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Conclusion:
What Should Be the Attitude of Muslims Towards the Far Eastern Religions?

Throughout this book we have examined superstitious Far Eastern religions from various perspectives and demonstrated that expecting salvation from idols as they suggest, or seeking to solve problems through heretical rituals is a grave error with examples from the Qur’an. That being said, there is an important fact that needs to be pointed out alongside with the criticisms we have offered; it is stated in the Qur’an that “compulsion is not acceptable in religion” (Surat al-Baqara, 256) and that everyone has freedom of choice. According to Islam, every individual is free to choose his religion and belief. No doubt, followers of these superstitious religions have the right to believe as they choose, and Islamic societies must respect this right.

However, Islam requires of all Muslims that they point out their errors to people who are on the wrong path and invite them to righteousness. Superstitious Eastern religions have been criticized in this book in light of this religious obligation, and the followers of these superstitious religions have been invited sincerely to question their perverse beliefs and to reflect on “what the truth” actually is. Our purpose is to approach such people amicably, to show them the heretical aspects of their religions, and thus enable them to see the reality of the true religion called Islam and, Allah willing, to help them find salvation.

“Upholding The Good And Preventing Evil” Is A Duty On All Muslims

Muslims learn true good and evil from the Qur’an revealed by Allah as a book that “separates good from evil”. The Qur’an explains by examples everyone can understand the concepts of right and wrong, good and evil. A Muslim always tries his best to apply the morality of the Qur’an in all spheres of his life. He also has another important responsibility: to invite people to find truth, to refrain from evil and to live by the morality of the Qur’an. For this reason, Muslims explain to others the differences between good and evil throughout their lives. Allah reveals this responsibility with the following verse:

Let there be a community among you who call to the good, and enjoin the right, and forbid the wrong. They are the ones who have success. (Surah al ‘Imran: 104)

Genuine Muslims are aware of the importance of this duty revealed by the verse: “Let there be a community among you who call to the good, and enjoin the right, and forbid the wrong. They are the ones who have success.” (Surah Al ‘Imran: 104), which is why they invite everyone in their environment, their relatives, families and anyone they can reach, to believe in Allah, to fear and respect Him and to abide by the good morality he prescribes. Allah’s commandment of upholding the good and preventing evil is the reason for the reminders made to the millions of people who know only the Far Eastern religions or who are People of the Book who converted to them.

Ayetler

So remind them! You are only a reminder. You are not in control of them. But as for anyone who turns away and is unbeliever, Allah will punish him with the Greatest Punishment. Certainly it is to Us they will return. Then their Reckoning is Our concern. (Surat al-Ghashiyya: 21-26)

The Qur’an also reports that people who abide by Allah’s following commandment are the benefactors of humanity:

You are the best nation ever to be produced before mankind. You enjoin the right, forbid the wrong and have faith in Allah. If the People of the Book were to have faith, it would be better for them. Some of them are believers but most of them are deviators. (Surah Al ‘Imran: 110)

The following verses reveal the nature of this call:

Call to the way of your Lord with wisdom and fair admonition, and argue with them in the kindest way. Your Lord knows best who is misguided from His way. And He knows best who are guided. (Surat an-Nahl: 125)

Ayetler

There is no compulsion where the religion is concerned. Right guidance has become clearly distinct from error... (Surat al-Baqara: 256)

A Muslim is compelled to answer this call with compassion, goodwill and friendliness. “Say to My servants that they should only say the best.” (Surat al-Isra: 53) Allah also reveals that our Prophet’s (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) character was friendly, gentle and well-meaning and of impeccable morality, leading by example. Allah reveals his pleasant manner as follows:

It is a mercy from Allah that you were gentle with them. If you had been rough or hard of heart, they would have scattered from around you. So pardon them and ask forgiveness for them, and consult with them about the matter. Then when you have reached a firm decision, put your trust in Allah. Allah loves those who put their trust in Him. (Surah Al ‘Imran: 159)

Ayetler

Make allowances for people, command what is right, and turn away from the ignorant. (Surat al-A‘raf: 199)

It is revealed in the verses that our Prophet’s (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) pleasant moral values had a highly positive influence on people that made them more closely attached to Him. Allah’s messengers treated people as Allah directed them, and they never compromised on virtue. For instance, Allah said to the Prophet Moses (pbuh) the following when he was on his way to meet the most tyrannical leader among his contemporaries:

Go, you and your brother, with My Signs and do not slacken in remembering Me. Go to Pharaoh; he has overstepped the bounds. But speak to him with gentle words so that hopefully he will pay heed or show some fear. (Surah Ta Ha: 42-44)

The above verses contain important reminders to believers. A Muslim must never use unkind words when inviting people to believe in Allah and to live by the morality of the Qur’an. He must be agreeable and favor love and affection. Such is the morality revealed in the Qur’an.

Man Is Free To Choose His Religion

Allah states in the Qur’an that compulsion is forbidden in religion. This is as valid today as it was back at the time when the Qur’an was first revealed and it is one of the core principles of Islam. Verses are clear on this.

There is no compulsion where the religion is concerned. Right guidance has become clearly distinct from error. Anyone who rejects false gods and has faith in Allah has grasped the Firmest Handhold, which will never give way. Allah is All-Hearing, All-Knowing. (Surat al-Baqara: 256)

According to Islamic morality, no one can force, coerce or threaten another in terms of faith. A Muslim’s duty is to explain to people the beauty of Islam’s morality, Allah’s existence that the Qur’an is His Divine revelation, that the Prophet Muhammad (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) was His messenger, and that Judgment Day and the hereafter exist. His responsibility ends with the call to religion and Allah reveals that our Prophet’s (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) duty was to convey the message:

But if they turn away, We have not sent you to be their guardian. You are only responsible for transmission. When We let a man taste mercy from Us he exults in it. But if something bad strikes him for what he has done he is ungrateful. (Surat ash-Shura: 48)

Call to the way of your Lord with wisdom and fair admonition, and argue with them in the kindest way. Your Lord knows best who is misguided from His way. And He knows best who are guided. (Surat an-Nahl: 125)

In another verse we are told: Say: “It is the truth from your Lord; so let whoever wishes have faith and whoever wishes be unbeliever.” (Surat al-Kahf: 29)

When the Islamic faith, which is sent forth by Allah as a guide to wisdom, is explained to someone, he can choose to believe in it or not without force or pressure. Man is free to choose between right and wrong. If he chooses the wrong, he will receive its return. In many verses Allah reveals orders and reminders on this subject:

If your Lord had willed, all the people on the earth would have believed. Do you think you can force people to be believers? (Surah Yunus: 99)

For instance, whereas one person may believe straightaway on hearing Islam explained to him by a Muslim, another may well reject the call and respond aggressively. Whilst one chooses to use his conscience and decides to lead a life pleasing to Allah, the other can be a denier who reacts badly to such an invitation. However this denial should not cause hopelessness or sorrow in the person calling to faith. Allah says the following in the Surah Yusuf:

But most people, for all your eagerness, are not believers. You do not ask them for any wage for it. It is only a reminder to all beings. (Surah Yusuf: 103-104)

Ayetler

You are the best nation ever to be produced before mankind. You enjoin the right, forbid the wrong and believe in Allah… (Surah Al ‘Imran: 110)

The important thing to bear in mind here is that the person who invites others to follow the guidance of the Qur’an must remain true to Allah’s recommended morality, does not compromise on this and has faith in Allah, regardless of the reaction he gets. Allah has given man reason and a conscience. He has shown the true path His messengers and the Divine message revealed to them. Everyone is ultimately responsible for their own decisions. True Islamic morality can only be practiced by sincere committal, genuine submission to Allah, and following at all times the voice of conscience. Forcing someone to worship is wholly incompatible with Islamic morality, because what matters is that a person wholeheartedly submits to Allah and genuinely believes in Him. If a system were to force people into a religion and compel them to worship, people would only appear to be religious because of their fear of the system. From a religious perspective only religiosity lived for Allah and based on free and conscious choice is acceptable. Allah says the following to our Prophet in the Surat al-Ghashiyya:

So remind them! You are only a reminder. You are not in control of them. But as for anyone who turns away and is unbeliever. Allah will punish him with the Greatest Punishment. Certainly it is to Us they will return. Then their Reckoning is Our concern. (Surat al-Ghashiyya: 21-26)

The Islamic religion leaves people free to choose their faith and commands them to respect other people’s religious choice. Even if someone chose to believe in a religion described as heretical in the Qur’an, he has the right to a peaceful and safe life on Islamic soil where he can freely practice his belief. Allah commanded the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) as follows:

“I do not worship what you worship and you do not worship what I worship. Nor will I worship what you worship nor will you worship what I worship. You have your religion and I have my religion.” (Surat al-Kafirun: 2-6)

If we examine Islamic history we see a social model in which everyone freely practiced their religion. The Qur’an speaks of the monasteries, churches and synagogues of the People of the Book as places of worship protected by Allah:

… If Allah had not driven some people back by means of others, monasteries, churches, synagogues and mosques, where Allah’s name is mentioned much, would have been pulled down and destroyed. Allah will certainly help those who help Him – Allah is All-Strong, Almighty, (Surat al-Hajj: 40)

Our Prophet’s (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) life is full of examples for us to go by. Our Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) even opened up his own place of worship for the Christians’ use who visited to speak with him.167 This affectionate attitude continued during the reign of successive Caliphs. When Damascus was sacked, a church converted into a mosque was divided into two sections, one for Muslim worship, and the other for Christian.168 As we have seen in the previous chapters of the book, Muslim nations ruled Indian lands and delivered justice, peace, security and prosperity. The countless historic buildings, mosques and palaces across India bear testimony to the glory of Islamic civilization.

Conclusion

viewsThroughout this book we have abided by Allah’s commandment revealed in the Qur’an to explain faith and reminded followers of superstitious Far Eastern religions to “refrain from evil” and the hazardous end to which their religion might lead them. We have also explained Allah’s verses and Islamic morality for the benefit of people. All followers of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Shamanism, Confucianism, Taoism, Shintoism, Sikhism and other practitioners of superstitious Far Eastern religions are invited to abandon their erroneous beliefs, to believe in the one and only Allah and to submit to the will of our Almighty Lord.

They should reflect with common sense on this rewarding invitation, and reevaluate sincerely their habitual pagan traditions and rituals free from prejudice. If they follow the voice of their conscience and reflect on the reminders noted in this book, no doubt they too will unite under the one truth which is “La Ilaha Illa Allah” (There is no god but Allah). All people who choose to abandon their idols and false gods acquired besides Allah and decide to worship only Him, feeling remorse for the evils they have committed before, should act on their decision without losing any more time. They must leave all their false beliefs and ways of life behind and surrender to Allah from the bottom of their hearts. If they do, they “will find Allah most certainly forgiving and compassionate” (Surat an-Nisa’: 110) and they will find contentment and happiness. The actions of the Israelites under similar circumstances provide a good example for them. The Prophet Moses (pbuh) reminded them of their error, and called them to repent and turn to Allah. Allah reveals in the Surat al-Baqara that He forgave them:

And when Moses said to his people, “My people, You wronged yourselves by taking the Calf (for worship) so turn towards your Maker and kill yourselves. That is the best thing for you in your Maker’s Sight.” And He turned towards you. He is the Ever-Returning, the Most Merciful. (Surat al-Baqara: 54)

FOOTNOTES

167 Ali Bulaç, Çagdas Kavramlar Ve Düzenler, (Contemporary Concepts And Orders), Iz Publishing, 16nd Edition, İstanbul, 1998, P. 241

168 Ibid.

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