Unraveling The Purpose Behind Human Existence

I divide this into two categories

1- Purpose of Human Creation: Islamic Perspective (All Abrahamic religions come under this category)

2- Purpose of Human Creation: Theological / Philosophical Perspective

Purpose of Human Creation: Islamic Perspective

Man & woman looking at Earth from a heavenly garden

As for the first category the purpose of human creation is incumbent upon each of us to embody the roles of a “Nazeer” نذیر (Warner) and a “Basheer” بشیر (Bearer of glad tidings). The evident neglect of this responsibility within the Muslim community is obvious when we observe the state of the world around us. Dismissing religion as a purely personal matter is a fallacy; rather, it constitutes a comprehensive Way Of Life. The reluctance to embrace it as such is a primary factor contributing to the myriad afflictions befalling Muslims.

Mere avoidance of major sins does not absolve individuals from the consequences, for our presence in this world is purposeful, assigned by God with specific tasks. Neglecting these duties may lead to outcomes reminiscent of the consequences faced by earlier nations. They are three major tasks for individuals and for nations as well: 1-Spreading the Divine Message  2-Standing against Zulm / Injustice   3-Establishing justice.

The responsibility towards those less fortunate, both in resources and intellect, lies with the privileged minority possessing knowledge and wealth. They should assume the role of shepherds, providing essential needs such as food, shelter, and justice. It is crucial to recognize that if God had intended universal comprehension of Him akin to the enlightened, our existence might not be necessary. Those in His presence suffice for His praises; thus, our existence is intricately linked to the fulfillment of the tasks He has entrusted us with.

 أَفَحَسِبْتُمْ أَنَّمَا خَلَقْنَاكُمْ عَبَثًا وَأَنَّكُمْ إِلَيْنَا لَا تُرْجَعُونَ

Then did you think that We created you uselessly and that to Us you would not be returned?” Surah Muminun 23:115

Living A Routine Life Is A Crime

Living what one perceives as a normal life in today’s circumstances may unwittingly constitute an oversight, if not a moral lapse. This is because, amidst the current global conditions, billions of people are experiencing deprivation and are bereft of the very notion of a “normal life.”

The philosophy expounded in my article, “The Real Cause of Afflictions, Diseases, and Epidemics,” delves into profound considerations. It elucidates the cosmic orchestration by your Lord in governing this vast Universe. The recurrent admonishments to the Children of Israel throughout the Quran underscore a fundamental principle: entrusted with honor and responsibility, the significance of adherence becomes paramount; denial and betrayal carry profound consequences.

While the Quran stands as the final revelation, envision a scenario where subsequent revelations existed—they would assuredly echo with God’s Wrath and Woe upon Muslims who deviated from righteousness.

Even in normal circumstances, our purpose transcends a mundane existence centered on self-gratification, material pursuits, and familial propagation—a routine mirrored by animals. Our creation holds a more profound intent, extending beyond the mechanical cycles of life. It is not merely about amassing personal wealth, constructing homes, and procreating. Even rituals and prayers, devoid of contemplation on their spiritual essence, fall short of fulfilling the purpose of our existence. In essence, the philosophy delves into a deeper understanding of our role in the intricate tapestry of creation, urging us to rise above the mundane and embrace a higher purpose beyond the superficial aspects of life.

Purpose of Human Creation: Theological / Philosophical Perspective

Pondering the Essence of Creation

Paint Brush Palette

God, as an infinite and boundless being, encapsulates the very essence of perfection in all its dimensions. The act of creation, then, serves as a tangible expression of divine munificence—the generous and benevolent nature inherent in God’s being. Within this framework, divine munificence operates as the guiding principle, determining that anything deserving of existence is graciously brought into being by the divine will.

The Divine Tapestry: Understanding the Cosmic Design

In understanding the purpose of creation, one must intimately connect it to the profound attribute of God’s munificence. This divine generosity extends beyond mere benevolence; it encompasses a divine inclination to bestow existence upon entities that merit it. Thus, the act of creation becomes an eloquent manifestation of God’s overflowing generosity and the inherent goodness that characterizes His nature.

Crucially, God’s attributes, including munificence, are not external elements but are integral to His very essence. Therefore, the purpose of creation is intricately woven into the fabric of God’s being, reflecting His essential nature. The ultimate aim of creation aligns seamlessly with the essence of God, where the manifestation of divine munificence is not only a guiding force but a fundamental aspect of the divine plan.

In essence, the purpose of creation is a harmonious expression of God’s munificence, and the unfolding of existence is a testament to the inherent goodness that emanates from the boundless and perfect nature of the divine being.

Why God Engages In Creation

Put differently, if we assume that something merits existence, and yet God chooses not to bring it into being, it implies the prevention of a potential good, a stance akin to niggardliness, considering the inherent goodness of existence.

It is crucial to acknowledge, however, that the characterization of God as miserly is inconceivable. From these foundational considerations, one can infer that the question of why God engages in creation finds its resolution in His intrinsic role as the bestower of grace—an inherent quality that impels Him to engage in the act of creation.

The Cosmic Blueprint: Deciphering the Intricacies of Creation’s Intent

You May Think That This Creation Is Not Perfect

You may think that this universe, crafted by the divine hand of God, may not align with a perfect ideal. Reflect, O humankind, that your Lord intentionally fashioned this world as a trial—a unique entity among the multitude of universes created. It stands apart from others, distinguished by its imperfections. Through His revelations and scriptures, your Lord has conveyed the deliberate introduction of a trial element in this universe, intertwined with the presence of the Devil—a force embodying evil and negativity. The acknowledgment of this purposeful design adds depth to the understanding of the world as a testing ground, where the interplay of good and evil serves as a fundamental aspect of the cosmic order.

There exist other universes that epitomize perfection—void of disease, problems, extreme temperatures, hunger, thirst, and the familiar cause-and-effect dynamics. Consider this: Which perspective deems a deity more remarkable—One capable of crafting a flawlessly ideal universe or One possessing the prowess to create a diverse array of universes, each with its unique qualities, whether perfect or imperfect? Contemplate that if your Lord had solely fashioned flawless worlds, one might question whether such omnipotence lacked the creative capacity for diversity and distinctiveness.

  اللَّهُ الَّذِي خَلَقَ سَبْعَ سَمَاوَاتٍ وَمِنَ الْأَرْضِ مِثْلَهُنَّ يَتَنَزَّلُ الْأَمْرُ بَيْنَهُنَّ لِتَعْلَمُوا أَنَّ اللَّهَ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ وَأَنَّ اللَّهَ قَدْ أَحَاطَ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عِلْمًا

It is Allah who has created seven heavens and of the earth, the like of them. [His] command descends among them so you may know that Allah is over all things competent and that Allah has encompassed all things in knowledge. Surah Talaq 65:12

All That Is Good Is Existence. All That Is Evil Is Merely The Non-Existence / Absence Of Good

God’s nature is inherently limitless in generosity, unrestricted by any impediments to giving. Therefore, when there is a perceived lack of bestowal in a given instance, it stems from the limitations inherent in the recipient, not from any deficiency on the part of the Giver. Everything that can be given, is given. Every conceivable gift that can be bestowed is indeed granted by the divine.

A profound perspective emerges when contemplating the dichotomy between good and evil. All that is good finds its support in existence, while the essence of evil is tethered to non-existence. Consider, for instance, darkness existing as the mere absence of light. In a similar vein, knowledge emerges as a beacon of goodness and perfection, while its antithesis, ignorance, represents the realms of evil, imperfection, and the absence of knowledge. This philosophical framework underscores the dynamic interplay between existence and non-existence as the foundation for understanding the divine act of giving and the dichotomy between good and evil.

God Had Already Created Perfect Beings

To elucidate this concept, one might posit that God’s inherent creativity compels Him to actualize every conceivable perfection. Prior to the formation of humanity, God brought forth celestial beings known as angels. These entities, from their very inception, embodied all perfections inherent to their nature. As a result, they are not destined to acquire additional perfections, and their state of existence will remain unaltered, devoid of any evolutionary progression.

  لَخَلْقُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ أَكْبَرُ مِنْ خَلْقِ النَّاسِ وَلَٰكِنَّ أَكْثَرَ النَّاسِ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ

The creation of the heavens and earth is greater than the creation of mankind, but most of the people do not know. Surah Ghafir 40:57

Purpose Of Creation of Man

God, in His boundless creativity, envisioned a creation that surpassed the perfection bestowed upon the angels. This elevated perfection was to be embodied in the essence of man’s free will. In essence, God sought to bring forth a being capable of attaining the same level of perfections as the angels, but through the exercise of its own volition. Thus, human beings were fashioned as entities devoid of inherent perfections at the moment of their creation. However, they were endowed with the remarkable ability to progressively achieve these perfections over time.

God, in His divine wisdom, fashioned humanity with dual inclinations—one toward good and the other toward evil. These dual forces find their counterparts in the external world as represented by the prophets, embodying goodness, and the devils, embodying evil. This deliberate design grants mankind the unique ability to ascend to the highest echelons of perfection achievable for created beings. Simultaneously, it grants the freedom to descend into the depths of depravity.

 وَنَفْسٍ وَمَا سَوَّاهَا
 فَأَلْهَمَهَا فُجُورَهَا وَتَقْوَاهَا
 قَدْ أَفْلَحَ مَنْ زَكَّاهَا
 وَقَدْ خَابَ مَنْ دَسَّاهَا

And [by] the soul and He who proportioned it

And inspired it [with discernment of] its wickedness and its righteousness,

He has succeeded who purifies it,

And he has failed who instills it [with corruption]. Surah Shams 91: 7-10

If God had endowed mankind with every conceivable perfection from birth, these virtues would lack the volitional aspect. Furthermore, other beings already existed with predetermined perfections, devoid of any potential for growth. Therefore, the true purpose of human creation is fulfilled only when individuals attain perfection through their freely chosen actions. It is through the exercise of free will and conscious decisions that humanity realizes its intended journey toward perfection, distinguishing it from entities endowed with predetermined virtues.

  الَّذِي خَلَقَ الْمَوْتَ وَالْحَيَاةَ لِيَبْلُوَكُمْ أَيُّكُمْ أَحْسَنُ عَمَلًا ۚ وَهُوَ الْعَزِيزُ الْغَفُورُ

[He] who created death and life to test you [as to] which of you is best in deed – and He is the Exalted in Might, the Forgiving. Surah Mulk 67:2

Free Will And Conscious Decisions: Determinant Of One’s Spiritual Ascent Or Descent.

Despite contending with innate animalistic desires and the ceaseless influence of satanic whispers, those who, against these odds, tread the path of truth elevate themselves to stations surpassing even the angels. This is because angels lack the struggle against animalistic desires and satanic temptations that humans grapple with. Conversely, those who opt for falsehood find themselves lower than even the animal kingdom, as animals lack the spiritual capacities and potential inherent in humanity. Thus, the intricate interplay between good and evil in the human experience becomes a crucial determinant of one’s spiritual ascent or descent.

 لَقَدْ خَلَقْنَا الْإِنْسَانَ فِي أَحْسَنِ تَقْوِيمٍ
 ثُمَّ رَدَدْنَاهُ أَسْفَلَ سَافِلِينَ

We have certainly created man in the best of stature;

Then We return him to the lowest of the low, Surah Tin 95: 4-5

Unlike angels, who possess predetermined and unchanging perfections, humans embark on a dynamic journey of self-discovery and growth. The inherent imperfections in human nature serve as a canvas upon which the strokes of free will can paint the masterpiece of personal development. The perfections attained by humans through the conscious and deliberate choices made with their free will are considered to be of a higher order than those inherently granted to angels.

Even A Sinner Do Not Contradict The Will Of God.

It is imperative to underscore that, for humanity, the pursuit of even the smallest perfection is an intentional and self-directed endeavor. Every stride toward perfection, no matter how minor, is a manifestation of the conscious use of free will. Consequently, in exercising their free will to achieve perfections, humans fulfill the profound purpose of their creation, contributing to the grand tapestry of existence designed by the divine hand.

If an individual, throughout their life, fails to ascend even a single rung in the ladder of perfection, choosing instead a path marked by sin and disbelief, it does not absolve them from the overarching reality that defines the general purpose of creation. In this context, the failure to actualize the specific purpose for which they were created does not exempt them from the broader existential framework that shapes the purpose of creation as a whole.

In essence, the individual, even in a life marked by disobedience and disbelief, has not evaded the fundamental reality that defines the purpose of creation. This is because, within the intricate design of human potential, the capacity for both elevation to the heights of perfection and descent to the depths of degradation coexists. It is God who fashioned humanity with this dual potential—the ability to choose either the path of excellence surpassing even the angels or the path leading to the lowest depths of moral decline.

Even when an individual, as a disbeliever or a sinner, fails to align with the specific purpose of reaching higher perfection, their actions do not contradict the existential will of God. The inherent duality within human nature, with the potential for both virtue and vice, is part of the divine design. Consequently, the exercise of free will, whether in the pursuit of virtue or the indulgence in sin, remains within the parameters set by God in the intricate tapestry of human existence.

God’s Will Vs God’s Wish

God desires and encourages humanity to strive towards perfection, expressing a preference for the elevation of individuals rather than their descent into misguidance. This distinction in God’s will can be categorized into an existential will and a Revealed / conventional will. Or we can say the there is God’s Will and a God’s Wish. The existential will encompasses the totality of human potential, encompassing both positive and negative aspects. On the other hand, the conventional will specifically emphasizes God’s preference for humans to manifest their potential in virtuous ways, aspiring towards goodness rather than succumbing to detrimental paths. Essentially, God’s intention in creating humanity involves a nuanced interplay between allowing the full range of possibilities and expressing a distinct preference for the pursuit of moral excellence.

In delving deeper into this explanation, it becomes apparent that the believing individual has successfully fulfilled both dimensions of the divine intent for creation—namely, the existential and conventional aspects. By aligning their actions with both the inherent potentialities and the specifically desired moral inclinations outlined by God, the believing man demonstrates a harmonious synchronization with the divine will and wish.

Conversely, the unbelieving or sinful individual, while falling short in actualizing the conventional purpose and diverging from God’s expressly preferred course of action, still remains connected to the overarching existential objective of creation. Despite deviating from the desired moral path, this individual is inherently intertwined with the fundamental essence of their existence as intended by the Almighty. In essence, they do not escape the all-encompassing will of God, which transcends the immediate deviations from the prescribed moral framework.

This perspective underscores the intricate balance between the dual purposes of creation, recognizing that individuals may navigate divergent paths but are perpetually enveloped by the encompassing will of the Almighty, whether in alignment with or in deviation from the explicitly preferred course.