Throughout world history, billions of people came into being, lived and then died. Only a minority of these people endeavored to grasp the real purpose of life. The rest simply drifted with the daily flow of events and spent their lives in vain pursuits. Basically, fulfilling their own desires became their main purpose in life. An unconscious and irresponsible attitude underlay this dominant mode of behaviour in almost all societies throughout ages. Every generation, with a few exceptions, repeated the errors of the preceding ones and simply adopted the purposes and values of their forefathers. This is a vicious cycle still repeated today.
The majority of people are enslaved by "unvarying" philosophies and principles, which are mostly based on the following line of reasoning: Man comes into existence, becomes adult, grows old and dies. One is born only once, and death puts an end to everything. This is why people have to "make the most of life" and strive to satisfy their whims and desires throughout their lives.
Thus, people come to spend their lives which they think to be their one and only chance by adhering to the life style and mode of behaviour they inherit from past generations. In a spirit totally deprived of the awareness of death, they make pursuing pleasures and planning for the future the ultimate aims of their lives. Regardless of cultural and social differences, this fact holds true for all people. A prestigious education, an admirable position in business life, high standards of living, a happy family and countless similar goals become the unchanging pursuits of life.
These goals can be further extended and would fill many pages if enumerated. However, the truth is, all these people turn a blind eye to the one and only reason for their existence. Meanwhile, they spend a whole life, which is a unique opportunity offered to them to accomplish their ultimate purpose, in vain. This ultimate purpose is to be a servant of God. God explains this in the Qur'an as follows:
I only created jinn and man to worship Me. (Surat adh-Dhariyat: 56)
The way to be a good servant of God is also communicated in the Qur'an. Being a servant of God means accepting the unity and existence of God; knowing His attributes and appreciating His majesty, serving no other deity except Him and devoting one's life to earning His approval. In the Qur'an, the moral values and lifestyle favoured by God are described in detail and people are summoned to this way of living.
A person living within the boundaries set by these values is given the good tidings of a perfect life both in this world and beyond. Otherwise, a bitter end awaits man.
The lifestyle one adheres to in this world shapes his eternal life. After death, there is no opportunity whatsoever to compensate for one's reprehensible deeds. Therefore, behaving as if man owes his existence in this world to coincidences, as if he is not bounded by any limits, and as if he has come to this world to spend his life in the pursuit of vain desires would ultimately lead to his own ruination. Those behaving irresponsibly towards their Creator, ignoring the real purpose of their existence, and remaining unconcerned about its consequences in the life beyond will be chided thus in the Hereafter:
Did you suppose that We created you for amusement and that you would not return to Us? (Surat al-Mu'minun: 115)
In reality, such people are not unaware of their purpose in life: God proclaimed it through His messengers and books and provided guidance to the true path. Furthermore, man is granted a lifetime to take warning. A show of regret by those who, having turned a deaf ear to all these opportunities, have deviated from their real purpose in life and pursued their own desires will not save them from torment:
They will shout out in it: "Our Lord! Take us out! We will act rightly, differently from the way we used to act!" But He will answer: "Did We not let you live long enough for anyone who was going to pay heed to pay heed? And did not the Warner come to you? Have a taste of it then! There is no helper for the wrongdoers." (Surah Fatir: 37)
By Br. Harun Yahya