Find Clarity In Religion Through Quran
Is God’s religion clear in what it says? And if it is, why is it that it is not agreed upon by all?
There are several questions that bother one’s mind regarding Islam. Each of these questions needs to be addressed and responded to to the satisfaction of the individual if he is to follow God’s message properly. Some questions bother some people more while other questions bother others. To some extent it is one’s circumstances and taste that decide what questions people are more worried about. However, one can safely say that there are some questions that bother most people if not all.
One question that bothers most thinking minds is about the clarity of religion. Is God’s religion clear in what it says? And if it is, why is it that it is not agreed upon by all? The fact of the matter is that God’s message is unmistakably clear. The Quran mentions that reality about its message (44:2). It declares that the text of God’s message is the verdict of God which clearly distinguishes right from wrong (25:1). It also emphasises that if Muslims were to hold fast to its message, they will come together as a united group of believers, free from all forms of sectarian strife (3:103).
If what is stated above is correct, why then are there so many divisions in Islam? Why don’t all Muslims agree and adhere to one religious understanding? Far from being united, Muslims have fallen apart into numerous sects and sub-sects, each confidently claiming, in many cases, to the complete exclusion of others, monopoly over truth and correct interpretation of God’s message.
“There are many non-Quranic sources that enjoy precedence over the Qur’an when its text is interpreted. The result is that what is understood from the Quran is not what it is saying. It is made to speak out and give a message which belongs to a world outside its text”
The fact of the matter is that even though the Quranic text is regularly read and frequently quoted by Muslims, it is not quite as much understood with the intent and deep reflection it deserves. There are many non-Quranic sources that enjoy precedence over the Quran when its text is interpreted. The result is that what is understood from the Quran is not what it is saying. It is made to speak out and give a message which belongs to a world outside its text.
An example of a religious concept enjoying complete sway in the minds and hearts of Muslims but lacking any support from the Quran is the understanding that only Muslims are going to succeed in the hereafter. It is indeed a matter of serious concern that while on the one hand the Quran clearly condemns religious bigotry of the Jews and the Christians and promises salvation to all well-meaning humans who stay away from committing major crimes, most Muslim scholars and the common people feel completely convinced that the success in the hereafter is the birthright of Muslims only. This exclusivist approach which is widespread among Muslims breeds arrogance and ill-feelings against non-Muslims. That in turn creates tension in the relationship between Muslims and non-Muslims not only in the Muslim world where non-Muslims live as a minority but also in the countries where Muslims live as a religious minority.
The Quran promises success of the hereafter for all good humans (2:62; 5:67). It assures that God will make all humans accountable on the basis of their capacities, rewarding them on the basis of what they could do (7:42). While it condemns the criminals among the Jews and Christians, it also praises lavishly those people of the book who have continued to follow the path of righteousness (3:113-115). Despite all these clear mentions in the Quran, the general tendency among Muslims is to consider non-Muslims as inferiors and unworthy of God’s grace in the hereafter.
The destiny of Muslims is linked with their attitude towards the Quran. If they are not going to understand it properly, giving it the highest priority it deserves in forming opinions and taking decisions, the complexities of their problems would deepen. Muslims cannot leave aside their religion, relegating it to a secondary role of a personal code of conduct as has been done in the west. If religion has to continue to play a positive role in the Muslim society, it has to be done by the correct religious attitude and understanding. That in turn can only happen if the religious approach of Muslims becomes Quran-centred.
“The article by Dr Khalid Zaheer was published at dailycapital.pk on 23-JAN-15.”