“Sufi Perspective on Life and Death”

“Allah has fashioned man in His own mould”

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What is the philosophy of life and death? The Creator of life answers this question. He says in the Quran: “O people, know that the life of this world is but play and amusement, adornment and mutual boasting and a competition in multiplying of wealth and children.”

Man has been accorded the loftiest status of Ashraf al-Makhluqat — the most honored of all creatures. Allah has beautifully stated it in this Quranic verse: “Verily, we have honored the children of Adam. We carry them on the land and the sea, and have made provision of good things for them, and have preferred them above many of those whom We created with a marked preferment.”

It is explained in a Prophetic tradition: “Allah has fashioned man in His own mould”. This exhorts that since man has been created in the most exalted fashion, that is the creater mould, he should follow a lofty ideal in his life.

We have the ability to use reason and rationale in adopting a wise lifestyle. Allah’s decision to prefer humans is based on the fact that He has bestowed them a mind capable of both obeying and disobeying. Without forcing them into submission, He has simply left it to their discretion.

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The higher status of Ashraf al-Makhluqat, in the sight of Allah, is accorded to only those humans who make themselves worthy of salvation (nijaat) by becoming reflective and rational and constantly loving Him and all His creatures. They have to attain it through perseverance, humility, a strong willpower and immense patience to overcome the baser impulses coming out of the glamorous earthly life. And this is precisely the prime concern of Allah’s creation of life and death:  “(Allah) has created death and life so that He may test you which of you is best in deed. And He is the all mighty, the most forgiving”.

Thus, Allah’s chief objective of creating our life as well as death is a test of our conduct considering our age, health, sickness, strength, fame, poverty, wealth or loss of wealth.
Ghulam Rasool Dehlvi is an Aalim (classical Islamic scholar) and a Delhi-based writer.

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