The Malta Independent 3 October 2023, Tuesday
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Is religion the cause of unrest?

Laiq Ahmed Atif Sunday, 16 October 2016, 09:45 Last update: about 8 years ago

The lava of hatred erupts against religion from time to time. Today much of the world considers religion to be of secondary importance and believes that to progress there is a need to step away from religious beliefs and practices. In fact, increasingly, people living in developed nations now view religion as the root cause of the conflict and disorder that we see in the world.

Today the world has become a global village and the presences of different religions, cultures and races are seen across the globe. Some critics of religion express their easiness and are comfortable with the presence of diverse cultures and races, but, when it comes to religion it is labelled for creating division between people. Some criticize and blame religion for being narrow minded, decayed, outdated, and that it resists integration and inclusion. The religion is also seen as the grave threat to the world peace. Some think that religion has done a little good but the loss and damage done by religion is huge and massive. Thus they argue that religion in today’s enlightened era serves no purpose.


I think all such arguments are not based on justice and fairness. In fact, religion is the path that takes human beings to their ultimate destination – reformation, success, satisfaction and peace. It is also a fact that human beings learnt basic morals, values and virtues through religion.

Religion does not cause division, instead promotes unity and brotherhood. Religion does not kill; it only warns and admonishes people that they must establish peace and security. Its every injunction is laced with sentiments of love and compassion for all mankind. The Quran has informed us that every Prophet brought the same message, which is that cruelty, injustice, oppression and persecution should be eliminated. The Prophets admonished people to instead adopt love and sympathy for one another, or otherwise face God’s punishment. God says in the Quran that He is slow to punish people and is not hasty in unfurling His wrath. Even when punishment is mete out, it is for the purpose of bringing about reformation.

Was religion the cause of either of the two world wars that took place in the 20th Century? Or were those abhorrent wars based upon a desire for power, conquering lands, geo-political gains and greed?

The number of people suffered, injured and died in these two world wars is extremely horrific. Over 60 million people died in World War II alone. Moreover, in Hiroshima and Nagasaki the sufferings and effects of war are being felt to this very day, even after seven long decades.

I think it is a grave injustice to blame religion for the disorder in the land. I believe that the cause of prevailing unrest is because people have abandoned faith and are moving away from God Almighty.

Peace cannot be attained without adhering to the teachings of the true religion. Do the books of the prophets, for example the Torah or the Bible, advocate war and strife? The Bible goes as far as to exhort its followers to ‘turn the other cheek’. And then there are the holy teachings of the Quran with which no culture or political system can compete. As an example, only one verse of the Holy Quran is presented:

“Verily, Allah enjoins justice, and the doing of good to others; and giving like kindred; and forbids indecency and manifest evil and transgression.” (Ch.16:V.91)

If the admonitions in the above verse are heeded, every country and every nation would know nothing but peace. Allah exhorts us to:

1.    Abide by justice;

2.    Be benevolent;

3.    Show compassion to others as though they were our kith and kin;

4.    Refrain from, and admonish others to refrain from such vices as can be harmful and are known as blatant evil;

5.    Not transgress against good, beneficent, peace-loving governments and to exhort others likewise.

In other words we should be just, benevolent and compassionate; we should avoid indecency, blatant evil and transgression and we should save others from falling prey to these evils. These are the six basic commandments for the establishment of peace. If these six do’s and do not’s were put into practice, every country and every nation would see nothing but peace.

Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, the Supreme Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community explained clearly the purpose of religion saying: “The purpose of religion is to create a bond of love between God and mankind. It is to remove all prejudice and hatred. It is to establish the very highest standards of morality and justice. Religion is the name of that institution which creates a loving union between man and His Creator and inculcates sympathy and compassion between all people.”

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Mr Atif is the President of Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat Malta

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