In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful
The purpose of this life is the worship of Allah, this life is a test. A test for us, will we worship Allah, or will we forget Him. This is where our focus has to begin. By Abu Ameenah Bilal Philips Part of a lecture delivered on the priorities of a Muslim today.
~~ Not just Muslims, but every single human being has to answer the most fundamental question at some point in his or her lifetime: "Why was I created? Why am I here? What am I doing in this world? Why did God create me?"
These questions are questions which each and everyone of us reflects on at some point during their life. We have some answers, which are given generally but usually these answers don't satisfy us - seeming somewhat simplistic. So, we still wonder: "Why me? Why here?". I know all of you (Muslims), are saying, "To worship Allah, khallas (end of). What more is there to say? Why do we need to have a big long talk on why we were created when we all know it is to worship Allah?!"
But wait. If this is presented to a non-Muslim, the next logical question would be, "Why does Allah want us to worship Him?" Then your stuck, which can only mean that in our own minds it is not really clear. Why did Allah create us to worship Him?
Addressing the question, "Why did Allah create us?", we have to understand how to deal with those people we live with (in the West). Those who don't consider there to be any purpose in man's creation, firmly believing that they are just a product of evolution and that the forces of nature. Just as we don't have apes, dogs or cows thinking about why they are here, then we also don't have to think about it either. Following from this belief being the basis of the philosophy of Western society (that man is without purpose), the whole issue of government, morality, etc. has no basis for them in Revelation. The product of this attitude is, of course, the corruption that we are living in.
When a Muslim addresses this topic, we have to find our understanding from Divine Revelation and not human speculation. Because human speculation has no bounds; we can imagine all kinds of things and if any of you has studied philosophy of religion, you will know how many opinions there are about the creation of man and existence. Because of the variety of philosophies which are out there, no one can say this one is correct or that one is incorrect, because there is no guidance behind it. No Divine Revelation. It is only from Divine Revelation that we can determine the reality of our creation, because it is Allah who has created us and so He knows the purpose of our creation. We can hardly understand it ourselves, much less trying to understand the essence of things. So it is for Allah to inform us through the revelation in the Qur'an and the Sunnah (the Prophetic traditions) which were brought to us by His Last Messenger and the Messengers before him.
Now if we are to look initially into revelation, to determine why was man created, there is a deeper question that we should be asking before that: "Why did God create?". This before we even get to man because man is not the greatest act of creation. Allah says:
"The creation of the Heavens and the Earth is indeed greater then the creation of mankind; yet, most of mankind know not." [Surah Ghafir, verse 57]
Man is not the greatest act of creation, this universe is far more complex and far more magnificent than man. So the issue of creation should then go to, "Why did God create?", as opposed to simply, "Why create man?".
Fundamentally, we can say that the creation is the natural consequence of the attribute of creator. Allah is the creator. That is one of his attributes. That is what he has informed us. That being his attribute, the creator, the natural consequence or the product of this attribute is his creation.
A painter, if we are to draw a similitude on a lower level, who tells you that he is a painter, if you ask him where are his paintings and he replies I don’t have any. What kind of painter is this? The concept of a painter who doesn’t paint, there is some thing not quite gelling together here, of course Allah is beyond this. But if we are to understand on the simplest level, the two go together. The perfection of a painter lies in his paintings. His quality and his ability to paint, is manifest in his paintings. And Allah, beyond all that, as creator, this quality of creation is manifest in the creation itself. Allah didn’t create out of a need. No, the fact that he is the creator, is manifest in the creation.
Furthermore, consider the act of creation, this act, with regards to Allah is unique. Though we use the term i.e. So and so created a table etc, actually it is in a limited sense. Human beings don’t really create, they manipulate, because they can only "create" what already exists. When we make a chair or a table, we didn’t create the wood, we had to take it from a tree, we didn’t create the metal, which makes the screws etc, we had to melt down rocks and take the metal out. So we are not creating from nothing. We are manipulating things which Allah has already created in to different shapes and forms which are useful to us. We call it "creation" but the real act of creation, is creation from nothing, and this is unique to Allah alone.
This is a concept, which many people in ignorance, because they couldn’t grasp the idea of creation from nothingness, it lead them to conclude that the world is Allah. Those who say "inside of each and every atom is Allah." And you have people, who call themselves Muslims saying this. Non-Muslims have said this before and there are Muslims who claim this. That Allah is inside each and everything, because Allah is the reality and everything else is fake in their interpretation. That means then, that the creation is Allah, and Allah is the creation. Very, very dangerous concept, which leads some of those who make this claim to say that you don’t have to worship outside of yourself. Ibn Arabi, was famous for this statement, he is considered to be one of the saints, amongst the so called Sufi religion. Ibn Arabi said "There is no need to worship one outside yourself, you are Allah. It is sufficient to worship yourself." This is Shirk.
This concept of Allah being within his creation, no distinction the creation and Allah, it leads them to this shirk. Because they are unable to accept the uniqueness of Allah’s creation, they compare the act of creation by Allah to human creation. That is, just as we manipulate, Allah took pieces of himself and made the earth and the universe. Others will say that all human beings have inside of themselves Allah, that there is a part of Allah inside each and everyone of us. The whole essence, the purpose of life is for us to realize that we have part of Allah inside of ourselves, remove the material blocks which keep us from Allah and again become one with Allah in what they call "fana". This is again a teaching of the Sufi religion.
Becoming one with Allah, returning back to Allah in this sense. But this is in fact part of the teachings of shirk. Shaytan (Satan) has deluded man into this imagination. It is part of the belief of the Hindus. Nirvana, the concept that when you die, you are reborn again, and you move up in stages, each time, if you are a good boy or good girl, you go up higher and higher, until you get to the top. You know you have reached the peak, because when you die the next time you become one with the universal soul, Nirvana. That is the end of rebirth. So your whole purpose is to return and become one with God again. This is all, as I said, a product of the inability to understand the concept of creation from nothingness, which is unique to Allah. Allah says:
"There is nothing like him, and he is the hearer and seer of all."
So when we try to interpret Allah’s creation like the way we create, then we have made Him like his creation and it leads us ultimately to those aspects of shirk which I have mentioned. This is quite common amongst the Muslim world today, because when you look into the various branches of the Sufi religion, where they have prescribed various acts of purification, they call it dhikr, exercises to torture the body through spinning and dancing. What is the purpose of this? They will tell you, to liberate the soul from this earthly body and to achieve that state of "fana" or "itihad", a variety of names they have for it... continue reading @iloveallah.com