Throughout history,Religion has been abused and misunderstood.
Some people exploited it as a pretext for persecution. Others use it for domination over the masses.
In the name of religion unjustifiable wars have been launched, Freedom has been suppressed and Science has been persecuted.
Could this be the purpose of religion?
Is that the right approach to religion?
The indisputable answer is no.
(We have already sent Our messengers with clear evidences and sent down with them the Scripture and the balance that the people may maintain [their affairs] in justice.) (Qur’an 57:25)
There are many religions in the world and each one claim to be the one and the only true religion which came from God for right guidance of man.
But these claims contradict each other and instead of joining mankind into one universal brotherhood under the one God, the situation makes any neutral observer confused and perhaps averse all kinds of religion.
It is true that genuine religion came from God for the right guidance of man and it is true that human nature and needs are the same at all times.
So it is concluded that there is only one true religion coming from the One and the Same God, to deal with the human problems of all times. This religion is Islam.
But it should be kept in mind that Islam wasn’t taught by the prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) alone.
Islam had been taught by all the prophets before Muhammad (pbuh) and the true followers of Ibrahim and Moses as well as those of Jesus and the rest were all called “Muslims”.
So Islam has been and will continue to be the true universal religion of God.
Islam came to acquaint man with God, with himself and with the rest of the universe.
“This day I have perfected for you your religion and completed My favor upon you and have approved for you Islam as religion. But whoever is forced by severe hunger with no inclination to sin – then indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.” ( Qur’an 5:3)
So Islam completed the previous messages of the previous prophets and didn’t deny them.
prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said (The similitude of mine and that of the Apostles before me is that of a person who built a house quite imposing and beautiful and he made it complete but for one brick in one of its corners. People began to walk round it, and the building pleased them and they would say: But for this brick your building would have been perfect.)(1)
When the purpose of true religion is carefully examined, it will be found that religion satisfies the spiritual and material needs of man.
It teaches him about the secrets of life and the nature of man and how to deal with them.
It teaches him about good and evil. It purifies the soul from evil, clears the mind from doubts and strengthens the character.
It educates mankind and trains him in hope, patience, truthfulness, honesty and courage.
It insures man against fears and spiritual losses, and assures him of God’s aid.
It provides man with peace and security and makes his life meaningful.
All this can be achieved only when man faithfully observes the spiritual duties and physical regulations introduced by religion.
To conclude, That’s what true religion can do for humanity, and that is the concept of religion in Islam.
Any religion which fails to bear these fruits isn’t Islam or rather isn’t a religion at all, and any man who fails to draw these benefits from religion isn’t religious.
It is absolutely to the point when God says in the Holy Qur’an(2):
” Indeed, the religion in the sight of Allah is Islam. And those who were given the Scripture did not differ except after knowledge had come to them – out of jealous animosity between themselves. And whoever disbelieves in the verses of Allah , then indeed, Allah is swift in [taking] account.” Quran.com/3/19
(1) Sahih Muslim 5673
(2) Islam in focus