Essay No. 61:
Religion Is A Benefactor Of Mankind: I agree with the statement which regards religion as a benefactor of mankind. The man before the advent of religion worshipped many things like the moon, the sun and other objects of nature. He derived consolation by worshipping the different objects of nature. According to the Quran, it was Prophet Abraham (AS), who first of all, laid down the basis of scientific observation.
He reasoned out that the moon which rose and disappeared could not be God as it were incapable of listening to the solicitations made by man. The Prophet argued that only He could be the God who regulated the working of the entire universe in a harmonious way. The man was prey to superstitions before receiving the message of religion.
The Arabs were idolaters. They worshipped different idols which they thought could hear their supplications to fulfil their worldly desires. They buried their newly-born daughters and were prey to various kinds of evil practices. With the coming of Islam, the Arabs were drastically changed. The Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) brought about a revolution in them. Islam gave them the message of the unity of God and delivered them from various kinds of superstitions.
The concept of Oneness of God has a profound influence on man’s life. It frees him from the influence of evil forces, as man seeks protection from God, the marker of the worlds. Religion gives the message to man that apart from looking to his material needs, he should also look to the spiritual calls of life. He is a combination of matter and spirit. One should not be developed at the cost of the other.
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The message is clear: ‘Man does not live by bread alone’. This is a saying of the Bible, which is endorsed by the Quran as well. Islam thus requires believers not to neglect the development of the soul. It stands for the development of the body as well as of the soul. Islam gives a balanced view of life. The west, particularly after the advent of the Industrial Revolution, embraced the whole hog. It began to pursue material comforts of life. It neglected the inner side of the soul in man.
It has thus evolved a materialistic mode of living. Materialism has entered into the life of man, which has in a way eclipsed the spiritual side of life. While the West has neglected the spiritual side of life, the East has gone too far with religion. Religion mostly has been used as opium, which has driven people away from material progress. Both the East and the West are two distinct entities, one characterized excessively by religion and the other by materialism.
Religion in Pakistan has been deployed as a weapon by the elite classes, comprising the capitalists, the industrialists, the bureaucrats to perpetuate their hold. The theocracy overtly or covertly acts as a tool to advance the interests of the ruling mafia. Religion is exploited to promote the interests of the said mafia.