Eat generously, as you please, but do not divide as the branches

like this tree creating a schism, lest you transgress and harm yourself.

[Verse 2:25]


Religious leaders and their followers are forever proclaiming that they have faith in their religion, and only by having faith can you achieve salvation. Since faith is belief without proof, it’s an odd way of securing a good result. If you can accept one doctrine without reasonable evidence, then why not another? Religions of all descriptions have a starting point; when their founder first became enlightened or started preaching his ideas about how best to be saved from the blight in this world to gain bliss in the next: prayer, pilgrimage, miracles, self-flagellation, asceticism, atonement and mercy being the main routes to heaven. What happens to the fate of those before their particular religion took off is anybody’s guess. In the case of converts, how do they decide which religion, or indeed which sect they should join? Is it a choice between who has the best ritual or the best festivals?


The world is a place of plenty, enough for the needs of everyone. The differences arise when greed sets in and conflicting interests appear. Common values that ensure people look after each other’s interests are instead trampled on in the rush to pick each other’s pockets. Why should they do otherwise?


The Quran says that people develop by the measure of their endeavour – not by the practice of rites and rituals. However, this can only take place within a community, and a group of people can only be a community when they share values and goals. People with conflicting interests can never be a community, even if they live in the same place. For mankind, there is no other book that provides better guidance than the Quran.


The Deen-Islam, was not discovered by any founder but the principles that it advocates have always existed, the Absolute Laws and Permanent Values that each and every individual needs: values that are common to progress all humanity. Belief in God is simply belief in accountability to your Self, to your community and ultimately to God. This diminishes the need for different conflicting and competing religions and clearly shows that only one single social system with the optimal values is required. With accountability, the need to do good becomes imperative, and the desire to pick your fellow human’s pocket  less attractive.


These days groups like the humanists promote their tenets as if they had discovered them this morning in a eureka moment. Their efforts are to be commended, but they would do well to also study the Quran, then they will have something much more insightful than just ‘good ideas’, something all- encompassing, complete, with substance and enduring value.


Leaving aside its inimitable style and structure, the Quran is a book of immense magnitude. Not only does it put human beings and all living things at the centre of moral outlook, it makes these things the very fabric of society. Individuals, communities and the world are the focus of its attention to progress and in life prosper, and it encourages all men and women to develop their Self by facing the challenges that are the inevitable hurdles in this world.


The Quran draws attention to man’s fantastic surroundings and the wonders within himself. It pushes man to search, discover and know his world, to harness and manage nature for his own benefit, and for the benefit of the world at large. To explore by science and reason is at the heart of all discovery and the Quran inspires man to stretch his mind and imagination.


Championing human rights is a duty, the Quran proclaims, even to the point of risking your life, because dying for a true and just cause is the ultimate sacrifice any being can make. Indeed all who are fit and able are not exempt from striving with their money and their lives. Promoting, flourishing and giving life to the natural environment and human system is an act of great virtue, the Quran stresses, time and time again.


But a good deed or any act of virtue is of no value if its worth is not realised, that is why the Quran underpins all activity with accountability. And this is what puts the Quran’s Permanent Values and Absolute Laws over and above any other.


Only a few points have been alluded to here, but the Quran goes much deeper and wider than anything else the Humanist, the Religionist, or any human dares or has the ability to address. As it answers life’s questions, it puts the kind of responsibility only a strong personality can undertake. And all this more than a thousand years before any modern day humanist was even born, with values that have been there since man first became aware of his conscience and recognised his ability to distinguish a good action from a bad one.


The Quran is the only book that is the complete moral and ethical code for all mankind and now influences more than one and a half billion people. The sad underlying fact being that while reading this profound book, they too barely understand its true value and the real impact it can have when properly applied.