Life: The Hows and Whys
The Aim of Life as Seen in the Holy Koran
The verses in the Holy Koran that concern the aim and philosophy of life can be categorized into ten groups:
1-Verses saying that creation is not aimless. (The House of Imran, 3:191)
2-Verses implying the objective righteousness of the universe. (The Cattle, 6:73)
3-Verses that show that life has an aim. (The Believers, 23:115)
4-Verses that state that the universe has not been created as a means for playfulness or amusement. (The Prophets, 21:16)
5-Verses that believe God is the final destination of everything.(Counsel, 41:53)
6-Verses that say man will return back to God. (The House of Imran, 3:109)
7-Verses that say those who do good will go to heaven and evildoers will end up in hell. (Counsel, 41:22) and (Women, 4:140)
8-Verses that regard the end of life as meeting God. (The Cave, 18:110)
9-Verses that call drowning in purely natural phenomena as "worldly life," and denounce such a life. (Mohammad, 47:36)
10-Verses that state worship as the aim of life, encouraging man to be pious and pure. (The Scatterers, 51:56)
Studying these verses leads us to some conclusions:
a)The creation of the universe has not been in vain. We can conclude this principle by studying the external world and the order and harmony ruling it, and also by studying the internal world.
Ever since mental development begins, a kind of original perception occurs inside us that contends with the playful manipulations, hallucinations and imaginations about the universe. This battle, like the battle between the conscience and evil, goes on until it wins and shows man the ultimate aim of the world, or it loses, sending man off to a nihilistic place to hang about.
b)The universe is orderly and righteous; nothing in the universe moves outside the realm of values and proper merits.
c)The universe is not a plaything; it is quite serious in its creation. By understanding the mathematical face of the universe, we can realize how serious it is.
d)The universe is moving toward its final destination. Such a destination cannot be lower than the stages it passes through, and it cannot be equal to them either. The final destination of all movements and developments is God.
e)The law of actions dominates the universe. All of man's movements, developments, words, thoughts and actions lead to reactions in this world and the other world.
f)The aim of life is much higher than purely natural life. The supreme aim of life cannot be of the same kind as the advantages of natural life, for the benefits and desires natural life provides belong to natural life, which cannot be regarded as the real aim of life itself. Thus, the ultimate aim of life must be beyond the conditions of purely natural life.
g)The principle of reward and punishment shows that each human being will receive the rewards or punishment he should get with the aims he has set himself in his life.
h)The final aim of human life is the success of man's supreme nature in life, which begins from God and returns to God through worship. Worship means accomplishing the nature of life in its various aspects. Once man steps beyond his purely natural life, his worshiping will begin. If man understands himself as a part of the general rhythm of the universe, who must make efforts to activate the disposition of his existence, he will turn to worship. Thus, all aspects of man's life can be regarded as worship, and as Imam Ali says, the whole world can become man's mosque.
Therefore, a university student, a farmer working on his farm, and a worker busy in his workplace are all worshiping God, provided that they consciously move along the path toward God. The ultimate aim of life as Islam sees it is: The ultimate aim of life is making the ideals of this passing life with the waters of intellectual-spiritual principles and freely guiding the human character – which has arisen from earth – toward divine attraction, freeing it from natural factors and selfishness by means of awareness of pure soul, which is connected to the general rhythm of the universe. A life with an aim is a conscious effort; every moment of the observable aspect of such a life is the preliminary to the next, evolutionary moment in a transparent world upon which divine light shines on man's pure conscience, and its deep aspect is drops pouring into the ocean of eternity, elevating the human character with its waves all the way to God." That is a life with an aim – intelligible life, which means:
انّ صلوتی و نسکی و محيای و مماتی لله رب العالمين
"My prayers, worship and death are at the will of God, the Creator of the universe." (Cattle, 6:162)