People who are rather short-sighted and lack discernment define different reasons for their lives and are limited to worldly objectives and ambitions. But the purpose decided for man by God Almighty is according to His own holy words:
“And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me.” (51: 57)
The real aim of God is to make the man understand the main purpose of his existence on earth, that is to say, to be completely devoted to Him. It is obvious that man cannot set a goal to his own life because he neither comes into this world on his own nor does he leave this world on his own, according to his will. He is a creature and the One who has created him and invested in him better faculties which are superior to animals has also identified a goal for his life. We understand it or not, the fact remain that the purpose of the creation of man is undoubtedly worship and understanding of God and a complete devotion to Him. Elsewhere in the Holy Quran, God Almighty has said:
“So direct your face toward the religion, inclining to truth (as one devoted to God). It is the nature made by Allah, the nature according to which He has created men. There can be no change in Allah’s creation. This is the true religion. But most people do not know.” (30: 31).
The religion that gives us a real appreciation of God and prescribes His true worship is Islam. Islam is inherent in human nature and man was created in accord with ISLAM - submission to the One God - and such is the eternal and true faith. This is to say that God wanted man to be fully devoted to His worship, that he loves and obeys Him with all his faculties. So He (Allah) has blessed man with all appropriate faculties to achieve ISLAM (to submit to Him, that being the real target for the creation of mankind).
Despite the fact that man is taken up by the various projects of his life, he can find true happiness only in God Almighty (Allah). After having accumulated enormous wealth, after having held high office, after having become a great trader, and ruled over a vast kingdom, and after having been recognized as a great philosopher, at the end he leaves all these commitments with great regret. His heart constantly reproaches himself for his total concern for worldly affairs and his conscience never accepts his illicit activities full of trickery and artifice.
An intelligent person can better understand that problem. We cannot assign a higher purpose to something beyond its/ his capacity, beyond which it/ he can no longer function. For example, the highest work of a bull is the ploughing of fields or irrigation or transportation. Its faculties are not adapted to anything else. Thus the aim of the life of a bull comes down to these three functions. It has no ability to do anything else.
But by examining the faculties of man and trying to find their limits, we find him in search of God the Exalted. He wishes to become so devote to God that he devotes everything he owns/possesses to God. He shares with other animals his natural survival instinct. However, in the field of manufacturing certain animals surpass him. Indeed the bees extract the essence of different varieties of flowers to produce a honey so excellent that it surpasses the understanding of man up till now. It is therefore obvious that the summits of human faculties are to meet God the Exalted. So the real purpose of his life is that the window of his heart should open to God.
The question of how to achieve this and through what means man finds God can be raised. The very first step is to recognize God Almighty correctly and to have faith in the true God. For if the first step is bad, for example if a person takes in a bird or animal, or the offspring of a human being as god, it will be impossible for him to follow the right path in his quest for the true God (Allah). The true God helps those who seek Him but how can a dead god ever help the dead? In this particular context, God (Allah), the Glorious has presented this excellent illustration:
“To Him is due the true prayer (because He has the power to do everything); and those whom they pray to besides Allah give them no answer, but (they are) like one who stretches forth his two hands towards water that it may reach his mouth, but it will not reach it; and the prayer of the unbelievers is only in error.” (13: 15)
The second step is to be aware of the perfect beauty of God Almighty; for the heart is naturally drawn to beauty, and observing beauty generates love in the heart. God’s beauty is His Oneness, His Grace, His Majesty and His other attributes, as stated in the Holy Quran:
“God is Unique in His being, attributes and glory. He has no partner. All depends on Him. He breathes life into all particles. He is the source of mercy for all and does not need the mercy of anyone. He is neither a son nor a father because He has no equal and no one is like Him.” (112: 2-5).
The Holy Quran constantly draws our attention to the greatness of God (Allah) – the Unique One – and makes us well understand that only such a God can be the object of the desires of our hearts and not some lifeless and powerless beings.
The third step to approach God is to know His generosity; because beauty and generosity are the incentives to love. The generous attributes of God, as disclosed in Surah Al-Fatiha:
“All praise belongs to Allah, Lord of all the worlds; the Gracious, the Merciful; Master of the Day of Judgement.” (1: 2-4).
God creates His servants from nothing, out of pure generosity and His providence is available to them at any time. He is the support of everything and every aspect of His generosity is manifested to His creatures. His bounty is limitless as He said:
“If you try to count the favours of Allah, it will be impossible to enumerate them all.” (14: 35)
“And your Lord says: Call upon Me, I will answer you; surely those who are too proud for My service shall soon enter hell abased.” (40: 61)
“Implore Me and I will answer you.” We are constantly called to beg/ implore God Almighty to meet Him; this not by our own abilities, but by the power of Allah.
The fifth step to persevere in His cause; we must seek God by spending our wealth in His cause, using all our faculties to advance His cause and using our reasoning in His cause; as He said: “... And strive with your wealth and your lives in the way of Allah...” (9: 41)
“... And spend out of what We have provided for them.” (2: 4)
Act according to His way with your wealth and your lives and all your faculties, and what Allah has granted you as intelligence, talent and understanding. And above all, aim for God’s pleasure and Paradise, not the temporary attractions of this world. Insha-Allah, Ameen.
--- Friday Sermon of 12 February 2016 ~(02 Jamad’ul Awwal 1437 Hijri)-- by Hazrat Muhyi-ud-Din Al-Khalifatullah Munir Ahmad Azim Saheb (atba) of Mauritius.