By Nastik Durrani, New Age Islam
April 9, 2013
All the religions, whether human or, as some claim, divine, cannot spread their teachings without their followers. If a religion is claimed to be divine, it should preach and teach brotherhood, love and harmony and should strive to propagate it and create moral human beings who recongnise the cultural, social, religious, political and even gender-based status of others. It is not the work of a divine religion revealed by the lord of the heavens to incite people to spread hatred and violence and destroy human values.
It is the responsibility of the religious leaders who represent and propagate the teachings and ideology of a religion to not only be a man of morals himself but also preach others brotherhood, peace and love as well. Though there is no lack of regions which bear negative destructive values and pose a serious threat to the humanity which are still in vogue. These religions would have become extinct long ago if their religious leaders had not carried on its propagation.
The existing religions are the forces that have led humanity to the brink of destruction. Therefore, the greater responsibility of the problems facing humanity lies with religious leaders because these destructive religious thoughts could not have reached this juncture but for these religious leaders.
I do not know whether the devil exists, but if someone asks me about his existence I will definitely reply in the affirmative. If the devil is an incarnation of mischief, the religious leaders are definitely Satans because this is the very group that has always been doing what the devil should do in principle. To believe my words, you have to go to any place of worship, though they are wrapped in sanctity and purity. But they are Satans in the guise of human beings.
Buddha says, “The seeds of lie and hypocrisy are sown in places of worship and the trees of slavery are watered there.” And this is done by the religious leaders who use places of worship like the pulpits to spread their outdated political and religious teachings. It is unfortunate that unsuspecting folk follow them. For autocratic systems these religious leaders are no less than divine bounties. The autocrats use them to control the crowd and prolong their rule helping them in every possible way.
People are surprised at the fact that most of the autocratic governments are in Muslim majority countries. But in my view, it should not be surprising because as long as there are religious leaders in those countries who, to protect them, tell the masses that going against the rulers is impermissible by Shariah, it will continue and the autocratic culture will flourish. Wafa Sultan says that the religious leader acts as the middleman between the citizen and the government and controls a deal on the compulsions of the two through which the ruler does not attack the religion of the ruler, and in return, the citizen turns a blind eye to all his immoral acts. In this way, autocracy permeated in the veins of the Muslim communities and became their principal trait.
No dictator can flourish without the help of a religious leader. For example, the Ulema Council in Sudan ensures that the corrupt system persists in all its forms even if it is at the cost of Fatwas of Kufr issued against innocent people and opponents or at the cost of their blood. Saudi Arabia exhausts all its energies to intervene and spy into the personal lives of the masses while turning a blind eye to the misdeeds of the princes and kings terming them the shadow of God on earth. In almost all the Islamic countries, there are institutions, formal or informal, that provide protection and justification to the autocratic rulers.
A religious leader in Egypt demanded the killing of all those who opposed the ruler, Morsi. In Sudan, the Ulema Council declared Kafirs all those who signed Meesaq-al-Fajr who demanded removal of Al Bashir and called for their killing. In every phase of Islamic history, the religious leaders remained the closest ally of the ruling sections. They instil the belief in the mind of the people that whatever misfortune has befallen them is their fate and the will of God, and crush each voice that is raised against them or the rulers.
There is a saying of the Buddha, “The religious leaders are enemies of wisdom and their sole weapon is the allegation of infidelity against the seekers of truth.” If you take the pathetic condition of the Muslim countries, you will realise the truth in the saying of the Buddha. They know nothing except defending tyranny and crushing the critics. There is no oppression against the humanity where the religious leaders are not involved. All the invitation for hatred and violence comes from them. It is they who incite the youth in the name of God to shed the blood of others and push them in wars in the name of jihad with which they have nothing to do. Perhaps they do it due to the temptation of the houris. But probably this paradise will also evade them as God is not a fool to dispatch such garbage of the earth to paradise.
When the head of the Islamic movement of Sudan, Abdullah Turabi was asked about the death of those whom he had recruited in the name of defending God and liberating Sudan under the leadership of John Garang, he had replied, “ Innahum Fitais” (They are dead bodies). In other words, they are not martyrs. Consider the devilry of the sheikh who got the youth killed in the name of defending God and now says they are only Fitais (dead bodies). Can there be a greater Satan than him?
Many believers regard religious leaders a bridge between them and God. This is so in many societies. That’s why when a religious leader dies, people visit his grave in thousands and seek his intercession. In Europe a person’s sins were not forgiven until he did not seek forgiveness from the religious leader. Some people even believe that mere presence of religious leaders in their daily life is enough. However, this notion is wrong. If all the religious leaders resign, will the scientific discoveries cease? Definitely not. On the contrary, if they resign, religious extremism will come to an end and man will start treating man with love and the world will turn into to a better place.
Every religious leader has the right to propagate his religion and follow its principles which is guaranteed by God and the law. But he has no right to turn advocate of God on earth. He has not right to use religion to terrify people and violate the rights of others. And if he does so, every human being should have the right to remind him of his limits. If Muslims have to prosper, they will have to curtail the powers of their religious leaders. When Europeans curtailed the authority of the church and even isolated religion from politics, Europe occupied the highest seat of humanity and civilisation.