How Do You Define Your Life?

M. Syahruzzaky Romadloni
Siliwangi University, Indonesia

How do you define your life, guys? It seems that people have their own concept of life and how it should be conducted. It is usually influenced by the faith they believe. The way they believe then bears many concepts of happiness’ pursuit in many ideologies in the world from the secular ones till the religious ones as mankind’s common life’s goal is how to be happy in conducting life. I believe that none of them want to be miserable in life, don’t they?

However, it’s considered that Marxism and Islam have the complete guide of how men should conduct their life in dealing with pursuing happiness, for many philosophers have a long discussion on it. It’s as both of them have its own worldview that encompasses all angles of life. Despite their comprehensiveness, they have contradictive and opposite concepts of life as they come from different perspective.

Well, I am not going to tell you how Marxists define their life’s goal, as I’m not a Marxist and I won’t be, I think. Since I was born as a Muslim, I see this life in Islamic perspective. It’s very important for a Muslim to see everything in Islamic perspective as if they don’t their Muslim identity will disappear. We can say that a Marxist will lose his Marxism identity if he or she uses the premises of capitalism in seeing everything. So I can say that I think in Islamic perspective, therefore I’m a Muslim.

For the first time, I just follow what my parents conduct as Muslims, but as well as I grow up I definitely know that Islam has its own concept of life and happiness’ pursuit. The literatures I’ve read show that Islam is different from other religions as it is not only religion but the way of life as well. Islam, like Marxism, encompasses all angles of life from the table-manner up to how to manage the society.

When many distinguished philosophers had great efforts in defining this life in their own perspective, Allah the Almighty had kindly pointed out us the goal of mankind creation thorough revealed verses in al-Quran kareem. Al-Quran kareem is considered a handbook for all Muslims of how to conduct and live this life through its verses. Of course we should put it hand in hand with Prophet Muhammad’s prophetic traditions.

The ‘instant’ guide from God through His books and prophets, however, doesn’t underestimate the thing so-called ‘mankind’s brain and reason exploration’. It doesn’t ignore the concept that brain is the most worth thing God had given to the mankind. What I want to say is that we should use this revealed verses as a guide for our brain in seeking life’s goal as the brain we have sometimes does wrong. The ‘liberal’ usage of brain certainly will bring mankind to the tragedy as the western history had shown.

Allah the Almighty had given us the clues of how this life should be devoted, and then we should explore more and implement it in our daily life. The implementation can be different among Muslims based on their ability to interpret, but they have the same perspective in beginning. This diversity of implementation then proves that Islam never underestimate the usage of brain in interpreting its tenets. Islam, as its history had shown, accepts the rationality.

So what has God pointed us in dealing with the goal of this life? In al-Quran [51:56] Allah said that He created not jinns and humans except they should worship Him. Quite simple, but has a great influence in building Muslims’ paradigm in defining their life’s goal. It means that all what we conduct in this life should be devoted as an implementation of worshiping Him, not others.

Fortunately, the meaning of worship in Islam is not that simple. Islam has a ‘liberal’ meaning of worship [ibadah], so every Muslim can expand it as widely as possible, as long as it comes from Islamic perspective. This is what I said before that Islam never underestimates mankind’s brain exploration. Allah just gave us the clue [in this case worship] and we then should explore more the implementation of God’s worshiping in daily life. In dealing with this, many Muslim scholars had divided worship into two kinds; mahdloh [transcendental worship] and goir mahdloh [social worship].

Alright, let me now explain further these two kinds of worship. Mahdloh is everything which can be related to direct worship to God such as praying, going for hajj [pilgrimage], syahadat, fasting, etc. In the other hand, goir mahdloh is everything we conduct that has an indirect relation to God such as giving smile to other, helping the poor, working, reading, teaching, etc. [I’m so sorry for this unscientific and simple description.]

This definition comes to the conclusion that we shouldn’t pray and fast all the time in dealing with worshiping God. Ali Syari’ati, a distinguished Iranian Muslim scholar, ever criticized Muslims who wholly devoted their time in the corridors of the Mosque, leaving all daily routine of life for their wrong and restricted definition of worship. He argued that if only all Muslims do this, Islam will become the fossil in this world and is going to its extinction. Furthermore, seerah nabawiyah never reported that Prophet Muhammad PBUH fasted and prayed all the time.

Look. I’ll try to explore the uniqueness of worship in Islam which has a large diversity in its implementation. I’d say that all what Muslims conduct in their daily life as long as it’s intended in the sake of God and it doesn’t break the Islamic rules are considered the implementation of God’s worship; no matter it forms. Well, I give you examples to make it clear. Writing is an activity that has not direct relation to God’s worship. It however can be considered a kind of worship if we intend it to spread knowledge and call people to the right. Singing the song seems to not have any relation to God’s worship at all, but it can be considered as long as we intend it to call people to do the right. Opick and other Muslim singers have proved that. Then, we come to know that Islam accommodates all the right things as the implementations of God’s worship as long as they are in the corridor of Islamic rules. What a unique.

Coming from this definition, many scholars then relate the large scope of worship in Islam to the possibility of building a great civilization which is based on the Islamic tenets. Furthermore, the Islamic history have shown it, when many Muslims ‘conquer’ this world by the civilization of knowledge. The flexibility of Islamic teaching which accommodate the rationality in interpreting the religious scriptures had brought the mankind to the true happiness of life. In sum, Islam, I think, can be a good reference to those who are still looking for the life’s goal. Exactly.

Garden of Knowledge,
September 16, 2010

One thought on “How Do You Define Your Life?

  1. salam,

    this is my first time i’m reading ur blog.. i really amazed by ur wrting..
    thank u for giving me the full of description of life..
    i sometimes wondered about my life too..huu
    thank =)

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