Monotheism in the Quran - Part 9
The second course of action like the first one is not less faulty because the wishes of other people are too many and they have a wide range of interests and inclinations. Apart from this, as there is a possibility of their committing errors and of becoming victim of forgetfulness and lapses, it is necessary that man should not give up his line of action and ignore his requirements and personal freedom and individuality and follow those who do not know him properly or appreciate his aspirations for long standing happiness and prosperity, and over and above when he does not know whether they are his well-wishers or not.
The third course of action is the only correct course because just as we hand over our automobile to a mechanic or ourselves to a physician we should submit our ways and means of life to Almighty Allah, our Creator Who knows everything better than we know.
The Function of Religion
In a nutshell we can define religion according to one of the scholars in the following way:
Just as we construct an automobile in the same way religion builds a man. To illustrate it with an example we have to perform the following things for the purpose of manufacturing a motor car:
(i) We find out the availability of iron ores from a mine.
(ii) We extract iron from its ores.
(iii) We make the parts of machine from iron.
(iv) We assemble these parts into a motor car.
(v) Then an expert who knows driving drives this car. These five things are also applicable to religion.
Man's Discovery: A man who forgets all about himself loses his aim of life, guidance and ultimate destination, and becomes like an animal as he considers that the sole purpose of his materialistic life is sensual gratification. By this he becomes just like a dead body as truth has no effect on him. He is wild like a wolf, cunning like a fox, thief like a mouse and stonehearted like a tyrant. It is, therefore, necessary that this type of lost man should try to discover his ownself and find out all about himself.
1. One of the functions of religion is to state what man is and what are his characteristics? When we study the Holy Qur'an we find how Islam defines man. It says:
When your Lord said to the angels, 'I am appointing someone as my deputy on earth'. (Surah al-Baqarah, 2:30)
Haven't you seen that Allah has made all that is in the heavens and the earth, subservient to you? (Surah Luqman, 31:20)
We offered Our Trust (Our Deputation) to the heavens, to the earth and the mountains, but they could not bear this burden and were afraid to accept it. Man was able to accept this offer but he was unjust to himself and ignorant of the significance of this Trust. (Surah al-Ahzab, 33:72)
. . . and I have infused my spirit into it. (Surah al-Hijr, 15: 29)
We have honored the children of Adam, carried them on the land and the sea, given them pure sustenance and exalted them above most of My creatures. (Surah Bani Israil, 17:70)
The Holy Qur'an warns man lest he should forget himself and be a loser; damage his own interest; lose his profits in his dealings and be bought by false customers at a cheaper price. Then it cites examples of victorious and defeated people and determines their types and specimens, so that man can recognize his personality, capability and disposition. He then ponders over that if he has only been created to lead a material life and to. satisfy his animal instinct by enjoying the comforts and pleasures of life then why has he been endowed with superb intellect and knowledge and an urge to progress and development?
2. The second function of religion is to refine the discovered ores (of human character). Man should be purified of harmful thought of oppression, follies, ignorance and polytheism. The Holy Qur'an says:
Allah is the patron and supporter of those who have embraced the belief and He leads them from ignorance and waywardness to the path of guidance. (Surah al-Baqarah, 2:25)
3. The third function of religion is to make an individual perfect in character. That is, to create in him the qualities of worship of Allah, and make him abstain from evils, so that he may possess perfect human attributes. The individual guidance and character building of people are the same which the Holy Prophet had done during the troubled days of his stay in Makkah. All those commands which do not have any social bearing come under this preview so as to reform man in all aspects with full attention.
4. The fourth function of religion is to organize the reformed individuals and to knit them into one complete pattern and to establish the universal Sovereignty of Allah in which clear-cut and perfect commands are followed This was the mission which the Holy Prophet accomplished in Madina and thereafter he deputed learned and capable people to organize various fields of activity, to acquire strength for the defense, and to make budget. Over and above this their aim was to establish a perfect socio-political system and to define the objectives of the Islamic State so as to distinguish it from non-Islamic societies.
5. The fifth function of religion is to hand over the affairs of the Islamic society in the hands of a capable and infallible leader. Strict warnings have been given in religion against encouraging oppression, despotism and ignorance and against patronizing oppressors, despots and tyrants or groups of such people. Therefore, the handing over of leadership and power of the whole nation to a non-infallible person amounts to tyrannizing the mankind.
This is what we call a complete lay-out of religion and a true reflection of its school of thought. If we wish to condense all what is said above into one single sentence, we would then say: "Religion is a social code of life which determines, according to Divine principles of a set standard, an ideology, efforts and conduct of life".
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