It is necessary to first understand what our purpose is in this world, for what has Allah put us here, and why are we here in this world. This question has, unfortunately, not cropped up in the mind of most people. If one begins a new job, be it in a shop, warehouse, or wherever else, one must know his job description and purpose of being there. A young man, who is brought by his father into the business, but is not told why he is there, will remain wandering around aimlessly, not knowing or understanding his purpose. Whatever he sees others doing, he will follow suit. If he sees a group of people watching a show on a television which is being sold within that shop (which is impermissible, but is just being used here for illustration), he will join them. Our example is the same. Allah has informed us why we are in this world, but we have not taken the trouble to find out, due to which we are wandering around aimlessly, behaving like everyone else.
We have a shade of Islam in us, being Muslims, which leads us to do what other Muslims are doing. But the question each one of us has to ask himself is: am I really doing what Allah, my Boss, wants me to do, why has He put me in this world, and what is my purpose here? Why have I got this comfortable bedroom and bed, my kitchen, my wife, my children, my job and my income? Why has all of this been given to me? Is there a purpose behind my life, or am I just like an animal that eats, drinks, sleeps, mates and has children. It is very important that every person gives thought to the above questions every day of his life. We are not going to live in this world forever. We have got some purpose in life, and are not like ghosts or zombies who just move around aimlessly. Death will come to every person, which is a clear indication that we are only here in this world for a while, to prepare for some life which is permanent and eternal.
To inform man why he is in this world, what is his purpose, what he should be doing and what his job description covers which he should be carrying out, Allah had sent approximately 124000 Ambiyaa (Messengers) to this world. Along with that, Allah sent many guiding books with the Ambiyaa, the most famous from amongst them being the Taurah, the Zaboor, the Injeel, and finally the Qur’aan. In the Qur’aan, Allah has informed us of the answers to the above questions in great detail. Added to that, our Nabi (r) has left no stone unturned in explaining to us our purpose in this world.
If somebody leaves a basket of first-grade top quality fruit at your door daily, which you take, eat and feed to your children, fully enjoying it, but never even reflect over who it might be who gave us that fruit, then you do not even deserve to be called a human being. Even a dog, if it receives a piece of bread by any door, will remain loyal to that door. It will recognize its master and boss who is providing it with the bread, remain loyal to that person and live with him for the rest of its life. We get everything from Allah (I), beginning from our existence, our senses, our brains, blood, heart, liver, kidneys upto major necessities like oxygen, water, light, as well as the mountains, the seas, the land, the skies and billions of other favours, but we are not loyal to Him and hardly ever take a few moments to ponder over ‘who gave this to me’. Such a person is outwardly a human being, but is inferior to even an animal.
We need to recognize Allah (I). He is the Being Who granted us our existence. We were not just born by ourselves, nor were we born because of the meeting of our mother and father, resulting in our birth. How many couples, despite meeting, have no children born to them, or receive a still-born child! All of this is only in the Hands of Allah.
If some parent imagines that he or she has made their children, then the question we would first need to ask ourselves is; who of us even knows how to make one eye? Had we been the ones making the children, we would have known how to make eyes, brains, hearts, etc. But the reality is that we know nothing of the above. This meeting of the parents is merely an outward excuse or pretext created by Allah for the birth of a child, but which, in reality, is only the work of Allah (I) Himself. It is not the father or mother who makes the baby. If it was the father who made the baby, he would have made every child of his the greatest genius, or the richest man in the world. If it was the mother who made the baby, she would have ensured that her baby is the most beautiful child in the world, with the most beautiful eyes, the fairest complexion and the loveliest hair. Had it been in our control, everyone would have created their child as perfect, but the reality is that it is not in their control. Allah alone is the maker.
Allah explains in the Quran:
يَخْلُقُكُمْ فِي بُطُونِ أُمَّهَاتِكُمْ خَلْقًا مِنْ بَعْدِ خَلْقٍ فِي ظُلُمَاتٍ ثَلَاثٍ ذَلِكُمُ اللَّهُ رَبُّكُمْ لَهُ الْمُلْكُ لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا هُوَ فَأَنَّى تُصْرَفُونَ
“Allah is the one who over and over again creates babies within the wombs of their mothers, stage after stage, in three layers of darkness. That is your Rabb (Creator, Sustainer, Nourisher, Provider and Nurturer), to whom belongs all kingdom. There is none worthy of worship besides Him. So how are you being turned away and averted?” (Surah Zumar v.6)
According to World Health Organizations, about 250000 babies are born daily in the world presently. What this really means is that Allah has, in His control, 250000 baby-making factories, wherein babies are being produced. These factories are not plants meant for merely assembling, to which parts are imported to from all over the world, but all the parts (of the baby) are also made within this small little factory.
We are unable to work in a place which is dark. Allah produces these small little babies in darkness upon darkness, actually within three layers of darkness. When we have no electricity, our factories require generators, whereby the workers are able to see. Allah’s factory runs all the time with no lights, not even sunlight. The baby is deep inside the body of the mother, surrounded by the womb, and within the embryotic sac. In all of this darkness, Allah produces such a production (the human) which itself is the producer of so many other products, from amongst which are the computer, cell-phones, motor cars, trains, ships, busses. How great is not Allah (I)!!
Allah has created us all, so we are duty-bound to recognize Him and appreciate His favours upon us. If someone had to bring back for us a topee (hat) from Makkah Mukarramah or Madinah Munawwarah worth 5, 10, 15 or 20 riyaals, we will all definitely thank him, realizing that he had thought of us there and was so kind to bring this gift back for us. Did we ever thank Allah for giving us our head, on which we can wear that topee? Had we not had a head, we would never have been able to wear the topee.
He is the one who created every part of our body. Ponder over the functioning of the heart, the brains, the kidneys, the liver, the ears, the eyes, the tongue, the nose, the nervous system, the digestive system, the respiratory system and all other functions of the body. The valves of the heart open and close with perfect precision within split seconds, in complete synchronization with the other valves. If there has to be the slightest delay in this, a person will have a lethal problem. These valves open, pass the blood to the next valves which receive it and later pass it on to the lungs, which then purify the blood by filtering the blood from carbon dioxide and filling it with fresh oxygen. Oxygen is inhaled from the nose, through the medium of the air we breathe. The nose contains filters which purify the air, so that pure oxygen can be sent to the lungs. It also has an air-con, which regulates the temperature, so that the incoming oxygen is neither too cold or too hot. Blood gets life through oxygen. A single drop of blood travels 100000 km daily through the body. If this drop has to clot anywhere or even just stop moving for a moment, it can cause heart failure or a stroke in the brain, either of which can cause sudden death.
Man sometimes makes shukr to (appreciates and thanks) Allah for the food He has granted us, but have we yet made shukr for the mouth and tongue with which we are able to eat the food and enjoy it, and differentiate between the tastes of cold water, cold juice, hot coffee and hot tea, and the stomach into which we can deposit our food? If we contemplate over the stomach, we will come to realize what a (phenomenal) computer Allah has installed within us! If a person has got a headache, and is told by a doctor or his wife to take a Panado, will he put it onto his head or in his mouth? He will put it into his mouth, from where it will proceed to the stomach, although the pain he is experiencing is in his head. The computer in the stomach will transport the Panado’s effect directly to the head, due to which the pain will disappear. If one feels pain in his toe, and is given medicine to take by the doctor, will he be asked to rub it on his toe or will he be required to take it orally three times daily? He will have to take it orally, although his mouth feels no pain.
A person visited the doctor and said that he had eaten ten loaves of raw bread, due to which his stomach was sore. The doctor, while treating him, applied eye ointment in the patient’s eyes. He said, “Doctor, my eyes are not sore, my stomach is. I just ate ten loaves of raw bread” The doctor replied, “Your eyes need to be treated first, because you couldn’t even see that it is raw bread.”
In summary, Allah has put us into this world firstly and primarily to recognize Him, be obedient to Him and make shukr (be appreciative) to Him.
Why are we in this world?
We are here in this world to build and prepare for our aaakhirah. Our lives in the aaakhirah (hereafter) will either be a life of enjoyment or punishment, dependant on our preparation and actions. We are not here in this world for the sake of this world, to build a beautiful house, to have a wonderful car or any other trivial pursuit. The world is just our temporary abode and a transit lounge. If a person takes a flight by plane, and arrives at some transit airport, where he will have to wait for a few hours, he will have to be a really foolish and stupid person to spend his time replacing the chairs or couches of the transit lounge, which are very old and are breaking apart, with new ones, or trying to fit in new carpets, as the one on the floor has worn out, or in putting up some new frames. Such a person will be reminded that he is only there for a period of a few hours, and will never perhaps return again to that airport. Actually, nobody can be so foolish. Why would someone spend all his money there, whereas the airport doesn’t even belong to him, but belongs to somebody else? In a similar manner, if only we could understand that this world is a transit lounge, which doesn’t even belong to us. We are stationed in transit temporarily, and from here we are soon going to pass on in just a few years.
A person went to the palace of a king and asked if he could check in for the night. The king replied, “This is not a hotel. This is the palace of the king.” He enquired, “Before you, who lived here?” “My father,” came the reply. “Before him?” he asked. “His father,” was the reply. The man commented, “Is this not then a hotel, where people stay for a few days and then move on? This is a hotel, not a palace. You seem to be fooling yourself.”
Many a time, we are asked for our permanent address. A certain friend of ours from Lusaka once went out for Tabligh. When he reached Bombay airport, he was asked to fill in his permanent address, so he wrote ‘Lusaka Graveyard’. In reality, he did pass away there and was laid to sleep and rest in Lusaka Graveyard. The graveyard and thereafter Jannah is our permanent address, and where we live presently is in actual fact our temporary address.
In conclusion, our second main purpose is to prepare for the aakhirah (hereafter).
(Extracted from : “Ilm, worldly knowledge and secular education” of Moulana Abdul-Hamid Ishaq (daamat barakaatuhu))