At times we often find ourselves lost in the world, reaching out to understand our purpose and aim. With such busy lifestyles we often find our lives are merely controlled by day to day events, where we become mere robots with certain duties and repetitive cycles which we live day in and day out. It is at such times that we really need to take a step back and think "what am I doing in this world?" and "What is my purpose and goal?", for more often than not, being unmindful of these questions means we are living in this life but we are hardly living at all.
To have a real life is to make the most of it, to grow and reach out towards our purpose, our goals and aims, to make our lives and all those around us more fulfilling and the world a better place. But above all we should do this with sincerity and thus by doing so attaining the pleasure of our Nourisher and Creator. Eid is a special reminder of this fact. The word Eid comes from the word "I'ada - اعاده " in Arabic meaning "to return". As such, the spiritual month of Ramadhan has taught us to return to our Lord and purpose in life and as such Eid can be celebrated as a time of returning to our essence.
أَفَحَسِبْتُمْ أَنَّمَا خَلَقْنَاكُمْ عَبَثًا وَأَنَّكُمْ إِلَيْنَا لَا تُرْجَعُونَ
[The Qur'an, Ch.23 V.115]
There are two comparisons we can make: One is of a person (X) who lives his/her life for the sake of this world. They rely on this world for their means of satisfaction, completeness and happiness. Whilst another person (Y) lives their life for the sake of the afterlife, and finds their satisfaction, completeness and happiness in following God’s will. As for person X, they find that they are always in loss, despair and depression with little happiness along the waybecause this life is a transient place which doesn’t seem to satisfy ones needs the more one dwells in its pleasures, the more thirsty one gets.
Lo! man is a state of loss,"
إِنَّ الْإِنْسَانَ لَفِي خُسْرٍ
[The Qur'an, Ch.103 V.1-2]
The above verse is true in all aspects of life. As times goes on, things that we had valued start to decrease...
With youth comes old age, with health comes sickness, with wealth comes poverty, with families and loved ones comes death and loss, with strength comes weakness and the list continues with the human being falling in further 'loss'. The verse in the Holy Qur'an summarises this beautifully:
اللَّهُ الَّذِي خَلَقَكُمْ مِنْ ضَعْفٍ ثُمَّ جَعَلَ مِنْ بَعْدِ ضَعْفٍ
قُوَّةً ثُمَّ جَعَلَ مِنْ بَعْدِ قُوَّةٍ ضَعْفًا وَشَيْبَةً ۚ يَخْلُقُ
مَا يَشَاءُ ۖ وَهُوَ الْعَلِيمُ الْقَدِيرُ
[The Qur'an, Ch.30 V.54]
For with every satisfaction or gain in this life there is an equal and opposite force of dissatisfaction and loss which goes hand in hand.
Lo! with hardship goeth ease;"
فَإِنَّ مَعَ الْعُسْرِ يُسْرًا
إِنَّ مَعَ الْعُسْرِ يُسْرًا
[The Qur'an, Ch.94 V.5-6]
We therefore find all is in loss in this world, as if the creator is trying to tell us that this world is short lived, and is not the true ‘life’ which awaits us, so why do we spend so much effort on this world which is a transient place instead of working to secure a good place in the our everlasting abode? This is the reality of life: a means of tests, trials and tribulations.
أَحَسِبَ النَّاسُ أَنْ يُتْرَكُوا أَنْ يَقُولُوا آمَنَّا وَهُمْ لَا يُفْتَنُونَ
[The Qur'an, Ch.29 V.2]
Now, going back to person Y, who lives their life for the sake of the afterlife. They have understood this life, where each trial and tribulation is a means of getting closer to God. Where every blessing is a beautiful gift from God and we are accountable for how we act with these gifts. If God was to take it from us, we would not fall in despair or be unhappy, for it was not ours to begin with, but rather a trust from God which he has taken back.
It is in the difficult situations that we are humbled and see how insignificant and feeble this life of ours is.
Therefore a believer is one who finds that to achieve happiness in this life (and the next), is to be content with what God has given us in this life, as everything is a test and a means to get closer to Him. With every illness there is a removal of a sin or an elevation of our status in heaven (as long as we remain patient). For every loved one that is lost, a satisfaction that they will be returning to the One that loves them the most, and an understanding that all is in the Wisdom of the Almighty who doesn’t do anything but out of His Mercy.
[Sahih Bukhari - Chapter of patience]
The verse which we began with, in Surat Al-Asr (Chapter of The Declining Day), Chapter 103, has a beautiful conclusion for those who believe, who are steadfast in religion and see this life as an opportunity and gift from the Almighty Lord. For they have truly realised that anything done for the sake of this world will perish and be in loss, and anything they do in this world for the sake of the afterlife and achieving God’s satisfaction will remain even after they die.
Save those who believe and do good works, and exhort one another to truth and exhort one another to endurance."
[The Qur'an, Ch.103 V.1-3]