RELIGION FOR PEOPLE
I had a friend who once narrated numerous stories to me. Story of the battle at Karbala, story behind the relevance of Mecca, story of Prophet Mohammed and the story of Islam. The most beautiful quotient of our conversation was that my friend was able to answer each of my queries and give reason to every Islamic activity without a second’s pause. The source of his knowledge or as some may say ‘divine knowledge’ was the ‘Holy Quran’. His holy logics for the most peculiar traditions, conventions and practices seemed reasonable enough to be believed and followed. He justified praying five times a day, he justified eating beef and not pork, he justified fasting during Ramadan he justified polygamy and he even proved that concepts of rebirths and of afterlife are not mere concepts but realities. His religious sermon and especially his teaching that ‘none is above god and only by following the holy Quran can we be able to attain heaven’ left me convoluted, momentarily it became hard to decide whose faith was right, mine or his?
The airstrikes have failed, the intelligence agencies have produced futile predictions and the ISIS still marches ahead conquering territories and killing people all across the globe. It has been a year long story, terrorism has reformed and reshaped itself today it has a territory and also followers. The developed countries with all their sophisticated weaponry have so far failed to eliminate or to even restrain the group.
The ISIS may not be armed with modern weapons or with the nuclear bomb but the reason behind their prolonged existence and unceasing influence is that the genesis of the group lies in none but the ‘Holy Quran’. The benefits of using the ‘Holy Quran’ are two folds,
a) The group uses the Quran like my old friend to justify each and every insane activity even the beheadings, the bombings, the shootouts and sadly even rapes. The Quran not only helps them justify their acts but also win them the support of the radical Muslims across the globe.
b) The Quran connects the group to each and every Muslim in the world. Though terrorism has no religion but when a terrorist group starts endorsing a religious text its but stupid to delink that religion and terrorism.
The concern which still prevails is, how can the ISIS be stopped? ISIS survives on the fact that the people have, ever since the dawn of religion or more accurately religions, been overindulged and over protective of their religion. People belonging to a religion have started considering themselves as the ‘guardians of that religion’ the modern religious notion which the ISIS exploits is ‘People for Religion’ while the righteous notion is ‘Religion for People’ we and the people around us have forgotten that the religion which they consider divine and supreme is divine and supreme enough to protect itself and that it does not call for moves on our part for its preservation, extension and protection.
The group gains dominance today because like the majority of the Muslims across the globe they too subscribe to holy texts. And this majority forms the second largest portion of human population on this globe. The attempt here is not degrade any religious text but to simply point out that these text be it the ‘Holy Quran’ or the ‘Bhagwat Gita’ cannot be and should not be referred to for our every day action or inaction for these text, no matter how holy, like every other piece of writing are open to numerous interpretations and none can be tagged wrong because they originate from the same source. Thus as long as we continue subscribing to the text of these religious books we will be open to exploitation at the hands of radicals semblable to the ISIS.
Over the years, the nations of the world may manage to eliminate the Islamic state Iraq and Syria but the victory shall only be momentary for the Islamic states exist in pockets all across the globe. Every theocratic country with a Muslim majority is an Islamic state. They too subscribe to the same source for power like the ISIS does; the only difference is that they are yet not armed, organized or radical enough to openly behead individuals. Guns and airstrikes is not the only way out of the problem, what is needed is ‘secularization, modernization and liberalization of Islam’
The attempt of this piece is not to attack any religion or any religious writing it is but to look into the roots of the problem at hand and how to uproot the same. A tree chopped from the bark grows back over the years but an uprooted tree dies. The piece aims to provide a permanent solution to the problem and should not be considered degrading or defamatory.