Understanding Islam: The Bane of Man’s Existence

Understanding Islam: Mujahid Navarra

Allah said in the Quran, ‘Indeed, We have created the human in the best form.’ Quran 95:4. Allah has exalted the human being as superior compared to other beings on Earth. Humans, of all the creations of God, have the most profound influence in our changing world. Humans have also been made by Allah to have free-will which he did not bestow the angels. Humans have been given intellect which Allah did not bestow other living beings such as plants and animals. And much more, Allah has given humans the chance to be rewarded with Paradise where he may live forever while enjoying everything that he desired.

But this world where we live in, right here, right now, is a world that is full challenges and frustrations and it’s hard to look beyond this material world of ours so how much more about Afterlife. Man as an intellectual being, despite having more intelligence than the animals do not seem to find solutions to his problems, cure for his sickness or satiation of his desires. However successful man may become in this world, he remains wanting. He may get happy for a while after some achievements but he will soon find out that his accomplishment almost means nothing as it wasn’t perfect or there is much more left to be desired or he finds some other things to be pursued which shall frustrate him anew.

Man could not seem to find absolute contentment and happiness in anything material – this is the bane of man’s existence. The source of our sorrows, frustrations, and disenchantment, especially now that we live in a heavily commercialized and materialistic world.

UNDERSTANDING THE HUMAN AND HIS SURROUNDINGS

The human being is an intellectual being that has limitless intellectual and spiritual capacities and desires. And this is something that we try to satisfy in this limited world. To visualize man’s situation, it is like we are big fishes in a fishbowl. There is only so much that we could accomplish, achieve or acquire in our limited physical abilities and time to be alive in this vast Earth. This physical limitation is directly in conflict with our unlimited intellectual and spiritual characteristic. This is all because the world was not meant by God to be perfect. One may be the richest person in the world and is married to the most beautiful woman and living the most beautiful house and yet he may only enjoy it for a few years after which he shall inevitably die. He may have a long life, but he shall no longer have the physical abilities to drive his sports car or take his young beautiful wife out on a date.

This reality causes different reactions from different people. For others, this reality makes them feel like each day of being alive is a triumph against death and should, therefore, be celebrated. Life should be lived to the fullest as they say, as they work the days and drink and dance the nights away. Others tend to be more on the self-preservating mode seeking a higher purpose in life.

If we contemplate deep enough, we could find that these things happen because our current world and our surroundings were meant by Allah to be a testing ground where we do what we could do of the correct things only to be rewarded or punished later on by either passing or failing. The bane of Man’s existence is that we seek perfection in this imperfect world. We try to satisfy our infinite desires by seeking it in this finite world in our finite physical abilities. The world is just a testing ground. We are not supposed to live here forever.

THE HIGHER PURPOSE

The only way out of this bane is for man to be emancipated from his base instincts or desires by seeking a higher purpose in life. That is why many people seek spirituality in different religions or being beneficial to others by charity and public service whose rewards could never be simply bought by money.

Islam simplifies this search of a higher purpose of our existence by inculcating the Muslims that we have not been created in vain, or that we have not only been created to fulfill our desires for food, affection and other physical needs. We were created to worship God. And by discovering this higher purpose, the believer shall find himself at the front of huge gates of goodness that he could open for himself and for the others.

This discovery makes us sync with the original creation plan of God. In fact, God did not create the universe for nothing and so does the human being. We are meant to be spiritual and intellectual beings and not simply like the animals that live day to day just to satisfy their basic instincts. As being a spiritual and intellectual being, humans are supposed to bring about benefit to himself and others by being driven by his belief in Allah that a life lived in worship of Allah and service to fellow humans will make him among those who deserve to be rewarded with the ultimate reward.

THE ONLY PLACE TO FULFILL OUR DESIRES

Philosophers believe in the principle of pairs. Plants and animals have been made into male and female. Temperature is either hot or cold. Luminosity is either dark or bright. We could use this same principle in solving the bane of man’s existence. Allah, the most glorious, in His intelligent design of things have this principle at work as we could physically observe.

We’ve talked about the imperfect world that we have today. Where humans are born into, live and die. So, according to the principle of pairs, there must be a perfect world. A world where deserving humans could truly fulfill their desires. That world is Paradise.

Since this current world is a testing ground and some people are bound to fail. They also have a place where their desire for decadence shall be satisfied by punishment and misery. That world is Hell.