Why we are here?

Did you think that We created you futilely and that you would not be returned to Us? 23:115

The reason we were brought into this world is given in the Quran. Although this information is not presented in the Quran in chronological sequence, nor grouped in one Sura (chapter), various Quranic verses give pieces of information which together present the full picture.

The Quran tells us that we were all living in God's Kingdom before we were brought into this world. Although this is our first and only life on planet earth, it is not our first existence. We were all living before the whole universe was created, then following a specific event (detailed below), we were put to death and then brought back to life on planet earth:

Blessed is the One in whose hand is the sovereignty. He is Capable of all things. The One who created death and life that He may test you as to which of you is best in deeds. He is the Dignified, the Forgiver. 67:1-2

There are no words in the Quran that are coincidental. God is always precise in expressing and delivering any truth, and so we cannot overlook the order in which the words "The One who created death and life" are placed. The placing of the word "death" before the word "life" indicates that we were put to death before we were brought to this life on earth. It is not possible to put to death someone who does not exist. Therefore we must have been alive before we came to this world, then put to death, then brought to life on earth.

Sometime, during the previous existence, a feud arose in the Heavenly Society:

Say, "It is awesome news from which you turn away. I had no knowledge of the Highest Assembly when they quarrelled." 38:67-69

One of the high-ranking creatures, Satan, who was an angel at the time, entertained supercilious thoughts that his God-given powers qualified him to be a god besides God. These supercilious thoughts meant that he challenged God's absolute authority. Not only was Satan's idea blasphemous, it was wrong - only God, and no one else, possesses the attributes and ability to be a god. Consequent to Satan's blasphemy, a division occurred in the Heavenly Society. There were those who agreed with Satan (that he is capable of being a god), there were also those who were not sure, and then there were those who were under no doubt that God alone has the attributes to be a god.

As a result, God gathered all those who sided with Satan and also those who were not sure and offered them a second chance to repent and submit to His absolute authority:

We have offered the Trust to the heavens, the earth and the mountains, but they refused to carry it and were afraid of it, while the human being accepted it. Indeed, he was transgressing, ignorant. 33:72

The words in 33:72 state that everything in the heavens and the earth, which includes all animals, plants and other inanimate objects refused to carry the trusted responsibility and only the human being arrogantly accepted it. This tells us that the vast majority of the guilty creatures took advantage of this opportunity to repent and return to upholding God's absolute authority, while a minuscule minority failed to take advantage of this offer and arrogantly preferred to carry the responsibility of finding out for themselves whether Satan could indeed be a god, as he claimed. The following verse also confirms that the vast majority of creatures in the heavens and the earth have corrected their error and are now worshipping and glorifying God:

Have you not seen that everything in the heavens and the earth glorifies God, even the birds in their flight formation? Each has known its prayer and its glorification. God is Knowledgeable of what they do. 24:41

Since all animals and living organisms have already denounced Satan and returned to God's fold, they do not sit a test on earth like the humans, but they live on earth to cleanse their souls and to witness Satan's incompetance. Since they are not being tested, they do not require an advanced brain that distinguishes between good and evil. The brain they are given is adequate to make basic survival issues only, while the larger part of the decisions they make is coded in their DNA as 'instinct'.

Following the division, all God's creatures were classified under four categories:

1. Angels: Creatures who never doubted God's absolute authority and who rejected Satan's claim. They remained as angels until our present day.

2. Animals: Creatures who doubted but then accepted God's invitation to repent (33:72). This group includes all animals and all living things on earth, excluding the human being.

3. Jinn: Creatures who agreed with Satan; that he is capable of being a god.

4. Humans: Creatures who did not make up their minds; they failed to make a firm stand with God's absolute authority. They also rejected God's second offer (33:72) and preferred to find out for themselves about Satan's claim. This group sadly includes all human beings. That is precisely why God calls the human being in 33:72 "transgressing and ignorant".

The Most Merciful

To settle Satan's claim that he can be a God, God devised a plan to expose Satan's incompetence for all who doubted God's absolute authority and were duped by Satan's claims. If you claim the ability to fly a plane, the best way to test your claim is to give you a plane and ask you to fly it. This is precisely what God decided to do. God created seven vast universes (2:29), then informed the angels that He was appointing Satan as a 'khalifa' (supreme ruler) on the tiny mote called 'earth' (2:30). The powers given by God to Satan as a temporary supreme ruler on earth will allow him to whisper to people and attempt to lead them astray (4:60). Satan, and his descendants (the devils), will also invite the human to commit all kinds of vice (2:268, 24:21). Satan's ego and arrogance will ultimately invite humans to worship him (36:60). Since the human being failed to uphold God's absolute authority in the previous life and was not sure that God alone can be a god, the human is brought to this life to witness for himself if Satan can really be a god, and also brought to this life in the hope of redeeming himself and returning to uphold God's absolute authority. All who will follow in Satan's footsteps and fail to worship God alone will be doomed while those who repent and follow God's commands and uphold God's absolute authority will be redeemed.

God's plan called for putting all who doubted to death (67:1-2), then bringing the humans and jinn into this world for the sole purpose of rectifying their mistake.
The fact that Satan claimed to have the attributes to be a god, and that he rejected God's absolute authority is apparent from the following verses:

1- Satan's illusion that he is worthy of being a god leads him to entice the human being to worship him. To warn us against doing so, God tells us:

Did I not take an oath from you, O Children of Adam, that you shall not worship the devil, for he is a clear enemy to you, and that you shall worship Me? 36:60-61

Satan rejected God's absolute authority:

The squanderers are brothers to the devils, and the devil is a rejecter of his Lord. 17:27

The only way for the human and jinn to rectify their error, is by denouncing Satan and worshipping God alone. This is the whole purpose for which we have been brought into this life on earth:

I have not created the jinn and the humans except to worship Me. 51:56

We note that God did not include the animals in 51:56, this is because the animals have already repented and are worshipping and glorifying God constantly (see 24:41 above). They do not come to earth to be tested like the human does.

All humans and jinn start over without any biases, and exercise full freedom to uphold God's absolute authority or Satan's polytheistic ideology. To make this crucial decision, every human being receives a message from God advocating His absolute authority. This is given to the human in the form of the Scriptures which are sent with guidance and which charts the way to salvation. Whoever accepts the guidance and submits to God will then be redeemed into God's Kingdom. Those who refuse it will end up in Hell:

We said, "Go down therefrom, all of you. Then when guidance comes to you from Me, whoever follows My guidance, no fear will there be concerning them, nor will they grieve.

And for those who disbelieve and deny Our revelations, they will be the companions of the Fire; therein they shall permanently remain. 2:38-39

The human being will also receive a message from the devil pushing his polytheistic invitations. To give us a head start, the Most Merciful gathered all the human beings before Him, prior to sending us to this world, and we bore witness that He alone is our Lord and Master:

And when your Lord brought forth from the Children of Adam, from their backs, their descendants, and made them bear witness regarding themselves: "Am I not your Lord?" They said, "Yes. We bear witness." Lest you say on the Day of Resurrection, "We were unaware of this." 7:172

The reader is urged to ask himself if he remembers making such a witness directly to God. The fact that none of us remember any such event confirms the fact that we had a previous existence and that we are now oblivious of this existence. The moment we were brought into this life on earth our memories were wiped clean of all that happened in the previous existence.

The fact that we all made such a pledge to God is reflected in our natural instinct:

So direct your face towards the religion as a monotheist. Such is the natural instinct that God instilled in the people. 30:30

Instinct is an integral driving force in every human being. Our instincts come to the fore when we face grave danger or in 'near death' situations. At such a time, which may be a split second, our survival instinct takes over and we plead with God to save us, at that time we know that only God is able to save us.

After putting all who doubted and rejected God's absolute authority to death, their souls were placed in a special repository. God then created the appropriate bodies to house the souls of the jinn and the humans during the test period. The first jinn body was made from fire, and Satan was assigned to that body (15:27). The first human body was created from earthly material and clay (15:26), and God assigned the first human soul to that body. The divine plan called for the angels to serve the humans on earth - guard them, drive the wind and rain for them, distribute provisions, etc. This fact is stated in the Quran allegorically: "Your Lord said to the angels, 'Fall prostrate before Adam.' " Satan, due to his arrogance, naturally refused to have anything to do with serving the human race (2:34, 7:11, 17:61, 18:50, 20:116).

Adam was admitted into Heaven where God commanded him not to eat from the forbidden tree. Satan was appointed as Adam's companion to deliver to Adam his satanic message. The rest is history.

At a specific time in the womb, a time that is known only to God, every human being is assigned a soul from the repository of souls. God assigns the souls in accordance with His knowledge (28:68). Every soul deserves to be assigned to a certain body, and live under certain circumstances. God alone knows which souls are good and which souls are evil. Our children are assigned to our homes in accordance with God's plan.

An independent jinn soul is also assigned as a companion to the new human being to promote Satan's ideology to that human. While all humans are the descendants of Adam, the jinn are the descendants of Satan (7:27, 18:50).

The jinn companion remains with the human being from birth to death, serving as the main witness on the Day of Judgment (50:23). A continuous debate takes place in our heads between the human soul and the jinn soul invariably leading to one of them winning the argument.

The Original Sin

Contrary to common belief, our 'Original Sin' was not Adam's violation of God's law when he ate from the forbidden tree. The original sin was our failure to uphold God's absolute authority during the 'Great Feud'.

If the human person convinces his or her jinn companion to denounce the original sin and uphold God's absolute authority, both creatures are redeemed to God's eternal kingdom on the Day of Judgment. But if the jinn companion convinces the human being to uphold Satan's idolatrous views, then both creatures are exiled forever from God's kingdom.

To promote his ideology, Satan and his representatives advocate the idolization of such powerless mortals such as Muhammad, Jesus, Mary, and the saints. Since we are here due to our polytheistic tendencies, most of us are easy prey for Satan.

The aim of Satan and his descendants is to spread animosity, hatred and violence between people, the result of which is the prevalence of hatred, vengeance, murders, misery and wars throughout his dominion, all of which expose his incompetence as a god:

The devil promises you poverty and commands you to commit immorality, while God promises you forgiveness from Him and favour. God is Immense, Knowledgeable. 2:268

He promises them and entices them; but the devil promises them nothing but delusion. 4:120

The devil only wants to provoke animosity and hatred between you through intoxicants and gambling, and to repel you from the rememberence of God and from the Salat. So will you thus refrain? 5:91

O you who believe, do not follow the footsteps of the devil. Whoever follows the footsteps of the devil then, indeed, he advocates immorality and evil. Were it not for God's favour upon you and His mercy, not one of you would have ever been purified, but God purifies whom He wills. God is Hearer, Knowledgeable. 24:21

On the other hand, the humans who denounce Satan, uphold God's absolute authority, and refrain from idolizing powerless and dead persons, such as Jesus and Muhammad, are restored to God's protection - they enjoy a perfect life here in this world and forever.

As our life in this world is a series of tests designed to test our polytheistic ideas, God informs us that idol worship is the only unforgivable sin (4:48, 4:116). The world is divinely designed to manifest our decision to uphold either God's absolute authority, or Satan's idolatrous views (67:1-2). Only those who are totally certain about God's absolute authority are redeemed (26:89).

Upholding God's absolute authority in our hearts cannot be deemed sincere unless it is accompanied by our action as well. This action is expressed through obeying God's law at all times, even when it is not easy. By obeying God's law at all times, we declare our submission to God and our acceptance of His absolute authority.

Editor's Note

The only consistent theory that offers a comprehensive explanation and is in harmony with all the Quranic verses presented, is the theory of 'Why we are here' as presented above.

Many people today are turning atheistic primarily because they cannot find an answer to the question of: If there is a god, why would he allow all these bad things and all the suffering to happen in the world? Why does so much suffering happen to 'innocent people'?
Indeed, this is a very good question which every person is entitled to ask, believers and non believers alike. The Quranic theory of 'Why we are here' is the only theory that provides a rational answer to such questions without compromising God's mercy.

The ones who ask such questions which include the words "to innocent people" are basing their question on a wrong assumption, and that is why they cannot find a convincing answer. Once again, the theory of 'Why we are here' confirms that no human being comes to this life in an innocent state. Had we all been 'innocent people' we would have never come to earth nor would we have been put through a life of hardship and suffering.

The Quranic theory of 'Why we are here' also explains why Satan was appointed as the supreme ruler on Earth (
2:30). It also points out that it is Satan's incompetence in being a supreme ruler on earth, plus his constant invitations to sin and commit evil, that are behind all the evil that occurs on earth.

Some may ask: Why did God grant Satan power and made him ruler over the earth knowing that he will spread corruption and evil? Interestingly enough, this is the same question that the angels asked of God when He informed them that He is appointing Satan as a 'khalifa' (ruler) on Earth:

When your Lord said to the angels, "I am placing a 'khalifa (supreme ruler) in the earth," they said, "Will You place in it one who will corrupt therein and shed blood, while we glorify You with praise and extol Your holiness?" He said, "I know what you do not know."

For the analysis of why the word
"khalifa" in 2:30 refers to Satan and not the human being, please see: The 'khalifa' on earth

The reason why God ordained things to happen in this way is because we did not accept God's absolute authority. Instead, we accommodated Satan's claims, thus we are made to witness for ourselves the truth in Satan's claims. Had all God's creatures denounced Satan when he made his blasphemous claims, God would have just punished Satan without changing the status quo, nor creating a whole new universe to confirm the truth.
But we rejected God's second offer (33:72), which was a merciful second chance for redemption. Had we accepted that gracious offer, we would have been saved from having to go through the test here on earth. Instead, we were "transgressing and ignorant", preferring to burden ourselves with the trust and responsibility to find out the truth about Satan's claim for ourselves! Our arrogance resulted in us coming to this tiny spec called earth, which has been appointed by God to be the temporary dominion of Satan, to see for ourselves (as we chose) the truth of his claim. Since we freely made our choice following the offer in 33:72, are we justified in complaining about going through all the suffering caused by Satan's incompetence?

Quranic evidence for the previous existence

I did not make them witness the creation of the heavens and the earth, nor the creation of themselves, nor was I to take the misleading ones as assistants. 18:51

For God to say He did not make us witness the creation of the heavens and the earth, nor the creation of ourselves, it can only mean that we existed in some form, but were not permitted to witness the creation. If we were not yet in existence, the issue of witnessing or not witnessing the creation would not be applicable.

How can you disbelieve in God when you were dead and He brought you to life, then He puts you to death, then He brings you to life, then to Him you shall be returned? 2:28

In this verse God speaks to disbelievers on earth and says:
"you were dead and He brought you to life". The word "were" (verb to be) denotes existence, albeit in a state of death. To be dead then brought to life is different from being non existent, then being created. Death and non existence are not the same thing.

They said, "Our Lord, You have put us to death twice, and You have brought us to life twice. Now we have confessed our sins, is there any way out?" 40:11

All humans die at the end of their life on earth, then in the Hereafter there will be no further death (4:57, 4:169). The question is thus: when did the other death, mentioned in 40:11 happen? It can only be at the end of a previous existence.

We have created the human being into hardship. 90:4

If we did not exist before our life on earth, then we could not have committed any sin before we were born. Since God does not inflict any injustice on any person (verses below), then why would we be born into a life of hardship when we had not committed any sin to justify such treatment/punishment?

God does not inflict an atom's weight of injustice
. 4:40

God does not wrong the people in any way, but it is the people who wrong themselves.10:44

The rational explanation of this matter is that our creation into hardship can only be a consequence of a previous sin we committed before we were born on earth. To commit a sin before our birth necessitates a previous life.

The One who created death and life that He may test you as to which of you is best in deeds. He is the Dignified, the Forgiver. 67:2

If life on earth was our first life, wouldn't God have said that He created 'life and death' rather than
"death and life"? This deliberate sequence of words indicates that we were put to death before being brought to life on earth? Besides, if we had not committed any sin before our birth on earth, why do we need to be tested?

And when your Lord brought forth from the Children of Adam, from their backs, their descendants, and made them bear witness regarding themselves: "Am I not your Lord?" They said, "Yes. We bear witness." Lest you say on the Day of Resurrection, "We were unaware of this." 7:172

Does any one of us remember that God spoke to us the above words, and that we replied by bearing witness that God is our Lord? The answer is no! The reason can only be that such event happened in a previous existence, and that our memory of that life was erased before we were born on earth.

7- We said, "Go down therefrom, all of you. Then when guidance comes to you from Me, whoever follows My guidance, no fear will there be concerning them, nor will they grieve. 2:38

The words
"all of you" indicate that God is speaking to all the human race and not just to Adam and his wife who disobeyed God by eating from the forbidden tree.
The significance of this verse is that since God is speaking to all the human race and saying "go down (to earth)" then we must have existed before we came to earth.

We have offered the Trust to the heavens, the earth and the mountains, but they refused to carry it and were afraid of it, while the human being accepted it. Indeed, he was transgressing, ignorant. 33:72

Similarly, none of us remembers being given a second chance and that we, unlike everything else in the universe, accepted the responsibility and were thus described by God as "transgressing and ignorant". Once again, this event must have happened in a previous existence, and that our memory of that life was erased before we were born on earth.

This is in order for God to punish the hypocrite men and the hypocrite women, as well as the men who commit shirk and the women who commit shirk, and so that God would redeem the believing men and the believing women. God is Forgiver, Merciful. 33:73

This verse, which comes after the offer given by God in the previous verse, defines the reason as to why we are here. The purpose of our creation is to punish the wicked ones and redeem the believers. However, the words
"redeem the believing men and the believing women" raise the following question:

Keeping in mind that verses 33:72 and 33:73 speak about events that did not take place during our life on earth, why would believing men and women need redemption, even before they come to earth? Redemption from what? It can only be redemption from a sin committed before we came to earth.
It follows that the only means to attain redemption is through worhipping God alone. These are the exact words coined by God for our creation:

I have not created the jinn and the humans except to worship Me. 51:56

We did not create the heavens and the earth and what is between them for mere play. We did not create them except with the truth, but most of them do not know. 44:38-39

What exactly is the
"truth" for which God created the heavens and the earth? God did not create the heavens and the earth in any playful manner, nor out of boredom, but to establish the "truth". The need to establish any truth can only be a result of the truth being in doubt. The creation of the universe and all that is in it, including us, was for no reason other than to establish the truth about God's absolute authority, and the truth about Satan's false claims. We humans were in doubt about these matters, hence, the "truth" needed to be established.

You have known about the first creation, so will you not be reminded? 56:62

What exactly is the
"first creation"? The words say that we "have known" about it. The words "decreed death amongst you" and "replacing you", in verses 60 and 61 respectively, indicate that God is addressing us while we still live on earth. It follows that the "first creation" took place before we came to earth.