There are four basic questions of our life that will help us clarify the purpose we are put on this planet earth.
1. Where did I come from?
2. What is the purpose of life on earth?
3. How do I know right from wrong?
4. Where am I headed after I die?'
WHERE I CAME FROM?
The recent single origin of modern humans in East Africa is the near-consensus position held within the scientific community ... that it started from East Africa between 100 to 200 thousands years ago.
DNA evidence paints conflicting pictures of Darwin's single "tree of life". There is no such single "tree". We belong to multiple and separate trees of plants, animals, and humans.
In Arabic, human is also called haywan natiq, an animal with ability to speak. We have yet to see an animal that speaks like humans do.
Noam Chomsky, a linguist, calls it "Universal Grammar"
Seen and Unseen Realm (Kingdoms)
Mulk is what we see, feel, and touch. Malakut is what we can't see ... such as Angels and jinns.
"I certainly believe that what we perceive as humans is just the tip of the iceberg. I don't necessarily believe in vampires or werewolves or that kind of thing, but I believe there is definitely a realm (kingdom) we don't necessarily have access to." Alan Ball, director
In a 2007 survey conducted by Pew research, 92% Americans said they believe in God ... 70% with absolute certainty.
The five stages of body and soul
AbdAllah Al Haddad, a Yemeni scholar, explains five stages of human life.
The first 'Life of Man', is before his conception. Haddad cites the famous Qur'anic verse in chapter 7, which describes how the souls of all mankind were taken from Adam's back, and made to declare their faith in the divine unity (tawhid)
The Second Life is our existence in the world, a reality with which we are most familiar with.
Third Life begins at the moment of death, when man enters the barzakh, the 'intermediate area' which is a period between life in world (dunya) and the Judgement Day (yom ul hisab)
The Fourth Life is the Judgement: the Trumpet-Blast, the Gathering, the Bridge of sirat, the Balance, and the Intercession (shafaa) of the Messenger (saw) with God.
Fifth Life, describing the uproar of the Fire, and the pure perfection of Paradise. A Vision (ru'ya) of God's Face, which will be granted to the blessed in Heaven, together with God's ultimate mercy and compassion for His creation, the humans.
PURPOSE OF LIFE
"I would rather die a meaningful death than to live a meaningless life."
Corazon Aquino, statesman
If our destiny does not end in some better place, then our life on earth is useless.
Raghib Isfahani, an eleventh century mufassir and thinker, explains three (3) reasons for purposeful existence for not only Muslims but also for people of other believes, or even people without any belief.
The first reason for people to exist is i'mara. God placed us on earth to cultivate, or to build.
The 2nd reason is for ibada. "We only created jinns and human to worship Us (God)".
Ibn Abbas said ubudia means to know or to love Allah ... or to appreciate or be thankful to Him
The 3rd reason for our existence on earth is the khilafah or be deputy of God. The meaning of khilafa is to rule self and others. It means to be upright first then judge between people with truth.
THE INNER SELF
Nafs in Arabic means inner-self. In Hebrew it's called Nefesh. There are three primary stages or types of Nafs mentioned in the Qur'an; Ammara, Lawwama, and Mutmainna
The inciting nafs (ammara) is the center of endless desires and evil
The blaming nafs (lawwama) is the self-judging and the accusing.
The nafs-ul-mutma'inna is totally at peace with its creator, the God.
Al Ghazali identified four basic qualities of human soul which you can also find in other Islamic traditions.
Ability to learn-Intellect (Quwwat al Ilm)
Force of anger (Quwwat al Ghadab)
Apatite or desires (Quwwat Al Shehwa)
Balance (Quwwat Al Adl)
Quwwat Al Adl is the power that keeps the first three in check to keep humans in peaceful and healthy state. If the first three are out of balance, you become dhalim or unjust. Meaning you are either oppressing yourself or other people.
If the hikmah or intellect is less, it makes a person stupid, if it’s too much, he is prone to trickery and treachery.
RIGHT OR WRONG
Nafs is often referred in Sufi texts as the yellow dog with an endless appetite (shehwa)
The word vicious means "full of vice". The root word for that is vitium in Latin which means "failing or defect". The opposite of Vice is Virtue.
Diseases of the heart (or soul) in Islamic tradition are kibr, riyya, shehwa, hassad, gheeba, bughd, hirs, kusala, which overlap with Dante's seven deadly sins; Pride, overindulgence in food and lust, jealousy, hatred, greed, and laziness.
Imam Mawlud states that good or bad habits are related to the company one keeps. The Prophet (saw) said, “A man takes on the faith of his companion.”
And it is said, “if you sit at the door of a bar, you will either walk in and do what people are doing in there or smell the alcohol. But if you sit at the door of a flower shop, you will either walk in and buy some flowers or at least enjoy the smell”
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