What are the means of achieving the true purpose of a human being's life?
It may be asked how can this purpose be achieved and through what means can a person find God? The very first means of achieving this goal is to recognize God Almighty correctly and to believe in the True God. Unto Him alone is the true prayer, as He has the power to do all things. Those on whom they call beside Him, do not respond to them at all. Their case is like that of one who stretches forth his hand towards water that it may reach his mouth, but it reaches it not. The prayers of those who are unaware of the True God are but a delusion [13:15].
The second means is to be informed of the perfect beauty of God Almighty; for the heart is naturally drawn to beauty, the observations of which generates love in the heart. God is One in His being and His attributes and His glory. He has no partner. All are dependent upon Him. He bestows life on every particle. He is the source of grace for everything and is not in need of grace from any. He is neither a son nor a father for He has no equal and no one is like unto Him [112:2-6].
The third means of approach to God is knowledge of His beneficence, for beauty and beneficence are the two incentives of love. The beneficent attributes of God are summed up in Surah Fatiha as follows: God creates His servants from nothing, out of perfect Beneficence and His Providence is available to them all the time. He is the support of everything and every type of His beneficence has been manifested for His creatures [1:2-4].
The fourth means of achieving the true purpose of life appointed by God Almighty is supplication, as He has said: Call on Me, I shall respond to you [40:61].
The fifth means of achieving the purpose of life appointed by God Almighty, is striving in His cause; and that is to say, we should seek God by spending our wealth in His cause and by employing all our faculties in furthering His cause, and by laying down our lives in His cause and by employing our reason in His cause; as He has said: Strive in His way with your wealth and your lives and will all your faculties [9:41]; and: Whatever We have bestowed upon you of intelligence and knowledge and understanding and art, employ it in Our cause [2:4]. We surely guide along Our ways those who strive after us [29:70].
The sixth means of achieving this purpose has been described as steadfastness, meaning that a seeker should not get tired or disheartened and should not be afraid of being tried, as God has said: Upon those who affirm: God is our Lord, and turn away from false gods and are steadfast, that is to say, remain firm under trials and calamities, descend angels, reassuring them: Fear not nor grieve, and be filled with happiness; and rejoice that you have inherited the joy that you had been promised. We are your friends in this life and in the hereafter [41:31-32].
The seventh means of achieving the purpose of life is to keep company with the righteous, and to observe their perfect example. One of the needs for the advent of prophets is that man naturally desires a perfect example, and such an example fosters zeal and promotes high resolve. He who does not follow an example becomes slothful and is led astray. This is indicated by Allah, the Glorious, in the verse: Keep company with the righteous [9:119]; and in the verse: Guide us along the path of those upon whom Thou hast bestowed Thy favors [1:7].
The eighth means of achieving the purpose of life are visions and true dreams and revelation. As the path that leads to God Almighty is a difficult one and is studded with misfortunes and hardships and it is possible that a person might go astray while treading along this unfamiliar path and might begin to despair and stop going forward, the mercy of God desires to keep comforting him and encouraging him and augmenting his zeal and eagerness. So it is His way that from time to time He comforts such people with His word and His revelation and makes it manifest to them that He is with them. Thus they are strengthened and go forward eagerly on this journey. He has said: For them there are glad tidings in this life and in the hereafter [10:65].
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