Waiting for Godot..Are we..??? (Islam & Existentialism)

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This is just an attempt to prove once again, Of why Quran is a Miraculous Book, and that ‘Quran has the Answer to every Question of Humanity’.

Submitted: December 19, 2012

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Submitted: December 19, 2012




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This is just an attempt to prove once again, Of why Quran is a Miraculous Book, and that ‘Quran has the Answer to every Question of Humanity’.

The play by Samuel Beckett holds the key question that lingers in every heart today, though an unanswered question in itself it is a rhetoric one for the Muslims today. Let me start by telling something about the play and how it is important in the context of understanding the basic ‘QUESTION’.

‘Waiting for Godot’, written by Samuel Beckett is an Absurdist play, inspired by the Existentialism of early 19th century. The story of ‘waiting for godot’, in which two characters, Vladimir and Estragon, wait endlessly and in vain for someone named Godot to arrive. They claim he's an acquaintance but in fact hardly know him, admitting that they would not recognise him were they to see him. To occupy the time they eat, sleep, converse, argue, sing, play games, exercise, swap hats, and contemplate suicide.

 ‘Existentialism’ is basically a philosophy of questioning the ‘Purpose of Existence’ of individual self that philosophical thinking begins with the thinking human subject, Questioning Religion, Traditions, the Existence of an absolute Truth, the purpose of knowledge, etc.

The early 19th century philosopher  Kierkegaard is generally considered the founder of existentialism. He maintained that the individual is solely responsible for giving his or her own life meaning and for living that life passionately and sincerely, in spite of many existential obstacles and distractions including despair, angst, absurdity, alienation, and boredom. Subsequent existentialist philosophers retain the emphasis on the individual, but differ, in varying degrees, on how one achieves and what constitutes a fulfilling life, what obstacles must be overcome, and what external and internal factors are involved, including the potential consequences of the existence or non-existence of God.

The idea of Existentialism, of questioning one’s own purpose of existence, is mentioned in the Quran inSurah Rum’(The Romans)

Do they not reflect upon themselves (even once)? God has not created the heavens and the earth and all that is between them save with truth (meaningfully and for definite, wise purposes, and on solid foundations of truth), and for an appointed term. But surely many among the people are in unbelief about the meeting with their Lord.” 30.8.

 This ‘Reflecting’ within the self, that the Quran speaks about, is such an important aspect of Human existence that if the 19th century philosophers had Quran, they would have known their purpose of life, just looking at this one verse of the Quran. As the nature of Islam is more of Existentialist in nature, but there is a diversion. For example:

The Existentialist idea of non-existence of ‘an absolute Truth’ for which the Quran states in surah shams:

“By the Soul, and the proportion and order given to it; And its enlightenment as to its wrong and its right”(91:7:8)

Quran is absolutely clear that man is inherently aware of both write and wrong, and that it is entirely up to him to choose right or wrong. That is exactly why God is going to hold people responsible for their deeds on the Day of Judgement.

 Now the series of questions that these Existentialists asked were never answered by the Religion or one might say Christianity at that time. And as a result of this they came to the conclusion that ‘there is no meaning to be found in the world beyond what meaning we give to it.’ which was famously called as the ‘Absurdism’. While ‘Existentialism’ was supposed to be a search of the individual self, and the purpose of existence of the self, quite ironically people in numbers, impressed by this new set of thoughts, started taking it as ‘Fact’ than philosophy, and became Atheists in numbers.

This ‘Meaninglessness’ of life, lately, seems to be more of a sadist choice of a group of people like a latest fashion, rather than a search of one’s own purpose in life, in the latter part of the century. The generations that came after, were more of ‘Agnostics’ than Atheists.


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