The age we live in today is an age in which our lives are controlled by the world we live in, in which time passes by without us even noticing. As a result of this most people have little time to stop and think about the most fundamental of issues surrounding the very essence of their existence, including many Muslims, especially those who inherited Islam from their parents, and so you find that they have taken their religion for granted, all they know is that they carry the identity of Islam because their parents carried that identity without really trying to understand the true reality of why they were brought into this world in the first place. They fail to realize the true nature of their existence. So even though most of them know that Allah exists and that we are a product of His creation, they often forget to remember that we were created for a specific purpose.
If ten of us try to find out what our purpose is on our own, without considering the Revelation, we might find ten different purposes. This is because most people are confused and they don't really know, and rather than to say "I don't know" they just offer an answer. Think about it: Is our purpose in this life simply to eat, sleep, work, acquire some material things and enjoy ourselves? Is this our purpose? Why were we born? What is the object of our existence, and what is the wisdom behind the creation of man and this universe?
Many who read this may be hearing of these very fundamental and basic questions for the first time in their lives. However, if we look to the Qur'an the answers are there, and so we see that Allah clearly states that He did not create us and the universe without a purpose:
1. "Indeed, in the creation of the heavens and the earth and the alternation of the night and the day are signs for those of understanding. Those who remember Allah while standing or sitting or lying on their sides, and give thought to the creation of the heavens and the earth, saying, "Our Lord, You did not create this aimlessly, exalted are You, protect us from the punishment of the Fire."
[Aal ‘Imran 3:190-191]
2. "And We did not create the heaven and the earth and that which is between them aimlessly. That is the assumption of those who disbelieve, so woe to those who disbelieve from the Fire."
3. "And We did not create the heavens and the earth and that which is between them in play."
And furthermore we see in the Qur'an that the purpose of our lives is clearly defined:
1. "O mankind, worship your Lord, who created you and those before you, that you may become righteous."
2. "And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me."
These verses were revealed to us by Allah in order to inform us of why we are here, what we should be doing, and where we are heading. Not to benefit Himself nor because He needs our worship, rather because we are in need of Him. We were created for this one reason: to worship Allah and to strive to do the best of deeds.
We have to remember that Allah created life and death so that we may worship Him, and perform that worship in the best manner. That is what our objective should be. Instead of contradicting the purpose of man's existence and acting for the sake of perishable worldly interests, we must fulfill its completion. Our period here is short and being slave to worldly gains results in the corruption of our souls, constant difficulty, worry and poverty.
The Prophet (SAW) said: "Allah says: O Son of Adam, fill your time with My worship and I will fill your heart with richness, and end off your poverty. But if you do not, I would make your hands fully busy (i.e. in worldly affairs) and I would not end off your poverty."
So in a nutshell the purpose behind our existence is to recognize the one who created us, to be grateful to Him, to worship Him, to surrender ourselves to Him, and to obey the laws that He has determined for us. It is not enough to say that "I have believed, therefore I have accomplished this purpose." Allah commands us in the Qur'an to enter into Islam completely not partially:
"O you who believe! Enter into Islam completely, and follow not the footsteps of Shaytan. Verily, he is to you an open enemy."
And Allah warns us of being from among those who took their religion lightly:
"And the companions of the Fire will call to the companions of Paradise, "Pour upon us some water, or from whatever Allah has provided you." They will say, "Indeed, Allah has forbidden them both to the disbelievers, those who took their religion as distraction and amusement and whom the worldly life deluded." So today We will forget them just as they forgot the meeting of this Day of theirs and for having rejected our verses."
From the above it can be concluded that there is not a shadow of a doubt that we have been informed of our purpose, and were shown the way to achieve it, the choice is now ours.
Madeenah, Saudi Arabia
12th of Safar 1428