The Purposelessness of Disbelieving People
In our day, some 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 societies remote from religious morality, it will be useful to look at other areas of interest apart from the aforementioned. Some 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 programs on TV or talks until the early hours of the morning, arriving at no substantial solutions or conclusions. The next day, he starts a new day the same as the previous one.
Some 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 defense, the economy, or the educational and judiciary systems. Utterly oblivious to major events and developments in the world, they constantly fret over trivial and futile issues. That leaves them deprived of the skills to comprehend 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.
Drifting along, they never think of broadening their horizons. For instance, they do not even think about improving their speaking skills, simply because they have not a single idea of talking to or influencing people. In addition, they do not read. A person having a purpose and a worldview reads to enrich himself as well as to learn about opposing points of view. The purpose in that is to have a better understanding of ideologies likely to challenge one's own ideas and identify their individual weaknesses. Yet, for a person without purpose or an outlook on the world, the existence of certain ideas will surely have no meaning. Moreover, these people are not even aware of current ideas and other people's worldviews. Today in many societies, people have a serious lack of interest in reading books and newspapers while there is a great demand for tabloids, gossip columns in newspapers and magazine programs on TV. Though some people have a lot of spare time, that they tend to spend their days in front of TV sets watching soap operas and programs which add nothing to their intellectual faculties, is an evident result of being bereft of purpose and of degeneration.
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 actually detrimental towards humanity, poses the real threat. That is because the leaders and advocates of these dangerous ideas find masses to hand who are utterly bereft of the intellectual faculties with which to discern danger, and who thus accept any presupposition without subjecting it to independent scrutiny.
Given these circumstances, in their efforts to attract partisans, anarchists and terrorists, harboring deep-seated enmity against their country and nation, they encounter no resistance. For instance, in a college cafeteria, where, to this end, they instill their views subversively, an idle teen watches vaguely while young people right next to him are exposed to indoctrination. Never does he realize that these people will soon start to act under the influence of the anarchists' and terrorists' conditioning, and become merciless criminals who can readily set their hands on weapons to use against the police, soldiers and innocent people of their own country. Even if he realizes this threat, he remains indifferent to the danger. In any case, he hardly has the awareness or a sense of responsibility that would lead him to handle the situation wisely.
In a verse Allah refers to the purposelessness of some people thus:
Leave them to eat and enjoy themselves. Let false hope divert them. They will soon know. (Surat al-Hijr: 3)
An attentive person observes that the reaction shown by particular groups to any new policy adopted in universities, often proves to be more harmful than beneficial. This is a consequence of the group's stance, because the group does not defend what is right and good. Another group, on the other hand, prefers to remain silent and simply ignores these events instead of calling people to the right conduct, and advising them to keep their allegiance to their state and stay away from rebelliousness. Meanwhile, some others appear with malice and hostility, and, marching with slogans, stones and sticks, demonstrate another sort of oppression and horror. However, their efforts are to no avail; they do not advocate the values Allah has communicated, but demonstrate all kinds of behavior not complying with the Qur'an. In one of His verses, Allah describes that unbelievers' efforts in this world are wasted:
The metaphor of those who reject their Lord is that their actions are like ashes scattered by strong winds on a stormy day. They have no power at all over anything they have earned. That is extreme misguidance. (Surah Ibrahim: 18)
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 religion, 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 religion– but most people do not know it. (Surat ar-Rum: 30)
Allah, the Creator of man, also created religion, the religion that most suits him and ensures the utmost peace and security for man. Thus, no philosophy or ideology of any kind except religion can provide the perfection and bliss people seek. For this reason, the advocates of erroneous ideas should be told why they are wrong, and they should be provided with the relevant evidence and guidance in replacing these erroneous ideas with the true ones.
It is essential we tell aimless idle people, and those blindly attached to erroneous ideas, about the Qur'an. Only then, can they see and comprehend 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, favor 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 His verses, "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 unfavorable 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 people.
Selfishness is Caused by Purposelessness
Purposelessness makes people, and societies alike, selfish and indifferent. They tend to mind only their own interests and show no response or pay interest to events happening around them. A person whose singular aim is to live his life, among all the events taking place around him, only notices those events that relate to his own life and cares for nothing else. For instance, in case of a civil war breaking out in a country with which he trades, he feels concerned only for the money he would lose. He never thinks of the people massacred, the babies violently murdered and the fearful and grievous life in that country. Never do these painful pictures occur to his mind. Only chasing after his money, he never thinks of helping those people in one way or another. This is, however, only one of the examples of the indifference that some people consider reasonable, and take for granted.
Almost everyday, newspapers and television give extensive coverage to stories of people in every corner of the world who are exposed to unbearable hardship and violence. Disorder, whose source is non-adherence to the values of the Qur'an and the Sunnah, and disbelief account for the majority of these ordeals. Be it in Palestine, Indonesia, Kosovo, Chechnya, or any other place in the world, you see the images of people dragged along the ground because of a handful of land, or kicked, shouted at, or humiliated before the eyes of their children. Similarly, everyone is familiar with seeing little kids desperately hurling stones to defend themselves. Having seen all these horrible scenes, however, some people can still go to sleep and go on with their usual lives since they personally come to no harm. Not being in the habit of thinking "big" and lacking superior values and a conscience, such cruelty simply does not move these people.
Except for those who do prayer and are constant in it; those in whose wealth there is a known share for beggars and the destitute; those who affirm the Day of Judgment, those who are fearful of the punishment of their Lord.
Imagining oneself in the shoes of the oppressed will surely show us how these people have no conscience at all about such saddening events. If one of these people were in an environment where innocent people are killed, their wives, children, brothers, and parents starved and exposed to cruelty… What if he was exposed to severe poverty?… What if he had no money and no means of getting medical treatment for his sick child?… What if he was expelled from his homeland for no obvious reason?… Alternatively, what would he think if he encountered someone who did not suffer all this distress and merely worried over the money he could make and who simply thought, "Am I the one who should save these people?" Would he not think that person has no conscience, and that he is indifferent and inhumane?
It is not essential, however, to suffer oppression in order to become a considerate and conscientious person. Seeing the plight of people and considering their situation in terms of the morality of the Qur'an is enough. Yet, the more people become distant from the Qur'an, the more they show insensitivity of conscience. Allah relates the selfish, insensitive and brutal conduct of people who lack religion in His verses as follows;
Truly man was created headstrong – desperate when bad things happen, begrudging when good things come. (Surat al-Ma'arij: 19-21)
In the verse that follows, Allah mentions the existence of people who are not "selfish" and who are concerned about the needy:
Except for those who do prayer and are constant in it; those in whose wealth there is a known share for beggars and the destitute; those who affirm the Day of Judgment, those who are fearful of the punishment of their Lord. (Surat al-Ma'arij: 22-27)
As Allah states in the verses, people who fear Allah assume responsibility for destitute people. Allah shows that there are two ways for people in the life of this world, one of which is right and the other wrong. Allah reveals this truth in the Qur’an as follows:
(Have We not) shown him the two highways? But he has not braved the steep ascent. What will convey to you what the steep ascent is? It is freeing a slave or feeding on a day of hunger an orphaned relative or a poor man in the dust; then to be one of those who have iman (faith) and urge each other to steadfastness and urge each other to compassion. Those are the Companions of the Right. Those who reject Our signs, they are the Companions of the Left. Above them is a sealed vault of Fire. (Surat al-Balad: 10-20)
The right way shown in the verses above is quite clear. Therefore, it is unlikely that a conscientious person, who aims to gain the approval and mercy of Allah and the Garden, will remain inconsiderate towards oppressive practices in the world, or towards destitute and needy people, and not think of their future.
Every conscientious person has to remember that today, anarchy, oppression and tyranny, prevalent in different corners of the world, are causing millions of people to drift into misery and terror. Some say, "Particular people are responsible for this misery, can I be held responsible for that?" However, these are not the words a conscientious person would say. Ultimately in the hereafter, Allah will take all men endowed with sound health and understanding to account for these poor people. Those who promote ideologies that lay the proper ground for violence and cruelty towards humanity to flourish, remain – whether they accept it or not – in the same class with the oppressors. The same also holds true for those avoiding confronting these ideologies. Not adhering to the principles of the true religion will inevitably lead to the type of society created by irresponsible and heedless people who assume they will be released from it without giving account to anyone. These are actually the sort of people who, more than anyone else, consider their own interests first and make plans for their own survival.
… Freeing a slave or feeding on a day of hunger an orphaned relative or a poor man in the dust; then to be one of those who have faith and urge each other to steadfastness and urge each other to compassion…
Indeed, at the basis of the theory of evolution that "supposedly" provides scientific support for the materialist philosophy, and materialism which is the basis of disbelief, lies the aspiration to form an irresponsible and heedless model of humanity deprived of all spiritual values. This man feels he is not obliged to give account to anyone. According to the theory of evolution, man is an advanced animal evolved from the ape and formed by coincidence. A view that regards man as such a primitive creature by no means leads one to sacrifice for other people, or saving a suffering human being and feeling mercy and compassion for him. Moreover, according to the theory of evolution, life is a place of struggle where only the strong have the right to live. The poor and the weak, on the other hand, are destined to perish. People all over the world have been receiving this indoctrination for decades from schools, television, newspapers and the people around them. The only way to eliminate this indoctrination and to establish affection, mercy, co-operation and solidarity among people is to communicate to people the values in the Qur'an and the Sunnah and tell them of the losses disbelief will bring both in this world and the hereafter. This is an important duty for all believers. Allah promises a good end to those who assume such an important and honorable responsibility.
Allah has promised those of you who have faith and do right actions that He will make them successors in the land as He made those before them successors, and will firmly establish for them their religion with which He is pleased and give them, in place of their fear, security. 'They worship Me, not associating anything with Me.' Any who disbelieve after that, such people are deviators. (Surat an-Nur: 55)