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

2-
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."
2:30

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?