Why do we need a Religion?
By Yahya Ibrahim
Lecture delivered at UWA, Western Australia on 14 September 2002
The question posed in todayâ€™s lecture is "Why do we need a religion?" I am not going to answer this particular question directly. In fact, I view the "religion" itself as being offensive. It is a misrepresentation of the word "deen", which means a complete, structured, divinely ordained way of life. Therefore the topic today is "Why are we in need of a correct way of life?" We have been placed on this earth for a special purpose, and one day we will be questioned regarding the fulfillment of that purpose, and whether we have fulfilled our obligations to God, ...view middle of the document...
The Prophet (sala Allahu â€˜Alihi wa Salaam - Peace be upon him) gave the example of an individual who is in the middle of the desert, and his camel runs away, taking with it all his provisions. He will raise his hands in supplication and will say, "O Allah, feed me", but his food that he had was from haram or unlawful sources, and his clothing was from haram or unlawful sources. The Prophet (sala Allahu â€˜Alihi wa Salaam - Peace be upon him) asked, how can this man expect that Allah will accept his supplication and prayers? This shows the importance in Islam of fulfilling our physical needs in the correct manner. As Muslims we do not simply seek out sustenance and nourishment. Rather we seek out lawful means to earn the wealth with which we purchase our foods. A true Muslim would prefer to forgo special foods purchase from illicit sources and eat in its place bread and water. In Islam, the difference between halal (lawful things) and haram (unlawful things) is the articulation of a word and the righteous intention that accompanies it. A good example is marriage. The difference between halal and haram personal relations between a man and a woman is that the bride and the groom saying "I accept" â€“ that utterance governs the entire future of those two people. In Islam, marriage is essential, and having relations outside of marriage is haram â€“ it is a social vice that is deemed worthy of punishment. Therefore we see that the discharge of onesâ€™ physical needs â€“ food, water, and lusts â€“ are governed by the Laws of Allah.
As such, we begin to now see that Islam means to submit to Allah to attain peace with Allah. The scholars of Islam have stated that the essence of Islam is captured in the Qurâ€™an. The essence of the Qurâ€™an in turn is encompassed in the opening chapter of the Qurâ€™an wherein Allah states: With the Name of AllÃ¢h, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful. All the praises and thanks be to AllÃ¢h, the Lord of the 'AlamÃ®n (all that exists). The Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful. The Only Owner (and the Only Ruling Judge) of the Day of Recompense (i.e. the Day of Resurrection). You (Alone) we worship, and You (Alone) we ask for help (for each and everything). Guide us to the Straight Way The Way of those on whom You have bestowed Your Grace, not (the way) of those who earned Your Anger, nor of those who went astray. And the essence of the opening chapter of the Qurâ€™an is contained in one verse of the opening chapter: Iyyaaka naâ€™budu wa iyyaaka nastaâ€™een â€“ You (Alone) we worship, and You (Alone) we ask for help (for each and everything). Thus, the essence of Islam to is to submit only to Allah. It is also important to note that Islam contains a martial law that dictate the mannerisms of warfare â€“ laws that are so strict that if a Muslim breaks them against a non-Muslim, the non-Muslim is viewed as being oppressed, and the Muslim is the oppressor. In Islam we hold firmly that if in such a situation the Muslim...