The Living Religion (Part 1)
by Maulana Mustafa Khan
The Light (Pakistan), 16th March 1922 Issue (Vol. 1, No. 7, p. 2)
Religion in the West is only a lip profession. It has nothing to do with life. It is only a cloak to be put on, on Sundays.
Christianity, which is the prevailing religion in Western countries, has flourished in the West because it has no practical bearing on life. The very principle of atonement, which signifies that we have simply to rely upon the blood of Jesus, has made Christianity very popular, as it entails no effort, no tangible change on the part of the follower. That is why the religion has got a very insignificant position in the high of circles of society in Europe.
But in the East, religion has been a potent factor in the civilisation of the human race. With the Oriental, religion is life, not of this world only but of the next as well. The close contact of the European civilisation, however, has brought about a change in the old religions of the East, which had already lost their influence and ascendancy.
Hinduism, for instance, was originally a religion based upon philosophy and life, yet in recent time European civilisation has affected it tremendously. The result is that politics have become the central doctrine of the Hindu community and the religion is thrown in the background. At present, Hinduism is only a lip belief, without any practical responsibility, so far so that some time ago a very interesting question was raised as to the true definition of a Hindu, and leaders of the community decided that one who called himself a Hindu was a Hindu. This shows that the Hindu religion is only a profession. It is also an open secret that the Arya Samaj movement, which was originated with the reform of the old Brahmanism, has now entirely taken up a political position, and has forsaken the field of religion. Why is it so? Is religion a worthless thing? Is it merely to be talked about? No, the reason is that those religions — Christianity and Hinduism — have lost their influence. In other words, they are dead and have no signs of life. That is why they are losing ground in the East and the West.
But there is a religion which, in spite of its political downfall, is still living, and will live forever. It has still got the same attraction for humanity which it had about 1400 years ago; it has still the same influence of moulding human character and making it noble and sublime. It has still got the same fascinating influence over those who follow it. What has made Islam such a beautiful religion is too vast a subject to be dealt with in an article of a newspaper, but we will consider in our next issue some of the salient features of this great religion which has contributed in a considerable degree to the progress of the world.