The question of the purpose of creation can be answered from two perspectives.
1 - The perspective of the Creator, the Almighty God:
2 - The perspective of the Creation, the Human beings:
1 - Purpose of Creation from the perspective of the Creator, the Almighty God:Almighty God says in the Qur'an in Sura al Ghafir Chapter 40 Verse 57, "the creations of the heavens and the earth are far greater than the creation of the human being, but most of the human beings realize it not." Many human beings say that we are the greatest of the creations, but Almighty God says that the creations of heavens and earth are far greater, but the human beings do not realize it. One of the attributes of Almighty God is 'The Creator, The Best Creator' and Almighty God says in the Qur'an in Sura al Mominun Chapter 23 Verse 21, "Almighty God is the best to create." Since one of the attributes of God is 'the Creator', there must be a creation of His. But that does not mean that Almighty God is dependent on His creations. Almighty God says in the Qur'an in Sura al Zumur Chapter 39 Verse 62 "It is Almighty God, who creates everything and He is independent of all His creations." The Arabic word for 'Creator' is 'Khaliq' and the Arabic word 'Khalaqa' means 'to create'. 'Khalaqa' (creating) can be divided into two types. One meaning of 'Khalaqa' is 'to create something from something', which besides Almighty God even we human beings can do. For instance, a carpenter creates a chair from wood and nails. But the wood is obtained from the trees and nail from metal and the trees and wood have not be created by the carpenter. So all of the creations of human beings are dependent upon the basic elements created by Almighty God. So this type of creation is a limited type of creation. The ultimate and the true creation is to create something from nothing and this no one besides Almighty God can do. None of the creations can create something from nothing except the uncreated Almighty God, the Creator of all the creations. So He is the Creator, there has to be creation.
There are up to 99 attributes of God mentioned in the Qur'an and the authentic sayings of prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him). One of the attributes of God is "Ar Rehman, the Merciful", "Ar Raheem, the Kind", "Al Ghafir, the Forgiver". Human beings are a unique creation of Allah Almighty. Human beings have a free-will of their own. We can either obey or disobey our Creator. Because of having a free-will, we can sin. The other creations of Almighty God do not have any free will of their own and they can not sin. They follow each and every commandment of Almighty God. Only when the human beings sin and repent and ask for forgiveness can the Mercy of Almighty God, the Kindness of Almighty God, the Love of Almighty God, the Grace of Almighty God and the Forgiveness of Almighty God can be known.
The other attribute of Almighty God given in the Qur'an is Love. Almighty God says in several places in the Qur'an that He loves those people, who trust in him, those who are patient, those who are righteous, those who are pious, those who have patience and perseverance and those who approach Him. Almighty God commands the prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him) in the Qur'an in Sura Ale Imran Chapter 3 Verse 31 to tell the people, "if you love Almighty God, follow me and Almighty God will love you and forgive your sins." According to a saying of prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him) recorded in Sahih Tirmidhi Volume 2 Hadith 2805, prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him) said that Almighty God says if you approach me, I will answer you. If you ask for forgiveness, I will forgive you, Even if your sins reach up-to the clouds, I will forgive you. Even if you sins are as big as the whole earth, I will approach you with the same forgiveness as long as you ask for forgiveness and do not associate partners with Me.
One of the attributes of Almighty God is 'the Grace'. It is mentioned in Sahih Muslim Volume 4 Hadith number 6765 prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him) said that do good deeds to the best of your ability and be happy for no one can enter the heaven only on the basis of his deeds. The companions asked, what about you prophet Mohammed? The prophet replied, Not even I. I can not enter the heaven unless the Grace and the Mercy of Almighty God envelopes me. Almighty God says in the Qur'an Sura Anaam Chapter 6 Verse 160, "if you do any good deed, I will multiply it ten times into your account and if you do any evil deed, I will count it only as one. For Almighty God is the most Forgiving and He does not do anything wrong." Had both our good deeds and evil deeds been counted as one each without multiplication of our good deeds, none of us would have managed to enter the heaven. It is the Grace of Almighty God that He multiplies our good deeds ten times so that we may enter the heaven. So goods deeds are important, but the Grace of Almighty God is more important to enter the heaven.
One of the attributes of Almighty God is 'Absolute Justice'. Almighty God has divine knowledge of everything. The moment a person is born Almighty God knows whether he would do good deeds or evil deeds. Whether he would obey Him or disobey Him. Almighty God even knows whether this person would go to the heaven or to the hell. But if the moment a person is born Almighty God puts in the heaven, the person deserves the heaven and puts in the hell, the person who deserves hell. The people put in the heaven would not object. But the people put in the hell would object. Saying how come they have been put into the hell even without a test, without a chance to lead their lives? Almighty God is just. As the Qur'an says in Sura an Nisa Chapter 4 Verse 40, "Almighty God is never unjust in the least degree." That's why Almighty God lets the people live in this world and whoever follows His commandments would pass the test and whoever disobeys fails the test. Almighty God says in the Qur'an in Sura al Sajda Chapter 32 Verse 12 that these people who will go to hell on the day of judgement, they will never object to the justice of Almighty God. But they will bow down their heads and ask for forgiveness. They would agree with the Lord and would say that give us another chance and send us once again in the world and we would surely be believers this time. But Almighty God knows in His divine wisdom that if He forgives them and sends them back in the world, after whitewashing their memory of what they have seen in the hell, they would again commit the same mistakes. This is mentioned in the Qur'an Sura al Anaam Chapter 6 Verse 28 that if these people were again sent in the world, they would repeat the same mistakes because they are liars. So because of the attributes of forgiving, loving, kindness and grace are manifest in the Creator, Almighty God.
Now the question arises that is Almighty God dependent on His creation to ask His forgiveness or glorify Him to make Him somehow superior? Certainly Not:) We would discuss this in detail in our next post of this series and also discuss the all important question of destiny and free that since everything is destined by Almighty God, then why should we be responsible for any evil things we do, but rather Almighty God should be responsible because He destined so. If you need a reminder for our next post of this series, subscribe to our updates from the options on the right sidebar.