The purpose of religion according to Islam is to purify our souls and lead our hearts to eternal salvation. The aim of religion is to cultivate īmān , that is, a deep relationship of trust with God.
Bismillāhir Rahmānir Rahīm, As-salāmu ʿAlaykum wa rahmatullāhi wa barakātuh. Peace be upon you brothers and sisters.
Welcome back to the Muslim Converts Channel!
A chief idea in the modern secular world is that religion is pointless. One of the definitions of a secular society that the Canadian social philosopher Charles Taylor gives us is a world where an encounter with God is no longer necessary. It is a way of social organization, thinking and approaching the world in where God is absent, at least in so far as the subject’s mind is concerned.
If God is not necessary in our lives, then by default neither is religion.
But this idea plays into the faulty assumption that without religion, people somehow become free to think and chose what is right.
As cultural anthropologists teach us, this is a total myth. If we don’t follow, say Christianity, Judaism or Islam, we’ll end up following another kind of social dogma and doctrine that will guide our actions, the way we think and the kind of decisions we make. This can be nationalism, consumerism, feminism, atheism and much much more.
We cannot live in this world without having some set of assumptions and beliefs that guide our choices and actions. Often times, we aren’t even aware of these sets assumptions that mediate so much of what we do.
The word religion in Arabic is deen (dīn), which is originally taken from the old Persian word “dā’ina” meaning “way of life.” In this sense, everyone has a way of life, a set of unquestioned or sacred principles that guide their particular truths in this world.
Islam is one of these “deens” in the world, a program for life that is aimed at cultivating īmān in us; in other words, it is aimed at creating a deep seated relationship between us and God.
In this lesson, we’re going to look at why Islam is the best of these choices and thereby explain why we all need a divinely revealed religion to follow.
BODY OF TEXT
Say: O unbelievers! I do not serve that which you serve, Nor do you serve Him Whom I serve: Nor am I going to serve that which you serve, Nor are you going to serve Him Whom I serve: You shall have your religion and I shall have my religion. (Chapter 109, verses 1 to 6 of the Holy Qur’an)
The above verse tells us something interesting. No one in this world is without a religion. The word for religion in Arabic is “deen” which comes from the old Persian word dā’ina, that is, “a way of life.”
So the last part of the verse can very well be read as “you shall have our way of life and I shall have my way of life.”
We are all governed by set assumptions about the world and truth. These assumptions guide our thoughts and our actions. We are sometimes aware of these guiding principles and at other times we are not.
The way we view the world and the way we lead our lives are very important. They shape and form our souls. If we live a good life, our souls will be good accordingly, if we live a bad life, our souls will be dark.
The point of a divinely revealed religion, and in our case, Islam, is to save us from choosing the wrong path and thereby saving our heats from spiritual corruption. The point of Islam is to create a grounds through which our īmān can be nurtured. Īmān is often translated as faith, but we don’t think that this definition does justice to the word.
Īmān is a deeply spiritual relationship of trust and intimacy that we develop with God. In this relationship, we not only trust that everything Allah says is true, but that He is our absolute nurturer and that He alone is the one we can rely on.
Other paths in this life outside of divinely revealed religions can bring us happiness in this world. But happiness does not equate with the purification of the heart. Only the straight path unto God and the proper development of īmān can purify our hearts and souls.
It is through this purification of the heart from spiritual diseases like forgetting God, pride, arrogance, hatred etc. that salvation on the Day of Judgment happens. A corrupt and dark soul on the Day of Judgment, namely one that is distant from God, will not fare well.
So the point of religion is to give us a platform to develop īmān and purify our hearts. It is there to give us a program through which we can be saved on the Day of Judgment.
As such, just because religion or Islam doesn’t always serve our worldly or material goals in life doesn’t mean that we don’t need it. When you consider the question of eternity, religion and the salvation of your soul, it becomes the most important thing you will ever have.
A good analogy to think of is a sickness. Imagine a doctor comes and wants to give you medicine to save your life from a deadly disease, but you completely ignore it because having to go to the hospital inconveniences you too much so you just forget it and try to live your life.
But in the end, you end up getting sicker and dying. That’s how people unfortunately treat religion. The Prophet Muhammad (s) and other Prophets before him were sent to cure our hearts of a spiritual disease; the disease of forgetting God.
But what we do instead is think that because it doesn’t serve our short term pleasures and goals, it is somehow useless.
Think about it, what is more important, your temporary life in this world or your eternal life in the next? Any sane person will choose the latter!
Before we let you go though, there is one final point that we want to talk about. Why is it that religion nowadays is failing? There are obviously plenty of reasons; but here we will mention one important one.
The purpose of divinely revealed religions is to cure the sickness of our souls and lead our hearts to salvation. Any rational person will choose his or her eternity over the temporality of this world. But for those who believe, why isn’t this ringing any bells? Well, perhaps one reason is that we live in an age of heedlessness.
If you notice people, they act the same way with their bodies. How many people are heedless of the way they eat and lead their lives despite knowing that it will bring about sickness? The key thing is heedlessness, people think that it will never happen to them and that it only happens to others.
I’m sure you can think of other reasons, so we leave that up to you for now. If you wish to discuss this matter further, please join the social forum section of our site.
Until Next Time, Thank you for watching. As-salāmu ʿAlaykum wa rahmatullāhi wa barakātuh
Old Persian word for religion, meaning way of life
faith and trusting relationship with God
What is the purpose of religion?
It is to purify our hearts and put us on the straight path to eternal salvation in God.
What is īmān?
It is a deep relationship of trust with God
What does “deen” mean in Arabic?
It comes from the old Persian word dā’ina, meaning “way of life”
What is the purification of the heart?
It is the purification of the heart from spiritual diseases such as pride, arrogance, anger, hatred etc.
What is the point of Islam?
To create a system and grounds whereby īmān can grow.
why humans need religion
straight path unto God