I’ve decided to transcribe a lecture that I listened to a while ago, when I first started getting into Islam. It made me want to learn about and understand Islam further and was one of the lectures that convinced me that Islam is the true religion and way of life and made me understand the purpose of my existence.
I gave this lecture out to my non-Muslim friends on CD and evidently I still think it’s a convincing lecture because many years later I’m transcribing it for my blog. Conversations I’ve had and seen on Twitter show me that people are still very much confused about their purpose in life.
Shaikh Khalid Yasin is a revert to Islam, he was born in the USA and raised in Brooklyn. He was a Christian and was greatly influenced by people like Malcolm X during the civil rights movement. He converted to Islam in 1965 and has been spreading the message of Islam worldwide ever since. Many people have become Muslim at the hands of his lectures and over 30 people became Muslim at this lecture, it was so popular he conducted another one years later.
He starts the lecture by stating that he was a Christian and a person that was not aware of Islam and at that particular time did not understand the purpose of life.
In a world filled with prejudice and cultural conditioning it is very hard to find people to take a moment and think about life objectively and try to arrive at the truth about this world and the real purpose of our lives.
What is the purpose of our life and also what do you know about Islam? Not what you heard about Islam, not what you seen in the actions of some Muslims but what do you really know about Islam?
When you ask most people the question what is the purpose of our life? Such a fundamental and important question. They will not tell you what they’ve concluded from observation or analytical reasoning, rather in most cases, they will tell you what is commonly presumed by others. What my father said the purpose of life is, what the minister of my church said the purpose of life is, what my teacher in school said, what my friend said the purpose of life is.
If I ask anyone about the purpose of eating, why do we eat? Everyone will say in one way or another, why it’s for nutrition because nutrition sustains life. If I ask anyone why they work? They will say it’s necessity in order to support themselves and to provide for the needs of their family. If I ask anyone why they sleep? Why they wash? Why they dress? They will answer, this is a common necessity for all human beings. We can follow this line of questioning with 100 questions and receive similar answers from anyone in any language in any place in the world.
Then why is it when asked the question what is the goal and the purpose of life that we get so many different answers? That’s because people are confused, they don’t really know and rather than say I don’t know they just offer any answer that they’ve been programmed to answer.
Think about it – is our purpose simply to eat, sleep, dress, work, acquire some material things and enjoy ourselves?
Why are we born? What is the object of our existence? And what is the wisdom behind the creation of man and this tremendous universe?
Some people argue that there is no proof of any divine origin. There’s no proof that there’s a God, there’s no proof that this universe has come about through any divine purpose and they say that perhaps this world came about by chance. A big bang and this whole great world with all its orchestrations just came together and they argue that life doesn’t have any definitive purpose and that there’s nothing that can be proven through either logic or science that there’s a God or a purpose or any divine reason behind this world.
The Quran (Muslims holy book and word of God) addresses this subject, “And to Allah belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth and Allah has power over all things. Verily, in the creation of the heavens and the earth and in the alternation of the night and the day, there are indeed signs for men of understanding. Those who remember Allah standing, sitting and lying down on their sides and think deeply about the creation of the heavens and the earth saying, our Lord! You have not created all this without purpose, glory to you! Give us salvation from the fire”. 3:189-191.
In the verses Allah mentions clearly to us by first drawing our attention to the creation of ourselves. The different postures of the human body, the different attitudes of the human psychology.
He draws our attention to the heavens, the alternation of the night and the day. The stars, the constellations and then he says to us, he has not created all of this for any foolish purpose because when you see the design of it you know that the design of it is very powerful and very precise and something very powerful and precise that is beyond your own calculation and imagination, it cannot be foolish. It cannot just be thrown together.
For instance, if you took 10 marbles and numbered them 1 – 10 and all of them were different colours and you put them inside a bag and you shook the bag and then closing your eyes reached inside the bag and I told you pull out marble number 1 and then pull out marble number 2 and then pull out marble number 3 in order. What’s the chance of you pulling out those 10 marbles in order? 26 million to one. So what’s the chances of the heavens and the earth being thrown together in a big bang and orchestrated like they are? Think about it.
We have to ask ourselves a further question, when you see a bridge, a building or a car, you automatically consider the person or the company that constructed it. When you see an aeroplane, a rocket, a satellite or a large ship you also think about how incredible of a vehicle it is.
When you see a nuclear plant an orbiting space station or a super international airport you have to be thoroughly impressed with the engineering dynamics that are involved, yet these are just things that are manufactured by human beings themselves.
Then what about the human body? With its massive and intricate control systems. Think about it, think about the brain, how it thinks, how it functions, how it analyses information, stores information, retrieves information, distinguishes and categorizes information in a millionth of a second and does it constantly. This is the brain that made the car and the rocket ship. Think about the brain and who made that.
Think about the heart, how it pumps continuously for 60 – 70 years. In taking and discharging blood throughout the body and maintaining that steady precision throughout the life of that person.
Think about the kidneys and what kind of function they carry out. The purifying instrument of the body which performs hundreds of chemical analysis simultaneously and also controls the level of toxicity in the content of the body and it does this automatically.
Think about your eyes, the human camera that adjusts, focus, interprets, evaluates and applies colour automatically. The natural reception and adjustment to light and distance automatically.
Who created that? Who has mastered that? Who plans that? And who regulates that? Human beings themselves? No, of course not.
What about this universe? Think about this, this Earth is one planet in our solar system and our solar system is one of the systems in the milky way and the milky way is one the constellations in that galaxy and there are millions of galaxies like the milky way and they are all in order. They are all precise, they are not colliding with each other, they are not conflicting with each other and they are swimming along in an orbit that has been set for them. Have human beings set that into motion? And are human beings maintaining that precision? No, of course not.
Think about the oceans, the fish, the insects, the birds, the plants, bacteria, the chemical elements that have not been discovered and cannot be detected even with the most sophisticated instruments. Yet, each one of them has a law that they follow.
Did all of this synchronisation, balance, harmony, variation, design, maintenance, operation and infinite numeration, did this happen by chance? And also do these things function perpetually and perfectly also by chance? And do they keep on reproducing themselves and maintaining themselves also by chance? No, of course not.
That would be totally illogical and foolish to think and in the least it would indicate that however it came to be, it is totally outside of the realm of human capabilities, we can all agree to that.
The being, the almighty power, God, the creator who has the knowledge to design, to proportion. Who has created all of this and is responsible for maintaining all of this is the only one that is deserving of praise and gratitude. If I gave each one of you 100 dollars for no reason, you would at least say thank you. What about your eyes? Your kidneys, your brain, your life, your breath, your children, what about that? Who gave you that? Is he not worthy of praise and thanks? Is he not worthy of your worship and your recognition?
That in a nutshell is the purpose and the goal of this life. God said to us in the Quran, “And I (Allah) created not the Jinn (spirits) and mankind except that they should worship me (alone)”, 51:56.
So our purpose in this life is to recognise the creator, to be grateful to the creator, to worship the creator, to surrender ourselves to the creator and to obey the laws that he has determined for us.
In a nutshell it means worship, this is our purpose in this life.
And whatever we do in the cost of that worship, the eating, the drinking, the dressing, the working, the enjoying between the life and the death, all of this is just consequential but we have been created for worship, that’s the purpose of our life.
Part II – What do you know about Islam? Here
The Meaning of Life.