LIFE IS THE JOURNEY OF LIVING
DR SUHAIB ASHRAF BHAT
Life is the journey of living. We live, we lead our lives and we die. In doing so, we try to give shape to our lives. Life is not the same for everyone. Some people face a lot of difficulty with life while some don’t. Those who do not face any difficulty in life look at it in one way. Those who suffer in life look at it in another way. Life is often said to be precious. That all the more is evident through the various ways in which people try to save lives.
Steadfastness of heart and not being disturbed about the imaginary things that bad thoughts may bring to mind. For when a person gives in to his imagination and lets his mind be disturbed by these thoughts, such as fear of disease and the like, or anger and confusion stirred up by some grievous matter, or the expectation of bad things and the loss of good things, it will fill him with worries, distress, mental and physical illness and nervous breakdowns, which will have a bad effect on him and which causes a great deal of harm, as many people have seen. But when a person depends on Allah swt and puts his trust in Him, and does not give in to his imagination or let bad thoughts overwhelm him, and he relies on Allah swt and has hope of His bounty, this wards off his worries and distress, and relieves him of a great deal of mental and physical sickness. It gives indescribable strength, comfort and happiness to the heart. How many hospitals are filled with the mentally sick victims of illusions and harmful imagination; how often have these things had an effect upon the hearts of many strong people, let alone the weak ones; how often have they led to foolishness and insanity. It should be noted that your life will follow your train of thought. If your thoughts are of things that will bring you benefit in your spiritual or worldly affairs, then your life will be good and happy. Otherwise it will be the opposite.
The person who is safe from all of this is the one who is protected by Allah swt and helped by Him to strive to achieve that which will benefit and strengthen the heart and ward off anxiety. Allah swt says (interpretation of the meaning):
“And whosoever puts his trust in Allah, then He will suffice him.”
i.e., He swt will be sufficient for all that is worrying him in his spiritual and worldly affairs. The one who puts his trust in Allah swt will have strength in his heart and will not be affected by anything he imagines or be disturbed by events, because he knows that these are the result of vulnerable human nature and of weakness and fear that have no basis. He also knows that Allah swt has guaranteed complete sufficiency to those who put their trust in Him. So he trusts in Allah swt and finds peace of mind in His promise, and thus his worry and anxiety are dispelled; hardship is turned to ease, sadness is turned to joy, fear is turned to peace. We ask Allah swt to keep us safe and sound, and to bless us with strength and steadfastness of heart, and complete trust, for Allah swt has guaranteed all good things to those who put their trust in Him, and has guaranteed to ward off all bad and harmful things from them.
If bad things happen or there is the fear of such, then you should count the many blessings that you are still enjoying, both spiritual and worldly, and compare them with the bad things that have happened, for when you compare them you will see the many blessings that you are enjoying, and this will make the bad things appear less serious.
Every day doctors and scientists engage themselves in finding out ways by which life can be extended as much as possible. Life includes happiness and sorrows. Those are called the ups and downs of life. Without them, life is just an endless battle that can always be won. It is however important to find happiness in life to overcome one’s sorrows. Only then life seems to be beautiful.
Some people believe the purpose of life is getting wealthy. However, what will be the purpose of their life after collecting millions of dollars? If the purpose of life is to become wealthy, there will be no purpose after becoming wealthy.
In fact, here lies the problem of some people in the last stages of their lives. After they have collected the money which they dreamt of, their life loses its purpose and they live in tension, restlessness and suffer from the panic of nothingness.
Can attaining wealth be an aim?
We often hear of wealthy people committing suicide; sometimes, it is not the wealthy person himself but members of his family – his wife or children. The question is: Can aiming for wealth bring happiness to the individual? In most cases, the answer is ‘No’. Is the purpose of collecting wealth a long-standing purpose?
As we know, a five-year-old child does not look for wealth: he prefers a toy to a million dollars. An 18-year-old adolescent does not dream of wealth because he is busy with things that are more important. A 90-year-old does not care for money; he is more worried about his health. This proves that wealth cannot be a long-standing purpose in all the stages of an individual’s life.
Wealth can do a little to bring happiness to a disbeliever, because he is not sure about his end or his fate. A disbeliever does not know the purpose of life, and if he has a purpose, this purpose is doomed to be temporary or self-destructive.
What is the use of wealth to a disbeliever if he feels scared of the end and sceptical of everything? A disbeliever may gain a lot of money, but surely loses himself.
On the other hand, faith in Allah swt gives the believer the purpose of life he needs. In Islam, the purpose of life is to worship Allah swt. The term “worship” covers all acts of obedience to Allah swt. The Islamic purpose of life can withstand the test of time. The true Muslim sticks to this purpose through all the stages of his life, whether he is a child, adolescent, adult or an old man.
Worshipping Allah swt makes life purposeful and meaningful, especially within the framework of Islam. According to Islam, this worldly life is just a short stage of our lives. After this, there is the other life — the Hereafter. The position of the person in the Hereafter depends on his deeds in this first life. At the end of the death, stage comes the Day of Judgment. On this day, Allah swt will reward or punish people according to their deeds.
People have different purposes at different stages in their lives such as collecting money and property, indulging in sex, eating and dancing. However, all these purposes are temporary, they come and go. Money comes and goes. Health comes and goes. Sexual activities cannot continue forever. All these lusts for money, food and sex cannot answer the individual’s question to himself: what next?
However, Islam saves those who follow it sincerely from the troubling question: what is the aim of life? Islam makes it clear to the Muslim, from the very beginning that the permanent purpose of life is to worship Allah swt. We should know that the only way for our salvation in this life and in the Hereafter is to know the Lord who created us, believe in Him, and worship Him alone.
What is the purpose of my life? What is the purpose of your life? What is the purpose of our lives?