Reflection No. 297 on Q 53:42 – Allah, the Ultimate Goal
وَأَنَّ إِلَىٰ رَبِّكَ الْمُنْتَهَىٰ
Wa-innaka ilā rabbikal-muntahā
And that the ultimate goal is to your Lord
(Sūratun Najm, No.53, Āyat 42)
This verse is part of a passage that talks about the wisdom that is also in the scriptures given to Nabī Ibrahim (a) and Nabī Musa (a). One of the truths mentioned is that the terminus or end of all things is Allah. The word muntaha as explained by ‘Allāmah Tabātabā’ī can be understood as having two meanings:
• All that is created will go back to Him at the time of death
• This end of life will lead to the Resurrection towards God, where all creation will again be raised to go back to Him.
The idea that all things end with Allah is an interesting concept that can be applied to many different areas of human life:
1) Human beings can use the power of the intellect to think extensively but it reaches it limits when it comes to Allah, the Creator. The Holy Prophet (s) said: Think about the blessings of Allah but do not think about the essence of Allah. (Manhajus Sādiqīn, v.9, p.91 quoted in Tafsīr Ithnā ‘Asharī)
2) Allah will be the final judge of all things. Human beings will act according to their thinking in this world and may be judged by others. But the ultimate Judge will be Allah.
3) All creation in this world is part of a chain of cause and effect. Each part is Mumkinul wujud (possible existence). The end of the chain is Allah who is wājibul wujud (essential and necessary existence) whose existence is necessary for the chain to exist at all.
Almighty Allah is the ultimate goal of all human life. Life is this world is full of many activities. Much is done to facilitate human life, make it comfortable and pleasant, and allow human beings to enjoy the good things on earth. An important focus to keep in mind is that the end of all things is Allah. He is the goal, the endpoint, the destination, the final stop. It would be foolish to forget that and be immersed in that which will not be of much use at the end. Imam Ali (a) says:O servants of Allah, you and what you want of this world are like guests with fixed periods of stay, like debtors called upon to pay (Nahjul Balāgha, Sermon 129).
Work hard to improve all aspects of life. The self, relationships, work, spirituality . . . but remember that the goal of life itself is reaching Allah, i.e. deriving His Pleasure. Allah should be the focus and hope of all actions. Remind yourself to stay firmly focused by reciting this verse often. It states an important reality that must not be forgotten.
Āyatullāh Muhammad Husayn Tabātabā’ī,Tafsīr al-Mīzān;
Shah Abdul Azimi Hussain, Tafsīr Ithnā Asharī;