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My personal journey in searching for the meaning of life

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.
(Quran, 6:162)

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?
(Quran, 45;23)

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.
(Quran, 29:69)

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.

Photo by Kehn Hermano from Pexels

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6 Comments

  1. Sara Sara

    You are amazing as well as your stories! Well written! It seems so close to the readers. I, mostly learnt about god and so on in my islamic school. So mostly my early chilhood was being fed hahaha but i really grateful on that no regret. Another side, still, we are the one who manoeuvre our life. So the individual efforts on searching the guidance is more deep effective and well firm. After a period, my parents submitted me in a hafazan quran school. That’s where my pitpoint actually. I study the Quran and go through on meaning while memorizing. So many things that amaze me and some parts doesn’t being taught in my previous islamic school. I can’t really learn the real lessons from my teachers or from textbook and syllabus in school but instead, from the kalam Allah itself. That’s actually the utmost book to rely on to get to know Allah. Alhamdulillah, i weren’t get all of that if it wasn’t Allah’s love, generosity and my parents were the reasons. (If anyone reading this, please3x go through the Quran. You can (and have) to go to lecture or books or anything but don’t forget the Quran itself. It was your experience with Quran what matter the most. Wallahualam. Just my two cents.) Anyway writer, keep compose great contents!

    • Hi Sara,
      Sorry for late reply.
      Thanks you for your support, it really means a lot.
      You said a lot of points which I agree a 100%, i dont know where to begin with. Firstly, i agree with you that first and foremost rely on the Quran .. it is the word of Allah Himself. I strongly agree. And also as you said lecture, books, etc are all secondary. Secondly you also brought up about having to find the truth for yourself altho you’re being fed. Heck, i was also fed haha. I didnt go to islamic schools, but we had islamic lessons there nevertheless. But we learn the most when it is through our own initiative. I guess that is why Islam also gave everyone freedom of believe- so we can accept truth volutarily and meaningfully.

      If you don’t mind may I also know how did you find this blog?

      Thanks,
      Alif.

  2. Muhd Muhd

    Nice writings you got there. You did a great job there buddy! 👍 Personally, that is true except the shirk part. You see shirk cannot be understood through a logical equation like what you put there. Even if it can, interpreting other ideas like nationalism, capitalism etc as shirk is wrong for some reasons. First, shirk is something that we shouldn’t do so interpreting ideologies as shirk means you block Muslims from doing so many essential things which even the Prophet SAW do. This is wrong. Second, not all man are made the same. For a person who was blessed with the gift of art or sport or killing(war) etc, he can never fully commit into it because even a slight excess effort (which is necessary to reach mastery) would be a shirk (by your logic). Look at the sahabah if you require example. Would we win even a single jihad if our war commander didn’t commit most of his life perfecting the art of war? Note that our victory in some great jihad was very convenient because we had great commanders. Do understand that most of them were not even a Muslim some years before the great war took place and in the event that these great fighters(men who spend most of their life not worshipping God but instead perfecting their gift) did not convert to Islam we might even lose the war which will put our progress in spreading Islam decades behind. Third, in a world where evil will always exist and where Islam is not the only religion it is vital for us to use tolerance as one of our main narrative. Even if a person skipped his prayer or consumed something haram, we are not better than him for if Allah decides to take away our light we might be struggling the same way he is. We are all the same, evil can repent and good can corrupt. That is the way of Iman where it can increase and decrease. The idea that all other ideologies is shirk is a direct challenge to the nature of Iman simply because it lacks the narrative of tolerance. By these three we can understand that life is more than committing to higher purpose. Higher doesn’t means its the only one we can commit to. There are those who are ambitious and who lacks them. Both are fine either way. We are given choices which will decide our path. How we thread on it is what Allah will refer to when judging us. This is why we need to commit to whatever we are in. Do not let a writer’s opinion define whether you are living your life correctly or not. Allah loves you. I doubt He would wanna see you unhappy especially when you turn away from your passion even if it is to appease Him. Yes you are His servant but He loves you so you at least deserve this much personal interest to spend your life with. ❤️

    Again, good writing keep it up! 💪

    • Hi, Muhd.
      Thank you for the comment! I appreciate it when someone gives his pov. In general I do not disagree with you. I have to reiterate what I mean by some words. By ideology I mean a philosophical (emphasis added) understanding of something. for example, when I say capitalism there is the philosophical part of the ideology and there is the methodological part of the ideology. Accepting capitalism along with its philosophy (that men are greedy, resources are scarce) etc I would have to say it is shirk because it is equivalent to denying the authority of God and in some cases even the existence of God. But if we take the methodological part for example if i say that the economy should have some capitalist characteristics i have no problem with that.

      Shirk actually means to associate God (by essence, attribute or authority) with the essence, attribute or authority of another thing or person. Tauhid is the opposite of shirk, and it means to direct our life and our death our prayer our sacrifice to God. If you still doubt what I say refer to Quran 6:162 “Say, “Indeed, my prayer, my rites of sacrifice, my living and my dying are for Allah, Lord of the worlds.” so this is categorically clear that all of our actions should in the end direct to Allah alone.

      As for the example you’ve given that some of us will commit to things like sports, perfecting warrior skills – therefore it will all be shirk by my logic. Actually no that’s not what I think at all. Tauhid is to direct all your actions that in the end it is all for God. As long as those sports, perfecting warrior skills, and I can give you more example – business, art, craft, travelling, marrying, learning, teaching, schooling, driving, visiting others, having fun, eating, drinking, breathing – all of them if it is done for God it is not shirk. What is shirk if we do it for other than God. For example someone plays sports to show off or to become rich – that is shirk. there’s nothing wrong with becoming rich, islam encourages it but in the end you need to ask yourself what is the purpose of you getting rich? is it simply for your own fun or is it to spend in the way of God? I hope you understand what I’m saying.

      To conclude: WHAT IS THE FINAL AIM? Is it for God or is it for something else?

      As for committing to our passion, there’s no wrong in it. i can do it as a therapy to take rest from working or i can also do it as a source of income — as long as the final aim is God.

      “I doubt He would wanna see you unhappy especially when you turn away from your passion even if it is to appease Him. Yes you are His servant but He loves you so you at least deserve this much personal interest to spend your life with”

      Yes i totally agree. You should also check out my very recent article “Spirituality is not about removing material desires” (https://asyhadu.com/spirituality-not-about-removing-material-desires/)

      Yes, I used to be black and white when it comes to tauhid vs shirk. but now i have freed myself from a simplistic white and black view of tauhid vs shirk. Read the post so that you can understand better what I mean.

      Finally, thank you for the support buddy. It really means a lot to me. So as your comment. It shows your sincerity. For that, I thank you again.

      Alif.

  3. Awe-inspiring, MashaAllah. Keep writing and sharing, May Allah bless

    • Thank you for your support. May Allah bless you too brother. 🙂

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