In our day, people seriously lack a purpose in life. Almost everyone adopts a standard way of living. To feed one's self, to find a house in which to reside, to set up a family, and to have a job are the praised values to which one mostly aspires. In this standard way of living, the most important goal in life is to find ways to make a better living and to raise children.
For a better understanding of the purposelessness and meaninglessness permeating the lives of our society, it will be useful to look at other areas of interest apart from the aforementioned. The majority of people have a rather limited outlook. Often, not missing a TV series or watching a popular movie is what gives their daily life a meaning. For such people, a better goal in life, if any, might be to belong to a social club.
Another group of people's minds are totally preoccupied with business. All through their lives, they commute between office and home. A person starting his career in his early 20s does the same job for almost 40 years. Meanwhile, he often finds himself waiting for Fridays. His main ambitions amount to closing the tax month without problems, managing to find the rent every month, and to securing his children's future. Hardly any national or world events excite him. Only that which affects his business makes any sense to him. Never pondering over events, he readily accepts the status quo. He feels concerned only when issues challenge his business. To voice his concerns, he participates in discussion programmes on TV or talks until the early hours of the morning, arriving at no substantial solution or conclusion.
The next day, he starts a new day the same as the previous one.
Young people, too, suffer from the same purposelessness, and lack the essential factors that give life meaning. The vast majority of teenagers do not even know the leaders of their country, the political decisions they make, the impact of these decisions on national defence, the economy, or the educational and judiciary systems. Utterly oblivious of major events and developments in the world, they constantly fret over trivial and futile issues. That leaves them deprived of the skills to conceive the significance of many events of world history. Their conversations are often limited to computer games, Internet chats, dating, trivial events happening at school, cheating in exams, plans for the weekend, clothes or football games. In magazine surveys which ask teenagers to rank "the greatest goals worth pursuing in life", looking like a famous model or playing the guitar like the guitarist of a famous band come first.
Having no purpose in life and being oblivious of other realms of existence is a threat to humanity. However, over and above this, that among people who assume a particular stance in life, the majority advocate views which lack real values and are detrimental towards humanity, poses the real threat. That is because the leaders and advocates of dangerous ideas find masses to hand who are utterly bereft of faculties with which to discern danger, and who thus accept any presupposition without subjecting it to independent scrutiny.
In a verse Allah refers to the purposelessness of people thus:
Leave them to eat and enjoy themselves. Let false hope divert them. They will soon know. (Surat al-Hijr: 3)
There are surely ways for mankind to avoid such a situation: ensuring that they do not become persons who are only interested in leading their own lives and living to meet their needs. To this end, these people should be encouraged to become individuals whose target is to serve other people and deal, not merely with their own problems or of their individual countries but also, with the problems of the world. The religion Allah has chosen for people and revealed in the Qur'an shows this ultimate aim:
So, set your face firmly towards the Deen, as a pure natural believer, Allah's natural pattern on which He made mankind. There is no changing Allah's creation. That is the true Deen– but most people do not know it. (Surat ar-Rum: 30)
It is essential we tell aimless idle people that this world is created for a significant purpose. In the Qur'an, Allah informs us of His purpose in creating man: "I only created jinn and man to worship Me."(Surat adh-Dhariyat: 56)
Everyone will die one day. Then his real and eternal life will begin. The purpose of this life is to strive to be a person of whom Allah approves and whom He will host in His Garden. The conduct, ideals, and beliefs of every man will determine whether he will spend his eternal life in the hereafter in the Fire or in the Garden. For this reason, that these people mindlessly spend time on idle and worthless jobs, devoting their lives to them and behaving as if their existence on earth has no purpose, shows that these people must urgently be warned and awakened from the heedlessness in which they live.
Being aware that our purpose in the world is to earn Allah's approval, favour and the Garden, we cannot remain indifferent or insensitive to any event taking place around us. We know that every event is an opportunity to earn Allah's approval, and thus we will always act accordingly. We feel pangs of conscience whenever we witness injustice or oppression taking place in our vicinity or in the world. For instance, we feel the responsibility of each homeless boy, who lives in difficulty, and has to spend his life on the streets in the cold winter. Complying with the command of Allah in the verse, "So, as for orphans, do not oppress them, and as for beggars, do not berate them." (Surat ad-Duha: 9-10), we will treat them kindly. We will strive to find a way to save them from the unfavourable circumstances in which they live. Yet, we are aware that these children cannot be saved by our efforts or those of a few people behaving in compliance with the Qur'an. For this reason, we will strive for the values of the Qur'an and the Sunnah to be spread among all people.