Madinat al-Muslimeen Islamic Message Board
|Purpose of Life|
|01/30/02 at 10:42:55|
I know that the purpose of life on this earth is nothing more than to worship Allah (AWJ). But it is part of human nature that one likes to have a nice house, and a porsche, and some of the luxuries of this life (not nexessarily over-indulging)... Can this be reconciled with the purpose of life?
Jazzakum ullahu Khair,
|Re: Purpose of Life|
|01/30/02 at 20:47:30|
wa alaykum as salaam wa rahmatAllah,
Brother Uzer, where are you getting all these hard questions from :)
Hmm. The way I've had it explained to me is this. The purpose of our lives is ubudiyyah - making our wants, desires, hopes, dreams, actions, beliefs, everything about us, in line and in harmony with what Allah wants of us. [in short, "submission to the Divine will"]
So *anything* that facilitates this, that can be used as a means or a vehicle towards attaining this goal, is good. That's why we believe that sometimes, trials and tribulations are good - because they may help facilitate the above state. And that's why sometimes, success and prosperity can be a bad thing - because they can move us away from reaching that state.
It's not haram to like nice things. I remember a story of a man who asked Rasulullah [saw] about whether it was bad to like fine clothing and sandals.. and Rasulullah [saw] said in response, Allah is beautiful and loves beauty.
The danger comes I think when these things distract you from your ultimate purpose.
A famous saying on zuhd [ascetecism] :
[color=black]Zuhd is not that you don't own anything, but that nothing owns you.[/color]
Think about it :)
wasalaamu alaykum wa rahmatAllah
ps - fine sandals are not the same as a porsche. :P
|Re: Purpose of Life|
|01/31/02 at 20:00:54|
|Assalamu Alaikum waRahmatullaHi waBarakatuHu,|
I agree with se7en in that as long as the material pleasure we attain in this world does not get in the way of attaining the pleasure of Allah (SWT), then it's ok. Allah (SWT) says (paraphrased) that he likes to see the bounties that he's given us to be used, to be benefited from.
But we must remember that even the simplest things in this life can make us happy. We don't have to have a porsche, BMW, or a real expensive house, tons of designer clothing to make us happy, and also remember that we have to account for everything on the Day of Judgment, except for three things (SubhanAllah it seems that i've forgotten the exact things...if anyone remembers can you post it up...jaza kallahu khayr)
Like se7en said, it's good to practice zuhud. Zuhud is the abstinance from something that one desires or has access to. May Allah (SWT) give us the strength and patience to practice Zuhud. Ameen.
Wassalamu Alaikum waRahmatullaHi waBarakatuHu,
|Re: Purpose of Life|
|02/01/02 at 01:49:37|
|Assalamu Alaikum waRahmatullaHi waBarakatuHu,|
I would like to change s/thing in my previous post. I said that Allah (SWT) says he enjoys seeing his servants benefit from His Bounties. This implies that it's an ayah in the Qur'an. But it's not an ayah, it's a hadith. I'm very sorry for this mistake and may Allah (SWT) forgive me for this, for it was an honest mistake, and may He forgive all my brothers and sisters in Islam. Ameen.
Insha'Allah i'll search for the exact wording for this hadith.
|Re: Purpose of Life|
|02/01/02 at 06:39:05|
Jazzakumullahu Khair for you replies.
When one thinks about this kind of situation one can eventually turn a lot of things he does into 'Ibaadah e.g. becoming a doctor to help people, eating to earn, etc. But when one things about things that are soley for one's own benefit then what does one do? Do they become Haram? For example, I can get from A to B on a bicycle but I want a car because I want speed and relaxation in travelling... and I want a porsche rather than a car because it looks good and (if I can afford) I just REALLY WANT one (not necessarily to show off). Same thing with having a big house. etc.
So what exactly is the line between having nice things and overspending which is Haram? Even if having a Porsche does not get in the way of worhsipping Allah (AWJ) and attaining his pleasure (it might get you to the masjid faster!!), it does not get rid of the fact that there are millions of people of who are literaly dying of starvation. How can one have a porsche with a world like that... in this case does it become haram to own a porsche?
Thanx again for bearing with me.
|Re: Purpose of Life|
|02/01/02 at 07:19:55|
|The way i look at it is why try and get tied down further to this earth with these unnecessary luxuries. ALLAH allows one to be comfortable and for us to like nice things, but the Prophet Muhammed (may peace and blessings be upon him) said to treat this life like a passer by. Meaning live it to a point where you wouldnt be hesitant to leave your worldly possessions. Just as the Jihad calls for one to abandon his family and wealth to fight for ALLAH swt. We are so caught up with our worldly issues that we cant even help our brothers and sisters being slaughtered in the World. May ALLAH make us among those whom treat this world like a passer by and make us among those who can soon answer the call of Jihad. Ameen|
|Re: Purpose of Life|
|02/02/02 at 15:30:13|
|as salaamu alaykum wa rahmatAllah,|
My imam explained this in such a cool way :) He said that for every action we commit, we have to subject it to a "two pronged test".
The first prong - ikhlaas. Are we committing this action for the sake of Allah, alone, in seeking His pleasure, sincerely, and nothing else but that?
The second prong - i'tibaa. Are we committing this action in line with the sharia, with the teachings of Islam?
If your action fails one of the above two, then it is *not* something that will be accepted by Allah. So pulling a robin hood - stealing from the rich to give to the poor - is not accepted though your intentions may be sincere. And praying all night to increase your reputation of piety is not accepted either, though your prayers may be done very well.
[quote]Even if having a Porsche does not get in the way of worhsipping Allah (AWJ) and attaining his pleasure (it might get you to the masjid faster!!), it does not get rid of the fact that there are millions of people of who are literaly dying of starvation. [/quote]
If you buy a car that costs into the six digits when you can make do with one that costs four, and if your money can be used for much better things.. don't you think that's something that would get in the way of attaining His pleasure?
Here's your homework bro :) Think *seriously* about the test above, and about whether your example would pass it. Be honest with yourself, with why you *really* want this thing, with what Islam teaches about the subject. I think you'll have your answer then :)
[i]Having drunk entire seas, we remain quite surprised that our lips are just as dry as the shore, and we continue to seek out the sea to dip them there, without seeing that our lips are the shore and we ourselves the sea.[/i]
Hope that's of help inshaAllah :)
wasalaamu alaykum wa rahmatAllah :)
|Re: Purpose of Life|
|02/07/02 at 13:16:14|
The following is an excerpt from Chapter 2 of Abul A'laa Maududi's [url=http://www.witness-pioneer.org/vil/Books/M_foi/][i]Let Us Be Muslims[/i][/u][/url] (aka "Fundamentals of Islam" ). If you have time, I urge you to read the entire Chapter 2. I'm only pasting a small portion of it here, which I thought was really relevant to the discussion:
[center]REAL CRITERION OF ISLAM[/center]
Brethren-in-Islam ! Allah has stated in His Holy Book : " Say ( O Muhammad ) my worship and my sacrifice and my living and my dying are for Allah, Lord of the Worlds. He has no partner. This am I commanded, and I am first to those who surrender ( unto Him )".(Al-Qur'an 7:163-164) The elucidation of the above verse is contained in the following saying of the Holy Prophet: One whose friendship and enmity is for the sake of Allah and whose giving and withholding is for the sake of Allah, he has completed his Iman, i.e., he becomes a perfect Momin. The verse I have quoted above indicates that what Islam demands is that a man should keep his servitude, his living and his dying exclusively reserved for Allah and make nobody a partner unto Him in this. That is to say, neither his servitude nor his living and dying should be for any one other than Allah. The elucidation by the Prophet of this verse which I have quoted to you indicates that the precise requirement of a man's friendship and enmity with others as well as his worldly dealing should be purely to seek the pleasure of God. Without it Iman cannot become perfect, not to speak of access to higher grades of spirituality. The deficiency in Iman will be in proportion to deficiency in this matter. And when in this capacity a man wholly identifies himself with God, then only his Iman becomes perfect. Some people think that these qualities are needed only to reach higher spiritual ranks, whereas these are not required to ensure Iman and Islam. That is to say, in other words, that even without this requisite a man can be a Momin and a Muslim. But this is a misconception which has arisen because of the fact that the people in general do not differentiate between the legal Islam cognizable in temporal life and the real Islam which is authentic in the sight of Allah.
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN LEGAL AND TRUE ISLAM
1. LEGAL ISLAM
In the juristic and legal Islam, what is in the mind of a man is not cognizable nor can it be perceived but only his verbal affirmation is noted as also the fact whether or not he manifests within himself those essential signs which are necessary to confirmation. If anybody affirms by word of mouth belief in Allah, His messenger, the Qur'an, the Hereafter and other requirements of faith and then fulfils those necessary conditions which provide a proof of affirmation by him, he will be admitted into the Islamic fold and all dealings with him will be conducted as with a Muslim. But this position is limited to temporal life and provides from the worldly point of view a legal and cultural foundation on which is raised the Muslim society. Its outcome is no more than that all those who on this affirmation are admitted into the Muslim society should be accepted as Muslims. Nobody from among them should be called Kafir; everyone of them should have legal, moral and social rights on others; they should have marital relations among them; there should be distribution of inherited property, and other civil relations should operate.
However, the salvation of man and his judgment as a Muslim and a Momin in the Hereafter, as well as his inclusion among the favoured slaves of Allah, are matters which do not depend on this legal affirmation, but the real affirmation is the affirmation by heart, and of wholly entrusting oneself to Allah with full volition. Whatever is verbally affirmed in the world is meant for the Qadi of Shari’ah and for the general people and the Muslims, because they can see the exterior only. But Allah peers into a man's heart and his interior, and sizes up his Iman. Allah's criterion of judging a man's position is whether his living, his dying, his loyalties, his obedience and servitude, in short, his life's entire achievements, were meant for Allah only or for some one else? If these were solely for Allah then he will be adjudged as a Muslim and a Momin, and if these were for some one else, then such a person will neither be a Muslim nor a Momin. Whoever falls short of this criterion, will, to the same extant, be lacking in Iman and Islam, no matter he ma be reckoned among the lofty Muslims of this world and may be holding any high status whatsoever. With Allah the only estimable thing is whether or not you have spent in His way all that He has given you. If you have done this, you will be granted privilege which is given to those who are loyal and render what is due in the matter of servitude. And if you exempted anything from the sphere of servitude, then your affirmation of being a Muslim, which implies that you have wholly dedicated your self to Allah, will be a false claim which can hoodwink the world and beguile the Muslim society into assimilating you and thereby granting you all the rights of Muslims in the world, but God cannot be deceived to assign a place for you among His faithful. If you will ponder over the difference between the legal Islam and the real Islam, which I have explained to you, you will know that their results will be greatly different from each other not only in the Hereafter but also in this world. Muslims of yore and today can be divided into two categories.
TWO KINDS OF MUSLIMS
1. Partial Muslims:
One kind of Muslims are those who, having affirmed faith in God and His Messenger, accept Islam as their religion but treat this religion merely as a part of a section of their whole life. To the extent of this part or section, there is expression of attachment to Islam, profusion of ' Ibadat ', use of rosary and offering of Salat, remembrance of God, exercise of Puritanism in the matter of food and some social affairs, and all the rest that can be called a religious attitude. But beyond this section, all the other aspects of their life are exempted from Islam. If they show love, it would be for Nafs or for self-benefit or for that country and nation or for some body else. If they profess enmity or wage war that would also be for the sake of some worldly or selfish interest. Their business, their wives and children, family, society and co-professionals---all these will be to a great extent exempt from religion and totally based on worldly considerations. As a zamindar, as a trader, as a ruler, as a soldier, as a professional,---in all spheres they will have an independent position which will have no connection with their position as Muslims. Then such a type of people will combine and collectively set cultural, educational and political institutions, which, due to their being Muslim, may be partly influenced by them as such or may be related to them in some way but actually these will have no connection with Islam.
2. Full Muslims:
The second kind of Muslims are those who completely merge into Islam their full personality and entire existence. All the positions they hold get submerged into the position of a Muslim. Their roles as fathers, sons, husbands or wives, businessmen, zamindars, labourers, employees, or professionals, should signify the characteristics of a Muslim. Their sentiments, their desires, their ideologies, their thoughts and opinions, their hatred and inclinations, their likes and dislikes, everything is subservient to Islam. There is a complete sway of Islam on their heart and mind, on their eyes and ears, on their stomach and private parts, on their hands and feet, on their body and soul. Neither their love nor their enmity is detached from Islam. When they make friendship or fight with anybody, it is purely for the sake of Islam. If they give anything to anybody, it is because Islam requires it to be given. If they withhold anything from anybody, it is also because Islam wants it to be withheld. And this attitude or theirs is not limited to individuals only but their collective life also is based entirely on this principle of Islam. Their entity is to evolve as a community on the basis of Islam only and their entire collective behaviour is based on the precepts of Islam only.
The kind of Muslim desired by God
The above two kinds of Muslims are in reality different from each other even if from the legal standpoint both may be included in the Ummah and the word "Muslim" may be applicable to both equally. There is no record of achievement in the Islamic history on the part of the first type of Muslims which may be worthy of mention or meriting to be proud of. They have actually done no work which has left an Islamic imprint on the pages of world history. The earth has never felt the weight of such Muslims. In fact, Islam has suffered decay due to these people. As a result of preponderance of such Muslims in the Muslim society, the control of life-system in the world has passed into the hands of Kufr, while Muslims getting subjected to it, contented themselves with the freedom to lead a limited religious life. God never desired to have such Muslims. He did not send His prophets into this world nor did He reveal His books to have such Muslims in the world. Due to the non-existence of such Muslims no deficiency of any valuable asset was caused to fulfil which the need had arisen to send a series of revelations and prophets. As a matter of fact, those Muslims who are desired by God, and who did, and can do today, appreciable work from the Islamic point of view, belong to the second category.
Muslims domination due to true obedience
This is not a matter peculiar to Islam alone. In fact, no followers of any creed in the world have ever been able to raise aloft its standard when they gave a subordinate position in their life to their faith and its tenets and adherence to its principles, and isolated from their creed the purpose for which they should live and die. You can see even today that the real and true followers of a creed are only those people who are loyal to it with their heart and soul, who have merged not even their own life and children. Every creed of the world wants such adherents and if any creed were to attain domination in the world it can be through such followers only.
Muslim is exclusively loyal to Allah
However, there is a difference between Islam and other creeds. If the other creeds demand from men this type of self-annihilation and dedication, these have actually no right to extract such sacrifice. It is but an improper claim on man. As against this, if Islam makes this demand it has a perfect right to do so, because none of the things for which these creeds ask men to sacrifice themselves and their whole life and personality is such as has a right to ask man to sacrifice themselves and their whole life and personality is such as has a right to ask man to sacrifice anything for it. But the God for Whom Islam demands this sacrifice is certainly entitled to ask for a complete surrender of everything to Him because whatever is there in the heaven and the earth belongs to Allah. In fact man himself belongs to Allah. Further, whatever man possesses and whatever is within him, all belong to Allah. Therefore, it is in perfect consonance with justice as well as reason that whatever belongs to Allah must be reserved for Him only. Whatever sacrifice man makes for others or for his own benefit or to satisfy his lust, is indeed a breach of trust unless it be with the permission of Allah. And whatever sacrifice is made for Allah, is in reality a requital of what was due. But apart from this aspect, there is a lesson to be learnt by Muslims from the practice of those people who are sacrificing everything of theirs for the sake of their spurious creeds and false deities of their Nafs and have demonstrated such fidelity as is unmatched in human history. How strange it is that such a spirit of dedication and self-annihilation is exhibited by men for a false object while not even a thousandth part of it is demonstrated for truth.
I would like all of us to test ourselves on the touchstone of Iman and Islam as explained above in the Qur'anic verse and Hadith, and scrutinize our life in the light of this criterion. If you assert that you have accepted Islam and affirmed faith in it, you check up whether your living and dying are for the sake of God? Are your life and intellect as well as the entire strength of your body and soul, and your time and efforts, being devoted to the fulfilment of Allah's wish, and whether through you that work is being accomplished which He wants to be executed by the Muslim Ummah? And, then, have you reserved your obedience and service exclusively for God ? Have subservience to lust and servitude to family, brotherhood, friends, society and government been completely eliminated from your life? Have you made your likes and dislikes totally subservient to the wish of Allah. Then you should see that if you love somebody, is it really for the sake of Allah; if you hate somebody is that too for the sake of Allah, and that in this hatred and love, no element of selfishness is involved. Again, you should see if your acts of giving and withholding anything have also been done for the sake of God? Is it so that whatever you are spending on your own self and giving to any other person is just because that due has been fixed by God and that, by such giving, your objective is simply to gain His pleasure? And similarly whatever you are withholding from anybody is also because God has commanded you to do so and this restraint is actuated by your desire to secure God's pleasure? If you find such sensibility within yourself you should thank God that He has bestowed upon you the blessing of Iman in its fullness. And if in this respect you feel any deficiency, you must give up all worries and only think out as to how to remove this deficiency and how to concentrate all your efforts and energies on achieving this object because on the removal of this deficiency, depends your well-being in this world as well as salvation in the Hereafter. You may score any kind of success in this world but this gain will not compensate you for the loss you will suffer due to this deficiency. But if you make up for this deficiency, even if you gain nothing in this world, still you will not be at a loss eventually. This criterion has been set not because you should test others according to it and determine about their being Momin or hypocrite and Muslim or Kafir, but in order that you should test your own self, and after detecting the deficiency try to remove it before you reach the court of the Hereafter. You should not bother about the opinion of any Mufti and Qadi of this world about yourself but should care for the judgment of the Supreme Ruler and Knower of the seen and unseen. Do not be satisfied on seeing your name here entered in the register of Muslims but be anxious to see in what position your name is entered in the Register of God. It is no use if the whole world gives you the certificates of Islam and Iman. The real success consists in your being adjudged as Momin instead of hypocrite, obedient instead of disobedient and faithful instead of unfaithful, by that God in Whose hands lies final decision.
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