Keep Your Religion First

By Imam Abdullah El-Amin, TMO

Quite often I hear from young people in our religion who have many questions about the Qur’an, hadiths, and the application of both to our daily lives. Many are questioning presumed misogynist ideas of some Muslim men. Some are questioning whether the rote rituals are necessary, or if they’re even a part of the religion.. Some are even questioning whether it is necessary to be a Muslim at all – or any organized religion for that matter. I’ve heard them say “I’m a good person. I don’t smoke, drink, treat people badly or any such things.” They say that they don’t feel it necessary to pray five times a day, or even perform salat in the traditional way of the Muslims.

They do bring up a point, especially when they point to people who pray five or more times a day, attend the masjid every Jumah prayer, and can quote Qur’an scriptures from memory better than some people can read them from the Book; and, at the same time, be some of the worst people around.

But there are things we need to look at before we try to lessen the importance of organized religion – especially the last and universal perfected religion – Al-Islam.

First of all, human beings have too much responsibility to go it alone. We are the Khalifa. We have the responsibility of overseeing the entire world. But the overseer is not the owner. He just carries out the overseers directives.

Can you imagine what the world would be like if everyone did their own thing according to their own mindset? If everyone drove their cars without regard for traffic lights, it would be virtually impossible to get to your destination without being in numerous accidents.

Religious doctrines and directives do pretty much the same thing; just on a higher level. We humans are so complex and have such amazing abilities that nothing, short of reaching ALLAH, is impossible for us. We can fly higher than the birds. Go to the deepest depths of the oceans – and, overcome whatever is living there. So with each one of us possessing so much power, it is easy for us to start believing we are ‘gods,” and you know that’s a problem for there is only One ALLAH.

We need guidance. The opening chapter of the Qur’an, Al Fatiha, is only recognizing the Omnipotence and Omnipresence of ALLAH and asking Him for guidance. The next chapter starts off telling you it’s Al Qur’an that has the guidance and also tells you those that will receive that guidance. If you lived your life without Divine guidance, you would do things like commit adultery just because you “feel” like it. But we all know it is one of the major sins and causes untold heartache in the individual, the couple, their families, the community, and the entire society. Lower animals can indulge, but they do not have human sensibilities and human consciousness, or human responsibility.

Make no mistake about it; religion is necessary for human beings. The Law, guidance, and Wisdom keeps help keep us on the sensible, straight path. Prophet David says in scripture, “Oh how I love the Law as it keeps me pure and whole.”

The rituals of salat are important for us. Salat 5 times a day gives us discipline which is necessary for an orderly life. To submit yourself to ALLAH when you may not feel like it, lets ALLAH occupy the highest levels of your consciousness.

ALLAH is so merciful that just consciously following His directives gets you 10 times the reward for that good deed. Just refusing to do wrong gets you the benefit of consciously doing one good deed. Just the thought of that blessing makes you superior over any other human being on your level.

The trick in getting the benefits of following this organized religion is to first, believe. Then apply the plain, simple instructions to your life. You cannot fail. ALLAH says so.

As Salaam alaikum
(Al Hajj) Imam Abdullah El-Amin


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