How is God’s Life and What Is His Purpose to Exist?

07 November, 2016
Q I am a non-Muslim but I find Islam a logical religion. I agree we have been equipped with limited brain but according to Quran, how is the life of God and What is his purpose of existence?

Answer

Salam Dear Vmal,

Thanks for your deep and valued question and for contacting Ask About Islam.

Such a question says a lot about you and your interests. Those who are concerned about God and knowing Him are the best of creation. In fact, knowing God is an ultimate objective of our creation, since, in itself, it is a prerequisite for worshiping and loving God, Majestic in His praise.

Of course as humans, we need to know about God. And seeing both our intellectual and spiritual capacities, along with our limitations of penetrating the different layers of existence we live under, there is no better way, in fact there is no way altogether, to genuinely know about God except through God.

Having said that, now, as mentioned in your question we should turn to the majestic Quran, the word of God, as are both the original versions of the Old Testament and New Testament.

We Muslims believe the Quran to be the final scripture of God, and an ocean without shores that contains all the jewels of knowledge and gnosis in it. This is the Quran the best book to unfold our knowledge of God until the end of time. It has all the knowledge that the ontological and epistemological pursuit of an authentic human requires.

What is true of the ocean is true of the Quran. The most precious of the gemstones of the sea are at once the rarest and the most difficult to find in deep ends. And this is where we will start delving in order to answer your valued question.

In essence, you asked about two things; the life of God and the purpose of His life. Attending to the first question, the first matter that we have to deal with is the following.

When we talk about life, our perception is bound to be colored of our own experience of life (with all its stages, birth, death, aging, etc.), the basic requirements of creating it (spatial territory, time, inception, sustenance, nourishment, etc.), and other “alive” counterparts, with whom we are bound in interdependent relations and serve as points of reference for us to judge the quality, length, and well-being of our life, among many other examples.

None of what is mentioned above is true of God, from near or far. Why? How do we know that? It is God, and only God, who has the authoritative knowledge of His own.

Let’s pay attention to the words of the angels echoed in the following:

{They [i.e. the angels] said, “To You belongs all purity! We have no knowledge except what You have given us. Surely, You alone are the All-knowing, All-wise.} (Al-Baqarah 2:32)

And this is what He tells us:

{Say, “The truth is that Allah is One. Allah is Besought of all, needing none. He neither begot anyone, nor was he begotten. And equal to Him has never been any one.} (Al-Ikhlas 112:1-4),

{Naught is as His likeness.} (Ash-Shura 42:11),

And most importantly, is:

{Allah: There is no god but He, the Living, the All-Sustaining.}(Al-Baqrah 2:255)

Turning to our Gnostics and theologians, the following ideas must be kept in mind. If we are to think about the life of God based on the parameters discussed earlier, the following principles must be applied.

First, when all the aforementioned verses are contemplated along with the many, many references of God’s free-of-need nature, the following Islamic theological dictum is reached. There is one and only one “necessary being” (and thing of being, in terms of existence, or life).

So, the being of God is a necessary one. Meaning, you can think of a cat for example, but your thinking of it does not necessarily mean that such a cat actually exists. The being of God then is necessary; existence in its entirety, or all creation could not have been without it.

The second thing we learn about the being of God — which is also related to the second part of your question — is His self-sustenance. No need for sleeping or dozing overtakes Him when sustaining all of His creation. God does not need anything or anyone to sustain His being.

Third, also, His being has no end or beginning.

As for the purpose of God — as you put it, the following is said in the Quran. God’s being is not dictated by an ultimate goal or purpose, for many reasons. First, God does not need anything for His self-fulfillment, even the worship of us humans, along with all His creation (among numerous other examples, see chapter 6, verse 133, and chapter 22, verse 64).

Still, based on what many theologians and Gnostics affirm, the most supreme thing is God’s love and knowledge of His own, by His own, to His own, since our most pious deeds do not benefit Him the least.

Also our worst sins do not harm or jeopardize any of His intentions. So, God’s purpose, if such a thing is correct to say, is only related to and only known by His Majestic essence.

The reason for all this transcendence in Islam and the Quran is simple. God’s perfection, beauty, and rigor, is so overwhelming to any and at once all of creation that there is no one being of any type that can encompass the reality, perfection, beauty, and rigor of God. That is why Muslim theologians affirm that whatever one thinks of God, God is different from that.

To walk the extra mile, the Quran emphasizes an intrinsic relation between knowledge of the divine and how the possessor of such knowledge should shape and color his relation with his beloved God.

Since you are a seeker of knowledge of the divine, I would like to share the following verse with you that shed light on the effects of knowledge of God to a seeker of Him:

{To Allah belongs the Kingdom of the heavens and the earth. Allah is powerful to do everything. Surely, in the creation of the heavens and the earth, and in the alternation of night and day, there are signs for the people of wisdom; who remember Allah standing and sitting, and (lying) on their sides, and ponder on the creation of the heavens and the earth (and say) “Our Lord, You have not created all this in vain. We proclaim Your purity. So, save us from the punishment of Fire.} (Aal `Imran 3:189-193)

I also have the following verse as well to share:

{No vision can comprehend Him, and He comprehends all visions, and He is Absolutely Subtle, All-Aware. (Say, O Prophet:) There have come to you insights from your Lord. Now, whoever uses his sight, does so for his own self, and whoever remains blind does so against his own self. I do not stand guard over you. This is how We bring the verses in diverse ways, so that they say, “you have been tutored”, and so that We may explain it to people who have knowledge.} (Al-An`am 6:105)

I hope this answers your question. Please stay in touch.

Salam.