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Future of Religion

Humanity is experiencing unprecedented confusion. The floods of materialism are drowning all concepts of spirituality and morality. All aspects of human behavior, from dress code to reproductive and sexual relationships are being redefined. The unprecedented yet morally questionable technological success of the human race is erroneously popularizing secularism. Overwhelming doubts about the very necessity of spirituality, religion and divine laws are overpowering feeble human minds. Increasing numbers of men and women are living “without God” in their individual lives. Groups and nations seem convinced that religion is unnecessary, if not altogether a hindrance in establishing and running a state or a community. This is a norm in non-Muslim areas but even Muslim lands are rapidly being sucked into this whirlwind of self-destruction. Religion exists, if at all, only in the lives of individuals, as part of groups it has lost its force so much so that even religious scholars accept the leadership of secularists quite willingly in all community matters.

Many non-Muslims and quite a few Muslims, based on what their physical senses dictate, ascribe to the idea that religion is on its way out. The ‘new world order’, expansion of the gang of seven to the gang of eight, admission of three new members to NATO, holding feminist dominated controversial conferences on human reproduction and abortion under the umbrella of UN, and some other peripheral regroupings such as interfaith movements, to isolate the ‘fundamentalists’, mostly Muslims, are some of the manifestations of this group’s way of thinking. They do not, by and large, come out openly to deny the existence of God. Some even attend worship services, but from their other actions it is quite evident that if they perceived that there were no economic, social and political repercussions they would be quite willing to declare themselves free of God.

There is another group, that holds that the ‘moral decay’ is nearing its peak. The tremendous increase in rates of suicide, homosexuality, fornication, adultery, illegitimate births, stealing, lying, cheating, gambling, intoxication, murder, etc. is a sign that soon there is to be a religious revival. Humanity will soon get sick enough and will by itself turn towards Allah.

Both these thoughts are flawed. Those who consider morality and religion to be superfluous and are content with the exceptional success of material progress are obviously oblivious to the natural ups and downs that Allah has formulated in the test that we face in this life. Their assumption that religion is only for poor, hungry and starving people and that those who have achieved material success need no religion is proven wrong time and again. The material success and morality has no intrinsic relationship. Such success is independent of faith. It can be achieved while one remains strictly within the bounds of  Islam and it can be achieved while one defies all laws of Allah. An Allah-fearing person can be just as successful materially as a God-less person. Allah has pointed this out many times.

And remember Abrahim said: “My Lord make this a City of Peace and feed its people with fruits, such of them as believe in Allah and the Last Day.”  He (Allah) said: “(Yea) and such as reject faith for a while will I grant them their pleasure but will soon drive them to the torment of fire, an evil destination (indeed)!” [Qur'ân 2:126]

Let not the vicissitude (of the success) of those who disbelieve, in the land, deceive thee (O Muhammad ). It is but a brief comfort. And afterward their habitation will be hell, an ill abode. [Qur'ân 3:196-197]

Experience shows however, that unabashed material pursuit and success usually destroys conscience, suppresses morality and kills spirituality in human beings. This success eventually becomes a curse in itself, deprives one of peace of mind and causes worries and utter dissatisfaction with life. One effect of such dissatisfaction is a diminished value of life and an increase in suicide rates.

The flag holders of morality who think that a revolution is about to happen on its own are no less mistaken. The universe, especially for human beings, is no more than an examination hall, a venue for trials and tribulations and a testing ground. This life and the death are but to see who holds on to the rope of Allah.

He (Allah) is the one Who created Death and Life that He may try which of you is best in conduct: and He is the Exalted in Might, Oft-Forgiving. [Qur'ân 67: 2]

It is definitely not a place for wishful thinking. It is a place for actions and deeds. If establishment of the Deen of Allah is the most desirous of these deeds, then flag holders of morality, Muslims in particular, have to prove by their actions and day-to-day living that indeed Islam is the only true guidance and salvation left to humanity. This can only happen when the effects of the Islamic way of life can be reflected in our life styles.

If one keeps this truth in view, it follows that Islam cannot be kept a hostage bound in masajid or in our houses or in our individual lives. We have to establish a functional Islamic model of human society for everyone to see: the delightful effects of morality, patience, truthfulness, compassionate dealings and tranquility that will exist in such a surrounding. Without the establishment of such a model, it is wishful thinking that humanity will accept Islam in a major way or even that there would be a functional unity among those who profess Islam. The flag holders of Islam have to abandon the cozy niches that they have occupied for a long while and have to plunge into the world of action, taking with them the solid values of Islam for everyone to see the strength and beauty of those values.

Obviously it is not an easy task. It took our beloved Prophet Muhammed twenty-three years of hard work to establish such a model. Prophet Nuh tried 950 years to accomplish the same. For us the task is not going to be easy. We do not have direct divine guidance and we do not have the impeccable character and the endurance of the prophets. We can hope to achieve this goal only if a group commits total dedication to this task. We need a collective, organized and disciplined effort, if we hope to attract Allah’s help. This collective, organized and disciplined effort is also essential because the secularists are grouping and regrouping and are organized and disciplined. Our organization has to be better and would be better if we follow the fundamental principles of Islam. The secularist economics and financial dealings and unjust distribution of wealth and resources have plunged three-fourths of humanity into poverty, hunger, and destitution so drastic that they are unable to fulfill their basic needs of food, clothing and shelter and have even less time to devote to pursuit of higher moral principles. Under such circumstances, a weekly khutba on Jum’a and an occasional attendance at a weekend lecture is just not enough to bring about the Islamic revolution. The basic needs of people keep them so preoccupied that they have no time for what it will take to establish Islam as a way of life. Let alone ordinary Muslims, those who pursue Islamic knowledge, in most cases, are helpless when it comes to fulfilling their own minimum basic needs. This uncertainty causes confusion in their ranks and also drives ordinary people away from such pursuit. We need to establish functional Muslim communities in which the scholars do not have to depend on handouts in the form of charity or ‘salary’ for Islamic works, in which they do not suffer from inferiority complex. They need to have the means of support that gives them self respect and also makes them respectable and worth following in the eyes of the community. Building such communities demands planning, organization, discipline, dedication from the leadership and total support from the ordinary members of the community. Nothing short of this would change the condition of the Muslims and cause non-Muslims to consider Islam as an alternative to the hopelessness that they are presently going through. Do we have what it will take to face this assignment, that is the question?

Verily never will Allah change the condition of a people until they change it themselves. [Qur'ân 13:11]


Published: May 1998


Last modified 08/12/05 09:25 AM - Iqra - ISSN #1062-2756