By Maulana Farooq Khan
There are three stages of religiosity. But as our attention is not drawn towards them, we don’t really understand them.
The first stage of religiosity can be described as a simple belief. This religiosity is limited merely to believe and follow the teachings of prophets. These teachings may include the oneness of the Creator, that we will go to Him after we die and the subsequent reward in the form of hell or paradise. The pious and devout people are those who follow His teachings, continue to fear Him throughout their lives and have hope that He will reward them for their piety in the life hereafter.
They have positive hopes from their lives, but continue to fear that some of their mistakes might destroy their long list of good deeds and fear the hellfire. In short, they realize they are not here in this world for eternity and will have to go in the presence of their Creator. Through their good deeds, they neither deny the presence of God nor refuse to accept His prophets. They also believe that the people who disregard the teachings and guidance of Allah and live a ‘free’ life will have to bear bad consequences.
The second stage of religiosity is that man not just accepts the Truth but uses logic and reasoning to come to that conclusion. He accepts the truth not because some people who are pious in his eyes have accepted it but he contemplates, thinks and gets convinced of the fact. He doesn’t feel that reasoning and logic are something futile, but seeks their help in finding the truth.
When he gets convinced, he not just accepts the truth but becomes a living example of religiosity. He not just follows the prophets in accepting the Truth, but in the process of contemplation he develops a sense of respect and honor for them. The beauty of this religiosity is that in this case man doesn’t feel intelligence and reasoning to be futile. He realizes that God has gifted him these powers to use them and not to let it destroyed in due course. He also concludes that if we don’t have a sense of deep conviction and belief, then despite being religious, we have not much to do with religiosity.
Without conviction and understanding, our religiosity cannot be of high quality. If there is no synergy between intelligence, heart and religiosity, then despite being associated with a particular religion, there would be no synergy in our religiosity. On the contrary, our personality may become divided between the two and both remain at war with each other. It may also lead us to become time-server in the long run.
There is a third stage of religiosity as well. This is the highest standard of piety and we cannot think of any level beyond it. This level of piety is not limited to just reasoning, intelligence and contemplation, but there is no veil between a man and the truth. If there is a slight veil, it is rather insignificant. An invisible light continues to guide the person and makes his way bright so powerfully that there is no doubt left.
The truth and its implications become embossed on his heart like direct revelation. The light of the truth continues to guide him and make his life luminous. Piety becomes part of his life like his own heartbeat. Religion becomes part of his identity and he no longer needs evidences for religious beliefs. It becomes a sense of joy, delight, happiness and ecstasy for him.
Three fundamental rules of life
The foundation of life is based on three fundamental rules including
1-Love, 2-Action and 3-Hope
If there is nothing in the life of a man that can become a talking point for him, give him emotional strength, provide him hope to live, spread smile on his face, light up his heart and mind, make him feel fortunate and propel him to work hard, struggle and give biggest sacrifices, he cannot live. He will commit suicide. This is the reason that man essentially loves someone or something.
The second golden rule of the life is the fact that man should be provided with an opportunity to accomplish something great. He cannot live without hard work, toil and struggle. In truth, life and struggle have the same meaning. A life where a man has nothing to do and nothing to accomplish, where he has no opportunity to use his energy to achieve something big in life is no life at all. If there is no struggle, hard work and resistance, it will kill the natural instincts and their growth. In truth, action is of paramount importance for the real life. Lack of action is akin to death. Life shouldn’t be like a desert. There is no greenery in desert, no trees where birds can rest, no gardens where nightingales can sing their melodious songs, flowers can bloom and spread their mesmerizing smell all around.
The third most important rule of life is hope and optimism. A real life is one that has some hope, anticipation and desire. Hope is the hot spring from where the life gets energy. Can you imagine a man on the face of earth who neither has hope nor desire or dreams? It is on the strength of hope that man dreams. He dreams for great future. Perhaps this is the best part of the life.
Dreams can transform even dirt and dust into magnificent human beings. If there are no hopes, anticipation and desire, man is nothing but a mere dust.
What has been said in the above lines, can give you a precise idea about the importance of these three basic rules of life. On this basis, it can be safely said that the ideology, religion or faith can only be true when it guides humans from these three important angles.
If you contemplate, you will realize that Islam stands perfectly on this maxim. It teaches humans to realize the importance of the feeling of love, guides him to achieve the knowledge of God through this feeling of love and then love Him with all his powers and energy. It is Allah who provides peace, serenity and joy in life and His remembrance gives peace to an otherwise troubled and restless heart. If a man is devoid of the feeling of love, his life will become so dry that he will have nothing to look forward to or nothing to enjoy. Lifelong gloom will be his fate. Islam has taken complete care of this aspect of life. Qur’an says:
“The believers are those who love Allah the most”.
At another place, Qur’an says:
“Verily, the remembrance of Allah provides peace and tranquility of heart.”
Later, Qur’an says that right deeds are the basic aspects of faith. Qur’an repeatedly mentions faith with pious deeds. This means that faith without good deeds is meaningless. Without deeds, faith can be meaningless, worthless and hollow. The sort of emphasis that Islam puts on this aspect is simply unprecedented.
Hope and aspirations are related to the third golden rule of life. This is the rule that connects our present to future. Man dreams of the permanent life through the lenses of hope and anticipation. Qur’an says that man is created for the permanent life.
Paradise has been created for him as the Pleasure of God. The delights of life and happiness in this world are also created for him and if there is the provision of death, it is only to ensure that through it the man can enter that permanent life that will survive forever and will never end.