A very large proportion of the world population follows a faith in some form or another. They believe in supreme power and very often in His deities, in His angles, in His prophets and in His books of guidance.
Human wellbeing has two important segments; physical wellbeing and mental wellbeing and they are interlinked. Mental wellbeing plays a huge role in peoples’ life matters and has significant impact on their physical health.
Life is full of challenges. An average person faces difficulties on a daily basis, be it work related, health of self and dear ones, rivalry of various kinds at family and social levels, and relationships become very stressful at times.
We find ourselves helpless where despite our best efforts, we are unsure of outcomes in most of the life matters. The future always looks uncertain and worldly temptations leave an average person concerned most of the time.
People of faith find peace in their daily life through prayers and they seek refuge in their God in times of crisis.
The connection with the divine power elevates the psychological wellbeing of an individual. Spirituality and sacred dimension of it creates an amazing feeling and the human being finds oneself above the worldly affairs bringing ultimate peace to the heart and mind.
Billions of people with religious beliefs enjoy the advantage of having support from a supreme being, which even if unrealistic as atheists claim, has a huge psychological impact. Belief in the unseen is fundamental to the religious philosophy and scientific reasoning need not be sought to this aspect of human life.
Many religious scholars do relate scientific findings to what is mentioned in the holy books and claim that science is a spiritual as well as a temporal duty for people of faith.
Religions brought about huge social changes when they were launched by their founders. For example, serious social evils prevailed in the Arabia before the advent of Islam. Arabia was a male-dominated society. Women had no status other than as sex objects. A savage custom of the Arabs was to bury their female infants alive.
Drunkenness, gambling, slavery, prostitution were common. Slavery was an economic institution, male and female slaves sold and bought like animals and they formed the most oppressed section of the community. The most powerful were money-lenders who charged exorbitant interest on loans from ordinary people who had to borrow money for their urgent needs.
This system was designed to make them richer and the borrowers poorer. The tribal system of the time had no political organization, lawlessness was common and the system led very frequently to acts of horrendous cruelty.
Prophet Muhammad (s), apart from spiritual awakening of the highest form, established a perfect society in Madinah, abolishing the evil practices and establishing a civic society which was just and orderly, of highest moral values and great humanistic principles.
The Medinah model lead to birth of great civilizations for several centuries. Muslim rulers established governments which had set up the unrivalled intellectual centers of science, philosophy, medicine and education.
Within one hundred years of passing away of the holy prophet, the Islamic empire extended from the Atlantic Ocean in the west to Central Asia in the east. The subsequent empires of the Umayyads, Abbasids, the Fatimids, the Mughals, the Safavids, and Ottomans were among the largest and most powerful in the world.
Other religious founders also achieved great feats in their times.
Unfortunately rivalry among nations, following different religions, have raged for centuries resulting in conflicts and wars. However, for the vast majority of ordinary people, their religious faith was sacred and spiritual which offered them tranquillity and peace.
With industrial revolution couple of centuries ago, new political concepts emerged. With rise of communism and capitalism in various regions of the world, religion was not only sidelined but targeted. Political extremists used religion as a tool to incite the masses.
Over past few decades, Muslims have been in the firing line due to geopolitical factors, most importantly finding of oil wealth in the desert states of the Middle East and forced creation of the Jewish state of Israel through settlement of Jews who had lived in Europe for centuries.
In reaction to the atrocities of the world powers, both capitalist and communist, Muslim religious extremist groups were born.
Both radical left and radical right of modern times target religions and people of faith while pretending to be protecting them from each other.
Radical left makes a mockery of people’s faith. As they do not believe in God, they insult sacred religious institutions. They have no understanding of spirituality and do not respect people’s deepest faith in their religions which is very often the most valuable commodity in their lives. The communists do not refrain from insulting the holy books and the holy prophets, thus deeply hurting sentiments of hundreds of millions of religious followers.
Leftist’s powers have engaged in attacks and mass murders of ordinary religious people, solely because of their belief.
Slobodan Milošević, the Communists leader of Yugoslavia and his comrades orchestrated one of the worst massacres of Muslims in modern times. In today’s communist China, millions of Uyghurs are sent to concentration camps because of their religious beliefs and ethnicity.
Radical right, while defending their own religion, engage in vilifying other religions. Over past few decades, Muslims have been the target of several right-wing extremist groups around the world. Western powers encouraged mischievous people in hurting sentiments of Muslims by allowing them to insult the holy prophet and religious symbols in the disguise of freedom of expression.
In India, all minorities including Muslims, Christians and Sikhs have faced attacks from Hindu right-wing groups.
The Western powers, on one hand, have raised concern over human right issues of religious minorities in many countries including communist countries. However, at the same time, they have engaged in heinous crimes when they invaded Muslim countries over past few decades.
They killed millions of innocent civilians repeatedly that proved to be on false premises. Under the pretext of fighting terrorism, they invaded many countries, enslaved their people, looted their wealth and massacred men, women and children.
The modern day political schools have done huge harm to centuries old religious traditions creating chaos in societies and disturbing psychological well being of ordinary people.