What Is The Purpose of Life in Islam?
Human life, according to the ethics of Islam, is purposeful. Allah has rendered the conditions on earth feasible and best suiting for life. He has bestowed upon man the physical and mental capabilities and has placed all the material and non-material means of the universe at his disposal. Above all, he is endowed with freedom of choice in many areas that makes him different from other creatures. He is also given the sense to distinguish between right and wrong. The very purpose of life is surrender this freedom to the will of Allah and to pass lifetime in His obedience. This is the wider accept of worship (Ibadah). Put differently, the object of life is to test men in their conduct and to examine whether or not, and to what extent they submit to the will of their Lord. If this line of reasoning is admitted, it follows logically that there should be a system of reward and punishment as well. Allah (SWAT) has endowed people differently in physical and mental qualities, has placed people in different material and social environment; however, everyone is accountable before his Lord for his deeds and conduct. He shall be asked on the Day of Judgment for each and every action, good or bad, light or heavy. His fortune in the life hereafter depends on the performance in the test and the attitude he followed in this worldly life.
One of the most important contributions of Islam philosophy is the concept of a free man. As discussed above, man has been endowed with the power to choose and decide (about an issue) and this power of determination and freedom of choice are the most powerful weapons in his hands. However, this freedom is never absolute and unlimited. Man is bound to follow the law of nature like other living organisms. For instance, it is beyond his control to select his time of birth, the place of birth, the length of life and moment of death etc. it is only in the sphere of life concerning his moral attitudes, social relations and economic activities where he can apply his discretionary powers. Islam invites man to surrender this ‘God given’ freedom voluntarily to the will of his Lord, where both the right and wrong have been clarified and explained to him through the agency of Prophet-hood. Thus the will of Allah is embedded in obedience of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) since He is the role model for every Muslim. In other words, salvation is packed with the follow suit (Itteba’a) of the traits set by the Holy Prophet (Uswah Hasanah).
However, accepting Islam as a way of life never implies an absolute loss of human freedom. Islam stands for the promotion of good values in the society and for suppression of evil forces. The followers of Islam are expected to use their freedom of choice and power of determination carefully and in a responsible way. They ought to follow the tracks and to refrain from indecent activities. In addition, to moral advice, Islam also prescribes a strong institutional arrangement and an efficient legal structure to safeguard human freedom. In fact, a true believer paying due care to the word of his Lord, can best utilize his freedom and capabilities by applying the right gears and moving ahead on the straight path toward his destination. Put differently, he can easily avoid the troubles to the society and injuries to his own personality by refraining from misconduct and inhuman behavior.