to pass before we go to heaven is the Day of Judgment and what is Allah going to recon for us and what is Allah going to account for us except our deeds ,good deeds and bad deeds , what do we need from this life good deeds this is the provision of this life that is what we need to take from this world good deeds so that we can reach or destination of paradise but most people my brothers and sisters are fools they imagine this life is their destination they have been confused and they have been taken in by the life of this world and they have been deceived by the life of this world and they imagine this is the destination here I am I have arrived what a beautiful world this is look at the sun look at the moon look at the trees and look at all the beautiful things and they imace the world they build nice houses and they build beautiful palaces for them selves and cars and they believe it so they do everything they can to acquire the things of this world but the reality is they will die and they will not take anything of it and they will see the true reality and they will see they have prepared nothing for their journey when they meet Allah on the day of judgment what deeds will they have nothing they have acquired nothing with their deeds they got no benefit from them because they didn’t do it and the things they have done they didn’t do that hoping that some one is waiting for them in the next life these people they did its true some people did good deeds.
They do good deeds but that good deeds will only benefit them in that life they did not do that seeking the hereafter its no good if you have a bank account and you just put your money in that account all you get is what you put in. If you invest your money in some business in terms of the kufar if you put your money interest bearing account just for example you not only have your money but the interest of the bank on top of it yes . So you have the interest you have earned, you cannot put your money in a normal account and expect more return from it you wont so a person who puts all his efforts in Duniya can they accept that they are going to get something in the akhira when they meet Allah they didn’t invest in that they only invested in Duniya .This is one more example why the deeds of the disbeliever are no benefit to them on the day of judgment .they are of no benefit to them on the day of judgment because they only invested in this life they did not invest in the akhira. They didn’t invest in the life to come and the only way to invest in the life to come is by following what Allah wants us to follow by investing in the way that Allah wants us to invest by obeying him and obeying his Messenger as revealed by Allah so this my brothers and sisters is a very important thing about the life of human being, life actually is not the life but it is the life we are going to stand in front of Allah and he is going to make way for us, he is going to account for us things that we did good and the bad and we are going to be rewarded and punished accordingly.
– By Mir Imran Ali
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