What Is Religion?
Religion is the totality of divine laws. They are necessarily divine laws and can’t be human laws, as human laws are generated by the human composition and a composition always reinforces its own make-up and thus takes you back to the composition.
Divine laws on the other hand, are free of compositional restrictions. Rather, they enable one to overcome their composition and become moralized with the morals of Allah.
Hence when asked “What is religion?” the answer given by the Rasul (saw) was “Religion is a state of perfect morals” i.e. “the morals of Allah”.
Thus, it is the totality of divine laws which can be categorized into four:
The first are the laws that address human nature.
The second address the compositional make-up.
The third are related to knowing one’s essential reality.
And the fourth are the laws that enable one to know his Self…
Only the followers of Muhammad (saw) have been blessed with the last set of laws.
The previous three are from the perfection and nobility of other Nabis and Rasuls, while the last category is specifically for the followers of Muhammad (saw).
Now let’s say someone engages in certain practices to overcome their natural disposition. With some effort and determination this will lead them to other practices which will eventually enable them to reach some form of enlightenment. Yet they will never find the divine reality and hence end up in a state of suffering, or hell, regardless.
Religion is not just about overcoming your nature!
The religious practices that enable one to overcome their nature strengthen one’s spirituality while simultaneously saving them from the hellish state of being stuck in their nature.
If spirituality strengthening practices are insufficient the person will still be subject to a period of suffering…
Just because one can rule over their bodily nature does not guarantee them a place in paradise!
It may give one supernatural abilities in the world but as long as one lacks the sufficient spiritual strength they cannot attain paradise.
Only the actions prescribed by the divine laws can enable this…
The second set of laws regarding the composition are practices that allow one to adopt the morals of Allah.
Your morals are formed by your composition which are comprised of the divine names. But these names, when merged together to form your being, comprise your Rabb and you can’t overstep the laws of your Rabb.
The names that comprise your existence define your perspective and constantly preserve it. But as you begin to moralize with Allah’s morals your thoughts and perspectives begin to shift and change - which can only take place and be known with divine laws.
The laws related to one knowing his essential reality does not mean identifying with the absolute essence of existence!
In other words, claiming things like “Since the essence of existence is comprised of the divine forces that also comprise and compose my being, I am one and the same as the universe” are generated by philosophical analysis and do not reflect the reality. One who makes such claims has not found his reality. For this kind of self-discovery transpires at the level of acts. The self identifies with the universe, with the universal “consciousness” but all of it is taking place at the level of acts, rather than the level of Attributes, where the discovery should really be taking place.
Again, this can only be known, found and experienced with the religion of Islam.
Finally, the fourth set of laws are about discovering one’s absolute Self! This is based on the teachings of Muhammad (saw) aligned with the divine laws.
In short, if we say, “religion is the path to bliss” this will be an insufficient and inadequate claim. It is more correct to say, “Religion is the path that takes one to divine bliss” or “What allows one to reach true bliss is the totality of the divine laws”. As only through complying with these laws can one reach true happiness.
Alternatively, he may reach ‘natural’ happiness based on bodily pleasures, but the counterpart of this in the hereafter will be nothing less than the suffering of hell.
First, we talked about the physical make up of humans. Then we spoke about the presence of the One under the guise of a ‘human’… This leads us to explore what Islam and religion is… why it came, why it is necessary etc.
We established that a person has a specific composition, composed of divine names. A name-composition that forms a personality is what we call a “human.” Hence the word human refers to a specific composition of names. However, the laws that stem from the composition cannot constantly direct the future of the composition to bliss! For it is not possible for the name composition to change!
Only the laws coming from the divine level of attributes which is the essence of the name composition, the laws of the Absolute Self can alter, destroy and completely change the composition.
To put it simply, you can’t come out of a depression with the same mind-set with which you went into depression; you need a higher intellect, that’s why you ask for advice or seek therapy. How can you come out of a depression with the same mind that caused you to go into depression in the first place? You need the guidance of another intellect.
In the same way one can’t change his composition with his composition, as it is the composition itself that caused him to become the way he is. He needs the divine guidance and administration coming from the level of Attributes, i.e. from Allah, to override his current programming or to get to know his composition at a greater scale.
That’s why we said the totality of divine laws, not the totality of human laws.
Hence any and all religions stemming from ‘human’ laws cannot be a means to true salvation. The religion of Confucius can’t save humanity!
For despite containing some truths, which it obviously does since Confucius is also a composition of Allah, they are constrained and limited truths derived from a composition.
Truths that are born of one’s composition are not sufficient to enable one to overcome his compositional make-up and unite with Allah.
This is why humans can only reach salvation with the divine religion. Religious ways devoid of divine administration can never give salvation.
This is why “the religion in the sight of Allah is Islam” says the Quran, describing what religion is.
It is making it evident that religion is Islam and only Islam.
What does this mean though?
The result of a composition is its natural output and it is limited to the space it occupies, it can’t go further than that.
The religion of Islam however, encourages you to express the meanings of different names by advising you to engage in activities that will enable this.
It recommends certain practices to help you to activate and express the dormant qualities within you so that you may expand and enhance your composition, and fortify your spirit or spiritual energy.
So, what does the religion of Islam ask of us?
Firstly, it asks that we give our word of testimony…
To say “La ilaha illallah”, to actually witness this truth, and to accept the Rasul who has taught us this…
So, let us now explore the meaning of the word of testimony.