Why Was Man Created?
By Maulana Wahiduddin Khan for New Age Islam
The Quran (51: 56-60) says:
I created the jinn and mankind only so that they might worship Me: I seek no sustenance from them, nor do I want them to feed Me—it is God who is the great Sustainer, the Mighty One, the Invincible. The wrongdoers will meet the same fate as their predecessors—let them not ask Me to hasten on [the punishment]—woe, then, to those who are bent on denying the truth, when the Day arrives which they have been promised.
Mujahid, a disciple of Prophet’s Companion Abdullah ibn Abbas, has explained the word liyabudun in the above verse with the phrase liyarifun. That is, by the words ‘so that they might worship Me’ is meant ‘so that they may realize Me’.
This suggests that in this Quranic verse by ‘worship’ is meant not the external form of worship, but, rather, the spirit of worship. Undoubtedly, it is the spirit of worship that is known as realization of God.
Now, what is ‘realization’ all about? What is one to realize?
Realization refers to the discovery of the actual relationship that exists between oneself and one’s Creator. This relationship has two aspects: one,in relation to man, and the other, in relation to the Creator. In other words, it is to realize at the level of discovery that man is all-powerless and that God is all-powerful, that God is the Giver in the fullest sense and that man is a taker in the fullest sense.
The verses that follow tell us the reality of worship: “I seek no sustenance from them, nor do I want them to feed Me—it is God who is the great Sustainer, the Mighty One, the Invincible.” This verse has two parts. The first part, “I seek no sustenance from them”, means that man is completely dependent on God for sustenance, or, in other words, that man is a taker, in a one-sided way, and that God is in a complete sense the Giver, in a one-sided way.
The last part of the above-quoted portion of the Quran is: “woe, then, to those who are bent on denying the truth, when the Day arrives which they have been promised.” This tells us that discovering the Creator and our relationship with Him is no ordinary matter. This issue is linked to the eternal law of reward and punishment. That is to say, heaven is for you if you truly fulfil the aim of having been created. And if you fail in this test, your destination is hell.
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