DISTORTED REASONINGS THAT LEAD PEOPLE TO FOLLOW THIS
Some people show no interest in following the commandments of the Qur'an or in leading their lives according to its commands and prohibitions. But when it comes to living within a system that deifies other human beings, they are all too willing. This contradiction immediately begs the question of the deceptive promises made by the "religion" of idealizing. Considering this question, we find that those who reverence other people have very little concept of Allah's power.
Those who do not understand the limitless power of Allah and the purpose of the universe's creation try to live their lives according to rules of their own making, and based on an ignorant way of thinking apart from the Qur'an. This is the foundation of the cult of worshipping people and also supplies the excuses why anyone should follow it. In the Qur'an, however, Allah tells us about those who propose false facts and reasoning to justify their rejection of true religion:
Do they then seek the judgment of the Time of Ignorance? Who could be better at giving judgment than Allah for people with certainty? (Surat al-Ma'ida, 50)
In this section, we will look at the falsehoods put forward by those who practice the superstitious "worship" of people instead of living according to the religion that Allah has revealed. Some of these distorted ideas include:
The "Facts of Life" Idea
Allah wants people to order every moment of their lives according to the Qur'an's edicts, commands and prohibitions. The Qur'an is a guide that lets human beings distinguish between right and wrong, appropriate and inappropriate behavior, and those acts that please Allah and those that don't. For these reasons, Allah commands people in Surat al-An'am, to follow this holy book:
And this is a Book We have sent down and blessed, so follow it and fear Allah so that hopefully you will gain mercy. (Surat al-An'am, 155)
But the majority does not organize its lives according to the edicts of the Qur'an or its moral precepts. They do not even consider that they should follow a book containing Allah's commandments. They do not understand how important religious morality and the Qur'an are, for their entire lives. They think that religion can offer occasional guidance in some limited areas of life. Apart from times of worry and distress, moments of great danger, serious pain, discomfort and insurmountable fear-and at the hour of death-they see no need to turn to Allah. They fail to grasp that everyone must live a life according to the dictates of religious morality. For this reason, they prefer to lead their whole lives as far away from religion as possible, not even discussing it among themselves. They even avoid mentioning the name of Allah.
For a person to live his life, however, he definitely needs the commands of Allah and the moral qualities revealed in the Qur'an. It is good and easy for us to live according to the moral teachings in the book of our Lord and Creator. Without this morality, a healthy society is unthinkable; because laws decreed with no regard for human nature (that is, the character that human beings were created with), will have a detrimental effect on both individuals and on society and bring about social degradation. Relations between humans will deteriorate, and society will be plunged into chaos. As a result, war, confusion and oppression will be unavoidable throughout the world. Individuals divorced from religion, trying to follow the dictates of their own ignorant systems, will be overwhelmed by spiritual and physical distress.
Today, despite all this rampant negativity, some individuals-not including sincere believers-continue to insist that along with religion, there are also the "facts of life." This philosophy is based on rejecting the absolute necessity of religious morality in human life. According to such distorted thinking, to follow the rules of religious morality is practically impossible. These people fear that were religion allowed into daily life, they would be deprived of all kinds of worldly blessings and lead a life of monotony. They think that living a life of religious morality will prevent them from enjoying life. Of course, this idea has nothing to do with reality. Religious morality creates the most comfortable social life in which the individual human spirit will be the most content and the most productive. Those who adopt this high morality and escape the "facts of life" deception possess the soundest mood in their society. They will take pleasure in the beauties of life and play a major role in bringing about a society of peace, tolerance, and self-sacrifice.
But those divorced from religious morality think of practicing virtue as a sign of weakness and naiveté. For example, they believe that, no matter how much a person sacrifices himself for another, he will always get selfishness and unfairness in return-and therefore, it would be silly to act in such a way. They regard any self-sacrificial act as well-intentioned but ignorant-a person doing a good deed for someone else free of charge and getting no acknowledgement for what he has done. In real life, as far as they are concerned, one should return selfishness for selfishness, grudge for grudge, hostility for hostility and enmity for enmity.
Ignorant society regards it as silly to be kind and make amends with anyone who constantly does you wrong, and to forgive that person for the bad things he has done. In response to such moral virtue, people in that society would belittle the good person, asking, "How gullible can you be? If that were me, he'd soon get what's coming to him!" According to the "facts of life" espoused by those who ignore the moral teachings of the Qur'an, it is right to exchange evil for evil. This way of thinking is commended in ignorant religions, which assert that no enemy can ever be a friend; no matter how much good one person does for another, underlying enmity still remains. The only one who loses is whoever does the favor. Society holds the well-intentioned to be a weak person who doesn't realize when he is being abused.
People with this distorted way of thinking believe that they have to embrace "the facts of life" even more tightly to keep themselves from falling into traps. They fear that they have to pay close attention to what people are thinking and to how they react. These individuals lay great importance on what others say; assuming that the more they get others to like them, the better will be their place in society. They think that once society likes them, they should absolutely resort to every sort of unseemly behavior on the way to attaining their worldly ambitions.
In the Qur'an, however, Allah says that He wants human beings to be sincere in seeking His pleasure only and not to consider what other people might say. Our Lord commands His servants' moral character to be the opposite to that of the ignorant people we have been describing. In the sight of Allah, a good person is one who returns good for a wrong committed against him. Moreover, this kind of behavior is an important step on the way to creating friendship out of enmity. In the Qur'an, Allah tells us of this happy result:
A good action and a bad action are not the same. Repel the bad with something better and, if there is enmity between you and someone else, he will be like a bosom friend. (Surah Fussilat, 34)
Practicing the Qur'an's moral teachings is the only way to salvation; this is true in forgiving others for the wrongs they have committed and in everything else we do. The real purpose of life is to be a servant who wins Allah's favor; who does good without hope for reward, sacrifices himself for others and gives of himself freely. He is just, patient, determined to urge goodness and dissuade from evil, and totally and unconditionally given to winning the favor of Allah.
But ignorant people who do not espouse the Qur'an's moral teachings spend their whole lives in conflict, strife and unhappiness, and they think that such are the facts of life. They cannot imagine living a quiet life of moral virtue, free from falsehood, opportunism, insincerity and hypocrisy. They believe that the world is a place where only the strong survive. They ignore the reality of the eternal world to come; they live their lives only in relation to the short life in this world. They reject religious morality, saying, "Whatever I do in this world is for profit." Caught in this false world of man-made rules, they actually regard some human beings as deities and feel enslaved to them. As a result, they are bound to suffer for not obeying Allah's commands; they will live a life of degradation in this world, and their pains will be much more severe in the world to come. The Qur'an tells us about their state:
When those who associated others with Allah see those they associated, they will say, "Our Lord, these are our partner gods, the ones we called upon apart from You." But they will fling their words back in their faces: "You are truly liars!" On that Day they will offer their submission to Allah and the things they invented will abandon them. As for those who disbelieved and barred access to the way of Allah, We will heap punishment on top of their punishment because of the corruption they brought about. (Surat an-Nahl, 86-88)
Then they will be asked, "Where are those besides Allah you associated with Him?" and they will reply, "They have forsaken us. Or rather we were not calling to anything at all before." That is how Allah misguides the disbelievers. "That is because you exulted on the Earth, without any right to do so; and strutted about. Enter the gates of Hell, remaining in it timelessly, for ever. How evil is the abode of the arrogant!" (Surah Ghafir, 73-76)
The Misconception that the Majority Is Right
As we've said from the beginning, one reason that prevents people from practicing religious morality is the "religion" of worshipping people" that makes them fear what other people will say and think about them. This misapprehension draws its strength from the idea that "the majority is always right," and a huge segment of society has adopted a lifestyle that goes with idolizing people-an undisputed tradition passed down from father to son. Declaring themselves to be part of the majority, they misguide others into believing that the unjust ways of the "majority" and the rules they invent are correct. However, the Qur'an gives this command to all Muslims:
Judge between them by what Allah has sent down and do not follow their whims and desires. And beware of them lest they lure you away from some of what Allah has sent down to you… Many of mankind are deviators. (Surat al-Ma'ida, 49)
From this verse, we see that Allah commands people not to follow the unjust majority or obey the fanciful rules they make up. He tells them that their only way to salvation is via the Qur'an and its ordinances.
But the great majority of people feels obliged to conform to the majority's lifestyle, even if it does not fit with their conscience. As members of society, they feel this is their duty; that since they live in a particular society, they are bound to follow its laws and the way of life it prescribes as if it were a secular religion.
These people, who fail to appreciate religion's real meaning, believe that apart from the commands of Allah, there are rules that everyone must obey-because man is a social creature. They agree that their most important duty is to please others. For this reason, they cannot escape the fruitless circular reasoning of "What do others say? What do they think? I hope they speak well of me and see me as intelligent, rich and generous. I don't want anyone to say or think ill of me."
However, the way most people live, the artificial rules they have invented and structures they've set up do not lead to truth. On the contrary, Allah tells us in the Qur'an that conforming to the majority is a danger that threatens to divert one from the right path:
If you obeyed most of those on Earth, they would misguide you from Allah's Way. They follow nothing but conjecture. They are only guessing. (Surat al-An'am, 116)
As a result, the majority chooses a way of life at odds with the Qur'an's moral teachings: They are sarcastic and cruel to others, apt to betray their families and even their country. Without thinking, they commit acts that Allah has forbidden. But this should not be allowed to influence others. The fact that this sort of people make up the majority of a society should not justify everyone's behaving the same. For example, even if a society worships the god of fire, the sun or the stars, no one else is obliged to believe the same things. Or say that a society is silent about prostitution, fraud, injustice, thievery and other such amoral acts. No individual has to do the same things just because everyone else is. Or if the rich in a society are respected and the poor-possessing nothing besides their good names-are oppressed, there is no reason to spark the same mentality in others. On the contrary, condoning injustice out of fear of society's criticism is itself a great injustice. It's unreasonable for a person to refrain from behaving as his conscience demands, just because he fears being criticized, rejected and despised by society. In the Qur'an, Allah tells us that one of the greatest qualities of Muslims is that they do not fear criticism:
You who believe! If any of you renounce your religion, Allah will bring forward a people whom He loves and who love Him, humble to the believers, fierce to the disbelievers, who strive in the Way of Allah and do not fear the blame of any censurer. That is the unbounded favor of Allah which He gives to whoever He wills. Allah is Boundless, All-Knowing. (Surat al-Ma'ida, 54)
Another surah gives us the example of Prophet Ibrahim (as) and the believers who were with him, who remained determined in the face of those who criticized them. Ibrahim (as) and his followers lived in a society composed mostly of idolaters. But despite other humans' hostile threats, they only feared Allah, and so reacted strongly to this society's perverse leanings of. The Qur'an describes this episode as follows:
You have an excellent example in Ibrahim and those with him, when they said to their people, "We wash our hands of you and all that you worship apart from Allah, and we reject you. Between us and you there will be enmity and hatred for ever unless and until you believe in Allah alone."... (Surat al-Mumtahana, 4)
In response, this idolatrous people decided to punish Ibrahim's (as) determination. But despite this, Prophet Ibrahim (as) continued determined in his attachment to Allah. In return for this, Allah saved him from the oppression of these people:
He [Ibrahim] said, "Do you worship something you have carved when Allah created both you and what you do?" They said, "Build a pyre for him and fling him into the blaze!" They tried to outwit him but We made them the lowest. He said, "I am going towards my Lord; He will be my guide." (Surat as-Saffat , 95-99)
But most people cannot muster the determination we see in this example. Because their hearts are far from Allah, they do not act according to their consciences. They cannot resist the ignorant mentality that says, "Everyone does it, so it must be right." And in pure heedlessness from Allah, they live out their lives in error, preferring to please other human beings and to fear their censure. Thoughts like, "What will people say?" and "If my friend says one more word, they'll find me out," and "Everyone does it, so I'll do it too," may turn a person into someone who worships people and not Allah, who is devoted to the pursuit of the world and totally removed from the moral teachings of the Qur'an. As a result, some see no wrong in showing no sense of compassion, mercy or love, and enjoy oppressing others. Those interested only in money and social position see nothing wrong with a mentality that leaves no room for moral virtue. If most of his social class is unjust, fraudulent, with no moral virtues-knowing that he will be thrown out if he acts any differently, he behaves like the others. He will think positively about even an immoral person, if his boss thinks well of him. Conversely, if his director does not have a good opinion of this individual, our example may say negative things about him, without even having looked into the person's real character. These people have completely disregarded Allah and religious morality, and as a natural result, most continue to live according to the axiom that "the majority is right." They demonstrate no independence of character. They become members of a circle similar to those social groups mentioned above, for they think that everyone lives, acts and thinks in a certain way. Wherever they turn, they find people like themselves conforming to the majority; and they cannot detect the error of their mental state because they mix with people whose main aim is pleasing others.
As these brief examples show, if people adopt a lifestyle with no concern for winning Allah's favor, they will gain nothing. A society of intellectually and morally corrupt individuals will plunge the world into chaos. Thoughts and feelings that have no place in society will become rampant-fights over profit-taking, enmity, anger, hatred and jealousy. Such a world-a place dominated by misery and chaos-will become hard to live in. This is the reward in this world that Allah will give to those who ascribe equals to Him. In the Afterlife a more tragic end awaits them. The Qur'an says:
They were not able to thwart Allah on Earth, and had no protectors besides Allah. The punishment will be doubled for them. They were unable to hear and could not see. Those are the people who have lost their own selves. What they invented has abandoned them. Without question they will be the greatest losers in the Hereafter. (Surah Hud, 20-22)
The Attitude of "No One Else Sees the Truth Except You!"
Another way this system encourages not believing in Allah and idolizing others is in refusing to see the truth, or rejecting it completely. Along with conforming to the majority evident in ignorant societies, comes a refusal to listen to people with faith. While Muslims invite such people to believe in Allah and obey His commands, they affirm their belief in their ancestors and laws they have passed down. They aver that they will never compromise the laws and way of life their society has taught them. This mentality is described in the Qur'an:
When they are told, "Follow what Allah has sent down to you," They say, "We are following what we found our fathers doing." What, even though their fathers did not understand a thing and were not guided! (Surat al-Baqara, 170)
In ignorant societies, people determined to live according to their ancestors' teachings directly oppose those others who want to stop this pervasive pseudo-religion, favored by the ignorant, which has gained dominance over their lives. They don't want these people of faith, who have brought them the truth, to destroy the favorable relationships they've forged with others or to break their religion's superstitious rules. They want to invalidate the truth that sincere people of faith have patiently explained to them, by asking such ignorant things as, "Is it only you who understand these things?" or "Are so many people wrong?" or "Until now, no one has been aware of these things, but you are!" They think that such a response will intimidate their opponent and make him lose self-confidence. (This may be effective in their own system of superstition, but no real Muslim would be daunted by such a simple tactic.) As a result, the truth would remain hidden. But when they are overwhelmed by concerns such as, "What do people think about me? What can I do to please them? How can I make them like me and take me in?" the person who knows the truth will remind them and that they have no power to do anything apart from the fate that Allah has determined for them. This reminder means the collapse of their superstitions and the invalidation of their laws.
But no matter how hard the "people worshippers" work, Allah will never allow the truth to remain hidden. In the face of truth, superstition will be defeated and rendered ineffective. Allah will vindicate those who stand up for Him, no matter how few their numbers may seem. In the face of all the pressures they are subjected to, He will give them determination and resilience.
The Qur'an speaks of the warnings that some prophets gave to prevent the societies in which they lived from living perverse, immoderate lives. Members of these societies disregarded the prophets, undertook to undermine their power and vigor, and finally expelled them. But on devout Muslims of course, this kind of opposition has never had an adverse effect... For example, when the Prophet Salih (as) tried to get people to abandon their false religion, he received the following reaction:
They said, "Salih, we had great hopes in you before this happened. Do you forbid us to worship what our fathers worshipped? We have grave doubts about what you are calling us to." (Surah Hud, 62)
This is the determined answer that Prophet Salih (as) gave to the people:
He [Salih] said, "My people! What do you think? If I were to possess a Clear Sign against Allah if I disobeyed Him? You would not increase me in anything but loss." (Surah Hud, 63)
Never forget, sometimes people cannot see facts that are very plain. Because they've been conditioned by the laws of their societies and have lived according to these laws for a very long time-like Prophet Salih's (as) people-, they do not want to upset their accustomed order. As a result, even though they see the great dangers to which their unseemly moral character exposes them, still they continually prefer what is false to what is true. They cannot imagine that any model of living could afford them comfort and well-being, so, they are not prepared to abandon their ignorant religion, thinking it is the best of the worst.
For them to experience real happiness and salvation in life, however, there is one very easy way. In order to find it while there is still time, they should listen to believers who warn them and show them the distortion of the system they live in. Until that day, they must listen to the voice of their conscience and consider that up until then, no one might have told the truth. They should remove the focus of their attention from human beings, who have no power to create or destroy, and direct it only towards Allah. This will allow them to open their minds and understanding so that they may grasp life's real purpose; and as a result, they will seek to please Allah rather than their fellow humans.
In the Qur'an, Allah announced that only those who fear and obey Him will find happiness and salvation.
All who obey Allah and His Messenger and have awe of Allah and fear Him, they are the ones who are victorious. (Surat an-Nur, 52)