Is re­li­gion the cause of un­rest?

The lava of ha­tred erupts against re­li­gion from time to time. Today much of the world con­sid­ers re­li­gion to be of sec­ondary im­por­tance and be­lieves that to progress there is a need to step away from re­li­gious be­liefs and prac­tices.

Malta Independent - - DEBATE & ANALYSIS - Mr Atif is the Pres­i­dent of Ah­madiyya Mus­lim Ja­maat Malta amj­malta@gmail.com Laiq Ahmed Atif

In fact, in­creas­ingly, peo­ple liv­ing in de­vel­oped na­tions now view re­li­gion as the root cause of the con­flict and dis­or­der that we see in the world. Today the world has be­come a global vil­lage and the pres­ences of dif­fer­ent re­li­gions, cul­tures and races are seen across the globe. Some crit­ics of re­li­gion ex­press their eas­i­ness and are com­fort­able with the pres­ence of di­verse cul­tures and races, but, when it comes to re­li­gion it is la­belled for cre­at­ing di­vi­sion be­tween peo­ple. Some crit­i­cize and blame re­li­gion for be­ing nar­row minded, de­cayed, out­dated, and that it re­sists in­te­gra­tion and in­clu­sion. The re­li­gion is also seen as the grave threat to the world peace. Some think that re­li­gion has done a lit­tle good but the loss and damage done by re­li­gion is huge and mas­sive. Thus they ar­gue that re­li­gion in today’s en­light­ened era serves no pur­pose.

I think all such ar­gu­ments are not based on jus­tice and fair­ness. In fact, re­li­gion is the path that takes hu­man be­ings to their ul­ti­mate desti­na­tion – re­for­ma­tion, suc­cess, sat­is­fac­tion and peace. It is also a fact that hu­man be­ings learnt ba­sic morals, val­ues and virtues through re­li­gion.

Re­li­gion does not cause di­vi­sion, it in­stead pro­motes unity and broth­er­hood. Re­li­gion does not kill; it only warns and ad­mon­ishes peo­ple that they must es­tab­lish peace and se­cu­rity. Its ev­ery in­junc­tion is laced with sen­ti­ments of love and com­pas­sion for all mankind. The Qu­ran has in­formed us that ev­ery Prophet brought the same mes­sage, which is that cru­elty, in­jus­tice, op­pres­sion and per­se­cu­tion should be elim­i­nated. The Prophets ad­mon­ished peo­ple to in­stead adopt love and sym­pa­thy for one an­other, or oth­er­wise face God’s pun­ish­ment. God says in the Qu­ran that He is slow to pun­ish peo­ple and is not hasty in un­furl­ing His wrath. Even when pun­ish­ment is mete out, it is for the pur­pose of bring­ing about re­for­ma­tion.

Was re­li­gion the cause of either of the two world wars that took place in the 20th Cen­tury? Or were those ab­hor­rent wars based upon a de­sire for power, con­quer­ing lands, geo-po­lit­i­cal gains and greed?

The num­ber of peo­ple who suf­fered, were in­jured and died in these two world wars is ex­tremely hor­rific. Over 60 mil­lion peo­ple died in World War II alone. More­over, in Hiroshima and Na­gasaki the suf­fer­ings and ef­fects of war are be­ing felt to this very day, even af­ter seven long decades.

I think it is a grave in­jus­tice to blame re­li­gion for the dis­or­der in the land. I be­lieve that the cause of pre­vail­ing un­rest is be­cause peo­ple have aban­doned faith and are mov­ing away from God Almighty.

Peace can­not be at­tained with­out ad­her­ing to the teach­ings of the true re­li­gion. Do the books of the prophets, for ex­am­ple the To­rah or the Bi­ble, ad­vo­cate war and strife? The Bi­ble goes as far as to ex­hort its fol­low­ers to ‘turn the other cheek’. And then there are the holy teach­ings of the Qu­ran with which no cul­ture or po­lit­i­cal sys­tem can com­pete. As an ex­am­ple, only one verse of the Holy Qu­ran is pre­sented:

“Ver­ily, Al­lah en­joins jus­tice, and the do­ing of good to oth­ers; and giv­ing like kin­dred; and for­bids in­de­cency and man­i­fest evil and trans­gres­sion.” (Ch.16:V.91)

If the ad­mo­ni­tions in the above verse are heeded, ev­ery coun­try and ev­ery nation would know noth­ing but peace. Al­lah ex­horts us to: 1. Abide by jus­tice; 2. Be benev­o­lent; 3. Show com­pas­sion to oth­ers as though they were our kith and kin; 4. Re­frain from, and ad­mon­ish oth­ers to re­frain from such vices as can be harm­ful and are known as bla­tant evil; 5. Not trans­gress against good, benef­i­cent, peace-lov­ing gov­ern­ments and to ex­hort oth­ers like­wise. In other words we should be just, benev­o­lent and com­pas­sion­ate; we should avoid in­de­cency, bla­tant evil and trans­gres­sion and we should save oth­ers from fall­ing prey to these evils. These are the six ba­sic com­mand­ments for the es­tab­lish­ment of peace. If these six do’s and do not’s were put into prac­tice, ev­ery coun­try and ev­ery nation would see noth­ing but peace.

Hazrat Mirza Mas­roor Ah­mad, the Supreme Head of the Ah­madiyya Mus­lim Com­mu­nity ex­plained clearly the pur­pose of re­li­gion say­ing: “The pur­pose of re­li­gion is to cre­ate a bond of love be­tween God and mankind. It is to re­move all prej­u­dice and ha­tred. It is to es­tab­lish the very highest stan­dards of moral­ity and jus­tice. Re­li­gion is the name of that in­sti­tu­tion which cre­ates a lov­ing union be­tween man and His Cre­ator and in­cul­cates sym­pa­thy and com­pas­sion be­tween all peo­ple.”

Re­li­gion does not cause di­vi­sion, in­stead pro­motes unity and broth­er­hood. Re­li­gion does not kill; it only warns and ad­mon­ishes peo­ple that they must es­tab­lish peace and se­cu­rity.

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