Essay No. 80:
My View Of Life: People have different ideas about life. There is no unanimity amongst philosophers, poets, novelists about life. Life cannot be scientifically described. Life is life. That is all. Life, however, can be discussed in reference to its various aims.
I don’t think the purpose of life is to eat, drink and be merry. Man must go far beyond physical living. Animals also live. If mere living is the objective, then there is no difference between man and animals. If man were to behave like animals, then he would be above all sorts of moral considerations. He can go to any extent to satisfy his hunger, as animals do. A cow when hungry can move into anybody’s field to get fodder. If it were like that, there would be moral chaos in society.
I believe in the dictum that life is to give and not to take. Viewed from this angle, the highest aim of life appears to rehabilitate the poor, the depraved, the downtrodden in life. That is why Islam attaches the highest importance to this objective, namely to upgrade the crest-fallen in life. Zakat is the instrument to achieve the objective. The wealthy should part with their hard-earned wealth in legal, honest ways to bring about the rehabilitation of the poor.
They should be made to stand on their feet independently in life, so that their self-respect, the ego is not injured. In the present conditions, it is a sin to be born in a poor family in Pakistan. That means denial of basic physical/social needs of life to the newly-born souls. Purpose of life can be served if an egalitarian society based on Adl were founded in which the basic needs of all the sundry were satisfied. The idea is to convert dehumanized human beings into humanized ones. I believe in humanism.
I wish the rich philanthropists were to come forward to establish hospitals for providing free treatment to the poor. As far as possible free medicines may be given to the poor, the indigent. For the education of the children of the poor, schools may be established where the quality of education is imparted to blossom forth the talent in the poor to be utilized for the overall growth of the society.
Under the market economy, man develops callousness for others. He is bound by self-interest. He is immune to the sufferings and problems of others. He wishes to accumulate wealth for his personal enjoyment. If A’s neighbour is hungry, that is not its concern. He may die of starvation, while A may be rolling in wealth and affluence. Man under the market mechanism wishes to exist only for himself.
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He is indifferent to the sufferings of his poor fellow beings. Islam exhorts believers not to blind their eyes and be responsive to the needs of their fellow beings. That’s the highest form of ‘ABADAT’ in the eyes of Allah. Allah loves his creatures. Those who love Allah’s creatures, by catering to their needs, earn His pleasure.
Allah does not demand worship from man. He ordains a man to spare something out of his wealth for the needy fellow beings. Islam thus stands for the rehabilitation of the poor, the depressed that is the spirit of life. The man should give financial oxygen to low in life.
Another aim of life should be to avoid prejudice, which is the number one enemy of man. Islam forbids believers to adopt prejudice in life. One can afford to cast aside prejudice if one comes out of limited thinking. One should believe in the Quranic recipe: your works unto you, my works unto me. Every man is answerable for his doings in life to his Creator.
No one should assume the role of a policeman to correct him/her if he/she does not conform to his faith. Prejudice should be avoided in life as far as possible. Life should be free of all prejudices. Prejudices narrow down one’s outlook on life. Mental horizon squeezed. The prejudice of all kinds should be shunned.