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Imam: What is the purpose of Allah-given life?

Reader comment on item: Destroying Sculptures of Muhammad
in response to reader comment: Creation of Man

Submitted by Plato (India), Apr 13, 2008 at 07:35

Imam Syed Ahmed Syeed, you wrote:

>> God created man with a specific purpose don't you agree, Plato?<<

That is what Allah claims. Studying the Koran I could not but conclude that the purpose for which He created us is not a very spiritually elevating one. The purpose Allah tells us He created us for, is to worship Him alone (there are some other requirements, but this is mother of all requirements) for which He will grant us all kinds of pleasures of the flesh in multiple measure.

You are an Imam. With your learning can you show me I am wrong?

>>In the Qur'an he tells the Angels that he is going to create Mankind to be a Khalifah on the Earth.<<

To what earthly/heavenly purpose? Why does Allah, the needless, need Khalifas on earth? The earth is not even a speck of dirt in the vastness of even the known universe. There are supposedly other planets which can support life. Are there also Khalifas ruling them? The Koran, the book of all knowledge, has nothing to say about this.

>>He created us unique from everything else in that we have a soul, and free will. So we have the choice to believe in God, or to disbelieve, and with those choices there are consequences.<<

All religions claim we have souls and free will. But Islam is unique in that the Koran is living proof that Allah has not granted us free will. To begin with Allah claims to know the future. That is simple enough for Him since He is the one creating the future (remember Allah telling His angels that He is going to create us as vice regents). We were actors or rather puppets in Allah' uncreated future. Can we even think a thought without Allah having known about before He created us? What free will are you talking about??

>> So we have the choice to believe in God, or to disbelieve, and with those choices there are consequences. When we follow a life indulging in what is wrong, and evil, then it will come back to harm us,..<<

I have just shown you in my previous comment how free will is impossible if an All-powerful Allah takes responsibility for creating our future. But for argument's sake let us assume that in some unfathomable way free will is possible. It would have been helpful if you had spelled out what you mean by evil about which we have to make a choice.

For instance is not refusing to say the shahada an evil act? From my reading of the Koran, nothing could be more evil than refusing to murmur the shahada in one's lifetime. Allah can gracefully forgive any other evil, but not this.

The concept of wrong and evil brings up Muhammad's actions during his lifetime. The hadith and the sira tells us Muhammad had several people murdered for criticizing him, even a mother of six children. In one case praising Allah for bringing him the head of his enemy. In the case of the poetess the guilt-ridden assassin was assured that two goats would not butt their heads over the murder.

There is also the case of Muhammad having some murderers of his shepherd having their limbs chopped off, their eyes put out and left to die of thirst. Another act involved the torture and killing of the Mother of Believers' Safiya's husband, Kinana bin Rabi.

Can these acts of the prophet be termed wrong and evil? You can of course answer as people like Mansoor, Syed Mohammed Ali and others who say that Muhammad was mandated by Allah to do so.

If that is also your take on these incidents then wrong and evil become matters of legislation, there being nothing intrinsically good or evil. Again studying the Koran that is exactly the impression I came away with.

Allah legislates against alcohol and usury. He does not legislate against that most abhorrent practice in human history, slavery. So making the choice to abjure alcohol and usury will bring us rewards. But there are no consequences to making the choice to acquire and keep slaves.

>>However when we follow a life according to God's will, He guides us to a better life. One that is blessed, and full of success.<<

The Koran does not tell us that holding/capturing slaves is not against His will. Beating my wives if I consider they are misbehaving despite warnings is not against Allah's will. Shutting away a woman convicted of lewdness until she dies is not against Allah's will 4:15. Having followed all of Allah's other strictures Allah will bless my life and lead me to success. Really, Imam, is this Allah really God?

>> I'm not trying to change your mind about what you feel the Qur'an says, We both have our own interpetations about it, and that's ok.<<

Unfortunately, Allah has ruled out the possibility of different interpretations as He says in many places that the Koran is a clear book without any doubt in it. So any time there is disagreement over a verse it would mean the meaning is not clear, a possibility ruled out by the Koran itself, or it is one of those allegorical ones which it is fruitless for us mortals to interpret, again as the Koran tells us clearly in:

3:7 YUSUFALI: He it is Who has sent down to thee the Book: In it are verses basic or fundamental (of established meaning); they are the foundation of the Book: others are allegorical. But those in whose hearts is perversity follow the part thereof that is allegorical, seeking discord, and searching for its hidden meanings, but no one knows its hidden meanings except Allah. …

Allah has told us categorically that it is not ok to have our own interpretations.

Regards

Plato

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