What is the nature and purpose of human life?

From the 23rd to  the 27th of November 2015, Shaykh Arif Abdulhussein spoke about ‘The nature and purpose of human life’ as part of an Arbaeen lecture series at the Al-Mahdi Institute. They were well received with over 200 guests, students and online participates attending the respective lectures. Each night questions that were said to be ‘at the heart of every individual’ were revealed and discussed, and are a must listen for students of philosophy and religion.

The series opened up with the question of our purpose ‘why have I been brought to this world without God asking me?’ and whether this is something we should be thankful for when we may or may not be able to do anything contrary to what has been pre-determined for us. Shaykh Arif aired a broader world view of questions including whether we have free will or are our lives pre-destined by God. These questions lead back to ‘what is the purpose of life?’ And the fundamental – ‘who am I?’ The series continued to provide a deeper understanding of these questions and verses of the Quran to deliberate on our true identity and purpose. A great emphasis was placed on the nature of ‘I am’ and the sophistication of this seemingly simple statement. He ponders over the human soul and describes it as a single reality of ”untarnished beauty”– that our soul is one truth and neutral in all matters. It begged the question how can we all be so individual and unique if we are the same truth?

There was a Q&A session at the end of each lecture; those attending were invited to ask questions, and online participates could tweet or facebook their questions for Shaykh Arif to answer.

On the final nights the many questions throughout the series were examined and can be briefly summarised as what is not pre-determined is how we interact with situations – whether we choose to act mechanically (predictable/pre-determined) or choose otherwise. He said our parents ought to be thanked as according to the Quran we demanded to come to the world – it wasn’t a choice given to us, our mother was our passage into the earth, and our father our provider. He also states our uniqueness in being is created by the distancing between our inner selves and our outer being. Inside we are all one truth. For a fuller explanation of the lectures please follow the links to view the series below.

If you would like to watch the full Arbaeen lecture series please click here

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