Not knowing what we’re living for is truly a tragedy. And in the end, for many people, life is merely about following where their desires take them to, without any real sense of deep purpose. And when one follows his desires, there will never be satisfaction. Among the objects in which people try to fulfill their desires with are wealth, power, and social status.
Many people spend their entire lifetime in distraction, trying to gather the all the riches that they can gather. Many people work all their lives to receive recognition from other people, whether they work in a corporate setting, whether they are scientists reaching for the top in the scientific community, politics, or whatever profession they may be engaged in. But all the wealth and achievements gained, what do they really mean in the end?
In the Islamic tradition, we are told to look beyond the illusion of life. That everything that we receive and experience is a test for us. The achievements and the failures in life are only means for us to learn about how to be grateful or patient towards what God has given us. To use what we have or don’t have to serve the One who gave it to us in the first place. Do we give out our money to the poor? Do we use our power to benefit people? Do we learn things to be able to help others? If what we do only corresponds towards fulfilling our desires rather that for doing good deeds for God’s sake, we really need to reconsider what we are doing.
Everything that exists will perish, without exception, including all the efforts IF we only did them for the sake of our desires. We will only know for sure about the true value of our efforts once we visit our graves, when it will be too late to have regret.