Do we enjoy our existence ?
2011 in The News Today, Bangladesh
yousuf mahbubul Islam, PhD
Is knowledge of any value to a person who does not have questions ? Let us look at what people in history have said to help us understand the importance of having questions. Louis Leo “Lou” Holtz (born 1937), a highly successful American football coach, active sportscaster, author and motivational speaker, said, “ I never learn anything talking. I only learn things when I ask questions. ”
Not only are answers meaningless to a person without questions, the prolific French writer andhistorian Voltaire (1694 – 1778) goes further to suggest that the worth of a person should bemeasured by the quality of questions he/she has !
“ Judge a person by their questions, rather than their answers. ”
If one enjoys having a consciousness, having feelings, being a unique individual and living a life, should such a person simply assume that all these things are random or that he/she deserves
the life he/she has ? Or should such a person have questions regarding the origin of the life theyare enjoying ? Questions like where has my consciousness come from? Is being unique andhaving life
a gift ?
If it is a gift, should I not be grateful ? Who should I be grateful to ?
Each of ushas to individually decide whether it is important to have questions regarding their ownexistence and enjoyment of the life given.
What kind of questions did our messengers and prophets have ? For example, what droveProphet Muhammad (pbuh) to isolate himself and meditate in the Cave of Hira ?
Fi-Zilale Al-Qur’an reports that the Prophet had questions regarding his own creation and everything around him: “When Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was nearly forty, he had been wont to pass longhours in retirement meditating and speculating over all aspects of creationaround him. This meditative temperament helped to widen the mental gap betweenhim and his compatriots.”
Meditating alone in the Cave, who guided the Prophet ? How did the Prophet get the answers hewas looking for ? The most recent Revelation, the Qur’an, informs us that our Creator will Guide those who seek guidance : “ And Allah does advance in guidance those who seek guidance ;…” [19.76]
Our Creator gave Guidance to Prophet Muhammad in the form of Revelation as well asprovided answers to all questions of those around him. This most recent Revelation is recordedin the Qur’an. The purpose of Revelation given to Prophet Muhammad was also clarified : “And no question do they bring to thee but We Reveal to thee the truth and the bestexplanation (there of).”
Answers to the questions suggested above are also given in the Qur’an, for example :
“ And your creation or your resurrection is but as an individual soul…”[31.28]
“It is He Who has created for you (the faculties of) hearing, sight, feelings andunderstanding :
little thanks it is you give !” [23.78]
“It is We who have placed you with authority on earth and provided you therein withmeans for the fulfillment of your life : small are the thanks that you give !” [7.10]
Enjoying the gift of life, should one therefore be grateful to the Creator and find ways to try toplease the Creator ?
Regarding our individual personality and responsibility, we are also guided : “To each is a goal to which Allah turns him; then strive together (as in a race) toward allthat is good…”[2.148]
“O people! Adore your Guardian-Lord who created you and those who came before you that you may have the chance to learn righteousness.” [2.21]
Given that each one of us has an individual personality, skills and preferences, how can one begrateful to the Creator and do things to please Him ? History provides examples of how theprophets showed their gratefulness to the Creator, fought for the truth and totally trusted theCreator. Given the blessings and benefits each enjoys, what can or should one do ?
“But any that (in this life) have believed, repented and worked righteousness will havehopes to be among those who achieve salvation.” [28.67]
“And the likeness of those who spend their substance seeking to please Allah and to strengthen their souls is as a garden high and fertile: heavy rain falls on it but makes it yield a double increase of harvest and if it receives not heavy rain light moisture suffices it. Allah sees well whatever you do.” [2.265]
The prophets were all human beings who enjoyed the life given by the Creator. They were grateful and worked righteousness. The prophets are now gone and history has recorded their deeds. Taking lesson from these deeds, should we work at finding righteous deeds that suit our skills and environment given or should we return to sinful ways of the ungrateful ?
“Muhammad is no more than an Apostle: many were the Apostles that passed away before him. If he died or were slain will you then turn back on your heels ? If any did turn back on his heels not the least harm will he do to Allah; but Allah (on the other hand) will swiftly reward those who (serve him) with gratitude.” 3.144
“And the apostles whom We sent before thee (Muhammad) were all (men) who ate food and walked through the streets…”[25.20]
“There was indeed in them an excellent example for you to follow for those whose hopeis in Allah and in the Last Day. But if any turn away truly Allah is Free of all WantsWorthy of all Praise.”[60.6]
What was the main purpose of each apostle or prophet ?
“Say: “Truly am I a Warner: no god is there but the One Allah, Supreme and Irresistible”[38.65]
“The Lord of the heavens and the earth and all between, exalted in Might, Able to enforce His Will, forgiving again and again. ”[38.66]
“Nor can a soul die except by Allah’s leave the term being fixed as bywriting. If any do desire a reward in this life We shall give it to him; and if any do desire a reward in the Hereafter We shall give it to him. And swiftly shall We reward those that (serve Us with) gratitude.” 3.145
Each has been given a limited time on earth to learn and demonstrate righteousness. Allah also guides us with examples of those who do not wish to be grateful:
“Such as fear not the meeting with Us (for Judgment) say: “Why are not the angels sent down to us or (why) do we not see our Lord ?
” Indeed they have an arrogant conceit of themselves and mighty is the insolence of their impiety !” [25.21]