What is the ‘Highest’ Aim in Creation?
There is another point to emphasize concerning the happiness or perfectibility of man: Man is not a being composed of only body and intellect. He has also a spirit which requires satisfaction, without which he can never find true happiness. Spiritual satisfaction is possible only through belief in God Almighty and aspiration to ‘reach’ Him and gain eternal happiness in the other world. The physical world, man’s carnal self, time and place are the thick walls of his worldly dungeon. Confined within the walls of this dungeon, man can by no means find happiness or lead a happy life. He can escape or be freed from this dungeon by means of belief and regular worship, and by refraining from all kinds of sins.
The highest aim of creation and its most sublime result is belief in God. The most exalted rank of humanity is the knowledge of God. The most radiant happiness and sweetest bounty for mankind is the love of God issuing from the knowledge of God. The purest joy for the human spirit and the purest delight for man’s heart is the spiritual ecstasy contained within the love of God. Indeed, all true happiness, pure joy, sweet bounties and unclouded pleasures are undoubtedly contained within the knowledge and love of God. The one who knows and loves God is either potentially or actually able to receive endless happiness, favors, enlightenment and understanding. While the one who does not truly know and love Him is afflicted spiritually and materially by endless misery, pain and fear. Indeed, even if a man, powerless and miserable, and unprotected amid other purposeless human beings in a world filled with wretchedness, were made the ruler of the whole world, what will this really be worth for him?
Everyone can understand how miserable and bewildered a condition man endures, if he does not recognize his Owner, discover his Master. If, however, he discovers his Owner and recognizes his Master, then he will seek refuge in His Mercy and rely on His Power, and that desolate world will become, for him, a place of rest and felicity, and a place of exchange for the Hereafter.
Being a servant of God, being a servant of ego
In sum, man’s real happiness lies in his being a servant to God. This servanthood never reduces man. By contrast, a man who rebels against God relying on himself or the power of science and technology may be a Pharaoh-like tyrant, but he is one who abases himself so far as to worship before the meanest thing to serve his interest. That man may also be stubborn and unyielding but so wretched as to accept endless degradation for the sake of a single pleasure; unbending but so mean as to kiss the feet of devilish people for the sake of some base advantage. That man may, again, be conceited and domineering, but since he can find no point of support in his heart, he reduces himself to an impotent, vainglorious tyrant. He may also be a self-centered egoist, who strives to gratify his material, carnal desires and pursues his personal interests after certain national or racial interests.
As for a sincere servant of God, he is a worshipping servant, but one who does not degrade himself to bow in adoration or humiliation even before the greatest of the created. He is a dignified servant who does not regard as the goal of worship a thing of even the greatest benefit like Paradise. Also, he is modest, mild and gentle, but he does not lower himself voluntarily before anybody other than his Creator beyond what He has permitted. He may also be weak and in want, and be aware of his weakness and neediness. Yet he is independent of others, owing to the spiritual wealth which his Munificent Owner has provided for him, and he is powerful as he relies on the infinite Power of his Master. He acts and strives purely for God’s sake, for God’s good pleasure, and to be equipped with virtues.
To be a good, virtuous servant of God Almighty and thereby find true happiness, a man must oppose his carnal self and fight against it so as to always use his will in the correct way. Life, which is the arena of this fighting or holy struggle, find its true meaning through this struggle, evolves and is perfected. The pleasure of this struggle lies in itself. It is like climbing an upward path. Walking on leveled surfaces does not give man any pleasure, but when one who continuously climbs hills or walks an uphill road reaches the summit and wipes the sweat from his forehead, he experiences the great pleasure of achievement. But for winter, spring would not be so beautiful. So, man’s true happiness and the real pleasure of life lie in his struggle against the temptations of his carnal self and Satan and becoming victorious against both. This is how a man can rise along the path of perfectibility toward the heavens, toward endless and eternal happiness and pleasures, toward being truly human and recovering his primordial or original state as the best pattern of creation and eternal inhabitant of Paradise.
This article has been adapted from Risale- i Nur Collection.