The Goal of Creation (2)

The Goal of Creation (2)

Thus, in Islam everything revolves round the axis of God, including the goal in the mission of prophets and individuals' goal of life. Now let us study the question of worship. In the second verse, Ibrahim's words show pure devotion and he shows himself a thoroughly devoted servant of God who is ruled by no thought but that of God. Concerning the reason for the mission of prophets, the Qur'an offers several explanations. The Quran says: "O, Prophet, We sent you as witness, harbinger and giver of warning, to invite towards God by his leave, and to be a bright light."(1) Thus a prophet is a witness to the people's deeds; a harbinger of the good deeds recommended by the prophets; an agent of warning against evil acts, and a man who calls human beings towards God, which is by itself an ultimate goal.

Elsewhere a prophet's mission is mentioned as a duty to bring people out of darkness into light. Therefore, it is clear that the people are called upon to know God the prophets are the link between creatures and the creator. In another verse another point is mentioned as the goal in the mission of the prophets: "Truly we sent our prophets with clear proofs and with them we sent the Book and true measure, so that the people rise in justice, and we sent iron in which there is great firmness and benefits for people ...".(2)

In this verse by measure is probably meant law, so that justice will prevail. Thus, the prophets have come to establish justice, and this is another aspect of their objective. Justice cannot, as people like Ibn-Sina argues, be truly established among people without an equitable law, which for two reasons cannot be devised by man. Firstly, man cannot distinguish truth completely or free himself from personal bias, Secondly, there is no guarantee for its execution, for, man's nature makes him prefer himself to others. So, when the law is in his favor, he accepts it, and when it is against his interest, he rejects it.

A law must be of a kind to which man submits, and such a law must come from God to induce obedience in man's deep conscience. This just law is from God, and to have a guarantee for its execution, rewards and punishments must be devised, and to enable people to have faith in them, they must know God himself. Thus, knowing God is for several reasons, a pre-requisite for the establishment of justice.

Even worship is set up to prevent people from forgetting the legislator and to remember Him always as an overseer, With this argument, calling people to God is another goal, otherwise there would be no motive for knowing Him. In this way, we have three types of logic, the first one is that the goal in the mission of the prophets is only the establishment of justice among people and securing for them a happy life in this world, accordingly, knowing God and having faith in Him and in Resurrection are all pre-requisites to hat. The second logic is quite the reverse, that is, knowing God and worship and proximity to God are the main goal, and justice is secondary Man' s spirituality in this world is predicated on his social life, and social life without law and justice is not possible. So, law and justice are pre-requisites for worshipping God. Thus attending to social problems which we consider so important today in connection with justice are objectives of the Prophets, but its importance remains secondary.

The third view questions the necessity of envisaging a separate goal for the prophets' mission and another for Creation and life, and thereby the need of considering one of them as the principal goal and the other as a subsidiary one We may say the prophets have had two independent goals, one of them as a link between man and God for the sake of worshipping Him, and secondly to establish justice among people; so we may put aside the idea of one of them being a pre-requisite to the other.

You can find examples of this in the Qur'an, where the matter of the purification of self is emphasized, and salvation is stated to depend on it Is self-purification a goal in Islam? Is it a goal or a pre-requisite, pre-requisite for what? For knowing God, and linking to Him and worshipping Him? Or for the establishment of social justice? According to this view, as the prophets' mission sought the establishment of social justice, social evils and goodness are distinguished. They recommend human beings to avoid the evils, such as envy, pride, selfishness, sensuality, etc, and cherish virtues such as truthfulness, integrity, affection, modesty, etc Or should it be claimed that self-purification is in itself an independent goal?

Which of the above views should be accepted? To our way of thinking the Qur'an never approves of dualism in any sense. The Qur'an is a monotheistic book in every sense of the word It says: "God has no like or equal"(3) It represents all the Attributes of God in their utmost perfection.[All the best Names are His," "The Most Exalted Attribute is only God's."](4) It admits of no partners for Him, and no rival, and says all power belongs to Him and to none other. It is also monotheistic in not attributing any goal as a fundamental, independent and ultimate to the universe but God. For man, too, in both his creation and his obligations and actions, no goal but God is recognized.

There is all the difference between a man who wants Islam, and a man who believes in just schools of philosophy. Many of the things said by Islam are the same as those of others, but not in the same perspective. Islam always regards matters in a monotheistic perspective. In philosophy, as we said before, man has reached a stage where he says that the world is governed by a series of constant and unalterable laws. The Qur'an says the same but in the divine context. ["You will never find God's Way alterable."](5) The Qur'an does not only accept the principle of social justice, but considers it most significant, though not as an ultimate goal, nor as a pre-requisite to what we understood by worldly happiness.

Islam accepts worldly happiness within the practical constraints of monotheism, that is, to be wholly devoted to God.

According to the Qur'an, man gains his happiness only from God, and it is He who fills all the gaps in his life, and satisfies him. The Qur'an says: "Those who have faith and their hearts are tranquil in thinking of God, know that all hearts find peace by remembering God ."(6) Only God brings repose to the anxious and inquisitive hearts of man. Other things are subsidiary and preliminary matters, not the final stage. The same is said of worship: "To remember God, pray."(7)

Also, the following verse says: "Prayer checks wickedness and injustice, and remembering God is more important."(8) Islam thinks of man as created to worship God, to seek proximity to Him and to know Him, all of which give him power. But knowledge and power are not the ultimate goal, nor is self-purification.

NOTES:

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1. [The Qur'an, 33: 33, 45 and 46]

2. [The Qur'an, 57:25 ]

3. [The Qur'an, 42:11 ]

4. [The Qur'an, 20: 8: and 16: 60]

5. [The Qur'an: 35: 43]

6. [The Qur'an: 13:28 ]

7. [The Qur'an: 20:14]

8. [The Qur'an: 29:45]