Laiqa Bhatti, Egham
What is the purpose of life? It is an age-old question that is pondered over, from a fleeting thought in the ordinary man to the continually debating philosopher. It is a question that leads many on the journey to question the existence of God, to find Him and after having found Him and His true beauty, to earn His love. For this is the sole purpose of our life; it is something that requires patience as well as guidance on how to find God. For that reason, God sent religion. The purpose of all true religions was always to facilitate and guide its followers closer to God.
The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace), the founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, has explained that in order to find and nurture a relationship with God, one must first recognise Him, understand His beneficence and His perfect beauty before nearness to God can be achieved . There are countless examples of God’s perfect beauty all around us, from the microscopic wonders of the world to the macroscopic vastness of the universe. In the Holy Qur’an, God says:
‘Verily, in the creation of the heavens and the earth and in the alternation of night and day, and in the ships which sail in the sea with that which profits men, and in the water which Allah sends down from the sky and quickens therewith the earth after its death and scatters therein all kinds of beasts, and in the change of the winds and the clouds pressed into service between the heaven and the earth are indeed Signs for the people who understand.’ Holy Qur’an (2:165)
So for the seeker, seeing the world around us from the perspective of a perfect Creator, God’s beauty is easily visible, and if the seeker continues to look, the beauty becomes spell-binding. This realisation should invoke a fervent need to find this Creator, for which, again, God sent religion containing myriad ways in which one can become closer to God. Prayers and worship of God serve a single purpose; bringing man closer to God. Earnest prayers, seeking God’s help and guidance are the foundations in this journey because it is only God who can guide us. This again makes us reflect on the omnipotence of God and His love and how insignificant we and our efforts are in comparison. Then God instructs us to extend this worship to the world around us and strive in His cause and serve others. From the sacrifice of wealth to a mere smile for another human being, all acts for others are also considered worship.
‘And worship Allah and associate naught with Him, and show kindness to parents, and to kindred, and orphans, and the needy, and to the neighbour that is a kinsman and the neighbour that is a stranger, and the companion by your side, and the wayfarer, and those whom your right hands possess. Surely, Allah loves not the proud and the boastful,’ Holy Qur’an (4:37)
Each act of worship for the sake of God brings us closer to Him, yet much like the physical nourishment is continuous, the spiritual also is continuous and requires time. Therefore finding God, developing a loving relationship with God requires steadfastness and that steadfastness must remain under trials and tribulations, in both adversity and prosperity. This quality of steadfastness is of such significance that the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said:
‘…he who seeks steadfastness Allah bestows steadfastness upon him. Upon no one has been bestowed a bounty better and more comprehensive than steadfastness.’ Bukhari 
Keeping company with the righteous is another way of establishing a meaningful relationship with God as people who have experience with God allow us to observe their perfect example and their personal experience and relationship reminds us of the perfect beauty of God. The believers that have found God are bonded to Him in a way that is inspiring and calls on us to continue fervently searching for God. When the efforts of the seeker are answered, God starts to manifest Himself through true dreams, visions and revelation. The seeker has found God and becomes so intoxicated in His love that nothing in this world any longer matters. The temporary, materialistic things become insignificant because an everlasting bond with the benevolent God has been established.
The beauty of the search for God is that He can be found, if the seeker would like to, in whatever we do. Even when a seeker makes a mistake and commits a sin, repentance of that sin brings him nearer to God. It is a journey that can last a lifetime and those who reach the pinnacle of this journey are the fortunate ones. Because when you truly find God, God becomes a part of you.
God says that: ‘When I love him I become his ears by which he hears, and his eyes with which he sees, and his hands with which he grasps, and his feet with which he walks. When he asks Me I bestow upon him and when he seeks My protection I protect him.’  And of those who believe in God, is there anyone not yearning for His love and protection?