Short Answer: You said “I understand that this dunya is a test”, that’s true, but it’s not solely or simplistically a test. It is meant to be a period of learning, growing, purification, the actualization of our full potential as dignified human beings and the means to secure our eternal place in the hereafter.
Salam Alaykum (Peace be Upon You),
Thanks for sending us your question.
What is The Entire Point of Living?
You said “I understand that this dunya is a test”, that’s true, but it’s not solely or simplistically a test. It is meant to be a period of learning, growing, purification, the actualization of our full potential as dignified human beings and the means to secure our eternal place in the hereafter. More on that later…
But let’s contemplate your other questions a bit more, first.
If we say: “Why do we have a hereafter for this dunya to exist?”
The underlying message is that the hereafter is not necessary for this world to exist, and/or why not have just this life?
In this case, is it really a positive scenario to just have this dunya (worldly life) where there are diseases, injustices, corruption and separation from loved ones and everything is temporary… etc.? If you look at celebrities who had everything of worldly riches, like Robin Williams, Whitney Houston, Amy Winehouse…etc., why did they commit suicide despite having everything?
Certainly, this life alone is not fulfilling, the more people get, the more they want more, and there is hardly satisfaction. Actually, this dunya becomes pointless and unbearable if one doesn’t combine it with the Akhirah (hereafter) perspective.
A Perfect Hereafter Only?
Another dimension to your question is that maybe we don’t have the flawed worldly life and instead we have the perfect hereafter only?
But it doesn’t make sense to have the perfect eternal life of the hereafter only because this will equate those who disbelieve and the corrupt and the evil people in the same place with the loving faithful believers.
So this dunya is a testimony for the disbelievers against themselves so that Allah will show them that they chose their own ending. And it’s a means of joy for the believers because rewards that come after patience and hardship are more worthwhile than what’s freely and pointlessly given.
Imagine Allah just creating us and popping us in Heaven? Will this be as appreciated as granting us eternal heaven out of His Mercy and Generosity in return for our sincere love for Him and the little effort we do in this short life journey?
Why would we all get the highest level of eternal Paradise that literally has what no eyes have seen and no ears have heard and no heart has ever imagined?
Imagine someone just distributing Ph.D. degrees for everyone; is it the same as working hard to earn it?
And who do you allow to be your closest, nearest and best friends forever: everyone and anyone? Or those who proved their sincere love to you and desire to learn about you and do what you love?
So Why Were We Created?
Allah Almighty as our Maker, The Most Knowing and The Most Wise told us in the Quran why He created us and what the point of our life is. He said:
“And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me.” (Quran 51: 56)
Worship here does not mean meaningless movements/rituals. It means to deeply learn about Him, connect with and commit to Him.
Allah gave us the ability to learn. When Allah created our father Adam, He said “And He taught Adam the names-all of them…..” [Quran: 2:31].
This is not a fleeting moment of history; this is a reality of life: Allah teaches us.
He created this entire universe for us so He can teach us, and He honored us above other creations with that.
“It is He who created for you all of that which is on the earth.” [Quran 2: 19]
And We have certainly honored the children of Adam and carried them on the land and sea and provided for them of the good things and preferred them over much of what We have created, with [definite] preference.” [Quran 17: 70]
Allah promised to teach us, help us and guide us. We will experience His Closeness, learn and elevate and connect with Him in the ways He designated until the Day we meet Him. He promised us in return for this short life journey of testing our faith that we will get Paradise wherein we get whatever we please eternally without any limitations.
Everything prescribed as acts of worship in Islam is essentially connected with actualizing our purpose in life.
Understanding The 5 Pillars
The understanding of the Shahada (testimony of faith), gives a sense of direction focus and a plan (there is One God, and this is how to follow Him).
Prayer is a connection and communication; we recite the words of Allah, listen to His Words, and then speak to Him in dua. We take breaks five times a day from the hustle and bustle of this life to peacefully connect with the Source of Peace, and get reminded of our Destination.
In Ramadan, we fast to learn how to control our physical being and focus on our spiritual being.
We give charity “zakat” which comes from the word “purification” because it is a purification of our wealth and our hearts.
We go to pilgrimage (Hajj) where people from all backgrounds gather to worship their One and Only deity and remember that they are all equal, they come from the same Source and to Him they will return.
It goes without saying that everything instructed has a purpose. When we follow that with contemplation, we feel at peace and life becomes meaningful and worthwhile.
Surely, satisfaction comes with knowing our purpose and connecting with Allah and striving for the eternal Paradise near Him. Even studies have shown that Muslims are the most satisfied in life due to this feeling of Oneness of God taught in Islam.
When we experience that here, we long for Allah and appreciate the value of the eternal Paradise He prepared for us in the hereafter.
And Allah knows best.
I hope this helps.
Salam and please keep in touch.
(From Ask About Islam archive)
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