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Why Were We Created?

Each and everyone of us reflects on these (types of) questions at some point during our lives:

"Why was I created? Why am I here? What am I doing in this world? Why did God create me?"

When we address this topic, we have to find our understanding from Divine Revelation and not human speculation.  This is because human speculation has no bounds; we can imagine all kinds of things.  Anyone who has studied philosophy of religion will know how many opinions there are about the creation of man and existence.   Due to the variety of philosophies which are out there no one can say this one is correct or that one is incorrect, because there is no guidance behind it; no Divine Revelation.  It is only from Divine Revelation that we can determine the reality of our creation, because it is God who has created us and so He1 knows the purpose of our creation.  We can hardly understand it ourselves, much less trying to understand the essence of things.  So it is for God to inform us through His revelation.

If we are to look initially into revelation, to determine why was man created, there is a deeper question that we should be asking before that, which is: "Why did God create?"  We should ask this before we even get to creation of mankind because mankind is not the greatest act of creation.  As God said:

"The creation of the Heavens and the Earth is indeed greater then the creation of mankind; yet, most of mankind know not."  (Qur'ān, 40:57)

Man is not the greatest act of creation, this universe is far more complex and far more magnificent than man.  So the issue of creation should first go to "Why did God create?", as opposed to simply "Why did God create man?".

Fundamentally, we can say that the creation is the natural consequence of the attribute of the Creator.  God is the Creator; that is one of His attributes. As He has stated: 

"Such is Allāhh, your Lord, the Creator of all things, there is no god but He; then how ye are deluded away from the Truth!"  (Qur'ān, 40:62)

"Is not He Who created the heavens and the earth, able to create the like of them?  Yes, indeed!  He is the All-Knowing Supreme Creator."  (Qur'ān, 36:81)

Thus, this is what He has informed us.  "The Creator" being His attribute, the natural consequence or the product of this attribute is His creation.

A painter, if we are to draw a similitude on a lower level, who tells you that he is a painter; if you ask him where are his paintings and he replies "I don’t have any".  What kind of painter is this?  The concept of a painter who does not paint, does not quite gel together.  Of course God is beyond this, but if we are to understand on the simplest level; the attribute and the product of the attribute go together.  The perfection of a painter lies in his paintings.  His quality and his ability to paint, is manifest in his paintings.  And God, beyond all that, as Creator; this quality of creation is manifest in the creation itself.  God did not create out of a need.  No, the fact that He is the Creator is manifest in the creation.

There is another aspect, besides the fact that the creation exists because God is the Creator.  We can also see from what Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) has informed us, that in the creation there is manifestation of God’s attributes of Mercy, Forgiveness, Kindness, etc.  God created mankind in paradise, they disobeyed God, but He had taught them how to repent, how to turn back to Him and seek his forgiveness, then He would forgive them.  Having done that, they were forgiven; Ādam (peace be upon him) became the first prophet and mankind was absolved of that sin.  The story of Ādam and Eve (peace be upon them) is the story of human existence.  Human beings are given a consciousness of God.  When God created all human beings, as He stated in the Qur'ān, he took from Ādam all of his descendents, and made them all bear witness that God is their Lord.  So we are all born with that consciousness.  He has also given us a consciousness of what is right and what is wrong:

"He has inspired each and every soul to an awareness of corruption and righteousness."  (Qur'ān, 91:8)

God gave revelation through his commandments, not to eat of the tree.  However, human beings forget, and when they forget God then they fall into sin.  We can absolve ourselves of that sin by means of repentance, and God forgives us when we repent sincerely.  Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said; "The one who repents is like the one without sin."

In our sinning and asking God’s forgiveness, the attributes of God’s Mercy and Forgiveness become manifest.  God knew what we were going to do before he created us, He knew that He was creating a species who would sin.  If it was not His intention to permit them to sin, then He could have created more angels (instead of human beings).  But He had already created angels, so He chose to create a being that had the capability to disobey His commandments through forgetfulness or just simple disobedience, but would turn back to Him in repentance and His attribute of Forgiveness would become manifest.  Similarly, His Mercy.

God has allowed us to live out our lives.  So when we stand before Him, our book of deeds is spread before us, we will know without a shadow of a doubt, the choices that we made to lead us to our final destination.  We will know that God’s Judgement is just.  There is no injustice in it, in any way shape or form.  God says he oppresses no one.

Thus, the creation is a manifestation of God’s attribute of being the Creator.  In the creation of man within the scheme of things, there is manifest God’s attribute of Mercy, His attribute of Justice and this is the reason for the creation of man from the point of view of God.  From human perspective, why did God create man in terms of for what purpose?  Then this is the one we all know and are familiar with:

"I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me."  (Qur'ān, 51:56)

So relative to God, we were created in a means or a way in which God has chosen to manifest his attributes of creation, Mercy, Grace, etc. and He could have chosen another one.  But relative to us as human beings, we know that our purpose is to worship God.  As we said, God does not need our worship, as God did not need to create.  When He created us to worship Him, it was not out of a need for our worship, because God has no needs.  

Therefore when we look for the purpose of worship, we have to look into mankind.  God created us to worship him, because we need to worship him.  It is something He has given us as a means of benefiting ourselves.  We are the ones who benefit from it.  Worship has been established, fundamentally for the spiritual growth of man.  This growth takes place through the remembrance of God.  When you look at all the different aspects of worship, you will see the core of it is focused on the remembrance of God.

God has said that he has created us to test us, to see which of us is best in deeds.  He is not testing us to know, in the sense that he doesn’t already know, but this world is a test for us in order again that we can grow spiritually.  We cannot develop this spiritual characteristic of generosity unless some of us have more then others and then we are required to give of the wealth we have.  When we give, we grow.  Similarly, if we were not in a position where others had more then us then we would not have the ability to develop the higher spiritual quality of contentment, patience, satisfaction in what God has given us.

So it is all there in order to bring out the higher spiritual qualities, which enable us to attain the state, which makes us suitable and eligible to return to paradise.  The paradise from which we were created; we were created in paradise and for paradise.  Through our choices we have left, in this life, a field of testing, where we can grow to a state where we deserve paradise.

For more details, refer to the ebook: The Purpose of Creation

1 God has no gender, the pronoun "He" is only used for better readability.