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Religion according to Allah, not to People

HARUN YAHYA


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Allah has revealed in detail the kind of moral values people should have and the kind of lives they should lead. True moral values dictate that one lives scrupulously by Allah’s commandments.

Some people, however, avoid living by these moral values. They are strongly unwilling to submit fully to His stipulations. But seek to establish a model that will satisfy their own desires. To that end, they come up with various rules and principles of their own, and imagine that religion should also be compatible with these principles. They are willing to live by religious moral values only as far as these are compatible with their own standards and logic. Yet this is a grave error and deception, because true religious moral values are those revealed by Allah, not as interpreted and lived by human beings.

In the Qur’an, Allah tells us of the errors committed by those who act in accordance with their own twisted logic and who fail to live according to the manner revealed by Him:

What is the matter with you? On what basis do you judge? Or do you have a Book which you study, so that you may have anything in it you choose? Or do you have oaths which bind Us, extending to the Day of Resurrection, that you will have whatever you decide? Ask them which of them stands as guarantor for that! (Surat al-Qalam: 36-40)

The False Conjecture of Those Who Act in Accord with What Others Decide

Living by what other people’s opinions instead of by what Allah has revealed causes such people to draw exceedingly distorted and twisted conclusions. For example, the hypocrites living in the time of our Prophet (saas) sought to create a climate of strife with their inferences, and aimed to turn believers away from the true path. Allah has described the ugly characteristics of hypocrites and idolaters:

And so that He might punish the men and women of the hypocrites and the men and women of the idolaters—those who think bad thoughts about Allah. They will suffer an evil turn of fate. Allah is angry with them, and has cursed them and prepared Hell for them. What an evil destination! (Surat at-Fath: 6)

As this verse reveals, these misconceptions actually rebounded on the heads of those concerned, and by Allah’s leave, our Prophet (saas) and his companions always emerged victorious. The verse “Do they then seek the judgment of the Time of Ignorance? . . .” (Surat al-Ma’ida: 50) tells us that one factor that leads the people in question to such a fate was that they did not want to act in the way that Allah instructed them but rather, according to the distorted logic they acquired during the Time of Ignorance. The fact is, however, that Allah has told us: “Who could be better at giving judgment than Allah for people with certainty?” (Surat al-Ma’ida: 50)

Those Who Take Their Own Whims and Desires as Their gods

One of the main barriers that keeps people from living by the moral values revealed by Allah is that they think selfishly, rather than with their intelligence and conscience. To put that another way, they act according to their whims and desires. This causes them to follow falsehood rather than the truth, as well as to inflict serious spiritual damage on themselves and those around them. In the Qur’an Allah has revealed that selves inevitably leads people to evil:

“I do not say my self was free from blame. The self indeed commands to evil acts-except for those my Lord has mercy on. My Lord, He is Forgiving, Merciful.” (Surah Yusuf: 53)

Another verse tells us that following one’s own bent will lead to the most terrible troubles:

If the truth were to follow their whims and desires, the heavens and the Earth and everyone in them would have been brought to ruin. No indeed! We have given them their Reminder, but they have turned away from it. (Surat al-Muminun: 71)

The religion sent down by Allah is ideally suited to human beings’ creation. Interpretations resulting from people’s own mindsets, cultures or experience, however, have led to a wide range of problems. Because those who does not live by the moral values of the Qur’an will want everything to suit their own desires. What matters to such people is their own satisfaction, and they never stop to think what the consequences of this may be. Even if they do so, their self-will gives their whims and desires the upper hand. When people act in the light of their selves, they give the greatest importance to their own comfort and their pastimes. The endless desires of those who fail to live by moral values are revealed in these terms in the Qur’an:

Shall man then have whatever he covets? (Surat an-Najm: 24)

When a situation arises that is not as their selves had planned, these individuals may react in a most impulsive manner. They may engage in behaviors such as with anger, peevishness or emotionality that are incompatible with Qur’anic moral values. This causes them to act selfish, unloving, proud or inhuman. Such people love themselves more than anything else. Even when they claim to care for their friends, families, and those around them, their conception of love must still be compatible with their own selves. In other words, their love is founded on various worldly expectations, rather than on the approval, mercy and Paradise of Allah.

First and foremost, obviously, all this will harm the individual concerned. People who constantly seek to satisfy their own selves will suffer the troubles caused by living with desires that wear them down. Instead of living in security, peace and moderation, they live in a state of restless worry. Since they are not submissive and do not act in the knowledge that everything they possess is a blessing from Allah, and they fear losing what they have or that events will not transpire the way they want, which anxiety does them grave psychological damage.

One of the main features that distinguishes people who follow their own selves is that their love is always very superficial. Their affections are based on various superficial measures. Any reduction or decrease in these values causes their love to disappear in a moment. They are never steadfast in their affections. Nor do they properly appreciate the affection and interest that others bestow on them. Familiar examples are the way that children do not show their parents the proper interest and understanding, or how friendships come to a sudden end due to problems that could be easily resolved. This is doubtless one of the worst spiritual difficulties experienced by disbelievers, because love is a great blessing that Allah has bestowed on human beings. As part of their created nature, human beings are in a constant search for love, compassion and understanding. Whatever their circumstances may be, they want to be close to friends and relatives they can trust and love throughout the course of their lives. But people who act in the light of their own selfishness and fail to think and behave in accordance with Qur’anic moral values waste their whole lives bereft of this blessing. For the sake of this false love, they create an environment without compassion, sympathy, affection, patience or tolerance.

True Love According to Qur’anic Moral Values

Believers love Allah above all things. They behave in the knowledge that in everything, Allah has created something auspicious and beautiful and that every moment of their lives passes according to a particular wisdom, within the course set out in their destinies. They are content with every moment that Allah bestows on them and give proper thanks for all of our Lord’s blessings. They rely on, trust and submit to Him alone. Allah is believers’ true friend and helpmate. Believers’ love of Allah is revealed in these terms in the Qur’an:

Some people set up equals to Allah, loving them as they should love Allah. But those who believe have greater love for Allah. If only you could see those who do wrong at the time when they see the punishment, and that truly all strength belongs to Allah, and that Allah is severe in punishment. (Surat al-Baqara: 165)

In loving the things of this world, they do so knowing that these contain the manifestations of Allah and of the beauty of His creation. In their love, they are steadfast, tolerant and compassionate. Weakness and handicaps cause them to feel even greater affection for the afflicted individual. They know that every thing of beauty in the world has been created together with a great many deficiencies, and that true beauty exists only in the Hereafter. As in every moment of their lives, they never forget that true love is the life of the Hereafter.

All things in this world are flawed. Yet in the Hereafter, perfection prevails.. Even if people are constantly in the company of those they love, even if they study subjects with the greatest interest, and even if everything goes exactly according to their hopes, these delightful things are all finite. With death, everything will come to an end. But the life of the Hereafter is eternal. In this world, believers seek to live by the finest moral values and the profoundest love, in the knowledge that they will enjoy true friendship and closeness in the Hereafter. They attach the greatest importance to their moral values, knowing that the further they perfect these, the deeper will be their understanding, n, and thus, they will draw ever greater enjoyment from all of Allah’s blessings. But their desires and expectations are not worldly ones.

Thus they live far removed from the fears and restless insecurities that plague those who lack faith. They turn to Allah alone, knowing that it is He, not other people, who will fulfill their wishes. They are hopeful that Allah will give them the finest reward if they live the kind of lives that He desires. In the light of this awareness and logic, their love, one of the blessings of our Lord, thus becomes very profound and beautiful. In short, there always remain enormous differences between those who behave in the manner imparted by Allah and those who live in the way others tell them to.

Allah has revealed this difference between those who follow the evil of their own desires and those who live according to His commandments:

Is someone on a clear path from his Lord like those whose bad actions have been made to seem good to them and who follow their own desires? (Surah Muhammad: 14)

Conclusion

One can live according to true religious moral values by scrupulously adhering to the values revealed by Allah and to the Sunnah of our Prophet (saas). Setting up logical systems and making interpretations outside what Allah has commanded always inflicts losses on the person concerned. Allah has revealed in these words— “So judge between them by what Allah has sent down and do not follow their whims and desires deviating from the Truth that has come to you . . . ” (Surat al-Ma’ida: 48) that Qur’anic moral values and the provisions sent down by Him, are a guide and measure for believers. For those who seek any other path, it is impossible to arrive at the truth.

The successful outcome is for those who guard against evil. (Surat al-Qasas: 83)

In the verse, Allah has imparted the glad tidings that those who abide by the moral values He has revealed will attain the very happiest of ends. By Allah’s leave, believers enjoy the happy lives revealed by our Lord both in life of this world and in the Hereafter. However, the end awaiting those who still insist on living in accord with their own whims and desires is perversion:

If they do not respond to you then know that they are merely following their whims and desires. And who could be further astray than someone who follows his whims and desires without any guidance from Allah? Allah does not guide the people of the wrongdoers. (Surat al-Qasas: 50)

Allah has told human beings in great detail about the moral values they should adhere to and what kind of life they should live. True religious moral values are the result of scrupulous adherence to Allah’s commandments.