Essay No. 279:
Eat To Live, Not Live To Eat: One has to take food to live in the world. One should take simple food as far as possible. The commonality between human beings and animals is the food, which they have to take for subsisting in the world.
However, the difference between the two lies in the fact that animals eat only when they feel hungry, but man goes for beyond satisfying his hunger. Some people spend their entire life in eating, drinking and merrymaking. It appears such people are born in the world just “to eat and drink and be merry for tomorrow we die”. In other words, they do not eat to live rather live to eat.
The purpose of life to these people lies in merrymaking all the time. Their life revolves around pleasure. They are the followers of the philosophy of hedonism. They wish to enjoy life to the maximum. They are the seekers of self-pleasure. They are immune to the pain of others.
They can inflict any amount of pain on others for their enjoyment and pleasure. People belonging to this category, are self-centered and are indifferent to the problems and worries of others. People given to hedonistic pleasure live only to eat, as their main preoccupation is to enjoy the pleasures of life. It is a one-sided approach towards life.
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Man who is oblivious of the sufferings of his fellow beings is extremely selfish and self-centered. He only live for his comforts and pleasures. This view is in contradiction with the philosophy of Islam. Islam gives a message to the believers not to ignore the low, the indigent the under-privileged in life.
They deserve to be rehabilitated in life. Zakat, sadqat are the fiscal instruments of aiding the crest fallen section of the society. One should thus live for others. That is what life demands from man.
In the end, it may be remarked that those live merely for eating betray the purpose of their existence, as their behaviors is akin to that of animal-ism. One must satisfy one’s hunger and also help the needy to satisfy his hunger by parting with a part of one’s genuinely earned wealth. Excessive pursuit of pleasure can denude man of finer values and sentiments of life.