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  • Maulana Wahiduddin Khan


The True Lesson of Religion

A RENOWNED Muslim leader delivered a speech in an international conference. In his own words, he was speaking on behalf of the 1.8 billion Muslims living in the world today. Here is an excerpt of his speech:

As they enter the 21st century, the Islamic peoples, who have rediscovered their pride in their religion, their great culture and their unique social and economic institutions, are confident that the advent of this century would mark the beginning of a new epoch, when their high ideals of peace, justice, equality of man, and their unique understanding of the universe, would once again enable them to make a worthy contribution to the betterment of mankind.

This example distinctly shows that more than anything else, Muslims seek to derive pride from their religion. It is this attitude that has nullified all their efforts in the present age. Tremendous efforts are under way in the name of Islam in the world today, but all these efforts emanate from a sense of pride rather than a sense of responsibility. The Quran mentions that only worldly activities can emanate from a feeling of pride (57: 20).

Activities which are focused on the life after death emanate from a feeling of servitude towards God (51: 56). Pride leads to egoism and selfishness, whereas a feeling of servitude results in humility and responsibility.

A truly Islamic movement is one which seeks to warn man of God’s punishment. But the aim of present-day Islamic movements is world supremacy. These movements have come into being as a result of a feeling of national superiority. Islam is something in which Muslims today take pride; it has ceased for them to be the true path to eternal success. This in itself is proof enough that these movements are nationalistic rather than truly Islamic. The Islam that Muslims are striving for today is a national version of Islam, not the true religion of God. For a feeling of pride is the foundation of national religion, whereas divine religion can only be based on a sense of responsibility.

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