Life is a gift from God. For some, life as a journey from womb to tomb while some call life as a fast wind. Many take it as the discovery of one’s self while others call it the discovery of Nature. A majority say it is a journey that can never be understood while a community takes it a trial ground for the hereafter. One of the holy scriptures says that the worldly life is a mirage. It is never permanent. It is temporary in nature. The best of the lives is the life hereafter. So, in short there are variety of opinions regarding life because a person takes life in which situation he or she finds it. But what is the difference between a life and a meaningful life? Eating, washing, sleeping, spending, buying, etc., is a life or according to one of the English poets it is a sordid boon. Here, I will start with an example and try to make it as much as clear what a meaningful life is.
A train is traveling at a full speed towards its destination. For convenience, a man is metaphorically compared to a train. A continuous spectacle of lush green crops and brimming streams and brooks or brooklets flashes by on either side. A person finds itself in the same position in this world. However much the scene attracts attention towards itself, the train shows no interest in it. It passes through plains and mountains, over land and river, without reducing its speed. In its destination, many small stations come across but they don’t interrupt the motion of the train for a moment. It carries on, as it will stop nowhere.
It is much the same with a purposeful life. One who has adopted purpose in life will fix his or her attention upon it. He or she will not waste his time in futile pursuits. A purposeful person is like a traveller who seeks to spend every moment of his life steering himself or herself towards his or her destination. Alluring worldly attractions hover before this traveller but he closes his eyes to them. Luxurious shade invites him to be cooled from the blazing Sun. Lavish mansions call him or her to rest his or her feet from the long, hard road. But he has no time for these things; all he sees and knows is the goal he or she has set before himself or herself. All kinds of different requirements confront him but he steers clear of them and continues on his way. His determination to reach his or her destination alter with the ups and downs of life. The speed and direction of his or her journey remains constant through thick and thin.
A purposeful person is quite unlike a wayward traveller who, lacking his or her direction, sometimes sets off in one direction and sometimes in another. He knows where he is going. The road that he must tread or walk upon clearly stretches out before his eyes. There is no question of him interrupting his journey or diverting his attention towards other things. He travels on and on until his purpose is fulfilled, his destination reached.
Let me try to make it understand in another way. This is experienced by all the Muslims in particular. Some of the companions of the Prophet( peace be upon him) attained great spiritual heights. They believed that in order to remain at such a spiritual level, they should always be serious , engaged in constant worship, turning their backs on all the enjoyments of life and the good things of the world; neither playing nor relaxing but keeping their eyes and their minds fixed on the Hereafter and its concerns away from common life and its amusements.
In this regard, let us have a look at one of the traditions of the Prophet( peace be upon him). The great companion and scribe of the Prophet (peace be upon him), Hanzalah al Usaidi, narrates an incident to Abu Bakr, which fits in our lives. Abu Bakr met Hanzalah and asked,’ How are you, Hanzalah?’ I replied,’ Hanzalah has become a hypocrite.’ He said, ‘ Subhanallah! What are you saying?’ I replied,’ When we are with Allah’s Messenger( peace be upon him), he mentions the Fire and The Garden until it is as we can see them. But when we leave the Prophet’s company and play with our wives and children or busy ourselves with our properties, we forget much.’ Abu Bakr said,’ By Allah, I have experienced the same thing.’ He and I then went to visit the Messenger of Allah and I said,’ O Messenger of Allah, Hanzalah has become a hypocrite.’ He asked ,’And how is that?’ I replied,’ O Messenger of Allah, when we are with you, you talk about the Fire and the Garden until it is as if we can see them. Then we go out and play with our wives and children and deal with out properties, and we forget much. ‘ The Messenger of Allah then said,’ By Him in whose hand is my soul, if you were to continue at the same level at which you were when with me and in remembering Allah, the angels would shake hands with you when you are resting and when you walk about, but O Hanzalah, there is a time( for this) and ( for that).’ He repeated this phrase three times.
In this, we have a lesson that it is not bad to enjoy the worldly things but we should not lose ourselves in the worldly glories. Life is a moderate way in the light of the above tradition. No one is forced to opt seclusion. In a society of human beings, a person can reach attain the enlightenment. The priority is that he or she should have the pious goal and work accordingly. It is called a meaningful life. For a life to be invested with meaning, it is essential that one should set a target for oneself. One should be certain of the worthwhile nature of one’s chosen target. In pursuit of it, one must have the total support of one’s conscience. It is by concentrating his mind and setting his heart on a certain target that a man becomes different from animals. So, life is a trial where every moment should be availed of. Extremism should be avoided. This world is not so bad as we think. A proper balance is necessary and our lives will be meaningful.( Replugged).