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Chapter 6.
6. Necessary Qualities of a Religion.

So far, I have been explaining the need of religion in a general term.

Now let me enumerate what should be the qualities of a religion, if it is to fulfil the needs mentioned above.

  1. First of all, Religion must satisfy the intelligence and intellect of the Man.
  2. Of course, there are many religions whose motto is "First believe, then you can understand." Frankly speaking, such religions retard the mind and should be termed (and are in fact called) "anti-intellect."

    Islam, as explained by the Shia Ithna-asheri faith, gives foremost place to intellect and reason. "Intellect" is one of the four basic sources of Shia Ithna-asheri sheriat. Not only this. This faith emphasizes that the matter of faith Must be understood by the believer by his own reasoning.

  3. Religion must teach and practise dignity of man.
  4. There are religions which demand that its followers should prostrate before the pictures or statues of some human beings or some animals or other inanimate things.

    Such religions degrade their followers to the furthest extent, and should be condemned as such.

    Some other religions teach the superiority of one race or caste over others.

    It was Islam which was and is the pioneer of the equality of mankind and which, for the first time in the history of religions, taught and practised the human brotherhood, equality and equity, and presented the dignity of humanity as a fact to the astonished eyes of the mankind.

  5. Religion must be a complete guide to develop human body, mind and spirit as a whole.
  6. There are some religions which put too much emphasis on spiritualism and ignore the body and mind; there are others which have a great deal to say on physical or intellectual advancement.

    Such religions cannot take their followers very far, because the development taught by them is lop-sided.

    It is only Islam, as explained by Shia Ithna-asheri faith, which develops a person as a whole - body, mind and soul all together.

  7. Religion must have a complete code of life.
  8. Religions just preaching to "love thy neighbour" without showing the way, are useless when faced with the practical problems. Islam has a complete code of life which guides a man in his family life, social commitments, financial matters, moral and ethical behaviour perfectly.

  9. Religion must be in conformity with the human nature.
  10. There are religions which tend to ignore the nature of man. For example, some religions teach celibacy. They declare by their behaviour (if not in so many words) that the Creator made a mistake in creating sexual urge in human beings. Also, they forget (or pretend to forget) that natural instincts cannot be crushed, and that such impositions tend to lead the person to secret liasons.

    And, I wonder what would be the future of humanity if all the mankind become the practising followers of such a religion? Surely, the mankind would be extinct within a space of 40 or 50 years.

    Needless to say that such a religion cannot lead mankind to prosperity, because by its nature such religion is against continuity of humanity.

  11. Religion should not be a tool in the hands of oppressor to suppress the masses.

Many religions are rightly accused by the atheists of being just an instrument of the feudal overlords to suppress the oppressed masses and muffle the voice of protest. Such religions, for example, taught the theory of 'Predestination'. Thus, the masses were lulled to believe that all the evil doings, tyranny, and wickedness of the ruling classes were just a manifestation of the Will of God; therefore, such thing should be foreborn without any protest.

Such religions have no place in this enlightened century. It is only Islam, as explained by the Shia Ithnaasheri faith, which said that such a belief was humbug, that every man is responsible for his own actions and that its responsibility should not be shifted upon God. It will appear from the above criteria that among the vast multitudes of the world religions, it is only the Islam (Shia Ithna-asheri faith) which fulfills all the necessary conditions of a true and "enlightened religion.

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Yasir Al-Filkawi
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