Religion and Islam
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE?
Religion, whether theistic or non-theistic, is a subjective experience shaped by the susceptibilities and prejudices of individuals and is mainly a personal reflection. A traditional religious life is occupied with rites and rituals with varying aims to attain salvation, liberation from sin and rescue from evil through a saviour or by appeasing a chosen deity, prayer, pilgrimages, miracles, austerities, self-mortification, penance and mercy being the main routes to a heaven. Entry to this paradise is available only to those belonging to the particular fold and all others are excluded and sent to hell, a place of torture to pay for their life of sin.
Any ordered way of living is a Deen – this includes all social and political systems and everyone lives by a system of some description. Deen-Islam is the holistic socio-economic system that encompasses everything and operates according to the ordinance of God; it is in essence the System of God. Firmly based on the Absolute Laws and Permanent Values as enshrined in the Quran these laws and values are the foundations upon which the human Self is able to develop in order to attain its optimum potential. Implementing these laws and values of Deen-Islam results in positive outcomes not only for the individual but also has meaning for society as a whole. What moves life forward is action through good deeds underpinned by accountability. It is this, and only this, that raises the measure of human endeavour. The Quran outlines the principle values in verse 2:2-3; to safeguard oneself from lasting harm and to become benefactors of mankind. This is further expanded in 2:177 and 17:22-39 detailing the profound values that progress society.
Religion, any religion, is an opiate, designed to subdue and control the masses who resign their intellect to others. However, the Deen-Islam is a stimulant that invigorates individuals into positive action and raises the measure of human value, making it fit for this life and the life yet to come. This development can be attained by anyone who aligns his or her beliefs with the Permanent Values found in the Quran, and Quran alone, with ultimate accountability to the One God and to the One God alone.
Unlike religion, the primary function of Islam is the development of the human personality, not through rites and rituals but by active participation in society underpinned by useful good conduct. It helps the transformation of an individual’s character by organising it into a harmonious system of living. When individuals are good, it is not possible that society is not also good. The values in the Quran eliminate internal and external conflicts. They have meaning for individuals but have far richer meaning for each person as a member of a larger social group – the global village.
The only way for people to achieve the promised state of peace and security, both here and in the life yet to come, is to break away from all religions, all false teachings, and all fabricated systems that have a stranglehold on humankind. God has assured every man, woman and child an exalted status when they believe and follow His guidance. People are therefore encouraged to return to the only consistent source of this guidance: the Quran. No reasonable person can deny that we need order, and it is Deen-Islam that provides the ultimate social system for all humanity.
The purpose of the Quran is to undo and loosen the vicious grip of religion on humanity, and to restore Deen-Islam as an effective code of guidance that God, periodically over time, sent His messengers amongst all communities. This culminated in the final detailed and complete guidance of the Quran. It is the Quran that deconstructs religious thought of all description and replaces it with God’s System: Deen-Islam, the dynamic order for social reform. Deen-Islam invigorates people to establish the system designed for all people. Moving into the system of Deen-Islam, as given in the Quran, and the Quran alone, replaces fear with security and turmoil with peace.