The Search of Man

Human beings have a strange feature not shared by any other creature. Moreover, that is the unlimited desire to search. Every human being has this desire within him, from birth itself, which makes him constantly search for something unknown that he has not yet found. No success or achievement whatsoever manages to satisfy this desire. Nor does any failure destroy it. Philosophers have termed this as the desire for the ideal. The fact is that this desire is the desire for God. The Creator is the ideal that a human being is anxious to find. The thing that everyone is actually in search of is God, the Creator of every soul. Based on his or her innate nature, every person remains continuously in search of God. This inner emotion drives people to the things of the world. They imagine that perhaps these things are the answer to their search. However, when they obtain these things and experience them at close range, they realise they are not what they were looking for.

Video Transcript
Video Transcript


Since childhood I have been searching for an answer to the question of man’s search. The most important aspect of my search is the story of Adam and Iblis mentioned in the Quran. At the time of creation of Adam, Iblis issued a challenge to God:

“I will bring all but a few of his descendants under my sway.” (17:62)

“You will find most of them ungrateful.” (7:17)

That is, his challenge was to make the majority of people go astray. What Satan had said to God has become a reality today. He has become successful in deviating people from the right path. This phenomenon requires great thought. Satan was successful in his mission of driving away the majority from the path of God and from the Creation Plan of God. How did such an event come about? I kept thinking about it, and yesterday my mind was triggered when I came to know of two incidents while listening to the radio.

One incident was of a young scientist of South India. He had his initial education in India, after which he went to the US to pursue higher education, and later returned to India to build a university in South India. However, he died at very young age of about 35. I realized that no man is able to fulfill his desires, be he rich or poor, an ordinary man or a king. The second incident I heard of was from Egypt. Since the past sixty years, people there either have been killing or getting killed. In the last one year alone, about one thousand people have died in Egypt because of these killings. The Muslim Brotherhood have been working in Egypt for sixty years now. Their leader Syed Qutb wrote a book in Arabic called al-Adalah al-ijtimaiyyah fi l-islam, which has been translated into English with the name Social Justice in Islam. He gave the goal of implementing social justice in Egypt. However, no social justice has come about there, while we see only bloodshed and feuds. First, in 1952 King Farouk was ousted in a coup, after which came General Naguib, who was removed from office and succeeded by Gamal Abdel Nasser, and  then came Anwar Sadat. After Sadat’s assassination in 1981, Hosni Mubarak came to power in Egypt for thirty years and was forced to relinquish office following great upheaval in 2011. Then Muhammad Morsi was elected President, and now within a year of his rule he was unseated on July 3, 2013. So where is the social justice that Egyptian leaders had envisaged and wanted to achieve? Why did their goal not be realized?

This is not a matter of the above two incidents alone. If you observe around yourself, you will discover that no one is able to fulfill their dreams and that people die without attaining fulfillment. Be it leaders, political parties, or individuals, all de without having achieved the goals they had set for themselves. Why has man been so unsuccessful in entire history?

In the morning today I looked at myself: my hands, feet, myself and thought that man was a unique design. I then realized that man has been designed for inhabiting Paradise. All that we want: desires, companions, etc. everything we want can be attained only in Paradise. We can experience this in this world itself. None of our desires our fulfilled to the extent we want them to be fulfilled, we don’t get things at the level at which we want them. This is because, man has been designed for Paradise: the best scenery that every person has a desire to behold with his eyes, the ground on which every person wants to walk with his feet, the things he wants to hold with his hands, the sounds he wants to listen to with his ears, all these things can be achieved only in Paradise. Man doesn’t get these things in this world. Man is made for Paradise. But man finds himself in a world where these desires don’t get fulfilled. Man’s habitat is Paradise, however, he has been left in a place which is not his habitat, just as a fish’s habitat is water, and if it is kept out of it, it only struggles. This is the meaning of the following verse of the Quran:


“We have indeed created man in the best of mould, then We cast him down as the lowest of the low.” (95:4-5)

That is, man was created for living in Paradise, he was designed in order to reside in Paradise, but every moment he finds himself outside of this habitat. After this realization, I understood how Satan deviates man and the strategy he employs to lead him astray. The Quran tells us that Satan deviates man through tazeen (8:48).  Tazeen means beautification of things. This word is quite ambiguous in commentaries. Tazeen means that Satan makes set ideals for himself which he cannot achieve. Man is striving to achieve ideals. Every man is deluded by Satan into striving for ideals. Man will never get to these ideals as this world is not man’s habitat. Thus, neither an individual nor a leader or movement achieve the ideal they set for themselves as they are not achievable in this world.

First, consider the individual. It is said that man is an ideal-seeking or perfection-seeking animal, that is, he keeps searching for the perfect in this world. However, it is not in this world that he will be able to attain these rather these are to be attained in Paradise, which is man’s true abode. Man state of affairs is equivalent to being deprived of his habitat as the fish is when it is taken out of water. Thus, man’s habitat is not this world. The present world is meant for test and the Hereafter is the period of getting reward or punishment. You’ve been sent into this world to qualify yourself during the various tests, experiences, and prove during these that you are a deserving candidate for Paradise. In order to find a place in the eternal abode, you have to take the test here in this world. No one is aware of this fact of the Creation Plan of God, that the world is merely a testing ground, not the real habitat. Man has to only prepare himself here in this world in order to be able to settle in Paradise.

A fish will struggle in any place outside water. Similarly, the world that man desires, in accordance with his taste, is in Paradise, not in this world. No one was able to discover this point in history.

Now, consider socio-political issues. All great thinkers from Plato to Aristotle wanted to establish an ideal system. However, all of them singly failed. All efforts went in vain. There is no difference between Muslim and non-Muslim in this regard. For example, the most influential Muslim organization, Muslim Brotherhood, failed in Egypt. They haven’t attained anything. Why so? This is because, their goal was the establishment of an ideal society; Syed Qutb’s book can be consulted in this regard. Thus, the ideal society or ideal system for which they have been working towards, and to support which the entire Arab world was with them, hasn’t been attained. The most recent example being of Morsy of the Muslim Brotherhood being deposed, in the process of which nearly one thousand people died. The Quran says:

“Whoever killed a human being—except as a punishment for murder or for spreading corruption in the land— shall be regarded as having killed all mankind.” (5:32)

Thus, 1,000 people being killed in Egypt is equivalent to killing all human beings 1,000 times, and the gain was nothing. What is the reason behind this failure? The reason is only one: they all are running toward achieving the non-achievable. They will keep striving for it and will never attain it. Why is it unachievable? God has given freedom to all. Therefore, men’s hands are not tied up. That is the reason why we see instances in history such as, someone killing a prophet, when Prophet John was killed, someone else killing the Caliph Umar or somebody assassinating Mahatma Gandhi, a great reformer. These instances show us that even if someone builds an ideal system temporarily, soon it will be jeopardized through the misuse of freedom of only one person. Only one man can jeopardize the entire system that one develops. If freedom cannot be abolished, an ideal system can never be built. Had this present world been a world of robots, you could have made an ideal society. But this is not a world of robots, but that of free men, who can do whatever they want to do. Thus, it is entirely impossible in this world to make an ideal system, because, God-given freedom can never be abolished.

What is the solution? The solution has been provided in the Quran. However, even Muslims today are unaware of it.

For the individual, the solution is to have his desires fulfilled only to the extent that covers his need. According to a Hadith, “If a person has a place to reside, food to eat, and a servant to serve him, then it is as if he has been given everything in the world”. But man runs towards more and more and that’s why he destroys himself. For the individual, Islam advises contentment and a need-based life.

For the society or the socio-political system, Islamic teaching is given in this verse:

“Let them not dispute with you on this matter. Call them to the path of your Lord.”


There are certain issues wherein conflict is involved. For example, when you want to change the government there will be confrontation with the existing one. So here you must adopt statusquoism. In India we do peaceful dawah work and we have not come into confrontation with anyone. While in Egypt or Pakistan there is constant fighting among people, because, they don’t adopt this formula: to accept whatever they have. The formula is: In politics, statusquoism, and in dawah, activism. If there is possibility of conflict arising in any field then don’t take action in that field, rather adopt statusquoism with regard to it. And, in other non-confrontational fields, you should go ahead. This is the Islamic formula.

Adopt need-based principle in your family, in matters of your children, etc. This is not difficult. If your family and children accept that you and they will be content with need-based lifestyle, then you will be at peace. Similarly, we have to accept statusquoism in society in those situations where if we plan to take any action, confrontation may result.

People don’t plan their lives by taking into account the Creation Plan of God. Thus, they protest against atrocities and injustices. People are actually paying the price of their own stupid policies. There is no oppressor and no oppressed. The fact is that people transgress their field. If they restrict themselves to their field, they will never be oppressed. For example, in Kashmir in the past several years Muslims were killed. This was because they transgressed their bounds. They should’ve accepted the 1947 statusquo of Kashmir that was decided for the State after the Partition. But they didn’t accept it and started violent protests, thus they faced its consequences. So is the case with the Palestinians: they should have accepted the 1948 Balfour decision. Had both done so, there would have been no bloodshed at all in either of these places.

The Quran says:

“If you persevere and fear God, their designs will never harm you in the least.” (3:120)

That is because if you remain patient, you will not become a target of people’s conspiracies. People take wrong steps and come under others’ targets. Don’t take the wrong step and you will not be targeted at all. Muslims are paying the price of their own stupid policies. One must know that politics is the art of the possible. We should make plan for only that which is achievable, and not plan for that which is not achievable. The Arabs made plan for the unachievable, then they nationalized the Suez Canal. Thus they have been paying the price of their wrong steps.

Another point is that God has not sent to you in this world for the purpose of fighting. He has sent you for achieving a positive gain, that is, the development of your personality. You are required to develop your personality so that you can become deserving of being settled in Paradise. You must foster such a divine personality in yourself. This is the real goal. But Muslims are engaged in fighting and bloodshed, and thus are not being able to attain this positive goal at all. This is a great deprivation!

All your concern should be to make yourself deserving of being settled in your true habitat, which is Paradise. But man fails to develop himself for this very purpose, which is the real purpose of his life. Man has made other things his goal and concern. Thus, it is a great tragedy that man is going towards his death. After death those who see the reality of the Hereafter, get a great shock, that is, they realize they had been running towards vain pursuits. Thus, they feel great deprivation and loss. The Quran says that some people’s faces will be turned black on the Day of Judgment. (3:106) That is, because of the feeling of loss and defeat, they will feel very low.

The conclusion of the today’s topic is that as far as individual life is concerned, your goal shouldn’t be that your family or your business be ideal. Rather, here you should be content on that which fulfills your need. Then you will have enough time to develop yourself as a muzakka (purified) personality. Similarly, with regard to the social system, you must know that in this world, ideal cannot be achieved. This is impossible. You are not the controller, the controller is someone else. You have to take into account His plan for this world and then chart your course. If we don’t follow this, then in the Hereafter, as described in the Bible, your condition will be: There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. (Matthew, 13:42) So you must warn people and also adopt the Creation Plan in your own life.

Question and Answer

Q1. Can we pray for virtuous children?

A1. There is no verse which requires one to pray for children. But if they are born, then for one should pray for their virtuousness. There is a verse in the Quran in this regard: “Lord, grant us joy in our wives and children and make us a model for the righteous.” (25:74)

Q2. How to remain on the path of Paradise?

A2. Keep thinking. Everything is dependent on thinking and doing dua.

Q3. What is the difference between history-making and history-writing?

A3. History-making is not within man’s capacity. History-writing is correct and should be undertaken.

Q4. How to determine mistake in tabir-e-deen (interpretation of religion)?

A4. Compare the interpretation with the Quran and Hadith and you will know the mistake. Any mistake in interpretation is committed only when there is deviation from the Quran and Hadith.

Q5. People are ready to accept: “all have freedom”, but they don’t want to accept: “ideals cannot be achieved”. What to do in this regard?

A5. The latter is against the Creation Plan of God, and history bears witness that ideals cannot be achieved, therefore it is borne out by fact.

Q6. How to develop wisdom to differentiate achievable and unachievable?

A6. If man is sincere, he will examine thoroughly the matters which are achievable and unachievable, he won’t remain unaware.

Q7. Muslims have created many sects which keep fighting amongst themselves. What fate will God decide for them in the Hereafter?

A7. You should not think about others’ fate in the Hereafter. You don’t even know what will happen with you. As far as the issue of various sects is concerned, you can read my book Tajdeed-e-deen.

Q8. A member of Muslim Brotherhood said that they will resort back to violence to restore order. Why don’t they learn from their mistakes?

A8. They’ve created a wrong belief. That is, they think that if they succeed in their goal, they consider themselves victorious, and if not, then they regard themselves as martyrs. Thus they believe that they are successful both ways. This is a wrong notion and has nothing to do with Islam.

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