The Purpose of Life
In the Name of Allâh, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful
All praise be to Allah and peace be upon His messenger, Muhammad.
The information which I wish to share with you may seen a bit extensive, but when you consider the capacity of the human brain and the capacity that it can store, I am sure that a few pages in tonight's talk will not overburden you.
I am honored to have this opportunity and I would like to begin by saying that all of you have an equal responsibility. That responsibility is to listen with an open heart and an open mind. In a world filled with prejudice and cultural conditioning, it is very hard to be able to find people to take a moment to think about life objectively and try to arrive at the truth about this world and the real purpose of our lives.
Unfortunately, when you ask most people the question: "What is the purpose of life?" (such a fundamental and important question), they will not tell you what they have concluded through observation or analytical reasoning. Rather, in most cases, they will simply tell you what someone else said, or they will tell you what is "commonly presumed" by others, i.e., What my father said purpose of life is, what the minister of my church said the purpose of life is, what my teacher in school said, what my friend said, etc. If I ask anyone about the purpose of eating or why do we eat, everyone will say [in one word or another] that it is for nutritional purposes, because nutrition sustains life. If I ask anyone why they work, they will say because it's a necessity in order to support themselves and to provide for the needs of their families. If I ask anyone why they sleep, why they wash, why they dress, etc., they will answer with appropriate answers, for these are common necessities for all human beings. We can follow this line of questioning with a hundred questions and receive the same or similar answers from anyone in any language from any place in the world. Then I ask you the question: Why, when we ask the question, "What is the goal and purpose of life?" that we get many different answers? It is because people are confused; they don't really know. They are stumbling in the dark, and rather than say, "I don't know"; they just offer any answer they have been programmed to give. Think about it. Is our purpose in this world simply to eat, sleep, dress, work, acquire some material things and enjoy ourselves? Is this our purpose? Why are we born? What is the object of our existence? What is the wisdom behind the creation of man and this tremendous universe? Think about those questions. Some people argue that there is no proof of any diving origin; no proof that there is a god and there is no proof that this universe has come about through any divine purpose. There are people who argue this way, and they say that perhaps this world came about by chance. A big bang, and this great world [with all its orchestration] just came together. They argue that life doesn't have any definite purpose, and that there is nothing that can prove [either through logic or science] that there is a god, or a purpose or any divine reason behind this world.
Here I would like to mention a few verses from the Holy Quran that address this subject. We seek the protection of Allah from every evil thing. Allah mentions to us in the Holy Quran, "And to Allah belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth, and Allah is over all things competent. 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-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 [above such a thing]; then protect us from the punishment of the Fire." Surah 3: Ayahs 189-191
Now here in these verses, Allah draws our attention to the creation of the heavens and earth, the alternation of the night and the day, the creation of the universe. HE calls our attention to their creation and their precision, and mentions those who contemplate the wonders of creation and realize that this was not created for any foolish purpose, [that Allah is exalted above doing such a thing] and they seek refuge with Allah from the punishment of Hell. Truly, when you see the design of all that Allah created, you realize it is very powerful and very precise. Something very powerful and very precise; something beyond your own calculation and imagination, cannot be foolish. It cannot be just "thrown together".
There are many examples of things that happen by chance. Let me offer one situation. If you took ten colored marbles, then numbered them one to ten and you put them inside a bag. Next, you shook that bag to mix them up. Then, closing your eyes and reaching into the bag, you tried to pull out the marbles in order-1 to 10. What is the chance of pulling out the marbles in order? Do you know what the chances are? It is twenty six million to one (26,000,000 to 1). And this is something within our ability to do. So now I ask you, what is the chance that the heavens and the earth just came together as they are [with the exact precision and orchestration in their existence]?
My dear respected brothers and sisters, we have to ask ourselves a further question. When you see a bridge, a building or an automobile, you automatically consider the person or company that constructed it. When you see a large ship, an airplane, a rocket, a satellite; you also think about how incredible it is. [You know by its design who the maker is.] When you see a super international airport, nuclear plant or an orbiting space station you have to be thoroughly impressed with the engineering dynamics that are involved. Yet, these are just things that are manufactured by human beings. So what about the human body with its massive and intricate control systems? Think about it. Think about the brain: how it thinks, functions, analyzes, retrieves and stores information, as well as distinguishes and categorizes information in a millionth of a second, all of this constantly. Think about the brain for a moment. (And don't forget the fact that you are using your brain to consider itself!) This is the brain that made the automobile, the rocket ships, the boats, and so on. Think about the brain and who made that! Think about the heart. Think about how it pumps continuously for sixty or seventy years [taking in and discharging blood throughout the body] maintaining steady precision throughout the life of the person. Think about the kidneys and the liver and the various functions they perform. The purifying instruments of the body that perform hundreds of chemical analyses simultaneously and also controls the level of toxicity in the content of the body. All of these are done automatically. Think about your eyes, the human cameras, that adjust, focus, interpret, evaluate, discern color automatically, naturally receiving and adjusting to light and distance. Think about it-Who created them? Who has mastered their design and function? Who plans and regulates their function? Human beings do this? No, of course not. What about this universe? Think about this. This earth is one planet in our solar system, and our solar system is one [of possible many] solar systems. Our galaxy, The Milky Way, is one of the galaxies. There are ONE HUNDRED MILLION GALAXIES in the universe. They are all in order and they are all precise. They are not colliding with each other. They are not conflicting with on another. They are swimming along in an orbit that has been set for them. Did human beings set that into motion and are human beings maintaining that precision? No, of course not. Think about the oceans, the fish, the insects, the birds, the plants, bacteria, and chemical elements that have not yet been discovered and cannot be detected even with the most sophisticated instruments. Yet each of them has a law that they follow. Did all of this synchronization, balance, harmony, variation, design, maintenance, operation and infinite numeration happen all by chance? Do these things function perfectly and perpetually also by chance? No, of course not. That would be totally illogical and foolish. In the least, it indicates that however it came to exist-it exists beyond the realm of human capability. We will all agree to that. The Being, The Almighty Power, God, The Creator who has the knowledge to design and proportion crated all of this and is responsible for maintaining it. HE is the only one that deserves praise and gratitude.
If I were to give each one of you one hundred dollars for no reason, you would at least say thank you. What about your eyes, your kidneys, your brain, your children, and your life: Who gave you all of that? Is He not worthy of praise and thanks? Is He not worthy of your worship and recognition?
My brothers and sisters, in a nutshell, this is the goal and purpose of this life. Allah said to us in the Holy Quran: "And I did not create the jinn* and mankind except to worship Me." [Surah 51: Ayah 56] this is what the Almighty said. Our purpose in this life is to recognize The Creator, 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 means worship is our purpose in life. Whatever we do in the course of that worship, [i.e., the eating, the sleeping, the dressing, the working, the enjoying,] between birth and death is consequential and subject to His orders. But the main reason for our creation is worship. I don't think anyone who is analytical or scientific will have much of an argument with that purpose. They may have some other reason with themselves-but that is something they have to deal with between themselves and Almighty God.
Khalid Yasin Lecture in Jeddah K.S.A.
*Jinn are one of the creations of Allah, as are people and angels. While people were created from clay, angels from light, the jinn are created from fire. Like angels, they are not seen by humans.
Courtesy Of: al-Haramayn Islaamic Foundation