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Fulfilling the Purpose


People are hired or retained to achieve the goals of their employer or retainer. Ultimately, those who do not serve their purpose are fired or removed from their positions. Similarly, everything we make or buy is made to serve a purpose. When it fails to serve its purpose or loses its usefulness, it is discarded or trashed. That is true for all human creations without exception. Is it true for Allaah’s creations as well?

Take human beings, for example. Is there a purpose for their creation? And if they do not fulfil that purpose, will they be trashed?

Allaah SWT says in the Holy Qur-aan:

I did not create Jinns and human beings but so that they serve Me as slaves (or they perform my Ibaadah). Adz-Dzaariyaat 51:56

The Qur-aanic word ‘li-ya’budooni’ that I have translated as ‘so that they serve Me as slaves’ or ‘so that they perform my Ibaadah’ is usually translated as ‘so that they worship me’. The word ‘worship’, however, does not reflect the true meaning of the Arabic word. In English, worship represents paying homage to a deity through some words or songs of praise or by performing some rituals at a certain day of the week or certain time of the year. Beyond that, the person is free to act as he likes.

The ‘Ibaadah’ indicated as the purpose of human creation by the word ‘li-ya’budooni’ is much more comprehensive than the idea conveyed by ‘worship’. Hence, some people translate ‘li-ya’budooni’ to mean ‘that they serve me’. Although ‘serving’ conveys a broader meaning than “worshipping”, it still does not fully represent the real connotation of Ibaadah. A servant is a free person who has chosen to serve an employer for certain hours of a day or night to perform only some predefined tasks. After the performance of those tasks and/or passage of the time of service, the person is free to do what he wishes. Even during the hours of service, the employer can lay claim upon only certain skills of the servant, nothing else!

Ibaadah, in fact, connotes ‘slavery’. There is a huge difference between a servant and a slave. A slave is a full time servant, 24 hours a day, every day throughout his life. The master owns the slave and everything the slave has or is able to do. A slave has no freedom. He just submits to the wishes of the master. He is subjugated in every way. That is why Islam does not tolerate a human being enslaving another human being. Human slavery belongs only to Allaah, the Creator. Being our Creator, He owns us. Hence, it is only He who is the legitimate Lord and Master. That is why the Islamic mission has always been to liberate the slaves of Allaah (people) from the slavery of other human beings, for the slavery of their Creator.

Although human beings were created for slavery to Allaah SWT, He did not force people to become His slaves. He left it to people to use their intellect to recognize Him as their Creator and then willingly and freely submit to Him in full submission like a slave. That is the test for which we have been put on the earth. Thus, the very reason for our being is that we willingly and freely become slaves of Allaah SWT alone. That is the purpose for which we were ‘made’. If we choose to submit fully and exclusively, to our Lord and Master, we will enjoy the ultimate freedom for eternity in Jannah. If we do not fulfill the purpose of our creation by willingly and completely submitting to Him, we shall be trashed and thrown in Hell.

What is the extent of complete submission? Obviously, submission will not be complete unless and until every imaginable human action or endeavour, whether individual or collective, whether private or public, is envisioned and executed in total compliance with the wishes of the Master.

As slaves, our objective is understandable – we want to please the Lord and earn his approval to gain entry into Jannah. But our slavery does not provide any benefit whatsoever to Allaah. What is His purpose in requiring us to submit to Him completely?

His purpose is to help us excel both as individuals and as a society. By living the way He wants people to live: Individually, his true slave will be the best a human being can be – excelling in ethics, morals, behaviour, dealings, actions, interactions, fairness, equity, kindness, generosity, care and grace. Collectively, these excellent human beings will be able to organize and establish themselves as the best society possible (an Islamic state) – a loving, caring, sharing, peaceful, and just society where everyone enjoys dignity, respect, equality and tranquility. Eventually, the believers -- His true slaves – are to take the matters of the world in their hands and establish an Islamic world order so that the whole globe becomes a peaceful ideal society and that Shaytaan is proven wrong because human beings will have shown that they can and do live in peace and submission to Allaah SWT.

It is our choice. Do we want to fulfill the purpose of our creation by submitting to Allaah in “slavery” and thus pleasing him by excelling in those virtues that are pleasing to Him, creating an ideal Islamic society and establishing Islamic order of peace and justice in the world; or do we want to be thrown like trash in Hell?

 

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