Chapter 1 : religion

Religion means a particular system of faith and worship. When we believe in something strongly and firmly, we say it is my religion. So by definition, if we do not act in accordance to our religious faith and belief, it means that we do not really believe in that religion. If we do things against the teachings of our religion then it means that we do not have faith in our religion. The Holy Quran has told us about such people.

"Of the people there are some who say: we believe in Allah and the last day;' but they do not (really) believe." (2:8)

The Holy Quran does not recognise anyone as Muslim if he or she is not practising its teachings. Thus, a true Muslim is one who follows the teachings of Islam at all times. If we are tr ue Muslims then we should follow the laws of Islam in and out side our home, i.e. in classroom, in playground, in mosque , on streets and where ever we are.

In Islamic terminology, the word 'Deen' is used for religion. But Deen is much more

comprehensive in its magnitude than Religion. Thus, our Deen is Islam which is more than a Religion.

Unlike other religions which are confined to worship only, Islam offers:

G a complete code of life.
G a code of behavior.
G a perfect system of social interactions.
G a full constitution of government.
G a balanced curriculam of comprehensive education.
G a right approach to conscious seientific exploration.

Is religion necessary ?

There are many people in this world who do not believe in religion. They think that religion is not necessary. They give some baseless arguments in suppor t of their assumption. For instance, they say;

1. Man knows what is good and what is bad for him. So he does not need any prophet to teach him.

2. There are many different religions in this world with entirely different teachings and contradictory concepts. Interestingly enough, all religions proclaim that they alone have all the truth while others are wrong. How can it be true?

3. Religious restrictions and commandments consume a lot of human energy and time. So religion is a barrier in progress and scientific advancement.

4. Religion does not allow us to enjoy life.

We can convincingly prove that all these arguments are totally baseless and have no substance in them.

Let us analyze the contents of each argument one by one.

1. It is true that Allah (swt) has given man marvelous brain which can identify good and bad. But still we find that people greatly differ in their judgment about good and bad things.

For instance, many people appreciate nudity, drinking alcohol, gambling and many other such acts which are regarded by others as heinous crimes. Moreover, human brain has certain limits beyond which it can not perceive.

We can know by scientific explorations what is happening on Moon, Mars, and in all other planets. But we can never know by any sophisticated technology the facts of grave and burzakh, and the events that will occur in the hereafter. For all such information, we need a prophet who has direct communication with Allah(swt), The Lord of the Universe.

Thus, undoubtedly men are intelligent beings but they cer tainly need the help of prophets in almost every field of knowledge.

We can see today that world's top scientists are doing grave mistakes just because they do not follow the teachings of the Holy prophets. There is no dispute today that scientific and technological advancement has become a threat to mankind.

Thus, human intellect is not sufficient to discover all the realities of the universe. The tr ue religion teaches us all those things which no one can discover by his effor ts.

2. It is true that there are many different religions with different teachings and none of them are true except one.

The true religion can be discovered by everyone after research. For instance, in market we know both pure and impure, real and ar tificial, good and defective things are sold by the people. Everyone claims that he has the pure, real and good things which is not always correct.

What do we usually do in all such cases ? Do we stop buying things because many are selling impure or defective things and everyone is claiming that he alone has the best and pure things ? Not at all. We make all possible efforts to find the shop which is selling the right things.

Similarly if one realizes the impor tance of religion, he or she can identify the true religion after research and studies.

3. The third argument is also grossly wrong. We spend a lot of time in eating, sleeping, resting, playing and socializing with people. The consumption of time and energy in all these natural functions is quite high. But we never complain that these acts (sleeping, eating and meetings) are wasting a lot of our time and energy and therefore we should stop them in order to progress in science and technology.

In fact, we realize that moderate eating, sleeping, and playing generate energy to do more work. Similarly worshipping Allah subhanu taala increases our potential to do more scientific work.

A person who sincerely worships Allah(swt) with understanding will never waste his time in watching useless films, listening music, gambling in casinos or any other hopeless thing. People waste their tremendous amount of energy and time in doing the things which are prohibited in Islam.

Thus, by following the teachings of the true religion we not only save our precious time and energy but also use them for constructive work.

4. The fourth argument is also not correct. The true religion makes our life full of pleasure. Many chronic diseases such as AIDS, cancer, and heart problems are making human life miserable. No one can enjoy life with fear that he can be the next victim of any of these killing diseases. But the true followers of the true religion have no fear. They know that life in this world is temporary and ultimately they have to leave this world for another permanent world.

Thus, for a purposeful and prosperous life religion is essential. However, the choice of a wrong religion can destroy the life here and here-after.

Finally, we can prove that religion is necessary by analyzing ourselves. We have a natural instinct to know about ourselves. We can feel this urge in times when we are free of external pressures. For instance, it has been observed in many cases of serious car accidents, that when the unconscious person recovers, he instantly asks many questions to the people standing around him. He asks; where I am ? How I came here ? Who brought me here ? What has happened to me ? Am I safe ?

All such questions clearly show that man has a natural instinct to know: from where he has come and where he has to go finally. The true religion has the correct answers to these questions. If anyone is ignoring these questions then it means that he is insensible.

This is what Ammr-ul-momineen Hazrat Ali (as) said in one of his sermons ; " People are sleeping, they will awake after their death." The true religion tells us many things which we can never know from any other source. For instance, Islam gives us correct answers of the following difficult questions :

Who has created the universe ?

Who has created the millions of types of living species ?

Who has made humans superior over all the creatures?

Why has He created us ?

No one can know how the universe and every thing in it has come into existence. What scientists tell us about the origin of the universe and the living creatures is their guesswork.

This is the reason that there are many different theories in science with entirely different explanations. For instance, Big-bang theory, Steady state theory, and theory of evolution give different stories about the existence of the universe. Until today, no scientist can say with certainty that he really knows about the origin of the universe and life.

But the holy Quran tell us very clearly about the origin of the universe.

"He (Allah) created the heavens and the universe..... He makes the night overlaps the day and the day overlaps the night. He has subjected the sun and the moon to His laws. Each follows the course for a fixed time ---- Is not He the Exalted in Power - HE Who forgives again and again. (39:5)

The basic aim of this lesson is to equip you to fight intellectually with the false propaganda of the West which they have been tactfully doing against the religion. The students should realize that religion is a necessity of life.