Our Purpose of Creation
We are often asked the question “Why was man created?” Asking ourselves or others such a question is a great divine grant for us:
The sun cannot ask itself this question; a star cannot ask the sun either. A bee cannot ask another bee this question, nor can a sheep ask another sheep. It means man, who is looking for the answer to this question has been left free to use his existence as he wishes; he is in pursuit of something and he is subject to testing regarding the issue.
The only way to pass this test is to learn the answer from our Creator. The people who reach this point knock on the door of the truth. They are given the answer by the Quran and the Prophet:
“I have only created Jinn and men, that they may serve Me.” (adh-Dhariyat, 51/56)
In Risale-i Nur Collection, worship is interpreted as knowing. Many tafsir scholars agree on this interpretation. Deeds of worship like prayer and fasting are a result of this knowing. That is, man needs to understand first that boons necessitate thanking; after that, he can fulfill his duty of thanking and praising.
Man needs to know that the divine miracles that fill this universe necessitated meditation and admiration so that he will fulfill his duty of glorifying and extolling Allah.
Man needs to realize that he has to show mercy to others so that he will do charity.
They are all fruits of belief and knowing, that is, believing in Allah and knowing Him.
A lesson of knowing from Risale-i Nur Collection:
“In the face of manifestations of dominicality, the elevated purpose of the universe is man’s universal worship and submission to God.” (Sözler, p. 264)
Dominicality means educating, training. In each of the realms, this deed is seen in a different way, different beauty and different perfection. When we read the chapter of al-Fatiha in every prayer, we declare that we are conscious of those different educations by praising the Lord of the realms.
Allah educates both the realm of lights and the realm of eyes. And we fulfill our duty of worshipping to the manifestations of dominicality by thanking our Lord thinking that the sun was educated to give us light and our eyes were educated to make use of its light.
When we admire and thank our Lord for His endless grants by taking into consideration that food items were educated in a way that would be eaten and that our mouths, tongues and stomachs were educated in a way that would benefit from them, we will have thanked dominicality with worshipping.
The universe was created for man; and man was created to worship. Two words attract our attention here: elevated and universal. These two words tell us that there are some other beings that fulfill this duty. However, man has the ability to fulfill the duty of worshipping at a more elevated and universal level than them. The beings that we mean are angels and jinn.
When an angel meditates on a fruit, he watches in admiration how the shapeless and colorless elements of the past became a beautiful being today and how a soft fruit came out of a hard tree. However, he cannot meditate on the taste, vitamin and calorie of it because his ability is not suitable for it.
Man has been given a very different ability at this point. He can think and imagine not only the things that are present there but also many things that he does not see at that moment and even the past and the future with his mind and imagination. Thus, his idea, thought, understanding and prosperity become universal. When he eats a fruit, he can think that innumerable individuals of more than one million species of living beings are being fed and that he is an individual that benefits from this divine table; thus, he has the opportunity to meditate on Allah’s name ar-Razzaq (the Sustainer) in the universal sense.
If he thinks, he can take his thought to the past and the future. He thinks of all kinds of boons in all places and times and those who benefit from them with the help of his imagination; and his meditation becomes more universal.
Similar things can be told for the manifestations of all divine names.
When the verse “Iyyaka na’budu” “Thee do we worship” is explained in Risale-i Nur Collection, attention is attracted to the fact that the word "we", not "I" is used and it is stated that three separate groups are meant by it. One of them is all believers, another one is all organs, cells and feelings, which work in our body, and each of which is busy with a deed of worshipping peculiar to themselves, and the third one is the whole realm of beings.
It means man has the ability to say “Iyyaka na’budu” on behalf of thewhole realm of beings. Even if man performs a prayer alone, he is regarded to have performed universal worshipping if he presents the worship of those three groups to his Lord by getting rid of individuality.
That man is a fruit to this universe also brings about such a result. If you imagine that all parts of a tree are conscious, fruits do the most universal meditation. For, the seed in the fruit is filtered from the whole three; therefore, the fruit has the ability to represent all of the worship of the tree and to meditate.
Those who do this universal worship in the best way are prophets, who are the perfect fruits of the tree of the universe, and especially the Prophet Hz. Muhammad (pbuh).
There is a close relationship between the meaning of “the elevated purpose and universal worship” and the following hadith: “But for you, I would not have created the heavens.”
There are many topics related to the duty of man inRisale-i Nur Collection. I want to present a few items in summary:
- To use the attributes like knowledge, will, sight and hearing attached to man’s spirit as a means of knowing Allah’s attributes. To make use of these windows of knowledge opened from his spirit.
- To use the power of intellect in the circle of wisdom, the power of lust in the circle of chastity and the power of fury in the circle of bravery.
- To give one’s love only to Allah and to love creatures on behalf of Him and due to being mirrors to His names, indicating His perfection and informing about His beauty.
- To be conscious that he was created “with a nature capable of performing every sort of worship” and to try to get his share as much as possible from all sorts of worship separately.
- To change the faces of the powers of heart, secret, spirit, intellect, imagination and others given to him to eternal life. Thus, to keep each of them busy with the deed of worship peculiar to it.
- To open one of Allah’s treasures of mercy with each one of his feelings, to benefit from them in a nice way and to thank universally.
- To meditate on Allah’s power compared to his weakness, His mercy by looking at his poverty and His perfection by thinking of his deficiencies. To know his Lord as the owner of endless perfection, mercy and power, and to know his soul as endlessly weak, poor and deficient.
- To enter into divine presence by keeping his spirit away from sins and his body away from all kinds of impurities and dirt.
- To present himself in a beautiful way as the perfect work of Allah so that angels and spiritual beings will watch him.
Man was created for lofty purposes like those ones. However, unfortunately, many people try to live in the world comfortably by forgetting themselves and being unaware of those purposes. Although such a person has the ability to represent the worship of the whole universe, he tries to win the favor of a group of people around him and makes it the purpose of his life to make himself liked by them.
After a while, both he and those people will pass away and those purposes will virtually go into the ground with his body and get lost.