Reality Of Religion

Religion is meant to serve as a reminder that you have to acknowledge the Creator who has created you, bestowed you with all bounties and the life-support system, and then finally surrender before Him. Your life in this world should be spent in accordance with the will of the Creator. You should try to find out the source from where you can learn of the will of the Creator. Religion is thus meant for answering one’s basic questions: who am I, who created me, why am I settled in this world, what are my duties etc. People today, including the so-called religious people, have adopted religion as a culture, rather than as an ideology that governs their thinking and behaviour. Religion has not become their sole concern.

Maulana Wahiduddin Khan

God’s Bounties

A glass of water is such a blessing that if all the people in the world come together and spend all their money, even then a glass of water cannot be created. The supply shall continue only if the One who is supplying continues to supply, else not. While man cannot even create a glass of water, there are millions of things still that have been bestowed on him by a Benefactor! To acknowledge and be grateful for these blessings is the biggest duty of man. Religion serves as a reminder of this fact. Availing blessings like food, water, air or sunlight has a price that is, acknowledgement. Those who do not perform this duty should remember that they cannot evade accountability.

Maulana Wahiduddin Khan

The Form And Spirit Of Ramadan

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Hijri calendar. Muslims are enjoined to observe fasting from daybreak to sunset during this month. Fasting is an annual worship in the Islamic faith and one of the five spiritual pillars of Islam.

 What is the purpose of this annual practice? The answer can be had from the Quran. “The month of Ramadan is the month when the Quran was sent down as guidance for mankind with clear proofs of guidance and the criterion by which to distinguish right from wrong.” (2:185)

 The Arabic word for fasting is ‘sawm’ meaning abstinence, restraint from desires. That is, saving oneself from all kinds of distraction, including basic needs, for a temporary period of time. The main purpose of fasting is going through the Quran with complete focus and dedication. This is a very serious study. So, believers are required to keep away from all other activities, and concentrate their minds totally on the study of the Quran.

 In terms of form, the month of Ramadan is the month of fasting. But, in terms of spirit, the month of Ramadan is a month of self-training. Muslims are required to observe the month of Ramadan as a month of introspection in the light of Quranic teachings. The Quran is a divine criterion; it helps us examine our deeds and differentiate the right from the wrong. The Quran is like a divine mirror, in which Muslims can see their true face. They can identify the mistakes they have made in the past in order that they may mend their ways.

This annual practice enables Muslims to reassess and re-examine their past. And, by knowing this they can plan for their future on better times. To illustrate this point, I would like to give some examples from the Quran.

A believer prepares himself and starts reading the Quran with an open mind. Then he reaches this Quranic verse: “Whatever misfortune befalls you is of your own doing.” (42:30). If the reader is sincere and reads this verse with an open mind, he will apply it to his own life and to the life of the Muslim ummah. By doing so he will discover that anything which Muslims have suffered in the past was not due to anti-Muslim forces, rather it was entirely Muslims’ own mistakes. This discovery will produce brainstorming in his mind and he will decide with complete determination to convey this fact to the entire Muslim ummah.

Then during the study of the Quran, the believer reaches this verse: “God alters not what is with a people, until they alter what is within them.” (13:11). If the believer is sincere in the true sense of the word, this Quranic verse is bound to make a deep impression on his mind. He will find the proper line of action for the future. He will decide that we have to completely abandon the language of complaint and protest against others because, according to the divine law, that will not work. We will have to bring about reform in our own lives. This is the precondition enshrined in the Quran. If we fulfil this condition, we will be able to receive divine help, and divine help is guarantee of all kinds of success.

This is the main purpose of fasting. Fasting in the month of Ramadan is like a spiritual rehearsal for every Muslim. If this annual practice is done in the true spirit, it is bound to revolutionize the condition of Muslims, both individually and collectively.

 Maulana Wahiduddin Khan/Speakingtree/Times of India,15 July 2013

By degrees, little by little, from time to time, a wise person should
remove his own impurities as a smith removes the dross from silver.

Buddhism.  Dhammapada 239

One should not behave towards others in a way which is disagreeable to oneself. This is the essence of morality. All other activities are due to selfish desire.

Hinduism. Mahabharata, Anusasana Parva, 113.8

Highest form of worship

Prophet Muhammad once said:

 “The highest form of worship is to pray as if you were seeing God.”

We learn from this Hadith, The highest form of worship is for man to sense the presence of God during worship, and feel that he has come close to God. His eyes are moist with tears. He starts receiving inspiration from God, at that time he can experience the refreshing, cooling effect of God’s love and blessings for him. It is this feeling of closeness to God which is the highest form of worship.

Creation Plan Of God

It would be correct to say that man is a seeker by birth. These questions lurk in everyone’s mind: Who am I? What is the purpose of my life? What is the reality of life and death? What is the secret of man’s success and failure? etc. These questions may be summed up in a single sentence: What is the Creation Plan of the Creator?

The Creator of man has created him according to a special Plan. The existence of man is such a unique phenomenon that no other such example can be found throughout the vastness of the cosmos. Man is rightly called the ‘best of all creations’, which means the best and most meaningful ‘being’ among all the things created. Such a ‘meaningful being’ cannot have been created without a purpose.

The Creator of the world has created this world, as one half of a pair — the present limited world, in which we pass our lives after birth, is the first half; and the next eternal world where we live after death is the other half. The Creator of man has thus created him as an eternal creature and has divided his life into two stages — the pre-death period or the limited life in this world and the post death period or the eternal life after death. The limited period before death is meant to be a test for man, the gist of which was to give man complete freedom, not simply as a gift, but as a test. The result of this test would enable God to know who misused his freedom and who put his freedom to the best use. This was, and still is, the divine scheme of things for man. This test is not just for the sake of testing mankind. It is for a high purpose, while the eternal period after his death will be the period for his reward or punishment, based on his performance in the test in this life. This is the scheme of existence for this world as devised by its Creator.

I know that after reading above paragraph, you may have question about freedom,what is that freedom? According to the Creation plan, God has given us complete freedom in our actions and simultaneously he has given us conscious mind which can guide us what is right and what is wrong, in this world human beings are placed in situations where they have to face hardships from time to time throughout their life, here wealth is not a reward and poverty is not a punishment but it is a part of their test, God only watch your actions in every situations. No man has the power to extricate himself from this trial and tribulation. This arrangement is to remind man of the fact that the present world has not been made as a place of luxury and comfort, but rather as a period of trial, So, the real aim of creation is to select those who are fit to inhabit the eternal world of Paradise.

Paradise is that world, where a creation such as man attains his complete fulfillment, where he thinks the way he wants to think; where he sees what he desires to see; where he listens to the sounds that give pleasure to his ears in the real sense; where he touches those things which gives him the highest degree of pleasure; where he has the company of those people who make his life highly meaningful, where he eats such food as he eternally craved for and he sips such drinks as are only beautiful figments of his imagination today.

According to this divine scheme, the present human lifetime affords a great opportunity to man. In the pre-death period, man gets the chance to qualify for paradise, so that in the post-death period he may settle as a deserving candidate in this perfect and eternal world.

Reference: “The Reality Of Life”, booklet by Maulana Wahiduddin Khan