In his exploration of the goal of life, Mutahhari (1972) analyses the most significant perspectives presented regarding the subject and discusses the view that the Islamic Monotheism holds regarding the objective that drives all existence.
For Mutahhari (1972), the debate about the motive in man's creation is something tied to the very nature of man:
“The question of the 'motive in the creation of man' is basically one that refers to the 'nature of man’.” (Mutahhari, 1972: p. 4)
Being amongst the most natural of instincts, this question has put man in a continuous search for the meaning of his existence. Man has, therefore, presented a number of different answers to this in-built and never ending quest of purpose.
As a prelude to his main argument, Mutahhari (1972) steers through his routine academic analytical discussion while exploring and criticising some of the perspectives presented by most of the mainstream Western authors, both classic and contemporary, including Sartre, Russell, Epicurus, Darwin, Nietzsche, Marx and Socrates, whose works are the basis for most of the commonly held ideas about the man's goal of life.
After establishing an academic and a firm intellectual foundation, the main argument of the treatise develops as Ayatollah Murtadha Mutahhari (1972) ingeniously categories some of the most widely held perspectives about the goal of life, and groups them into five different schools of thoughts, discussing and analysing each one of them, before presenting the Islamic view on the topic. The five perspectives are discussed below, ordering from the least prolific to the most divine ones, followed by an explanation of the Islamic perspective about the goal of life:
However, to Mutahhari (1972), all these goals are not independent objectives on their own. Rather, they are either means towards or effects of the actual goal of existence. That objective, in the view of Islam, is nothing but God Himself:
"Thus the goal and ideal that Islam offers is God, and everything else is preparatory to it, and not of an independent and fundamental importance. All other goals are the product of this one and subsidiary to it.” (Mutahhari, 1972: p. 6)
Islam does not by any means negate any of these goals but encompasses all of them and moves a step further. It directs all these goals towards one ultimate goal, who is God, and the rest of the goals are dependent upon that paramount goal.
The Islamic vision celebrates the idea that the goals aforementioned are not essentially objectives on their own but dependancies that revolve around The Independent, implying the fact that it is certainly God who is the only goal of our existence:
"Thus, in Islam everything revolves round the axis of God, including the goal in the mission of prophets and individuals' goal of life.” (Mutahhari, 1972: p. 6)
Mutahhari, A. M. (1972). Goal of Life. Islamic Republic of Iran: Foreign Department of Be’that Foundation, Someyeh Avenue.