By: Allamah Syed Muhammad Husain Tabataba’i
Religion refers to the beliefs and a series of practical and moral instructions that the prophets have related on behalf of Allah to guide and lead human beings.

Believing in these tenets and performing these instructions result in man’s prosperity and happiness in this world and in the world Hereafter.

So if we abide by religion and follow the orders of Allah and the Prophet (S), we will become prosperous not only in this short life, but also in the everlasting and endless world Hereafter.

We are aware that a happy and prosperous person is one who has a true objective in his life and who does not live in misdeed and aberration. He possesses a good and praiseworthy demeanor and performs good deeds and has a confident, strong, and peaceful heart in this turbulent world.

The religion of Allah directs us towards this happiness and prosperity. Without religion, there would be no prosperity and bliss. Religious tenets are like secret police in the heart of man and always accompany him. They keep man away from moral wickedness and force him to be virtuous.

Belief is the strongest and most solid refuge in which man never confronts fear and anguish in the ups and downs of life. The worshippers of Allah never lose their courage in any circumstances and never feel disdain and inferior, for they see themselves connected to the infinite might of the Creator of the world and under all circumstances, they remember Allah and seek refuge with Allah; they possess a confident, strong, and peaceful heart.

Religion commands us to have a praiseworthy behavior and to perform good and decent deeds as far as we can.

Therefore, religion is divided into three parts:

(1) Beliefs;

(2) Ethics;

(3) Commandments.

This brief account should be elaborated to be acceptable to the honorable readers.

 

1. Beliefs

If we use our commonsense and conscience, we realize that this world of existence with its wonderful order could not be created by itself and this astonishing order of the world of creation could not be achieved without an organizer.

Undoubtedly, there is a Creator Who has created this vast and magnificent world with His infinite capability and knowledge and who has established the world of creation with exact order by the invariable and unchangeable rules that He has set up throughout the world of existence. Nothing has been created uselessly and extravagantly. No creature falls outside the purview of the laws of Allah that govern the world.

Can it be believed that such a compassionate Allah with all the grace and blessings that He has toward His creatures would leave man, the masterpiece creation on his own? And that He would leave human beings to man’s wisdom which is mostly victim of carnal desires and is, as a result, faced with aberration and misery? The reply to this question is self-evident.

Consequently, Allah must send instructions to human beings by prophets – who are free from any kind of sin and error – to lead men to happiness and prosperity by following them.

We realize that in this world, the signs and valuable benefits of adherence to religious principles do not become completely evident. Neither the righteous are rewarded, nor the criminals and oppressors are punished for their deeds.

From this, we understand that another world must exist where people’s deeds are closely investigated, so that if one has done a charitable act, he would be rewarded or if he has committed an indecent deed, he would be castigated. Religion encourages people with these tenets and other rightful beliefs, which will later be thoroughly discussed in this book, and warns them of paganism and ignorance.

 

2. Ethics

Religion decrees that we adopt praiseworthy qualities in life, have a good nature, and accomplish ourselves with good and commendable attributes. We must be conscientious, benevolent, philanthropic, kind, faithful, good-natured, pleasing to meet, and just.

We must defend our own rights. We must not transgress our own limits and rights and should not encroach upon the property, reputation, and lives of people. In search of knowledge and civility, we must not spare any effort for self-sacrifice and self-denial whatsoever. Finally, we must have equality and moderation in all affairs of life.

 

3. Commandments

Religion decrees that we perform acts that are beneficial to ourselves and to our society during our life and refrain from acts that cause corruption and immorality. It also teaches us to engage in reciting salat (prayers), observing sawm (fasting), and performing similar other duties which are signs of servitude and obedience towards Allah.

These are the laws and instructions the religion offers and invites us to perform. As it is evident, some of them are doctrinal, others ethical, and some others practical. As mentioned before, acceptance and performance of these principles is the only means of happiness and prosperity, for we are aware that man should be nothing but realistic and should live with good ethics and praiseworthy deeds.

Is It Necessary For Man To Follow A Religion?

The foremost question that comes up here is “what is the relation of men’s lives with religion and piety?” Is it not possible for a human society to continue its humanitarian existence without religion and faith in Allah? Is it not that a religious person is one who proves Allah’s existence and performs specific acts for His satisfaction?

It is possible that in the society, according to the laws enacted by human beings, the duty of each member of the society determines the benefit and the loss. In this case, the laws of men replace religious laws and there will be no need for religion.

But with little attention and deliberation on Islamic commandments and regulations, the opposite of this is proved, for Islam has not been concerned only with praying to and praising Allah, rather it has enacted comprehensive instructions and specific regulations for all individual and social positions of man. Islam has considered the vast world of humanity in an astonishing manner and has enacted suitable regulations in accordance with man’s individual and social actions and otherwise.

Finally, Islam has provided and guaranteed the happiness and prosperity of the members of social community in every respect and to the maximum extent possible. Every just person acknowledges that the laws sprang from man’s limited thoughts and knowledge cannot equal those of religion. This power of the Almighty Allah has described the religion of Islam in the Holy Quran. As examples, we will cite few verses here: “Surely the (true) religion with Allah is Islam, and those to whom the Book had been given did not show opposition but after knowledge had come to them, out of envy among themselves: and whoever disbelieves in the communications of Allah then surely Allah is quick in reckoning (3:19).”

The religion towards which all prophets have invited people consists of theism and submission to Allah’s orders. Though the religious scholars specified right through wrong, they did not accept what was rightful due to their prejudice and animosity. Each scholar adopted a specific course of action; as a result, different religions came into existence on earth. In fact, this category of people did not believe in the Divine verses. Allah will soon retribute their deeds.

“And whoever desires a religion other than Islam, it shall not be accepted from him. and in the Hereafter he shall be one of the losers (3:85).”

“O you who believe! enter into submission one and all, and do not follow the footsteps of Shaytan (satan); surely he is your open enemy (2:208).”

“And fulfil the covenant of Allah when you have made a covenant, and do not break the oaths after making them fast, and you have indeed made Allah a surety for you; surely Allah knows what you do (16:91).”

The purpose of this verse is to indicate that any Muslim who makes a promise to Allah or to people must keep it and must not breach it.

“Call to the way of your Lord with wisdom and goodly exhortation, and have debates with them in the best manner; surely your Lord best knows those who go astray from His path, and He knows best those who follow the right way (16:125).”

This refers to the fact that to promote religion, a Muslim must converse with people according to their understanding and in a way that is beneficial to them. However, if he fails to guide a person through logic and advice then he must debate in the best manner, which is one of the means of proving something, to guide him towards truth.

“And when the Qur’an is recited, then listen to it and remain silent, that mercy may be shown to you (7:204).”

“O you who believe! Obey Allah and obey the Prophet and those in authority from among you; then if you quarrel about anything, refer it to Allah and the Prophet, if you believe in Allah and the Last Day; this is better and very good in the end (4:59).”

This verse means that in an Islamic society, disputes can only be settled by the Qur’an and the ahadith of the Prophet (S). Every difference must be settled by these two factors. If a Muslim settles differences by the logic of reason, this is due to the fact that the Qur’an has accepted the rule of logic.

“Thus, it is due to mercy from Allah that you deal with them gently, and had you been rough, hard-hearted, they would certainly have dispersed from around you; pardon them therefore and ask pardon for them, and take counsel with them in the affair; so when you have decided, then place your trust in Allah; surely Allah loves those who trust (3:159).”

Good behavior, benevolence, and taking counsel in the affairs result in fellowship and kindness. Members of the society must respect their leader to be influenced by him. Allah orders the honorable leader of the Muslims to be benevolent and to take counsel. But since it is possible that people may make mistakes in their decisions, Allah orders the leader to be independent in his decision after taking counsel and to have trust in Allah, because no one can oppose Allah’s will.

In like manner, the Almighty Allah introduces Judaism and Christianity with their Divine books of Tawrat (Old Testament) and the Injil (Bible) and their social precepts and provisions as: “And how do they make you a judge and they have the Tawrat wherein is Allah’s judgement. .. Surely We revealed Tawrat in which was guidance and light; with it the prophets who submitted themselves (to Allah) judged (matters) for those who were Jews, and the masters of divine knowledge and the doctors…

And We sent after them in their footsteps ‘Isa (Jesus), son of Maryam (Mary)… and We gave him the Injil in which was guidance and light, and verifying what was before it of Tawrat…

And the followers of the Injil should have judged by what Allah revealed in it… And We have revealed to you the Book with the truth, verifying what is before it of the Book and a guardian over it, therefore judge between them by what Allah has revealed …(5:43 – 48).”

Tawrat and Injil which are now in the hands of the Jews and Christians emphasize this point, because the Tawrat contains many legal and judicial provisions and apparently the Injil confirms and certifies the religious laws of Tawrat.

 

Conclusion

From the aforementioned statement, it becomes evident that religion as viewed by the Qur’an is the same as the method of living from which man cannot escape. The difference between religion and a social law is that religion is descended by the Almighty Allah, whereas social laws spring from people’s minds. In other words, religion unites man’s social life with his worship and obedience of the Almighty Allah, while no attempt at such unity is made by social laws.

Source: alhassanain.com


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