Living a Purpose-Driven Life: Embracing Ibadah and Collective Action

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Published July 10, 2024

By Mansoor Syed

As we reflect on the world around us, it becomes evident that every component of the universe holds a unique purpose within Allah’s grand design. From the tiniest microorganisms to the vast celestial bodies, each entity contributes to maintaining balance and harmony. This notion is emphasized in the Holy Qur’an, as Allah asserts, “And We did not create the heavens and earth and whatever is between them in play” (44:38). The creation of the universe serves a profound and divine purpose.

Our Purpose in the Grand Scheme of Allah’s Creation

As human beings, we are considered the pinnacle of Allah’s creation. Therefore, it is essential for us to understand our distinct purpose and diligently work towards fulfilling it. Neglecting this responsibility may lead to feelings of unfulfillment and dissatisfaction in life, ultimately resulting in loss in the Hereafter. To illustrate this point, consider owning a luxury car that is visually impressive but fails to take us where we need to go, or having a refrigerator with advanced features but fails to preserve food. Regardless of our individual traits — intelligence, talent, kindness, or optimism — if we fail to comprehend and pursue our purpose, we risk ultimate failure.

Allah highlights in the Qur’an the importance of recognizing our purpose, asking us to reflect: “Did you think that We had created you without purpose, and that you would not be brought back to Us?” (23:115). This verse serves as a powerful reminder that humans were not created in a pointless or worthless way; we have a significant purpose that demands our attention.

The ultimate purpose of humankind is summarized in Surah Adh-Dhariyat, where Allah proclaims, “And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me ” (51:56). The term “worship,” or “ibadah” in Arabic, shares a root with “abd,” meaning servant or slave. Thus, ibadah entails performing duties akin to a servant or a slave. A person becomes a true ‘abd when they dedicate their entire life to serving, obeying, and behaving as expected in the presence of their master.

In essence, our purpose as human beings is to worship Allah through obedience, servitude, and adherence to His teachings — a concept encapsulated by the term ibadah. By embracing this purpose, we can live a fulfilling life and contribute to the divine plan Allah has designed for His creation.

 Our Role in Upholding Allah’s Guidance: The Importance of Prophets and the Ummah

Allah instituted a system of prophethood to guide humanity in understanding His divine purpose. The first human, Adam, was also the first prophet, and he received and shared Allah’s commands with the people. Over time, as communities grew and spread, communication became more difficult, and the original message was sometimes altered or forgotten. In response, Allah sent subsequent prophets to different nations to remind them of His message and provide guidance.

Each prophet shared a common message: to worship and obey Allah alone. The Qur’an highlights this: “And We sent not before you any messenger except that We revealed to him that ‘there is no deity except Me, so worship  Me'” (21:25).

Through prophethood, we learn about Allah’s commands, establishing our duty to worship Him, uphold justice, and live according to Allah’s laws and commands. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was the final prophet, and now his ummah, or community of followers, bears the responsibility of conveying the message.

As part of Prophet Muhammad’s ummah, we have significant duties outlined in the Qur’an:

  1. Best nation for mankind: We are described as “the best nation produced [as an example] for mankind,” tasked with promoting good and deterring evil (3:110).
  2. Just community: The ummah serves as “a just community” that acts as “witnesses over the people” while Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) serves as a witness over the ummah itself (2:143).
  3. Standing for justice: We are called to “be persistently standing firm in justice” and serve as “witnesses for Allah,” even if it means standing against our own interests (4:135).
  4. Establishing Deen: The ummah is entrusted with the mission of establishing and upholding the deen of Allah, worshiping Him sincerely, and ensuring that worship is exclusive to Him (39:2).
Carrying the Prophetic Legacy and Upholding Allah’s Guidance as a Unified Ummah

As devoted members of the ummah, we understand the significance of our collective responsibility in continuing the mission of the prophets. By embracing their teachings and diligently fulfilling our duties, we contribute to the preservation and dissemination of Allah’s guidance throughout the world.

Our ultimate success as an ummah is not determined by our wealth, intelligence, or power, but by our unwavering commitment to promoting Allah’s divine message and upholding justice. This core mission has been entrusted to us by Allah, and it is essential that we remain steadfast in our pursuit of this noble purpose.

Material wealth, intellectual pursuits, and political influence should not distract us from our divine mission. Instead, we should harness these resources to serve our greater purpose. By doing so, we ensure that Allah’s guidance continues to illuminate the path for future generations, acting as a beacon of hope, unity, and righteousness for all of humanity.

 The Power of Collective Action: Joining Forces to Achieve Our Purpose

We cannot accomplish our mission as the ummah of Prophet Muhammad without engaging in collective action and joining forces with organizations or jama’as (congregations) whose vision and mission align with our divine purpose. Our success depends on working together, inviting others to join us in embracing Islam’s message while denouncing societal evils.

Being part of a just community necessitates collective efforts to stand against oppression and provide support for those facing injustice. As Allah has called us to be a just community, we must actively engage in organized efforts that challenge societal ills and foster justice for all.

 Embracing Collective Action: Fulfilling Our Divine Purpose Beyond Personal Pursuits

While focusing on our careers, families, and personal goals can bring fulfillment in certain aspects of life, they are not sufficient for achieving our greater divine purpose. It is crucial to move beyond individual concerns and become part of a larger, unified effort that supports the promotion of Allah’s message and stewardship of His guidance on Earth.

Joining an organization that aligns with our purpose as the ummah of Prophet Muhammad allows us to transcend our solitary existence and actively contribute to the collective mission. By working together, we can ensure that Allah’s divine message continues to resonate across the world, and we can uphold our responsibility as stewards of His guidance.

Avatar photo Mansoor SyedAuthor Mansoor Syed lives in Murphy, Texas and is an IT Technology Manager by profession. He is also the President of ICNA Dallas. To contact Br. Mansoor with feedback or questions, please email him at

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