Uhhh, right...I'll get back to you on that!

>> Saturday, December 17, 2011

What should I say to someone who says religion is the cause of most of the problems in the world because of conflict between pple of different religions,hence they hate each other with a passion. This person believes that the world would be a better place if pple do away with religion? How should I answer them? Thank you and may ALLAH bless you for the help you give to pple. Jaza khum lah khairan. 

Assalamualaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakaatuh,

Hey there! :D

Guurrll, I totally get where you're coming from.  Let me imagine the scenario. You were probably having a discussion with somebody and the person threw this random thought at you (although they might have stated it with utter conviction) and you were just like, "Say what?", since you prolly never thought of what that person suggested as a solution to any problem, or how the world would be if we actually did do away with religion (all in the name of freedom, of course, ;)), and then you weren't able to explain yourself properly, or you tried your best, but you still weren't satisfied with your answer. You might have felt you could have answered in a better way, and if the person was non-Muslim, how you may have lost a da'wah opportunity, and now this is definitely pestering you. I feel for ya!

But it's okay. We're all here to learn from each other (me first!) :). 

And to start, let's define religion. A religion is a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects.

First off, I'll be honest, this person to whom you were speaking with doesn't really seem all that smart. They just came up with the first solution that came to their mind without thinking of the dire consequences it would have on humanity. Yes, this person caught you off-guard, but truly think about what he/she said.  

"Religion is the cause of most of the problems in the world because of conflict between people of different religions, hence they hate each other with a passion."

If they had thought the suggestion through, they would have realized that their idea is hypocritical and would not rid the world of its problems, but in fact, it would increase them. Think about it, if you had said, "So, hypothetically, say we did get rid of all religions in the world, what then? Would we stop fighting? We'd still have major differences that we'd have to abolish, say, for example, our races and culture. And secondly, ridding the world of religions is a religion in itself (just like atheism), so you'd still be following a religion, and what's worse, you'll be forcing people to follow those beliefs! What happened to the Freedom of Religion, yo?!"

Along with the fact that our liberty would beocme limited, we would be forced to go against our nature, our fitrah. That's oppression.

This would have made them realize that they had just stuck their own foot in their mouth. :P

And then you could cite countless examples throughout history, where culture and race were the causes of war and extreme mistreatment of fellow human beings around the world.

What happened to the Irish when they first came to the U.S.? What happened to the Japanese during WWII? Why were they put in internment camps? What happened to the Jews during the Holocaust? (Hitler was trying to create a "supreme" race, the blue-eyed, blonde-haired Aryans.) 

And wait a second! Was it a religion that invented the ATOMIC bomb? The United States (supposedly a secular country) is the only country that used nuclear weapons against a people, killing 30% of a population (Hiroshima).

The reality is that it's not religions that cause destruction.

Instead, most religions set certain guidelines and draw boundaries between what is considered moral or not. Without it, everyone is their own ruler, and people are free to construct their own boundaries...and THAT will lead to conflict because maybe what one person finds ethical, another will not. Or even time; it's relative. That can also change what a person perceives as right or wrong. Take the example of modestyWho gets to decides what exactly is modest? What a nudist colony would consider modest is drastically different than what people from an average town from the state of Montana would say. Who says one person is right and the other’s definition isn't? Who decides? Well then, who better to tell us than the Creator of both you and I? That is why Allah (God) has told us through the Qur’an and Sunnah (the ways of Muhammad [saw]). Here's your awesome da'wah opp! :D

Also, you could try explaining that just because someone claims to be following a certain religion and hurts others, it doesn't mean that the religion is to blame, rather the individual's twisted interpretation is at fault.

 Take this example- if a driver of a Mercedes crashed into a brick wall...would we blame the car? Or the driver? It's the same thing. We can't blame the religion, but the individual who 'twisted' its teachings.....

Finally, we humans will always disagree and have differences, no matter what. That's how Allah (swt) made us. And subhanAllah, these differences are what make us prosper and learn from each other.  Take a look at this ayah in Surah al-Hujurat.

"O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other (not that you may despise (each other). Verily the most honoured of you in the sight of God is (he who is) the most righteous of you. And God has full knowledge and is well acquainted (with all things)" 49:13.

And now, I'll tell you a couple more things. Arguments like these are never ending. Some people are relentless.You will keep going around in circles, going crazy out of your mind, and get really frustrated. In my humble opinion, it's just better to know the bare minimum to understand ourselves and explain, because in reality, we have so much more to learn, and so much more to act upon. These philosophical debates can get really confusing, and to be honest, are dangerous waters to tread upon. For the average person, like myself or you, we don't have the knowledge to engage in these debates, so I'd recommend just watching out for yourself. (I got this from my dad, who is a psychiatrist.)

At times like these, it's helpful to have a convo. about the subject with your friends, so you guys can help each other out.That's what I did for this question, 'cuz it wasn't easy to answer. :P But alhamdulillah, I'm really glad you asked.

And if all else fails, say,

"To you be your religion, and to me my religion (Islamic Monotheism)" 109:6.

And finally, make du'aa for yourself, for that person, for all the non-Muslims, for the Ummah, and for each and every person.

"Our Lord, do not make our hearts go astray after You have guided us, and grant us mercy from Yourself. You grant mercy without measure."


I hope this answer helped, inshaAllah! If you still need some more sisterly advice, don't hesitate to ask again and look at the comments. That's what we're here for. :D


P.S.: All this stuff about eliminating differences and striving for equality reminded me of "Harrison Bergeron," Fahrenheit 451, and 1984. Have you heard or read any of them? They're great reads! :D They should further clarify for you what will happen if that's the way we move forward just so you have something to think about. I'm going to post a link to "Harrison Bergeron" on the bottom. Happy reading! Let me know what you guys think of it!

3 wonderful sprinkely thoughts:

Fida Islaih December 18, 2011 at 6:28 AM  

I remember reading those books! It's interesting, but scary! But back to the post itself, I'm going through something somewhat similar... so thank you, sis! (:

Anonymous,  December 21, 2011 at 7:04 AM  

mashaALLAH.....good advice sis Apple Blossoms :).Btw,I would request you to change Prophet Muhammed(SAW) to the full form Prophet Muhammed(Salla Allahu 'alaihi wasallam).Here's a link in islamqa.com on this:

Anonymous,  December 27, 2011 at 4:48 AM  

I was reading The Hunger Games and I realized after I finished the series that it does not mention religion at all. I started to think about the world without any faith. It is pretty scary what we would be like if you really think about it.

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Asalamu aialkum!
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