ISLAM AND THE AIM OF LIFE

What is the purpose of my life ?
What is the purpose of your life ?
What is the purpose of our lives ?

Such questions occur frequently to thinking people.

People answer these questions in different ways. Some people believe that the purpose of life is to get rich. But what will their purpose be after they have collected millions of dollars. So what? Then what? What will be their purpose after they get these millions of dollars? If the purpose of life is to become wealthy, there will be no purpose after becoming wealthy. In fact here lies the problem for some disbelievers or misbelievers. When they have amassed the money of which they have dreamt, their lives lose purpose, they live in tension and restlessness and suffer the panic of nothingness.

Can Wealth Be an Aim ?
We often hear of a millionaire committing suicide and sometimes, not the millionaire himself but his wife, son, or daughter. The question is this: can aiming at wealth bring happiness to the individual? In most cases the answer is NO. Is the amassing of wealth a constant purpose? As we know, the child of five years does not look for wealth: he prefers a toy to a million dollars. The adolescent of eighteen does not dream of wealth because he is busy with more important things. The old man of ninety years does not care for money, he is worried more about his health. This proves that wealth cannot he a constant purpose in all the stages of the individual's life.

Wealth can do little to bring happiness to a disbeliever, because a disbeliever is not sure about his end or his fate. A disbeliever does not know the purpose of life. And if he has a purpose, this purpose is doomed to be temporary or self-destructive.

What is the use of wealth to a disbeliever if he feels scared of the end and skeptical of everything? A disbeliever may gain a lot of money, but surely loses himself.

Worshipping Allah as an Aim
On the contrary, faith in Allah gives the believer the purpose in life he needs. In Islam, the purpose of life is to worship Allah. The term "Worship" covers all acts of obedience to Allah.

The Islamic purpose of life is a constant purpose. The true Muslim sticks to this purpose throughout all the stages of his life, whether he is a child, adolescent, adult, or an old man.

Worshipping Allah makes life purposeful and meaningful, especially within the framework of Islam. According to Islam, this worldly life is just a short stage. Then there is the other life. The first life and the second life are separated by death, which is a transitory stage between the two. The type of the second life a person deserves depends on his deeds in the first life. At the end of the death stage comes the Day of Judgment. On this day, Allah rewards or punishes people according to their deeds in the first life.

The First Life as an Examination
Islam looks at the first life as an examination of man. Death is similar to a rest period after the test, i.e., after the first life. The Day of Judgment is similar to the day of announcing the results of the examination. The second life is the time when each examinee enjoys or suffers from the outcome of his behavior during the test period.

In Islam, the line of life is clear, simple, and logical: the first life, death, then the Day of Judgment, and then the second life. With this clear line of life, the Muslim has clear purpose in life. The Muslim knows that Allah created him. The Muslim knows he is going to spend some years in this first life, during which he has to obey God. Because God will question him and hold him responsible for his deeds, whether done publicly or privately, because He knows all deeds of all people. The Muslim knows that his deeds in the first life will determine the type of his second life. The Muslim knows that this first life is a very short one, one hundred years, more or less, whereas the second life is eternal.

The Eternity of the Second Life
This concept of the eternity of the second life has a tremendous effect on the Muslim during his first life because the Muslim believes that his first life determines the shape of his second life. In addition, this determination will be through the judgment of Allah, the All-Just and Almighty.

With this belief in the second life and the Day of Judgment, The Muslim's life becomes as purposeful and as meaningful as possible. The Muslim's constant purpose is to go to Paradise in the second life.

In other words, the Muslim's permanent purpose is to obey Allah, to summit to Allah, to carry out His orders, and to keep in continuous touch with Him through prayer (five times a day, through fasting (one month a year), through charity (as often as possible), and through pilgrimage (once in one's life).

The Need for a Permanent Purpose
Disbelievers have purposes in their lives such as collecting money and property, indulging in sex, eating, and dancing. But all these purposes are passing ones. All these purposes come and go, pass up and down. Money comes and goes. Health comes and goes. Sexual activities cannot continue forever. All these lusts for money, food and sex cannot answer the individual's questions to himself:


So what ?

Then what ?

However, Islam saves Muslims the trouble of asking the question, because Islam makes it clear to the Muslim from the very beginning, that the permanent purpose of the Muslim in this life is to obey Allah in order to go to Paradise in the next life.

We should know that the only way for our salvation in this life and in the Hereafter is to know for sure our Lord who created us, believe in Him, and worship Him alone.

We should also know our Prophet whom Allah has sent to all mankind, believe in him and follow him. We should know the religion of truth, Islam, which our Lord has commanded us to believe in, and practice it.