By Rashid Samnakay, New Age Islam
19 October 2015
“…I believe that religion is a form of
gaining power and influence. It is an easy way to control masses hence anybody
who seems to have a convincing message can lead a few needy souls astray. It is
why we have all these opposing sects and ideologies within even one
religion...someone always profits from it. I’m not sure if this will ever
change though...it is an age old problem...”
The above was said by a young postgraduate
engineering student while discussing religions, including Islam. It seems
engineering discipline also develops the faculty of rationally analysing
There are important points made in what
appear to be a simple statement, but as usual Islam too is taken as a religion.
It is necessary to make the young person
aware that although in general Islam in worldview is also a religion; it was
often argued here that it is NOT a religion in the normal sense of the word,
and in fact it is an antithesis of it.
In the context of the statement of the
student, the following is presented with reference to Quran as to why Islam is
not a religion:-
Importantly unlike religion, the use of
intelligence is a prerequisite in accepting any of Islam’s commands given in
the Book, the book of Code-Deen. It extols free thought and use of intelligence
in number of verses, few examples:
when reminded of the verses of their Lord, do not droop down at them as if they
were deaf and blind. That is to say, scum to them in blind acceptance and
hearts but they understand not, have eyes but they see not, and ears but they
hear not. They are like cattle – in fact worse, for they are heedless.
“Then reflect” on the verses—Thumma Tatafakkaroon
and use the faculties of intelligence given. This advice is repeated at
numerous places in the Book to endorse the choice given to accept or not to
accept the code freely.
Hence when intelligence and free thought
are used, one cannot be compelled to accept anything unless one is convinced of
Ikraha fid-Deen- Let there be no compulsion in Deen. Truth stands out clear
Only when fear of harm being inflicted is
present; as of Divine punishment meted out in religion, willing acceptance is
Therefore, ‘Fear God’ cannot be a
part of the free choice as it would be a contradiction of the “no compulsion
in Deen” edict that God Himself advocates.
The Arabic words Khauf – fear and
Taqwa—consciousness of God’s laws, are juxtaposed by the best of translators,
in contradiction to the arguments on intelligent use. Logically, if the Divine
Power was to “compel “mankind to believe in its message, why would it then give
mankind any choice?
The Bible too says “The naïve believes
every word, but the shrewd ponders each step”.
‘Unity is strength’s a universally accepted
maxim. A very effective tool to control people therefore is to divide them is
smaller groups. ‘Divide and rule’ is the opposite maxim. Worldly powers of all
sorts are well aware of it, and apply it very effectively.
Yet the Divine Power in its wisdom created
mankind as one nation and urges it to remain united:
2-213, Mankind was
one single nation, and God sent Messengers with glad tidings and warnings, and
with them He sent the Book of truth….
10-19, Mankind was
but one nation, but differed later. Had it not been for the ‘word’ that went
forth before from your Lord, their differences would have been settled between
He (God) if He had wanted would have used
His big stick and herded us all in one cattle-yard!
The Divine wish, for mankind is for it to live
in unity, harmony and in equality and equity. But this is clearly not in the
interest of the power hungry groups; religious or otherwise.
This truth is so evident in the history of
mankind; that some wise and enlightened nations have preserved the ancient
“signs” of ruins of cities, statues, monuments, mosaics and paintings of mighty
rulers and of elite classes of their lands for over millennia; so that the next
generations would obtain knowledge and wisdom from them. Exactly as the Book
Stratification of humanity on gender basis
and into higher, lower, holy and unholy, rich and poor classes is what
religions foster, but the Code of Islam forbids it and so lays out the level
ground for dignity and mutual respect for one and all:
17-70, Surely We
have (created) progeny of Adam-mankind- in dignity… hence all mankind including
womankind, is worthy of equal respect and dignity in society.
The honorarium, godly, reverential and
lofty, that are bestowed on people in power and positions, by people who
consider themselves inferior to the elite. This is what the Deen came to
eliminate: Walaa Tajal Ma’allahi Ilaahan Aakhara
51-51- take not with God other
gods, is to be found numerously in the Book along with:-
28-88, And call
not with God other gods, There are no gods but He. Everything will perish but
He. The associates and lesser gods do not reside only in churches.
Logically then, if there was the slightest
loophole to accommodate any object or person to higher status, then who better
than any one of the divine Messengers that the All Mighty had sent over the
ages and throughout the nations.
Not surprisingly therefore, every messenger
is instructed to proclaim the glory of All Mighty and to establish himself at
human level, leaving no hint of superiority of any kind, for example:
17-93, say “glory
to my Lord the Creator; am I anything other than a human Messenger” (18-110)?
Messenger yes, but at human level!
Yet even without such loophole, religions
have done exactly that and associated gods with God (13-33). Equally so
emperors and kings were raised as gods and sons, daughters and wives of gods.
Whether based on position of authority,
religion, worldly power, learning, knowledge based or any other basis; where is
there any room in the Code for such lofty titles as “your highness, your
eminence, your this and your that” to be allocated to mere human beings, who
Yes, there is in one area, as given in the
Book: that which is based on righteousness; but to judge it is strictly All
Mighty Lord’s prerogative.
The poor young soul, sensitive enough to
the world around him is expressing his dismay and disappointment in the
statement- “I’m not sure if this will ever change though...it is an age old
The age old problem seems to be that mankind
in its quest to establish itself as elite, stratified, authoritative and
privileged classes, either individually, in groups or nations, has defied the
natural laws that would have ensured equality, equity, harmony and peace in the
world. Mankind as a whole has opted by its freewill to disbelieve and so
discards the laws of nature.
Hence the world we have inherited.
When will it all be righted; seems to be
the question a sensitive student is asking. Is there anybody in higher stratum
of mankind who can answer him?
A regular contributor to New Age Islam, Rashid Samnakay is a (Retd.)
“Man is asked to surrender his
mind and heart to the will of Allah.”
If the above is the case then the
following is a total waste!!
who when reminded of the verses of their Lord, do not droop down at them as if
they were deaf and blind.
“And who can be better in faith (din) than the one who
orients (asslama) his whole
being [Lit., face] to God, and does good deeds, and follows the way of Abraham,
the upright one, and God took Abraham as a friend” (4:125).
“And who is finer in speech than the one who invites to
God, does good deeds and says: ‘I am of those who submit to God (muslimun)’” (41:33).
Blue Print For
Restoring The Pristine Theology Of Islam Expounding The Huquq Al Ibad – Man’s
Duty To Man And His Right To Use His Intellectual Faculties As Enshrined In The