WHAT IS RELIGION?

Last Updated: May 2024

[Don’t miss Chapter One (Introduction), you’re at Chapter Two]

Everything, from an atom to a galaxy, works under specific rules or a system. The sun, for example, gives off heat and light according to specific rules; the earth moves in its specific orbit, around the sun. Similarly, plants produce oxygen under a set system [of photosynthesis]; water has a systematic chemistry [of H2O]; even every atom has a system [consisting of electrons, protons, and neutrons]. In short, every existence follows a certain program or a guide.

…………. “Our Rubb is He who gave everything its existence, then guided it.” (20: 50)

The commands, programs, rules, or instructions under which these non-human things, whether living or non-living, act or behave, is their ‘religion.’ In other words, every existence has been given a specific program or a guide from which it cannot deviate.

Working under a given system is obedience. It is the obedience of every object that ensures the peaceful running of all the systems in the entire universe. We see nothing going against the rules. Everything has accepted the Supremacy of Allah by being obedient to the given religion [command or rules].

Do you not see that to Allah prostrates [obeys] whoever is in the heavens and whoever is on the earth and the sun, the moon, the stars, the mountains, the trees, the moving creatures, and many of the people?………….(22: 18) 

As Allah has bound everything in a system, the successful functioning of these systems is a praise in itself that what He has created, and put into work is perfect, superb, and flawless.

Praising Him are the seven heavens, and the earth, and everyone in them. There is not a thing that does not glorify Him with praise, but you do not understand their praises.……….(17: 44)

All creations and the systems of the universe have been functioning on the given pattern [religion] for billions of years:

They praise night and day, without ever tiring (21: 20)

Just as the recommended course upon which other non-human things act or behave is their ‘religion’, similarly, the commands or instructions under which humans live their lives is their religion. Just like there are set or standard rules for other things, similarly, there are set or standard rules [religion] for humans as well. Submission to these rules brings peace to their lives. On the other hand, deviation from these means nothing but chaos and devastation.

Indeed, the religion in the sight of Allah is Islam [peace]……………………. (3: 19)

………..will [any] be destroyed except the defiantly disobedient people? (46: 35)   

2.1 RELIGION AND PEACE ARE INTERTWINED

Before moving on to further details, it is important to understand peace. The smooth and coordinated functioning of every system under a prescribed religion [commands/rules/instructions/] is peace. All rules, set by Allah, are based upon peace; this is why we do not see any chaos in any system of the universe. All the systems of the universe, whether they are placid or intense, by following the prescribed religion, are observing peace.

Do they not look into the realm of the heavens and the earth and everything that Allah has created? …………… (7: 185)

In the creation of the heavens and the earth; in the alternation of night and day; in the ships that sail the oceans for the benefit of mankind; in the water that Allah sends down from the sky, and revives the earth with it after it had died, and scatters in it all kinds of creatures; in the changing of the winds, and the clouds disposed between the sky and the earth; are signs for people who understand (2: 164)

The purpose behind every creation is peace. Each creation has a role and a purpose; each system contributes to the other. A little deviation in any of the systems is damaging to the rest. Thus, to maintain overall peace, every system needs to work in coherence with the other system [details in next chapters]. As humans are part of this universe, they too are required to work in coherence with all other systems of the universe [details in next chapters]. Thus, they need to follow the religion which is specifically prescribed for them.

As Allah has given rules [religion] to everything, He has given rules [religion] to humans as well. Their adherence to these rules [religion]maintains peace in their lives no matter which area or era they belong to.

The religion of Allah has existed in human societies with different names throughout time. Whether it has an ancient name, it is Judaism, Christianity, or Islam, it has never promoted conflict or chaos, neither within an individual nor in society. Rather, its purpose has always remained the same: the promotion of biological, mental, and social peace. All these states of peace cannot be achieved unless coherence with all other systems is made effective [details in the next chapters].

2.2 PEACE IN HUMAN LIFE

Our body is a combination of different biological systems [e.g., nervous, circulatory, respiratory, and digestive systems etc.]. The smooth functioning of these different systems means that the body is at biological peace. A little disturbance in these systems can cause disequilibrium, which shows up in the form of disease or malfunctioning of the organs. Research shows that disequilibrium in our biological parts can disturb our mental peace, and a person may enter a state of stress. Stress is harmful because it not only damages the physical health of a body, but also affects mental health. It affects perception, memory, attention, learning, emotions [mood], tolerance, judgment and decision-making. When mental health is affected, it also upsets social peace, because a person with a disturbed mind cannot interact normally or peacefully with other people. All these states of peace are so closely interlinked with each other that we cannot draw a line to understand them separately. 

2.3 WHY RELIGION OF ALLAH IS THE ONLY PREVAILING RELIGION?

Allah has created everything according to a proper measure [details in the next chapter]. As all systems in the universe are calculated [measured] and they are working in coherence, only Allah knows the right calculations. Therefore, the rules [religion] required to run a system cannot be invented by anyone else, except Him.

…………His is the creation, and His is the command. ………. (7: 54).    

……………Legislation is not but for Allah. He has commanded that you worship [obey/ submit] not except Him . That is the correct religion, but most of the people do not know (12: 40)

As it is the most intricate matter to keep everything in coherence to maintain overall peace, nothing can direct or help to achieve peace except the Creator Himself. As Allah is the Creator [details in next chapters], it is Only He Who knows how to maintain biological, mental, and social peace so that humanity can live a peaceful life. He knows how a little disturbance in one state can affect the other two states of peace. Thus, He has specified rules/instructions [religion] that ensure all three forms of peace. No human can live a peaceful life on his own by ignoring the rules/instructions of the Creator. It is only the Creator Who can truthfully instruct the right course or direction for a peaceful life.

In the next chapters, we will learn that all existing means rightly prove that no other lifestyle can bring peace and harmony in human life so precisely at all levels except the one prescribed by Allah. Nothing else has complete knowledge of everything. It cannot guide you to the right direction. Whoever tries to make a new religion [the rules of life], cannot cope with the running systems of the universe and maintain peace at all levels. Thus, by inventing new rules or adopting new lifestyles people do nothing except sabotage peace. Deviation from the standard religion or abandonment of it brings nothing but ruination.

…is it other than the religion of Allah they desire, while to Him have submitted [all] those within the heavens and earth, willingly or by compulsion…….. (3: 83)

If the truth conformed to their desires, the heavens, the earth, and everyone in them would have gone to ruin ……………………… (23: 71)  

There is no room for any man-made or altered religion in the realms of the universe.

And if you obey most of those upon the earth, they will mislead you from the way of Allah. They follow not except assumption, and they are not but falsifying (6: 116)

And whoever desires other than Islam [peace] as religion – never will it be accepted from him…… (3: 85)

Indeed, the religion in the sight of Allah is Islam [peace]……………………. (3: 19)

As no man-made religion can bring and sustain peace at every level, it therefore goes extinct with the passage of time. What prevails is the one that is based on truth/facts or precisions. It is so because the whole universe is accurately designed to follow truth and precisions – We do not see a single atom in the entire universe that follows irrationality.

2.4 SCOPE OF THE RELIGION [PRESCRIBED FOR HUMANS]

As religion is the set of rules of life, it covers each and every aspect of life. It keeps our bodies, personalities, societies, and environment healthy [details in next chapters]. It is in our bodies, in our personalities, and in our societies. It is in the land we live on, the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat, the dress we wear, and the house we live in. It is in the resources, skills, and knowledge we hold. It is in the time we spend, words we speak and the silence we keep, the news we break, stories we make and rumors we spread, preference we give, opinion we make, judgements we pass, secrets we keep, promises we make, blames we put, fun we make, humors we break. Similarly, it is in the habits we build and the habits we break.

Religion rules every sphere of our lives, including the attention we pay, the  perceptions we make, the memories we develop, the emotions we express, and emotions we control, the motivation we give and get. It is in what we learn, and what we ignore, needs we fulfill, desires we curb and personalities we develop. It is in the care we take, the efforts we make, the importance we give, and the gratitude we show. Moreover, religion is in the praise we give, the patience we show, the matters we ponder, and the hopes we develop. Religion is in the forgiveness we give and seek; it is in the corrections, and decisions we make, the justice we do, the respect we give and the kindness we show. Furthermore, it is in every relationship we build, maintain, break and mend; it is in parenthood, childhood, brotherhood, neighbourhood, and nationhood. Similarly, it is in kinship, partnership, friendship, leadership, and followership. It is in the transactions we make, the business we establish, the profit we make and the loans we borrow. Religion is in the help we give and help we seek; it is in the government or organization we establish, the laws we implement, the liberty we take, the limitations we set, and the testimony we give. Similarly, it is in the examples we set, and the precedence we follow, the offences we take and defenses we lay. Religion is thus, in every part and affair of our lives; it is not something that exists on its own; it goes against the common notion that worldly affairs should be dealt with separately.

2.5 OBEDIENCE TO THE GIVEN RELIGION BY NON-HUMANS HAS MADE THEM PERFECT

Everything [except some humans] behaves in accordance with its prescribed function. Water acts as water in any case; fire acts as fire in any case; rocks, trees, sun, moon, earth: everything is doing its designated job. We can say that everything except humans has learned its religion. They are, in a way, in auto-mode. They know what they are supposed to do. They know the purpose of their existence. They know their religion; they do not need to learn it from any outside source.

Do you not see that to Allah prostrates [submit/obey] whoever is in the heavens and whoever is on the earth and the sun, the moon, the stars, the mountains, the trees, the moving creatures and many of the people?………………………….. (22: 18)

The religion of all non-human moving creatures has become their instinct. They eat, sleep, run, fly, prey, mate, migrate, build nests for their young ones, and take care of them according to a [genetically] programed way. They do not need learning for these actions.

And your Rubb inspired the bee: “Set up hives in the mountains, and in the trees, and in what they construct.” Then eat of all the fruits, and go along the pathways of your Rubb, with precision. From their bellies emerges a fluid of diverse colors, containing healing for the people.   Surely in this is a sign for people who reflect/ponder (16: 68-69)

Religion, in fact, is a guide for a purposeful and successful existence. In the above case, the purpose of a bee is to collect the nectar from fruits and flowers and convert it into honey; its success is in the accomplishment of its given task.

Humans, however, are going through a trial period. Data collected on the basis of scientific observations show that humans are one of the newest/latest creations as compared to the other prominent creations and biological life on earth. Humans appeared on earth when all the essentials of life had started functioning perfectly.

[Allah] Who perfected everything He created, and originated the creation of man from clay (32: 7)

Everything, other than humans, is perfect; it is perfectly fulfilling its assigned tasks/duties. Humans, however, have not yet attained the final form; they are not perfect yet.

No! Man [kind] has not yet accomplished what He commanded him (80: 23) 

2.6 WHAT IS PERFECTION?

When anything starts working for what it was created for, it becomes perfect. Giving shape to humans in the present form, Allah has given them religion [rules of life] as a trial to observe who deserves to be called perfect [flawless] human and who deserves to be banished. 

Everything was not the same as it is now. Whatever has taken existence before humans has learned to behave as it was created for. It has traces of evolution, which means it has struggled to achieve perfection.

As we learned, religion is the recommended course of existence/life, therefore, perfection in life/existence can only be attained by obeying the given religion.

O mankind, worship [obey] your Rubb, Who created you and those before you, that you may become righteous [perfect] (2: 21)

The purpose of [present] human life is to learn the techniques of peaceful living; success lies in the accomplishment of these skills [details in further chapters].

Moreover, purpose brings perfection and gives satisfaction to existence; it gives meaning to actions. When there is a purpose, each and every action of life becomes meaningful; while on the other hand, when there is no purpose of life, it becomes a collection of vain and meaningless activities.

In the next chapters, we will learn that the universe has been specifically designed to support human life on Earth. The creation of the universe [in the form of the sun, the moon, and the planets] is something profound and extraordinary. It took billions of years to come into this state.  Similarly, Earth also took billions of years to become perfect for human life. Though science verifies the transition of the universe from  disruption to perfection, it cannot answer the reason for these occurrences. Neither can it answer the purpose of human life on Earth.

We did not create the heaven and the earth and that between them in play (21: 16)

Does man think that he will be left without purpose? (75: 36)    

We will certainly test you, until We know those among you who strive, and those who are steadfast, and We will test your reactions (47: 31)

The purpose of this test is the selection of perfect peacemakers. It is because the theme of the universe is peace and only a perfect peacemaker can maintain its peace.

2.7 WHY DO HUMANS NEED TO LEARN RELIGION?

As we have learned in sections 2.5 and 2.6, humans have not yet attained perfection, and are going through a test period. They still need to learn the perfect way of life. The techniques of a perfect life are not so simple that one can learn them on their own or from any random source. It is rather an intricate matter that requires a series of guidance.

Human life is not a simple life; it has infinite connections with countless systems. To establish coherence among all these systems, humans need guidance. As life is a mixture of complex systems, humans cannot learn from a single given statement; they need a detailed set of instructions [religion]. For this purpose, Allah kept sending His messengers throughout time who taught humanity how to live. The messengers of Allah remained in their [appointed] community for years, teaching people the rules of life in detail; reminding them Who to obey, how to obey, what lifestyle to adopt, and explaining what they should do to avoid mistakes and correct themselves if they go astray.

O Children of Adam! When messengers from among you come to you, relating to you My revelations – whoever practices piety and reforms – upon them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve (7: 35) 

Allah kept sending His messengers in every era so that people could not complain about not getting an opportunity to receive any guidance.

……………Allah wants no injustice to the worlds. (3: 108) 

And for every nation is a messenger……………(10: 47)

……….. For every era is a scripture (13: 38) 

[We sent] messengers as bringers of good tidings and warner so that mankind will have no argument against Allah after the messengers. And ever is Allah Exalted in Might and Wise. (4: 165).

Otherwise:

…………they would say, “Our Rubb, why did you not send us a messenger, so we could have followed Your verses and been among the believers/righteous?” (28: 47)

2.8 WHAT IS A SIN?

A sin is a mistake that people make in understanding and implementing religion. It is because of these mistakes [sins or wrongdoings] that people get into trouble and ruin their life. Allah kept sending different Books through different messengers for every era who kept guiding people about what is wrongdoing and explaining how to avoid and fix mistakes or sins.

2.9 RELIGION OF ALLAH IS ONE RELIGION

Though Allah kept sending His Books and messengers in different eras, the message they conveyed remained the same throughout the time. Every messenger pointed in the same direction for guidance.

To every community We sent a messenger: “Worship [obey] Allah, and avoid idolatry.”………….(16: 36)

We sent Noah to his people. He said, “O my people! Worship Allah; you have no god other than Him………………………………..”(7: 59) 

And to the Aad [We sent] their brother Hud. He said, “O my people, Worship Allah; you have no deity other than Him…………………..”(7: 65)

And to Thamud [We sent] their brother Salih. He said, “O my people, Worship Allah; you have no deity other than Him.……. (7: 73)

And [We sent] Abraham, when he said to his people, “Worship Allah and fear Him. That is best for you, if you should know. (29: 16)

And to Madian, their brother Shuaib. He said, “O my people, worship Allah; you have no god other than Him………………………….. (7: 85)

And Moses said, “O my people, if you have believed in Allah, then rely upon Him, if you should be *Muslims.” (10: 84) *Peacemakers.

[Jesus said], “And indeed, Allah is my Rubb and your Rubb, so worship Him. That is a straight path. (19: 36)

After having sent different messengers in different eras, Allah finally sent Muhammad [PBUH] to convey His final Message. This Message was also the same as the previous messages.

Muhammad is not the father of [any] one of your men, but [he is] the Messenger of Allah and last of the prophets. And ever is Allah, of all things, Knowing (33: 40)

Say,[O Muhammad], “It is only revealed to me that your god is but One Allah; so will you be *Muslims?” (21: 108) *Peacemakers

Nothing is said to you, [O Muhammad], except what was already said to the messengers before you.…….(41: 43)

And We sent not before you [O Muhammad] any messenger except that We revealed to him that, “There is no deity except Me, so worship Me.” (21: 25)

We have inspired you, as We had inspired Noah and the prophets after him. And We inspired Abraham, and Ishmael, and Isaac, and Jacob, and Patriarchs, and Jesus, and Job, and Jonah, and Aaron, and Solomon and We gave David the Psalms. Some messengers We have already told you about, while some messengers We have not told you about. And Allah spoke to Moses directly (4: 163-164)

And ask those We sent before you of Our messengers; have We made besides The Most Merciful deities to be worshipped? (43: 45)

Humanity has been reminded throughout time that:

This community of yours is one community, and I am your Rubb, so worship [obey] Me. (21: 92)

………………. the guidance of Allah is the [only] guidance……………….. (6: 71) 

………Direct your face toward the religion, inclining to truth, and never be of those who associate others with Allah (10: 105) 

Follow, [O mankind], what has been revealed to you from your Rubb and do not follow other than Him any allies. Little do you remember (7: 3)

He (Allah) has ordained for you of religion what He enjoined upon Noah and that which We have revealed to you, [O Muhammad], and what We enjoined upon Abraham and Moses and Jesus – to establish the religion and not be divided therein………………. (42: 13)

And hold firmly to the rope [religion] of Allah all together and do not become divided…………. (3: 103)

2.10 THE RELIGION OF ALLAH IS THE RELIGION OF PEACE AND THOSE WHO FOLLOW IT ARE PEACEMAKERS

If we look back into section 2.1, we come to know that whoever or whatever supports the smooth and coordinated functions of the universe by observing [or submitting to] its designated religion [or guideline] is a peacemaker. Similarly, any human, no matter from which area or era he/she belongs, if he/she observes the religion of Allah [which is based upon peace/Islam] is a Peacemaker [Muslim]. 

Noah said to his people: “…………… I have been commanded to be of the Muslims/Peacemakers.” (10: 72) 

And [mention] when Abraham was raising the foundations of the House [Kabah] and [with him] Ishmael, [saying], “Our Rubb, accept [this] from us. Indeed, You are the Hearing, the Knowing. Our Rubb, and make us Muslim/ Peacemaker and from our descendants a Muslim/ Peacemaking nation ………. (2: 127-128),

And Abraham instructed his sons [to do the same] and [so did] Jacob, [saying], “O my sons, indeed Allah has chosen for you this religion, so do not die except while you are Muslims/ Peacemakers” (2: 132)  

[Joseph said], “………………… [O!] Creator of the heavens and earth, You are my Protector in this world and in the Hereafter. Cause me to die [as] a Muslim/ Peacemaker and join me with the righteous.” (12: 101)

And Moses said, “O my people, if you have believed in Allah, then rely upon Him, if you should be Muslims/ Peacemakers.” (10: 84)

Solomon sent a letter to the queen of Saba, which said:

Indeed, it is from Solomon, and indeed, it reads: “In the name of Allah, the Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful. Be not haughty with me but come to me as *Muslim/ Peacemaker.” [In submission to Allah] (27: 30-31)

…………… [Solomon said, “And we were given knowledge before her [queen of Saba], and we have been Muslims/ Peacemakers [in submission to Allah] (27: 42)

“And [remember] when I inspired the disciples, “Believe in Me and in My Messenger [Jesus].” They said, “We have believed, so bear witness that indeed we are Muslims/ Peacemakers.” (5: 111)

And We have not sent you, [O Muhammad], except as a mercy to the worlds. Say, “It is only revealed to me that your god is but One Allah; so will you be Muslims/ Peacemakers?” (21: 107-108)

O you who have believed, fear Allah as He should be feared and do not die except as Muslims/Peacemakers. And hold firmly to the rope of Allah all together and do not become divided [in the religion]. And remember the favor of Allah upon you – when you were enemies and He brought your hearts together and you became, by His favor, brothers. And you were on the edge of a pit of the Fire, and He saved you from it. Thus, does Allah makes clear to you His verses that you may be guided. And let there be [arising] from you a nation inviting to [all that is] good, enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong, and those will be the successful (3: 102-104)

Indeed, the religion in the sight of Allah is Islam [peace]……………………. (3: 19)

And who is more unjust than one who invents about Allah untruth while he is being invited to Islam [Peace]………. (61: 7)

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