It is a natural byproduct of being alive to wonder at the reason behind it all. Life can seem so inherently confusing that it seems to provide us with many more questions than answers. Many spiritual systems have been devised to tackle such existential musings. In Islam the purpose of our being on this planet is quite clear. It is in fact one of the few faiths to state our purpose in unequivocal terms.
We are on this planet as a test. This world is a middle ground where Allah will test our faith in Him along with our charity toward each other. Should we pass both tests we are granted entry into the Kingdom of Heaven. Should we fail… well, you know what happens then. The Koran acknowledges that by nature man is spiritually weak. However there is a seed inside all of us that could blossom into greatness were we to follow the tenets of the religion.
This battle between higher and lower impulses is actually the origin of the term jihad. Jihad is used to symbolize, not external conflicts, but rather our own internal conflict between the lesser side of our nature and the conscience Allah has placed inside of all of us. Muhammad said: “We have returned from the lesser jihad (battle) to the greater jihad (jihad of the soul).”
Often the great calamities of life test our faith. In Islam these natural occurrences have great, direct purpose. As man advanced in ability there is a tendency to forget the spiritual. However, when a natural disaster occurs we are brought back to our roots. We feel helpless and more than any other time band together. In Islam these violent acts of nature are Allah’s will, though he does admittedly work in very mysterious ways beyond our comprehension.
The Koran says: “And certainly, We shall test you with something of fear, hunger, loss of wealth, lives and fruits, but give glad tidings to As-Saabiroon (the patient)” (2:155)
The Koran also says: “Who, when afflicted with calamity, say: ‘Truly, to Allah we belong and truly, to Him we shall return. They are those on whom (Descend) blessings from Allah, and Mercy, and they are the ones that receive guidance.” (2:156-157)
Above all, our charge regardless of whether or not we meet with dread calamity is to find Allah. To find Him in our hearts and live His gospel with no reservations. Your task is to make moral order in this world through nonviolent means and this starts by strengthening your own faith. Money corrupts if seen as an end in itself rather than a means to advance the fundamentals of Islamic teaching.
The Koran states about using money in excess:”O ye who believe! Fear God, and give up what remains of your demand for usury, if ye are indeed believers.” Koran Verse 2:278 (Chapter Al-Baqara)
Money takes over a great many lives and greed is one of the very things you commit jihad against. Do not lend money to make profits. Do not invest in things that are not extensions of the faith. Donate everything you do not need to survive toward the cause of advancing good will. Money is just a system of exchange and nothing more than that.
Overall, Islam just wants us to reach Allah. According to the faith this is the true purpose of life on this earth: to meet Allah. We are given signs throughout life in the form of our internal urges and external situations beyond our control. And at the end of life it is entirely up to Allah when we are finished with the test and can join him or perish. Though we have the ability to control our decisions here we do not have the ability to change the date of our final demise.
On our final fate The Koran (3:145) says: “No soul will ever die unless it is Allah’s will. The length of each life is predetermined according to the Scriptures. Those who wish to receive their reward in this world will receive it, and those who wish to receive their reward in the world to come will also receive it. And We will undoubtedly reward those who serve Us with gratitude.”