Friday Sermon: The Purpose of Life

By Babatunde Jose

“Through the wise ordering of Creation man has been given the power to shape conditions for himself with the Power of the Creator.

Happy is he who uses it only for good!

But woe unto him who succumbs to the temptation to use it for evil!”

― Oskar Ernst Bernhardt (Abdrushin): In the Light of Truth

When we ask: “What is the goal and purpose of life?” And we get many different answers; it is because people are confused; they don’t really know. Is our purpose in this world simply to eat, sleep, dress, work, acquire some material things and enjoy ourselves? Is this our purpose? Why are we born? What is the object of our existence? What is the wisdom behind the creation of man and this tremendous universe?

Man, by default and by nature, contemplates life and death and his own relevance and place in this vast and expanding universe. Are we here and now by chance or are we for a purpose?

Though there is complete agreement between science and religion about our biological nature and our interconnectedness with the rest of the animal world: But there is a sharp divide and divergence of opinion between biology and philosophy, religion and materialism when the destiny of Man is the focus.

It is also impossible to explain human behavior in accordance with the theory of natural selection or, in other words, is he tailored according to Darwinian logic. There are so many dimensions of Man that simply defy any kind of Darwinian reductionism and the popular attempt of biological determinism to explain man’s nature.

It is not so much the physical attributes that differentiate Man from Ape. It is his inner world of cult, prohibition, taboos, beliefs and superstitions, aesthetic creativity and spiritual anxieties, and his relentless quest for meaning and purpose that make the difference between Man and ape.

Man shows an innate sense of right and wrong irrespective of culture, language and faith. It is because the human soul is the theatre of God and his conscience is His signature. Man is not only a physical being; he is also a spiritual being. There are two states of man, his body and his soul.

The longing for God, the quest for meaning, an innate sense of right and wrong, self-awareness, death consciousness, freedom of choice and free will, the power of articulation, willingness to self-sacrifice and aesthetic, ethical and spiritual concerns are some of qualities of Man that  materialists cannot comprehend    .

Man is not here by chance but for a purpose. What does the dignity of Man mean? It means that Man is different and human life is sublime and sacred. Allah said:

“I have created the jinn and humankind only for My worship.” (Quran 51:56)

However, the concept of worship has a deeper meaning, as espoused by the prophets of God including Jesus; worship, according to the final revelation, means obedient submission to the will of God: In other words, ‘keeping the commandments.

The equality of Man is also a metaphysical concept and appears to be mere wishful thinking if we can’t accept the fact that we are created quintessentially equal by one God. If people are judged by their talents, physical attributes, charm, grace and level of accomplishments, certainly they are unequal; but if we accept the presence of a divine spirit that radiates equally in all of them, then we are equal.

The search for the Absolute and the innate sense of right and wrong are the striking features of Man. The first Man was born the moment he directed his gaze onto the firmament, started wondering about himself and his surroundings and began his relentless search for God: Even the Cave Man was no less spiritual. Man is therefore, naturally inclined to be a believer. God-consciousness is deeply imprinted and soft wired into our DNA.

Man is not linear, his progress is also not and there is a steady regression in the fields of art, culture, religion and philosophy. Just as science and technology is consistently progressing, better means of communications, the Internet and all, the spiritual quality of Man is suffering a decline as a result of his aggrandizement. Today, man spends less time to reflect on himself and his God; hence he has moved away from the Source and is prone to much deviancy in both behavior and character.

At the root of the chasm between religion and materialism is the question of Man’s place in the universe. The religious view is that Man has another dimension beyond his biological existence and his presence here is with a purpose and for a mission.

Man still remains unknown to the men of both science and religion and the correct balance between faith and reason is the way forward, but how to reach and maintain that dynamic balance is a challenge to everyone and every community…

It is said that Man’s lust for the treasures of life began with the offer and his acceptance of the Apple in the Garden of Eden. He became conscious of the effect of the charm of the woman and their intentional exploitation. “With this began the cultivation of the intellect, with its accompanying manifestations of greed, falsehood and oppression, to which men finally subjected themselves completely, thus of their own free will making themselves slaves of their instrument. But with the intellect as ruler it inevitably followed that, in accordance with its very nature, they also chained themselves firmly to time and space, thereby losing the ability to grasp or experience anything above time and space, such as everything spiritual and ethereal. Abdrushin

But now at last we are very near the hour when the next great epoch in Creation sets in: The birth of the fully spiritualized man! Then there will be no more room for the oppressive materialist, chained to time and space. He will be a stranger in all the lands, homeless. He will wither away and perish like chaff that is sifted from the wheat. Take care that in this sifting you are not found too light! Abdrushin

With the end of the Holy Week and the ushering of Eastertide, we call on all those engrossed in greed, falsehood, and oppression to seek and emulate the abiding words of  Jesus in Matthew 19:16-17 And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?

17 And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? There is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.

Barka Juma’at, Happy Easter and a happy weekend


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