Since I was young, I used to think about the meaning of life. What is the meaning of life? Ironically, I never asked where I was from, how was I created, etc. But the question of life has always excited me.
What are we supposed to look for in life? I can only thank God and my parents that my parents didn’t indoctrinate me the “find a good job” kind of meaning of life. You know how gullible children can be. This enabled me to do deep soul-searching and not stop or even think of money as the purpose of life. I (in fact, we all) was meant to search for more than that. Higher.
First, I thought the meaning of life was to chase after greatness. This is a good first step in life because the first meaning of life that I sought after was greatness, status, etc. It was good because it was something in value, not material. Materialistic meaning of life is a step lower than the meaning of life that is of value/abstract. So you can see, I got a “boost” in life.
But at that time, I was still afraid of death. I didn’t want to die.
After some time, however, I begin to realise that death is a reality that we all have to accept. I guess what changed my perception on death was (besides Master Yoda’s words) a powerful quote from Rambo which says: “Live for nothing, or die for something.”
“Live for nothing, or die for something.”– Rambo
The quote changed my perception on death 360 degrees. From someone afraid of death to someone embracing death. It’s true what Rambo said, what’s the point of living if we don’t die for something?
I then began to ponder, if I should die for something, what should I die for? Previously I used to think that the meaning of life is to chase after fame, greatness, status, etc. But when we are gone, all of these are gone. So what’s the point of living?
From that point on, I begin to have a new meaning of life- nationalism. I reasoned that since we all should die for something, it is useless if the next generation does not continue to what we fought and died for. So then I began to think about what my previous generation did. Corroborated with the history lessons in school, I begin to have a strong love for my ancestors who fought the colonial powers to free us from the hegemony.
Somehow, my purpose in life was still greatness, but this time it is not my greatness, but continual greatness- from generation to generation to beat all other nations on the Earth. Well, of course, greatness entails that there is comparison. If you want to chase after greatness, you should measure it against others. So our generational quest for greatness (nationalism) should be to beat all other nations out there and excel in all fields of progress.
My purpose in life back then was to empower the Malays and to build a great legacy. I even wrote at length what I called “the philosophy of civilization” in my notebooks! Basically the philosophy of civilization is that every civilization sprouts from a single idea. One idea is nationalism. The point of the civilization is to strengthen our military, administration, power, and so on, and that the next generations should carry on our sacrifices.
That was how I applied the quote “Live for nothing or die for something.”
Slowly in my life, later on, I began to realize, due to many factors, that nationalism is wrong. Nationalism has moral implications, in a way that puts importance on its own race and puts less or no importance for other races. But that was not the reason I shunned nationalism, however.
As I continue to flow with the waves of life, I slowly begin to realize that nationalism is a form of shirk, as I began to understand the concept of worship to God. You see, God commanded us to worship none except Him.
The word worship has a wide meaning. It means to love and dedicate your whole life to it. That was what I felt for nationalism. The Quran teaches that God is the Creator, God is the King and Sovereign, God is the One who provided us. Should I worship other than the one who created me? Should I put a human as a king instead of God? Should I bow to any other person than God? Should I bow to nationalism instead of God-ism?
Finally, I came back to my fitrah (natural disposition) to truly worship God alone. I began to read more of Quran and began to reflect more in life. I began to reflect on the meaning of Tauhid, which means Unity- basically that our life, our death, our hopes, our fears, should all go back to God. That includes the purpose and meaning of life too.
Say, “Indeed, my prayer, my rites of sacrifice, my living and my dying are for Allah, Lord of the worlds.
I also began to realize that all other ideologies besides Tauhid is shirk (polytheism). Materialism is the worship of wealth and desires. Capitalism is the worship of wealth. Liberalism is the worship of the self. Utilitarianism is the worship of two masters- pain and pleasure. Communism is the worship of wealth. Patriotism is the worship of the country. Nationalism is the worship of the race. Hedonism is the worship of your own desires. Atheism, too, paradoxically, does not escape – the worship of the self, worship of wealth, or anything.
All in all, all other ideologies besides Tauhid is worshipping the self desires if you think long and hard enough.
Have you seen he who has taken as his god his [own] desire, and God has sent him astray due to knowledge and has set a seal upon his hearing and his heart and put over his vision a veil? So who will guide him after God? Then will you not be reminded?
Praise be to God! Praise be to God! God is the greatest!
I’m so grateful to God for guiding me to the right path. How can I ever repay? The more I look for God, the more God opens his ways for me.
I’m only 19 when I started this blog with the intention of sharing with others my God-given knowledge. And ma sha Allah! The more I share, the more I learn.
And those who strive for Us – We will surely guide them to Our ways. And indeed, God is with the doers of good.
I am as My servant thinks I am. I am with him when he makes mention of Me. If he makes mention of Me to himself, I make mention of him to Myself; and if he makes mention of Me in an assembly, I make mention of him in an assembly better than it. And if he draws near to Me an arm’s length, I draw near to him a cubit, and if he draws near to Me a cubit, I draw near to him a fathom. And if he comes to Me walking, I go to him at speed.
(Qudsi Hadith reported by Bukari, Muslim, Tirmidhi, and Ibn-Majah)
I’m not here to say how great I am. In fact, I would refuse to be thought of a great person. I just wanted to share my experience with you so that you can understand the way I see things. In fact, if I listen to your story, I might learn something very valuable too. That is what we must all do- constantly learn from one’s experience and another’s too. What are your experiences? What is your current outlook on life? Share in the comments.