Fruits for the Week

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What is the purpose of my life? What is the purpose of your life? What is the purpose of our lives? Such questions are frequent in our life.

People answer these questions in different ways. Some people believe that the purpose of life is getting wealthy. But these people do not know what their purpose will be after they became wealthy. They have collected millions of dollars. So what? And then what? What will be their purpose after their get these millions of dollars? If the purpose of life is to become wealthy, there will be no purpose after becoming wealthy. And, in fact, here comes the problem of some disbelievers or misbelievers. In some stages of their life, they make collecting money as the target of life. When they collect the money which they have dreamt of, their life loses purpose and they live in tension and restlessness and suffer from the panic of nothingness.

Can wealth be aim?
We often hear of a millionaire committing suicide sometimes, not the millionaire himself, but his wife or 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 purpose of collecting wealth a standing 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, because he is worried more about his health. This proves that wealth cannot be a standing purpose in all the stages of the individual life.

Wealth can do a little to bring a happiness to a disbeliever, because a disbeliever is not sure about his end or his fate. A disbeliever does not know the purpose of his 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 skeptic of everything. A disbeliever may gain a lot of money, but he surely loses himself.

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

This Islamic purpose of life is a standing purpose. The true Muslim sticks to this purpose through 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 of our life. Then there is the other life. The first life and the second life are separated by the death stage, which is transitory stage between the stage of the first life and the stage of the second life. 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
So Islam looks at the first life as an examination to man. The first life is a test to man. The death stage is similar to a rest period after the test, i.e. after the first life. The Day of Judgement is similar to the day of announcing the results of the examinees. 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, then death, then the Day of Judgment, and then the second life. With this clear line of life, the Muslim has a clear purpose of life. The Muslim knows he is created by Allah. The Muslim knows he is going to spend some years in this first life, during which he has to obey God, because God shall question him and hold him responsible for his deeds, whether done publicly or privately, because Allah knows all deeds of all people. The Muslim knows that his deeds in this 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, or one hundred and forty years at most, whereas the second life is an eternal one.

The eternity of 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 go through the judgment of Allah.

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

In other words, the Muslim’s permanent purpose is to obey Allah, to submit to Allah, to carry out His orders, and to keep in continues touch with Him through prayer, through fasting, through charity, and through pilgrimage.

The need for a permanent purpose
Disbelievers have purposes in their lives such as collecting money and property, indulging in sex, eating, drinking, and dancing. But all these purposes come and go, go 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 questions to himself: so what? Then what?

However, Islam saves the Muslim 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 second life.

by Muhammad Ali AlKhuli