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Interfaith Dialogue ( 28 Jun 2021, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Conscience Is the Essence of Divinity - Islam, Christianity, Hinduism and Other Religions Preach Not To Let It Die

By Arman Neyazi, New Age Islam

29 June 2021

Separation of Soul from The Body Is Worldly Death and Separation of Conscience from the Soul is the Rational Death of a Human Being

Main Points:

1.    People of conscience will be closer to God on the Day of Judgement.

2.    Humankind has to preserve the soul from decaying by keeping his moral conscience alive.

3.    A man without a conscience is like a man without a soul.

4.    A person of conscience is a person of positive approaches towards religious faith and social ethos.

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(Photo courtesy/ Conscience word cloud - Image ID: FRWW2C)

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Separation of the soul from the body is worldly death and separation of conscience from the soul is the rational death of a human being.

 Body and soul both are created by Allah, the Almighty and sent on the earth to preach the moral lessons to create a world of moral ethics. The body is a mixture of water and clay that will decay and will finish but the soul will live forever in the world hereafter. Humankind has to preserve the soul from decaying by keeping his moral conscience alive. People of conscience will be closer to God on the Day of Judgement.

Soul and conscience may be taken as one in more than one aspects. When a human being decays his conscience to the extent that he ceases to distinguish between humane and inhumane activities, the conscience is dead. A man without a conscience is like a man without a soul. A man without a soul is called ‘a dead body’ so a man without a conscience can be called ‘a living dead’.

A man without a conscience is ‘a living dead’ to say the least. A person without a conscience is ruled by the negativities like hatred, jealousy and selfishness.

The reigning negativities of a person’s personality kills the conscience and transforms him into a devil. There is nothing like ‘dying of a conscience’, it is a saying that comes into use when a man behaves like an evil soul in society.

High Moral Conscience for a Rationally Strong Society

The conscience of a normal person, educated or uneducated guides our heart and mind to the positivities around us and when because of any reason it changes its course it becomes an amalgam of evil thoughts. No changes in society or a person comes all at once. It takes time in making its roots. During this time of transformation from a good man to an evil man either society does not pay attention to his evil eyes and minds or just ignores it as an act of no consequence.

Any kind of compromise made in the societal decisions by a man is not a sign of a human error but something devilish in the mind working for the selfish self. An awakened society must provide him with psychological and spiritual help to subvert his feelings of evil thoughts to create an awareness of the moral duties of the human being.

 A person of conscience is a person of positive approaches towards religious faith and social ethos. As the characteristics of a person depend on the social essence he is getting brought up with, the conscience of a person also depends on the social environment he is a part of.  Through the lens of ‘man is a social animal,’ every achievement or any devilish action is courtesy of the society the person is a part of. While a morally strong conscience develops within us the religious ethics and essence we are a product of and the immoral social life develop our immoral conscience.

All the religions of the world preach us to keep our conscience alive as it is the ultimate belonging of a faithful that enlightens him in the dark world of all that is unethical, unspiritual and irreligious. Consider the following verses, Shlokas and sayings of the Holy Scriptures of the religions that unequivocally command us to guard our conscience and perform our duties for which we have been sent to this mortal world:

High Moral Conscience: an Important Manifesto of Islam

He has certainly succeeded who purifies himself (Al-Al'a: 14) — Saheeh International

...  and whether you disclose what is in your hearts or hide it, Allah will take account of it from you;  (Al-Baqarah-284) - Ali Quli Qarai

The Day when there will not benefit [anyone] wealth or children But only one who comes to Allah with a sound heart." (Surah Ash-Shu'ara: 88-89)  -Sahih International

Rather, man, against himself, will be a witness Even if he presents his excuses. (Surah Al-Qiyamah: 14-15) - - Sahih International

And I swear by the self-reproaching soul… (Surah al-Qiyāmah: 2)

Follow not the lusts (of your hearts), lest ye swerve, and if ye distort (justice) or decline to do justice, verily Allah is well-acquainted with all that ye do. (Surah An-Nisa-135) - Yusuf Ali

He created man and surely know what misdoubts arise in their hearts; for We are closer to him than his jugular vein. (Surah Qaf: 16) - Ahmed Ali

Prophetic Traditions on the Importance of Keeping Conscience Clear

Wabisa ibn Ma’bad reported: The Messenger of Allah, (SAW), said to me: Consult your soul, consult your heart, O Wabisa. Righteousness is what reassures your soul and your heart, and sin is what wavers in your soul and puts tension in your chest, even if the people approve it in their judgments again and again. - Sunan al-Dārimī 2533

Righteousness is good character and sin is what wavers in your heart and you hate for people to find out about it. - Sahih Muslim 2553

Abu Umamah reported: A man asked the Prophet, “What is faith?” The Messenger of Allah, Pbuh, said: If you are happy with your good deeds and saddened by your evil deeds, then you are a believer.

The man said, “O Messenger of Allah, what is sin?” The Prophet said: If something waivers in your soul, then you should abandon it. - Musnad Aḥmad 21695

Hasan ibn Ali reported: The Messenger of Allah, Pbuh, said: Leave what makes you doubt for what does not make you doubt. Verily, truth brings peace of mind and falsehood sows doubt. - Sunan al-Tirmidhī 2518

Ibn Umar, (AS), said: The servant will not reach the reality of piety (taqwā) until he abandons what wavers in his heart. - Sahih al-Bukhari8

Verily, among the words, people obtained from the prophets are this: If you feel no shame, then do as you wish. - Sahih al-Bukhari)

Bhagwad Gita and Vedas on the Role of Conscience

I am seated in the hearts of all living beings, (BG 15.15)

One should therefore understand what duty is and what not duty by the regulations of the scriptures is. Knowing such rules and regulations, one should act so that he may gradually be elevated – Bhagavad Gita 16.24

 Whenever and wherever the restless and unsteady mind wanders, one should bring it back and continually focus it on God. (BG 6.26)

Completely renouncing all desires arising from thoughts of the world, one should restrain the senses from all sides with the mind. Slowly and steadily, with conviction in the intellect, the mind will become fixed in God alone and will think of nothing else. (BG 6.24-25)

“God makes all things luminous.  It is by His luminosity that all luminous objects give light.” (Sūryastapati tejasendra) (Vedas)

Christianity Sees Conscience as a Voice of God

By means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron - 1 Timothy 4:2

in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them, - Romans 2:15

I mean not your own conscience, but the other man’s; for why is my freedom judged by another’s conscience? - 1 Corinthians 10:29

Therefore it is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of wrath but also for conscience’ sake. - Romans 13:5

But holding to the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. -  1 Timothy 3:9

Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade men, but we are made manifest to God; and I hope that we are made manifest also in your consciences. 2 Corinthians 5:11

Keeping faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and suffered shipwreck in regard to their faith. - 1 Timothy 1:19

Judaism and Living with Good Conscience

“Therefore one must be subject, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience” (1 Cor 13:5).

“To hold faith in God and a good conscience” (1 Tm 1:19; 3:9)

 “Brethren, I have lived before God in all good conscience up to this day” (Acts 23:1; see 2 Cor 1:12)

“I am speaking the truth in Christ, I am not lying; my conscience bears me witness in the Holy Spirit” (Rom 9:1)

“But the Lord said to Samuel, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (Samuel 16:7)

Jainism and Conscience

Soul is the central point of spiritual discipline.

Every soul is in itself absolutely omniscient and blissful. The bliss does not come from outside.

Know thyself, recognize thyself, be immersed by thyself - you will attain God-hood.

Fight with yourself, why fight with external foes? He, who conquers himself through himself, will obtain happiness.

The Necessity of Awakening the High Moral Conscience

There is no difference of opinion on the role a good conscience plays in the life of the social network of society. People of conscience cannot think of inflicting losses of life, peace and harmony for the sake of their mortal supremacy over the other.

In the world today, there are many nations and organisation that are fighting an immoral war of supremacy. All of them have their reasons (excuses) to justify their inhumane actions. All of them are engaged in a war that will transform this world into a grey world, for all, irrespective of the suppressed and the suppressor. The degree may vary. One shivers to imagine the result of the dying conscience of the world.

Consider the following story of the Caliph Omar (RA) and with all the resources and might take pain to spread the message of creating a conscience that is noble and humble in word and actions:

Omar, the second caliph after the death of Muhammad, once ordered the narrow streets of Madinah to be kept clear of the obstruction of merchants displaying their goods, thus leaving the streets clear for people to walk on. Despite this order, one shopkeeper continued to display his wares in the street. Upon seeing this, Omar struck the shopkeeper in rebuke for his disobedience. During the nights that followed, as Omar tried to sleep, his conscience began to bother him over his action and kept him from sleeping. After several days of remorse, Omar returned to the shopkeeper and apologized for his behaviour. At hearing the apology from Omar, the shopkeeper said: I have forgotten that. Omar replied: If you have forgotten it, Omar cannot.

This generation needs to follow the aesthetics of morality that their previous generation lived with and preached. Irrespective of religion, caste and creed even the nations all the men of scholarly attributes to the world say:

I shall lose my usefulness the moment I stifle the 'still small voice within'.  - Mahatma Gandhi

“Conscience is the inner voice that warns us somebody may be looking.” ― H.L. Mencken

“Labour to keep alive in your breast that little spark of celestial fire called conscience.” ― George Washington

“A clear conscience is the sure sign of a bad memory.” ― Mark Twain

“Betrayal is common for men with no conscience.” ― Toba Beta

“The torture of a bad conscience is the hell of a living soul.” ― John Calvin

A living conscience is the mirror of morality, rationality, ethics and integrity that is needed for a living being to take him closer to his Creator and pave his ways of ultimate success, the Moksha.

And Allah Knows the Best.

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Arman Neyazi is a columnist with NewAgeIslam.com.

URL:     https://www.newageislam.com/interfaith-dialogue/conscience-divinity-christianity/d/125031


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