Written by: Abdulmajeed Umar
Politics has become the order of the day, it has shaped the religion and manipulated the minds of men created for them mindset in the form religion.
Religion that supposed to strengthen humanity and take it to higher level of morality and ethics has become a devilish instrument in the hand of some religionists who utilize religion to devour one another to please their God father.
Religion's intolerance has denied human being peace and has turned the world to hell and life to prison.
In the famous later of Imam Ali to Malik al-Ashtar when he made him the governor of Egypt, he advised him to relate with people either as brethren or as fellow human being, regardless of their faith. Then, Egypt had fell into the hands of politicians that had manipulated people and presented a different type of Islam to them. They twisted religion to serve their political ambition, making people to see Islam as a religion of war, a religion of compulsion and a religion that only consider those that submit to it as humans and others as nothing who are not deserve not to live. During that time people of other religions where oppressed and forcefully made to choose between being Muslims or live as slaves- all this where against the ethics and teachings of Islam itself. So immediately Imam Ali came to power, he saw it necessary to return Islam to it original form, so he returned to Malik al-Ashtar and advised him on how to bring back interfaith relations. Excerpt from the letter is as follow:
Be it known to you, O, Malik, that I am sending you as Governor to a country which in the past has experienced both just and unjust rulers. Men will scrutinize your actions with a searching eye, even as you used to scrutinize the actions of those before you, and speak of you even as you did speak of them.
The fact is that the public speak well of only those who do good. It is they who furnish the proof of your actions. Hence the richest treasure that you may covet would be the treasure of good deeds. Keep your desires under control and deny yourself that which you have been prohibited from, for, by such abstinence alone, you will be able to distinguish between what is good to them and what is not.
Develop in your heart the feeling of love for your people and let it be the source of kindliness and blessing to them. Do not behave with them like a barbarian, and do not appropriate to yourself that which belongs to them. Remember that the citizens of the state are of two categories. They are either your brethren in religion or your brethren in kind. They are subject to infirmities and liable to commit mistakes.
Some indeed do commit mistakes. But forgive them even as you would like God to forgive you. Bear in mind that you are placed over them, even as I am placed over you. And then there is God even above him who has given you the position of a Governor in order that you may look after those under you and to be sufficient unto them. And you will be judged by what you do for them.
In the above letter, Imam Ali urged Malik al-Ashtar to respect the common bond between humans which is humanity and made him to understand that religion comes to serve humanity and not to destroy it.
God is wise that sometime we tend to call him wisdom as our intelligence cannot describe His wisdom, and it contravenes wisdom to set people against one another when the power to peaceful make them to obey is there. If God had wanted the world to come under one faith, he wouldn't need to make the other fight the others to make them come together in one faith, he would have simply made natural that everyone follows one faith just as He made it natural that when we are hungry we must eat food. How then can we relate the wisdom of God with the actions of some human beings?
Every religion beliefs that God is merciful and kind but still some religious folks still preach hatred, instigate war. The question is, what has war and hatred got to do with kindness and mercy? These are obvious two compelling phenomenon. Is either mercy or hatred, kindness or war. Mercy and kindness signify the true religion while hatred and war represent bad politics. So is it not obvious now that any call against interfaith relationship is the call of corrupt politicians that are clothed in the attire of religion?
Here is the Quran warning the Muslims against hostility against other faith:
"There is no compulsion in religion; truly the right way has become clearly distinct from error; therefore, whoever disbelieves in the Shaitan and believes in Allah he indeed has laid hold on the firmest handle, which shall not break off, and Allah is Hearing, Knowing."
In the above Quranic verse, God declared that there is no compulsion in religion and that the right is clearly distinct from error and each individual is free to decide his faith.
In a different verse from the Quran we see the following verse:
"And say: The truth is from your Lord, so let him who please believe, and let him who please disbelieve;"
The above verse of the Quran clearly stated the responsibility of believers which is preaching the God’s message. But judgment is in the hand of Almighty God not human being.
In another verse of the holy Qur’an, Allah says:
"Therefore do remind, for you are only a reminder.
You are not a watcher over them;
But whoever turns back and disbelieves,
Allah will chastise him with the greatest chastisement.
Surely to Us is their turning back,
Then surely upon Us is the taking of their account."
This same way we read about Jesus preaching, against intolerance and calling towards coexistence.
The following quotations define how religion should be:
1: " Christian, Jew,
Muslim, shaman, Zoroastrian, stone, ground, mountain, river, each has a secret
way of being with the mystery, unique and not to be judged"
2: "if you can, help
others; if you cannot do that, at least do not harm them"
- Dalai Lama
3: "Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive"
- Dalai Lama
This is how we all believe that religion should be but it is just unfortunate that some corrupt ones have manipulated the minds of men that religion is now do or die affair.
God would create the world and made it a battle field, God wouldn't create the beautiful sky above and the beautiful earth beneath and dwelt men in the world to kill and destroy.
If only we can identify our common ground which is humanity. If only we can live in this world as humans, then religion would have made life more beautiful.