Purpose of Religion: A Message To Young Generation
The following is an excerpt of His Holiness Younus AlGohar’s talk aimed at young people living in the West whose parents are religious.
You should not do anything blindfoldedly. Don’t just do everything that your parents have done. You should know what you are doing and the consequences of what you are doing. Before you do it, you should satisfy yourself that what you are going to do is good; it is not going to harm or hurt anybody and your hard work is not going to go into a waste. It should mean something.
If I am going to a mosque, I better make sure that by doing so, I please the Lord. If I am doing things incorrectly and imperfectly, and this action is not going to please God, then it is a total waste. Some people go to the mosque just for the sake of going there. They think, ‘If I don’t go there, maybe my friends will say, “He is a Muslim and he doesn’t even go to the mosque!”’ Or they worry about what their fathers will say. However, you want to go there if you think, by going there you will be pleasing the Lord.
The goal of practising a religion is to please the Lord, so then when he is pleased with you, he grants you with his love and you become a holy man.
Inquisitiveness of the Young Generation
When I went to the mosque for the first time, I didn’t want to go there. My father forced me. I didn’t even know why we should go to the mosque. When I grew up and I studied, I started to understand what means what. As a child, if your father is a Hindu, he will take you to a temple. If your father is a Christian, he will take you to a church. If your father is a Jew, he will take you to a synagogue. If your father is an alcoholic, he will take you to a bar.
What I am trying to tell people is: if you practise a religion, you must know why you practise a religion.
Sometimes, our mind doesn’t tell us what to do. The necessity tells us what to do. For example, if I am thirsty, my thirst will prompt me to drink water. If you ask somebody, ‘Why do you drink water?’ They will tell you, ‘Because we are thirsty’. If somebody says, ‘I don’t know, I’m just drinking,’ it doesn’t make any sense. We go to a restaurant to eat food, but if you don’t know why you are going to a restaurant, you’ll go there, watch people eating and drinking, and come back.
This is the case today. People ritualistically follow a religion, but they do not know why they should follow a religion.
As a child, I was obsessed with cricket. I played cricket all day. My teachers didn’t like it. They used to tell me, ‘You only play cricket when there is a free period. Everybody else is in the class; you are alone playing cricket.’ One day, he asked me, ‘Why do you come to school?’ I really didn’t know why.I had thought, ‘We go to school so that we put our books in the class and then go back into the ground and play cricket.’ Then after a few years, I found out that we come to school to study and cricket is just a game.
The educational system of the young generation in the United Kingdom, Europe, Canada and America, is different from the one we have in Pakistan. In Pakistan, where I grew up, people know everything, but they don’t know anything. For example, they memorise the words of the Quran and if you ask them, ‘What does it mean?’ They say, ‘Why should I know? I just know it.’
The educational system in these countries will stimulate your brain. In Pakistan, the teacher will hold the book and read and you listen. In the West, they ask you to do it. They guide you, but they don’t do it; they make you do things. This is when you learn.
In the West, the teacher will tell you, ‘I want to know what a mango is. So go into the library and collect as much information on mangoes as possible.’ Then you go there, do some research, make notes and bring it back to the teacher. This is how you learn. Back home in Pakistan, the teacher will explain everything and he thinks you have learned everything. In the countries where the educational system is good, they stimulate your brain.
This new generation wants to know, ‘Why should I go to a synagogue, why not a church or mosque?’
We are living in western society; it is not a Christian or Jewish society. It is based on secular values made by human beings; it is not Christian or Jewish values.
For example, you’re a student in school or college, and you have a girlfriend. If you both agree to sleep together, there is no harm in this according to secular values – whereas in Christianity, Islam and Judaism, this is not allowed. There is a system. If you want to have sex with a woman, you must marry them legally first.
So when this generation goes to school, they have this system where they can do anything; when they come back home, their Christian or Muslim mother and father say, ‘This is wrong.’ So they are confused about what to do now.
They have been brought up in an educational environment where they are only taught to have protected sex with anybody. Whereas in Islam, you can’t do that. Parents from Pakistan do not educate their children, but expect it from them to know everything. Sex is a taboo subject; they don’t want to talk about it. This is where they go wrong.
Parents need to discuss everything with their children. This is where they will train and educate their children.
In a similar way, we do not teach children the necessity of practising a religion because we do not know it ourselves. It is very unfortunate: we were born in a Muslim country, in a Muslim home, so we think that we own Islam, we have all the rights and we don’t need any knowledge. We think, ‘We have knowledge in our blood! This is why we are having problems.
I want to address the young generation: before you do anything, you must know what you are doing; whether it is good for you or bad for you. Whether you are making a genuine effort. Whether you’re doing it for the sake of God or you’re just doing it to please your father. If you worship God to please your father, God will be really disappointed.
Paradise and Hell
Paradise is material. This solar system has many planets. In addition to this solar system, there is another solar system: it is called the Angelic Solar System. Each paradise is a like planet, like Earth, Jupiter, the Sun or the Moon. Paradise is not a building or a garden. There are seven planets [for each paradise].
There are seven hells [which are each different planets] in another galaxy.
When you die, your body is buried or cremated here, and comes to an end. The angels will take your soul and you will be assembled before God for accountability. God will decide who he will send to paradise or hell. When it is decided by God that, ‘This person will go into paradise,’ his soul will be placed in a new physical body. That body will have no diseases or illness; it will never die.
This concept of life in paradise is a little different as it has been told. People go there, live there forever, and whenever they wish for something, it will be there. If I were in their shoes, I would get bored. It would be the same thing over and over.
Without love and companionship of God, this idea of luxurious life in paradise seems to me a bit dull.
It doesn’t suit me or fascinate me. I want to be with God, rather than being in paradise. I want to be in the Lord’s company day and night for eternity.
The way religions are being promoted and projected these days, more and more emphasis is being laid on rewards, not love of God. They say to serve and worship God for paradise. Even while you’re worshipping, you’re thinking about paradise. God is not even a secondary object.
The Primordial Times and Choice of Souls
God created souls with a specific purpose in his mind.
He created a group of souls and the purpose was that these souls should love him. Now, when they are born into this world, they don’t need to go to any college; the natural instinct in their soul will be to look for God.
Nobody will tell them, ‘Go love God.’ They will feel the thirst of God’s love. They are special people.
Then, God created some other souls with a purpose: to guide others. So they have this natural instinct in them to guide other. They were regarded as prophets, messengers and master.
So there are many different types of souls and then God created some ordinary souls. He created them all.
They were all assembled before him and then he showed them luxuries of the paradise and luxuries of the world. Then, God said it unto them, ‘Choose what you want.’ So a multitude of souls chose the luxuries of the world. Some other souls chose luxuries of paradise.
Then, for those who chose luxuries of paradise, God said to them, ‘In order to get this, you need to follow a religion.’ For those who chose luxuries of the world, there was no condition.
All these souls came into this world and then religions were established. Now, many souls who did not choose the luxuries of the paradise, they also became Muslims, Christians and Jews. They will never get to paradise because they never chose it. As a result, they never follow the religion perfectly. They create problems.