By Sumit Paul, New Age Islam
4 May 2022
Mankind Needs NO Religion, Scripture, Sect, Nation, Ideology, Divinity, Spirituality (A Mere Modern-Day Fashionable Cult) Or The Biggest Concoction GOD
" Perhaps there are some shortcomings in our education system which we have to improve. Otherwise tell how a PhD done man becomes communal irrespective of religion. That’s why we have to make people merciful......."
‘In the 21st century it seemed that everything would be peaceful. It used to be that people would be wiser by education but schools have become a business industry. Perhaps that is why education could not make us merciful. Even today people are discriminated against on the basis of religion and colour. Instead of being merciful, people in the world have become more merciless.'
Ustad Amjad Ali Khan
The recent aforementioned lamentations expressed by the legendary sarod maestro Ustad Amjad Ali Khan in Bombay (sorry, no Mumbai for me) make one ruminate over them. He's spot-on. We all have become too religious in spite of our 'education.' In fact, this so-called education has made us all the more hardcore and blinkered. Instead of understanding and imbibing the spirit of a faith, we've suddenly become more concerned about the external manifestations of it. All of a sudden, a Muslim man has begun to flaunt his skull-cap, his beard sans moustache(!) and wear ankle-high trousers, a Hindu is proudly showing his tilak and other symbols, Christians are showing their cross and other sarcophagus sacraments dangling and proclaiming their Christianity, 'educated' Sikhs are brandishing their daggers, followers of Jainism are greeting each other with Jay Jinendra and non-Jains (Maheshwaris) are shouting Jay Gopal........the blatant religious proclamations of all religions are the latest (spiritual) fads and followers of different religions are condemning each other on social platforms with a vengeance. What's going on? The sarod-maestro is right that our education is flawed. Because of this discriminatory education, we all have become so religiously sick and hidebound. I ruefully remember the last interview of the great orientalist Dr Edward W Said in which he stated, " There's hardly any HUMAN left. Mankind is compartmentalized into nations, religions, ideologies, sects, sub-sects, and whatnots. Humans have relegated themselves to moving labels." So very true. Urdu poet Nida Fazli said the same thing in one of his couplets: Girja Mein, Mandiron Mein, Azanon Mein Bant Gaya/Hote Hi Subha Aadmi Khaanon Mein Bant Gaya ( Pigeonholed into church, temple and Azan/ Right from the morning, man is compartmentalized into sects and boxes).
Al-Furqan categorically states that the Allah is Rabbul-Aalameen (the god of the whole universe) not just Rabbul-Musalmeen (the god of only Muslims). Yet, all faiths have their respective gods and each faith, nay even a sect, claims to have the exclusive monopoly of Truth! Isn't it bizarre? The quiddity of all man-made faiths is LOVE but we seem to be obsessed with HATRED.
Amir Khusro says in one of his Persian couplets, ' Kaafir-E-Ishqam Musalmani Mara Darkaar Neest/Har Rage-Jaan Taar Gushta, Haajat Zunnar Neest' (I'm a Muslim, whose faith is LOVE, I don't require Islam/My every vein is now a sacred thread (Janeu), I don't need to wear a Zunnar (sacred thread word by Hindus).
We've been fighting in the name of religion right from the advent of human civilization and shedding the blood of our brethren just because we perceive that the other person doesn't belong to our religion or religious sect. So, he or she must be eliminated. Quran audaciously declares, ' Kuffar La'aitbaar (Infidels are not to be trusted!). How ridiculous this sounds! But this has been happening. We've not yet understood that any religion is a mental slavery. Saghar Nizami aptly said this in a quatrain, ' Aqeede Mere Saamne Kaanpte Hain/Usool-E-Muhabbat Ki Buniyaad Hoon Main/Na Zunnar Ki Fikra, Na Tasbeeh Ka Gham/Dimaghi Ghulami Se Aazaad Hoon Main' ( All traditional faiths tremble before me/ I'm the cornerstone of love/Neither am I concerned about the sacred thread, nor do I care for the rosary/ I'm free of all mental slavery). Yes, religion is a state of mental enslavement. It's a doctrinal thralldom. It quashes an individual's righteous individuality.
Bal Labhu Ram Mukand ' Arsh' Malsyani's famous quatrain articulates this, ' Dairo-Haram Se Aur Toh Haasil Na Kuchh Hua/Sajde Zaroor Ishq Ki Qeemat Ghata Gaye/Kitna Farebkaar Hai Ahsaas-E-Bandagi/Hum Manzil-E-Khudi Se Bahut Door Aa Gaye ' ( Temple and mosque couldn't do anything worthwhile/Albeit, genuflections trivialized the value of Love/How deceptively comforting is the feeling of worship/ We've gone far away from the crux of righteous ego).
Mankind needs NO religion, scripture, sect, nation, ideology, divinity, spirituality (a mere modern-day fashionable cult) or the biggest concoction GOD, the root of all problems. All we need is humanity and the nurturing of the most sublime humane attributes. Stop Azan, reciting Hanuman Chalisa, Ardaas at Gurudwaras and Sunday prayers. Find the divinity that's immanent in you.
An occasional columnist for New Age Islam, Sumit Paul is a researcher in comparative religions, with special reference to Islam. He has contributed articles to world's premier publications in several languages including Persian.
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