The Islamic Idea of Good and Progressive Life

Western civilization stems from an array of materialist, humanist, naturalist and evolutionist tendencies.

It is by definition anti-spiritual and anti-religious, perceiving those provinces as backward, archaic, restrictive, inhibiting, and as limited to the compass of private and subjective experiences.

It is no wonder then that the West and its civilization are the home of religiophobia, particularly islamophobia.

To many in the West, Islam as a complete way of life with an inclusive outlook and global aspirations, plus as the fastest-growing religion in the world, is seen as the only potential challenger and threat to the hegemony of Western civilization qua colonization.

That can explain all the former and current hullabaloo concerning Islam, Muslims, and Islamic history as well as culture.

That also can explain why Muslims should not wholeheartedly welcome and embrace whatever is served through the agency of Western civilization. Instead, they must be prudent and selective.

They should deal with the prevalent and questionable elements of Western civilization as something disliked but unavoidable to contend with on a temporary basis and for achieving particular results, until better alternatives are found.

According to the Islamic revealed worldview, things are the polar opposite of what Western civilization and its anthropogenic or man-made ideologies preach.

In Islam, man was not created except to serve and worship God (‘ibadah), i.e., to submit to the will and authority of God alone, and to live life not of his own accord, but according to the divine plan and guidance of the Creator and Master of all life, including man (al-Dhariyat, 56).

Man furthermore was created as God’s vicegerent or viceroy on earth (khalifah) (Al-Baqarah, 30), to whom and for whose needs and services everything in the heavens and on the earth had been subjected (taskhir) (al-Jathiyah, 13).

This worldly life constitutes only a single dimension of the multidimensionality of existential reality. As such, this world is but a prelude to the real and eternal life of the Hereafter.

The physical reality of this world is transient and conditional. Its relative meaning and significance are tied to the more consequential meaning and significance of the metaphysical world. Yet, its sheer existence is contingent upon the existence of the latter.

On its own, this world is nothing more than a mirage and fantasy. It is a playground for befuddled man’s fancies and whims (Let’s just remember the endless and often boring philosophizing by infinite number of philosophers in the East and West, and their inconsistent as well as contradicting concepts and theories).

Just as this world should not be pursued at the expense of the Hereafter, the Hereafter, in equal measure, should not be pursued at the expense of this world. Islam does not tolerate excesses of any kind.

There will be no this world without the Hereafter, no physics without metaphysics, no body without the soul, and no success and happiness on earth without the same in Heaven.

The goal of man’s existence on earth is to attain through the prescribed servitude and worship the satisfaction and approval of Almighty God, based on which on the Day of Judgement he will be admitted into Paradise (Jannah) where he will live happily ad infinitum.

It follows that God’s pleasure and Paradise are the ultimate objectives of man’s cravings, determination and all work. They are the end of all ends. They are the ends where all other ontological ends lead and where they all converge.

Arriving there connotes the rationale of man’s existence and assigned mission, the personification of true happiness, and the validation of actual success.

It is through the prism of this paradigm that this world and everything that transpires therein is to be observed and adjudicated.

A good is good, a success is success, a delight is delight, a class is class, and a legitimacy is legitimacy, only if they all are part of and lead to the realization of the ultimate heavenly good, success, delight, class and legitimacy in the Hereafter.

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About Dr. Spahic Omer
Dr. Spahic Omer, an award-winning author, is an Associate Professor at the Kulliyyah of Islamic Revealed Knowledge and Human Sciences, International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM). He studied in Bosnia, Egypt and Malaysia. In the year 2000, he obtained his PhD from the University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur in the field of Islamic history and civilization. His research interests cover Islamic history, culture and civilization, as well as the history and theory of Islamic built environment. He can be reached at: [email protected].