The Elusive Search For Purpose and Meaning in a Strange World
By Faisal Amjad

Published in: Self
Date: 19 / 08 / 21

Are you still trying to figure out your purpose or what you should dedicate the rest of your life to?

Don’t worry, you’re not alone.

When we’re at school, we often are asked ‘what’ we want to be, as opposed to ‘who’. Because in this day and age, a job is what defines us, right?

But from studying Islamic history, the Golden Age of Islam and the core principles behind what made the key players so successful in both deen and dunya, what is clear is that they had an extremely strong sense of purpose — which far, far transcended ‘what’ they did. The most important question they sought to ask was ‘why?’

Just this one question changes everything. It reframes your entire paradigm.

People sometimes ask me ‘why is my company called KNOW’?

Although it was a simple decision at the time, in hindsight, it’s perhaps more profound than I ever realised.

For me, to ‘know’ is a deep, core desire that appeals directly to our fitrah. This is a state that mankind are forever in. We long to know. We yearn to know. Our whole life journey is a process of knowing, knowing oneself, then knowing the world around us and then eventually, to know our Lord — which is what we are all, ultimately striving for.

That is our ultimate purpose.

That desire to know our Lord is what led the scholars and scientists of the past to study so extensively all of the names of things that the Creator made.

Rumi said: “God’s purpose for man is to acquire a seeing eye and an understanding heart.”

Never has this more important than it is today’s deceptive world.

The search for meaning and purpose has long dominated the thoughts of past generations — and today, more than ever, people are finding themselves increasingly lost, confused and completely unclear about their place in the world.

Even for myself this has been something I’ve been seeking as long as I can remember.

My career journey to date has been pretty unorthodox. From graduating law school and focusing on being a solicitor to a long corporate career in procurement (with stints as a data analyst and project manager in between) spanning both private and public sectors working for some of the UK’s biggest companies. For years I went from role to role, unsatisfied, still seeking for the one thing I craved more than anything — a sense of purpose.

Surely there was more to life than slaving away in the 9 to 5? I honestly felt that it was beginning to erode my soul. It didn’t quite answer the burning questions I had, I felt I was having to compromise and more than anything, I did not feel I was doing myself justice. I was cruising, just going with the flow.

So in 2014 — on the verge on turning 30 — I quit my job with no idea which road to take. I decided to become an entrepreneur and since then, alhamdulillah I have been fortunate to have been involved in many different ventures, from e-commerce and selling products on Amazon, to building an education platform from scratch, crowdfunding and creating a smart home tech consumer brand, running a marketing agency, a media company, a training provider and a business consultancy, amongst others. Naturally, there’s also been a lot of trial and error along the way and more than a fair few failed ventures to add to this list.

Throughout this journey, I have constantly had to pivot, discover myself over and over again before finally coming to realise what drives me most, what areas I can offer most value, what allows me to reach my highest potential. I looked at things from an Islamic perspective, I looked at Western models. Most of all, I studied myself. Only when you really know yourself can you truly become who you were meant to be. Modern life is often one compromise after another, designed to suppress and depress until you end up with a life you don’t recognise and have no idea how you got there. Worst of all, you don’t know how to get out of it.

Though the struggle has been very hard and full of ups and downs — it has finally given me what I sought the most. That search for meaning and understanding my place in the world — and a lifelong mission to focus on relentlessly.

I find myself today with complete clarity — a sole and single focus — and more driven than ever alhamdulillah.

Increasingly, I have realised that there are many others out there who are facing similar struggles — in particular with discovering their ‘thing’, getting clarity on their purpose or even to understand what career to go into. Others have perhaps been doing the same thing for decades but feel stuck, and desperately need to do something that is more aligned with who they are, before it’s too late and they’re full of regrets.

This is why I’ve decided to put something together to directly resolve this problem. If this is something you’re personally struggling with — or you know someone that is — then feel free to book in some time with me for a quick chat and I’d be happy to help — or certainly do my best, insha’allah. You can book a call here: https://calendly.com/famjad/know-purpose

Mark Twain once said:

“The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.”

I honestly couldn’t agree more.

Faisal Amjad

About the author

A lifelong learner, avid reader and passionate writer, I am the founder of KNOW and a serial entrepreneur.
I am a huge believer in personal development and am also the co-founder of Muslim CEO.

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