Home » Columns » RELIGION: A commercial undertaking???

RELIGION: A commercial undertaking???

Publishing Date : 28 January, 2019

IQBAL EBRAHIM
UNDERSTANDING ISLAM



Allah Almighty declares in the Holy Qur’an: O people of the book….worship none but Allah; that we associate no partners with Him; that we do not erect, from among ourselves Lords and patrons other than Allah. (Quran 3: 64).  Do not, then, claim that there is any power that could rival God, when you know the truth.” (Qur’an 2 : 21-22)


In this verse of the Holy Qur’an, The Almighty speaks of the futility of worshipping others besides Him.  He addresses humanity to direct all acts of worship to Him alone. He is their Creator and Lord. Allah is the One who created us into being out of nothingness. Whilst Islam is very clear about the belief of an individual, as stated in the following verse in the Quran: ‘Let there be no compulsion in Religion; truth stands out clear from error; whoever rejects evil and believes in Allah has grasped the most trustworthy hand-hold, that never breaks’ (Quran 2: 256)


Lately we have witnessed an ‘explosion’ in the number of so-called ‘New’ churches being formed – these are the subject of focus, not the older established ones that have existed and have been known for years. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) spoke of the proliferation of false prophets and imposters when he said: “In the end times men will come forth who will fraudulently use religion for worldly ends and wear sheepskins in public to display meekness. Their tongues will be sweeter than sugar, but their hearts will be hearts of wolves”. And, “The Last Hour will not come before there come forth imposters, each presenting himself as an apostle of Allah (God)”.


Read what the Bible says: “But understand this that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people”. (2 Timothy 3: 1-5)
Are we entering the ‘last days’? How do you explain the explosion in the number of those claiming to be prophets?


Yes, we all know about those people. Just look around and observe the many imposters who lay claim to be ‘prophets’, having received ‘revelations’ masquerading as religious men and women of God.  The Qur’an warns these people; ‘Who can be more wicked than one who invents lies against Allah….. who says, ‘it has been revealed to me’, when nothing has been revealed to him….if you could see how the wicked fare in the throes of death….a penalty of shame that you used to tell lies against Allah….(Quran 6:93).  


The Bible also warns: ‘Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves’. (Matt 7: 15). ‘I have not sent these prophets…I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied….I have heard what the prophets said...saying I have dreamt…..yea they are prophets of deceit… (Jeremiah 23: 21 - 28).


Whilst it is the constitutional right of anyone to follow his / her own belief; there arises a problem because it appears that the objective of some of the founding fathers of these new churches is just to bleed their gullible congregation dry of their money. Many have been formed just to ‘raise’ money for the church founders and leaders.  Remember you cannot buy God’s favour with money, I remind them to read the Bible: “Thy money perishes with thee because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money”. (Acts 8; 20).  Surely, God is not in need of money or any form of wealth – so where does it go to is a question that adherents should ask.      


It is amazing the number of ‘churches’ that are springing up in Botswana and their leaders  laying claim to being a ‘prophet’, ‘prophetess’, bishop, minister, and even claiming to be the ‘chosen one’ and the word ‘anointed’ often creeps up. The word anointed amuses me whenever I read it because it means; to be ‘smeared’, rubbed with oil; there was even one who sprayed the congregants with Doom insect spray. One can only label him as the Prophet of Doom. The only anointment that some of these fake ‘prophets’ need is to be tarred and feathered like In the days of old, when any person who was a nuisance to society was publicly smeared with tar and feathered!


Today we have ‘priests’ of dubious credentials, who overnight establish these churches – unfortunately many of them are nothing but business ventures disguised as ‘a church’ and indirectly smear the name of Christianity as a religious belief and tradition. Nowhere in the religious texts does it say that we should collect money to fund the lavish lifestyle of a church leader


We only have to look at these church leaders high and expensive lifestyles; leaders who promise ‘miraculous riches’ to their followers and in return literally siphon thousands of pula from their (gullible) adherents. What they are doing is to sell the name of God for the miserable price of a personal gain. “For the love of money is the root of all evil; which while some coveted after, they have erred from faith and pierced themselves through with many sorrows”. (Bible: 1 Timothy 6; 10). Think about this one: He who serves God only for money will serve the devil for a better wage.


Has mankind degenerated and sunk to such a low moral point that there are some who are willing to use God’s name for their personal benefit? Have they forgetting that one day we all have to die and they will be called to account for their actions.  ‘Miserable is the price for which they have sold their souls, in that what they deny the revelation which God has sent down…and humiliating is the punishment of those who reject faith’ (Qur’an 2:90)


Apart from preaching a ‘Gospel of Prosperity’, (for themselves), we also read with disgust of the antics of some of these religious leaders who have illegal love affairs with members of their congregation; It is frightening that some of these new found churches are led by, of course with a few exceptions, charlatans with loose morals and this is directly against Biblical teachings.
 

Religion is not only a set of rituals and of performing certain duties; it is an all-embracing system that Believers take as a way of life. It means that our intentions, deeds and actions must be based on firm belief, good intentions and the awareness of our Creator. It is therefore a duty of the believer to make every effort to guide people to the right path by reminding them of their duty to their Creator; by spreading the ‘good word’ but more especially leading by example.


This world is but a passing phase we therefore have to change our lifestyles and bring God back into our lives, failure to do so will bring us eternal damnation ....’and if any of you turn back from their faith and die in unbelief, their works will bear them no fruit in this life and the Hereafter; they will be the companions of the fire and will abide therein’. (Qur’an 2:217). People! Let us find our way to God Almighty through genuine and sincere prayer not through the promise of purchasing His favours via your ‘donation’ – God asks for your heart and soul, not your money.

Cartoon

Polls

Do you think the courts will help put the UDC, BMD impasse within reasonable time ahead of the 2019 General Election?

banner_14.jpg
banner_12.jpg

POPULER BRANDS