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
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
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
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
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
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.