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CHAPTER 3: Can We Progress Without Religious Laws?

Clearly, we cannot progress as spiritual beings without religious laws.  Proponents of non-religious systems fail to realize that the societal progress attributed to secular legislation is simply the result of regulations developed over time through human trial-and-error; that is, using God-given intelligence without God-consciousness.

But we have a higher potential and God expects us to reach it by adhering to religion.  Secular systems have only given us numerous wars and millions of victims.  Unbelievers do not realize that the perfect versions of humanity’s most successful laws do exist in religious teachings. Our All-Merciful God has embedded in our natural instincts the desire to develop just and righteous systems, but we need divine help to perfect them. On the other hand, humans also possess a natural instinct to dominate others and behave selfishly in certain circumstances. Therefore, religious laws are important to balance our negative tendencies as well as release our latent abilities. We need them for the following reasons:

1.   To optimize our natural abilities as law-makers.

2.   To avoid disputes about what is lawful and unlawful.

3.   To control our selfish inclination to dominate others.

4.   To spare us the hazards resulting from human trial-and-error.

5.   To uphold the value of life by giving hope to the oppressed and deterring aggressors.

6.   To give meaning to existence. Without religion, death is seen as the final end and people lose their motivation to excel in ways that will benefit society beyond their physical lifetimes.

7.   To strengthen our faith by encouraging us to do well and anticipate greater rewards in proportion to our good deeds.

8.   To motivate us in adhering to what is good. Making laws is one thing, but following them is another. The principle of accountability for our actions (i.e. knowing that reward or punishment will be meted out for our good or bad deeds) encourages adherence to religious laws.  Some Islamic laws may seem overly restrictive, but in reality they are not.  For example, lowering the gaze and not looking at others with apparent sexual interest prevents unnecessary frustration as well as deterring others from doing the same to one’s wife, husband, sister, brother, etc. In respecting another’s honor, we respect our own. By encouraging mutual responsibility, Islamic laws help to regulate society and avoid unnecessary confrontation.

9.   To prevent our natural bias toward self-absorption. Since our Lord sets the standards, we can trust that religious laws are fair and reasonable; collectively, they serve as a manual for human manners. Religion remedies our human weaknesses, helps strengthen our potential, and gives us the resources to establish strong and healthy human societies.

10.   Human-made laws tend to favor certain political or social groups over others, which results in division among communities and nations. God’s laws are a unifying force for all humanity.

 

What Religion Should a Person Follow?

Most people seek help from the best available physician when they are ill. And some will also work mindfully with their medical practitioners to verify if the prescribed medicine is appropriate. Similarly, if you get lost on the way to a destination, the natural recourse is to find a good map to put you back on track; and you want to ensure that the map you have is accurate. The same holds true for religion. Any faith should meet the following criteria for its followers:

1.   It should include every believer, regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, ability, or social standing. Favoring particular groups defeats the entire purpose of religion, for it falsely suggests that God prefers some people over others.  

2.   The supremacy of God must be unquestioned. The unique being of God is unlike all others in power, essence and attributes; any description is beyond our human ability. True religion acknowledges God’s supremacy as the sole source of absolute justice, mercy and compassion.

3.   Authentic religion must offer its followers a clear mandate in the form of practical rules that improve the quality of this life, as well as preparing us fully to be accountable to God in the hereafter.

4.   Religion must affirm that our Supreme Lord knows what is best for us in this life and can reward or punish us through holding us accountable for our deeds.

5.  A true religion should be revealed and taught by a divinely inspired Prophet or Messenger whose earthly reputation is one of unshakable faithfulness and trustworthiness.

6.   The message of a true religion should contain within its substance and form the proof that it is of divine origin. Its content must remain true to its revealed nature, even when interpreted and taught in other languages.

7.   The core precepts and teachings of a true religion must remain valid, relevant, and consistent over time.

 

 

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Al-Masjid Al-Haram,The Sacred Mosque or The Grand Mosque is in the city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia. It is the largest mosque in the world and surrounds one of Islam's holiest places, the Kaaba.Muslims face in the direction of the Kaaba while performing obligatory daily prayers. One of the Five Pillars of Islam requires every Muslim to perform the Hajj pilgrimage at least once in his or her lifetime if able to do so, including circumambulation of the Kaaba.

The current structure can accommodate up to two million worshippers during the Hajj period, one of the largest annual gatherings of people in the world. Unlike many other mosques which are segregated, men and women can worship at Al-Masjid Al-Haram together.

 

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