What is the Purpose of Life?
Where did I come from? Why am I here? Where am I going? One of the first questions that comes to mind when considering our purpose of life is, “Where did we come from?” Are we here based on random natural coincidences or is there a higher intelligent being, a Creator? Acknowledging the existence of a creator is the first step in understanding our true purpose in life. There are many logical and rational reasons for believing in a creator. Three reasons are briefly mentioned below:
1. Beginning of the Universe
The first evidence that points to the existence of God relates to understanding the origin of the universe. Imagine walking in a desert and finding a watch. We know a watch consists of glass, plastic, and metal. Glass comes from sand, plastic from oil, and metal extracted from the ground – all these components are found in the desert. Would you believe that the watch formed itself?
God is eternal, has always existed and has no beginning; therefore, the question of ‘who created God’ is irrational. Human experience and simple logic tell us that something that has a beginning does not simply come from nothing, nor can something create itself. Therefore, the most rational explanation is that a higher “being” created the universe. This is in perfect agreement with modern science which concludes that the universe is finite and has a beginning.
2. Perfection of the Universe
The second evidence that points to the existence of an intelligent creator is the order and perfect balance of our complex universe. Many features in the universe clearly indicate it to be specially designed to support life, such as the earth’s distance from the sun, the thickness of the earth’s crust, the speed at which the earth revolves, the percentage of oxygen in the atmosphere, and even the earth’s tilt. If these measurements were slightly different to what they currently are, life could not exist.
When we see the order, precise laws and systems within ourselves and throughout the universe, is it not rational they have an organizer? This ‘organizer’ is best explained by the existence of God – the one who brought about this order.
3. Revelation from God
The third evidence that points to the existence of God is the actual revelation that God has sent to humankind as a sign of His existence. There are clear signs that the book of Islam, the Quran, is the word of God. Below is a brief summary of reasons that support this claim.
The Quran is over 1400 years old and contains many scientific facts that were unknown to people of that time and which have only been discovered recently by science. It contains many historical facts that were unknown to the people of that time as well as numerous predictions which have proven to be correct. The Quran is free from any errors or contradictions despite gradual revelation over 23 years and covering a wide variety of topics. The Quran has been preserved, word-for-word, since its revelation in its original Arabic language, unlike other scriptures which no longer exist in their original form. The most rational explanation for the many unique and miraculous aspects of the Quran is that it is from God.
God Sends Guidance
Upon acknowledging that we have been created by the All-Wise Creator, we would expect to be informed of our purpose. How can we know what God expects from us? Do we live in trial and error, or make our own purpose? Do we “go with the flow” by following others? No. God sent Prophets and revelation to every nation, to inform us of our purpose. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is the last in the chain of Prophets.
The Quran is a book of guidance and explains many concepts such as the purpose of our existence; who God is; the actions liked and disliked by God; the stories of the Prophets and their lessons; accounts of Heaven, Hell, and the Day of Judgement.
So… Why am I here?
Everyone would acknowledge that our body parts, such as our eyes, ears, brains, and hearts, have a purpose. Wouldn’t it then make sense that the individual, as a whole, also has a purpose?
God, the All Wise, did not create us to simply wander aimlessly or to only fulfil our basic instincts and desires. Rather, we have a higher purpose – to acknowledge and worship God alone, so that we live upon the guidance of our Creator. This guidance enables us to live a successful and blessed life in all aspects. This includes personal acts of virtue like prayer, as well as beneficial acts to society, like being good to one’s neighbors, supporting one’s family, honesty, and caring for animals.
God forbids us from worshiping anything else (e.g. statues, the sun, moon, saints, priests or even Prophets). He does not need any partners or intermediaries. Everyone can always worship God directly.
God describes this life as a test, and people are tested in different ways. We cannot control what happens to us, but we can control how we react. Patience during adversities, and gratitude for blessings, are a means of getting closer to God and attaining eternal Paradise. We are also warned of a terrible punishment in Hell if we choose to disbelieve and ignore His commands.
So… What do I do now?
The test of one’s faith is in using one’s intellect to contemplate and recognize God’s signs and live according to His guidance. This is done by submitting to God’s commands, which in Arabic means to become a “Muslim”.
God, the One and only Creator – ‘Allah’ in Arabic – has made Islam accessible to everyone, regardless of their history, background, or present situation. Therefore, anyone can become a Muslim by simply believing in, and uttering the testimony of faith: “I testify that there is no god worthy of worship except Allah, and I testify that Muhammad is Allah’s Messenger.”
Isn’t it time for you to fulfil your purpose of life, submit to the truth and acknowledge your Creator?