This title of this article may seem paradoxical taking into account the fact that I am a Muslim, a member of the Islamic community, and am part of a religion. However, let me say I am not impressed with religion as it is presently understood by most people in the world. In the course of this writing, I wish to explore this bold assertion that all religions of this world have failed.
Before I delve into the subject matter of this article, I must present my understanding of the Islamic faith.
Islam is an Arabic term which means submission to the will of God. Islam as I understand it is a way of life revolving around the principles of faith, charity, prayer, fasting and pilgrimage (physically and spiritually). I understand it as a way of cultivating ones personal relationship with the Creator or ALLAH. Therefore, though I come under the banner of a world's religion, I function by the universal principles of faith and avoid the dogmatism and sectarianism.
Am I including Islam in my denouncement of religions failure? Absolutely! I believe, in essence, the principles of faith are perfect and good for all of humanity, however the way religion has been presented to humanity has been more a slave making tool than a liberating force. I believe in the truth of Almighty God and the word that was revealed to the prophets were absolutely correct in their original form.
The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan on Oct 19th 2008 spoke of this religious failure at the dedication of the flagship Mosque of the Nation of Islam, Mosque Maryam.
" A ll of the scriptures of the Torah, Injil (Gospel) and Qur'an talk about Adam. Did God give him the way? We call it" religion, "but that is man's invention. We ask each other" What is your religion? What is your religion? What is your religion? "No! We should be asking" What is the nature in which God created you? "That is the way. The real religion of God is this:" Obey My commands. "That is the right way, but Most men know not …. May I humbly say religion, as it is being preached and practiced, is a failure. Not some religions-all of them. "
It was the misrepresentation of religion by a father that caused a young Karl Marx to become disillusioned with religion and to formulate the idea that "Religion is the opiate of the masses." It is similar disillusionment with religion that is creating a backlash anti-religion movement today.
What is religion and how has religion failed the human being?
"The ultimate origins of Latin religio are obscure. It is usually accepted to derive from ligare" bind, connect "; probably from a prefixed re-ligare, ie re (again) + ligare or" to reconnect. "This interpretation is favored by modern scholars "( Religion partial definition from Wikipedia)
Taking the above definition into account it can be said that religion is supposed to reconnect us to our Creator. The scriptures of the Bible and Qur'an teach that the human being was created in the image and likeness of God and of his essence.
If we scan the lives of the prophets and spiritual men of the Bible, we do not find them prescribing to any particular religious doctrine by name. From Adam, the supposed 1st man, to Jesus there is no religion named for the divine spiritual teachers. However, we find similar principles practiced by all of the prophets that unite them in oneness. These principle are a belief in the One God, prayer, charity, service to humanity, struggle against personal weakness and occasional fasting.
This is the way the faith of Islam has been taught to me by my teachers The Most Hon. Elijah Muhammad and The Hon. Louis Farrakhan. This understanding of the universality of faith allows me to hear truth whether it is presented in the Church, Mosque, Temple or from a Muslim, Christian, Jew, agnostic.