A guy in the multi faith talks today said something very interesting. He said that it does not matter whether we believe in the trinity, tawheed, whatever, so long as we can find the virtue in the religious teachings, whatever we call it, theistic or otherwise, its okay. Suggesting that the whole idea of religion is to become a good person in this world, which is something that all religions have in common.
With all due respect, I disagree.
Surah Al Imran, ayah 64, starts with “Qul yaa ahlal kitaabi ta’aalaw ilaa kalimatin sawaaim bainanaa wa bainakum…”, nearest to meaning: “Say, ‘Oh, People of the Book! Let us come to common terms between you and us…’”. Yes, we have to come to common terms. But we should not forget the continuation of the ayat: “..ilaa na’buda il Allaah..”, nearest to meaning: “… that we submit to none other than Allah..”. The ayah continues a bit more, but I will focus now on this particular part.
What we have to come to common terms are two things. The first that may be obvious is that we agree that there is only One Allah. You do not come to common terms with polytheists. However, an extra emphasis is on the word na’buda. Submission. This is the point of being a Muslim, as someone who submits oneself to Allah. Similar wordings in Surah Al Faatiha (Ayat : iyyaa kana’budu wa iyyaa kanas ta’een).
What does it mean to submit oneself to Allah? Simple: His rules, not yours.
There are things that may be nice according to you, so you find what is nice according to you. You make up your own nice things and ways of worship? Then that is your rules, not His. This is not worship. Or even worse, it is as if Allah is the one to submit to your rules!! Nope, a Muslim will never come to common terms with this.
This is what a Muslim believes.
First, Allah will never say two things that contradict each other. There is no doubt that the Quran is from Allah, and is and will be preserved as such. If Allah sent down a book to you, you really think you can have any better ideas on how things are supposed to be done?
Second, act of worship is not up to us to decide. That is Allah’s prerogative, as it is His rules (that’s if you agree to submit to Him). One of the lessons of Surah Al Faatiha as Ummul Kitaab (Mother of the Book) is to see how Islam is divided. Half of it is Allah’s rights, the other half is the human’s right. You give Allah’s rights first, then Allah will give you your rights.
Third, having a good life on earth is not the objective. It is a mere tool and test for us. This is an illusion (see Surah Al Hadeed ayat 20). Jannah is our objective (see Surah At Tawbah ayat 111, Surah Al Hadeed ayat 20, etc). Being distracted to merely worldly objectives will do nothing but lead us to destruction in the afterlife (see Surah At Takaathur in its entirety).
This will sound really harsh. There are much more beautiful ways to explain this, but the Quran speaks in different ways to different audiences. I am appealing to those who take this matter lightly. There are things that are nice to think of, but are simply not true. Others seem very nasty, but they are the truth.
I will skip the middle part of Surah Al Imran ayat 64, and go straight to the end: “…fa inta wallaw faquulush hadu bi annaa Muslimeen.” nearest to meaning: “…but if they turn their backs to you, then say unto them ‘bear witness, that (at least) I am among the Muslims (or one who submits to Allah)’ ”
If you really believe in God, then its not up to you.