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Chapter 15: Spiritual but not religious

During the Axial Age, the world saw the appearance of major religious ideologies. The last major worldwide religion to appear is Islam which rose in Arabia in the 7th Century. At present there is also a growing group of religiously unaffiliated people who do not identify themselves with any particular religion. Though they may not be linked to a particular religion, many of them do claim to be spiritual.1

According to a 2017 Pew Research Survey, 27% of Americans stated they are spiritual but not religious which is up by 8% compared to 2012. In addition, another 48% claimed in this survey to be both religious and spiritual, down from 59% in 2012. Overall this shows that while affiliation with a particular religious tradition has gone down, but still 75% of the surveyed Americans claim to be spiritual.2

So what does it mean to be spiritual? It can have many different meanings for different people. But a general definition of “spiritual” is something sacred, higher, valuable, meaningful that a person wants to achieve. For some people it is a connection with nature that defines their spirituality. So spirituality is something more than just the pursuit of material possessions in one’s daily life. This desire in the majority of the population to be spiritual, even amongst those who do not follow a particular religion, points towards an inherent understanding amongst us that there is something higher and more valuable out there than just the material possessions of this worldly life.

Generally speaking, to be considered religious is to have certain beliefs, perform certain rituals, and avoid certain acts - whereas to be spiritual is to aim for something higher and more meaningful. Some individuals confuse these two terms and think that to be religious is something separate from being spiritual.

In my understanding, the purpose of following a religion is to be more spiritual. If someone wants to be spiritual without following particular beliefs and practices then they will not advance in their spirituality. On the other hand, those who rigorously follow religious practices without focusing on their spirituality are simply going through the actions without understanding their meaning and purpose.

Religion is the path towards spirituality.

In the context of Islam, to be spiritual means to be closer to God. Any concept of spirituality that is devoid of God is a false concept of spirituality. To be spiritual only makes sense in the context of belief in one eternal self-existing reality of God, but everything else is like being caught in the shadow of that reality. Being closer to God does not mean covering any physical distance because He is closer to us than our jugular vein, as the Qur’an says:

وَلَقَدْ خَلَقْنَا الْإِنْسَانَ وَنَعْلَمُ مَا تُوَسْوِسُ بِهِ نَفْسُهُ وَنَحْنُ أَقْرَبُ إِلَيْهِ مِنْ حَبْلِ الْوَرِيدِ

We created a human being and We know what (dark) suggestions his mind makes to him. We are nearer to him than even (his) jugular vein. (Qur’an, Surah Qaf, 50:16).

Being closer to God means to manifest God’s attributes in our being and this is only achieved by having faith and performing the religious obligations.

Human beings are multi-dimensional, with physical, mental and spiritual aspects to their existence. If someone is expected to reach a height of 5 feet 8 inches, but due to malnourishment or a chronic illness reaches only to a height of 5 feet 2 inches, then such an individual will be considered as physically limited. Similarly some individuals are mentally challenged with significantly lower IQ than others. But what we do not realize is that many of us may not be physically or mentally deficient but are spiritually challenged. We do not reach the spiritual potential that we are capable of achieving for various reasons, including not acknowledging the spiritual aspect of our existence.

Spirituality is a path to tread on and with spiritual growth there is an actual inner transformation in our being as one moves from stage to stage. Take the example of life cycle of a butterfly which goes through different stages of development starting from larva, then transforming into pupa and then finally a beautiful butterfly. With spiritual growth we should become “butterfly” but many of us fail to achieve our potential and remain spiritually underdeveloped.

لَتَرْكَبُنَّ طَبَقًا عَنْ طَبَقٍ

You will surely travel from stage to stage. (Qur’an, Surah al-Inshiqaq, 84:19).

Some people are of the view that they can be more spiritual without necessarily following the religious practices. They are like those patients who want to control their diabetes without taking medication or controlling their diet or doing exercise. The only path to spirituality is through sincerely performing the religious practices and avoiding those things that damage our soul such as lying or cheating, etc. The path of religion is the program or regimen that one must follow to progress in spirituality. The daily prayers (al-salat), fasting (al-sawm), charity (al-zakat), being conscious of others’ rights (huquq al-ʿibad) are some of the prescriptions that one needs to achieve spirituality.

On the other hand, it may be that some people appear to follow religion strictly, but do not show any improvement in their spirituality. Their practice of religion appears to have no impact on their souls. This may be because they are not sincere in their practice or they lack insight into what they are doing; but one cannot enhance spirituality without following a religion.

In order to understand how to enhance our spirituality it is very important to understand the soul.3

Imam ʿAli (‘a) has said:

Whoever knows his soul knows his Lord.

In the last chapter I discussed the human soul based on the teachings of Mulla Sadra. Building on this further, the soul is a meta-physical reality which is our true essence. All of our beliefs, actions, consciousness, thoughts and emotions are from our soul - we are our soul. Every thought that we contemplate, every decision that we make, every word that we speak, every voice that we hear, every look that we cast, and every action that we perform - has an impact on our soul. Our soul is being shaped every moment by what we are doing; and there is no escape from our actions. In this regards, the Qur’an tells us:

وَاتَّقُوا يَوْمًا تُرْجَعُونَ فِيهِ إِلَى اللّٰهِ ۖ ثُمَّ تُوَفَّىٰ كُلُّ نَفْسٍ مَا كَسَبَتْ وَهُمْ لَا يُظْلَمُونَ

And guard yourself against (the evil of) the day when you shall be made to return to God; then every soul shall be paid in full for what it has accomplished, and no injustice shall be done to them. (Qur’an, Surah al-Baqarah, 2:281).

Our soul has certain faculties which merit further discussion here.

The animal aspect of our soul carries two important faculties. They are called:

1. Concupiscence (Arabic: al-Shahwah)

2. Irascible (Arabic: al-Ghadhab)

The concupiscence faculty gives rise to desires and lusts for various things which are only satisfied by obtaining them. These include a desire for food, material possessions and sexual pleasure. The irascible faculty gives rise to the desire to dominate or overcome any potential adversary and is manifested as anger.

These faculties are not bad in themselves, in fact they are necessary for our survival. Due to concupiscence, we obtain desirable things for ourselves which ensures our survival, and through the power of the irascible self, we fight off dangers and overcome undesirable situations. These two faculties should be under the control of the rational soul which is responsible for reason and intellectual tasks.

If the faculty of desire goes out of the control of the intellect, then a person will become greedy, selfish and gluttonous. Whereas if the faculty of anger goes out of control, then a person will become bad tempered, violent and oppressive. The task of a rational soul is to keep these two faculties under the control of the intellect.

Just as our body can develop various physical ailments and illnesses, our souls too can develop various spiritual diseases. The most important of these are arrogance, greed and jealousy.4 Most other spiritual diseases spring from these three main spiritual diseases. All of the human sufferings in our personal, family and social lives are due to the presence of these spiritual illnesses and so, one of the main tasks of having faith and following the religion is to purify or cleanse the soul of these spiritual ailments as we cannot improve our spirituality without spiritual cleanliness:

وَنَفْسٍ وَمَا سَوَّاهَا فَأَلْهَمَهَا فُجُورَهَا وَتَقْوَاهَا قَدْ أَفْلَحَ مَنْ زَكَّاهَا وَقَدْ خَابَ مَنْ دَسَّاهَا

And the (human) soul and That (Mighty Lord) Who made it perfect, Then He revealed to it (the soul, the ways of) its evil and its righteousness. One who purifies it (his soul), certainly succeeds. And he indeed is ruined who corrupts it. (Qur’an, Surah al-Shams, 91:7-10).

The act of spiritual cleanliness has been termed as “al-tazkiyah” which is similar to removing “weeds from the ground”. Arrogance, greed and jealousy are like “weeds” in our soul, and unless we remove them we are not able to “grow” spiritually. This is a must for any spiritual growth.

Spiritual cleanliness begins with faith in God and the hereafter. There can be no substantial spiritual improvement without having faith in God. Those who neglect God are only hurting themselves by neglecting their own souls:

وَلَا تَكُونُوا كَالَّذِينَ نَسُوا اللّٰهَ فَأَنْسَاهُمْ أَنْفُسَهُمْ ۚ أُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الْفَاسِقُونَ

And do not be like those who gave God up so that He too made them give their ownselves up. It is they who are downright sinners. (Qur’an, Surah al-Hashr, 59:19).

Many people preach morality and ethics without faith in God. They claim that they can use reason alone to be moral and thus do not need monotheism. As discussed in Chapter 11, our view point is that, yes, basic morality can be achieved using reason alone, but in order to progress on this path, monotheism and the practice of religion is essential. We need both reason and revelation to enhance our spirituality and improve our morality.

To progress spiritually we must remove the ailments of arrogance, greed and jealousy from our soul; and this can only be achieved by firm belief in monotheism.

Let me elaborate this further.

If a person has a firm belief in monotheism, then that individual will know that all that they have is from God. Their physical appearance, family lineage, knowledge, education, wealth, fame, even their very existence is totally dependent on God. Whatever they have achieved is through His favor:

وَاللّٰهُ الْغَنِيُّ وَأَنْتُمُ الْفُقَرَاءُ

Otherwise God is Self-sufficient (having no needs) and it is you who are the needy ones. (Qur’an, Surah Muhammad, 47:38).

Our own efforts definitely play a role in things, but it is meaningless without the Divine opportunity and support. If people have this understanding of the reality, then there is very little room for arrogance as it is only with a correct understanding of monotheism that we can root out arrogance.

Similarly, if our lives are bound by Divine mashia, qadar, and qadha (See Chapter 5), then what belongs to us will find its way to us and what does not belong to us will not come and we would not regret not having it. This understanding of the reality helps overcome greed. Moreover, the true success or failure is in the hereafter, therefore there is no need to be excessively happy on gaining something or overly sad on losing something:

لِكَيْلَا تَأْسَوْا عَلَىٰ مَا فَاتَكُمْ وَلَا تَفْرَحُوا بِمَا آتَاكُمْ ۗ وَاللّٰهُ لَا يُحِبُّ كُلَّ مُخْتَالٍ فَخُورٍ

That you may neither grieve over that (good) which is lost to you, nor exult because of that which He has granted you. God has no love for all those who are haughty and boastful. (Qur’an, Surah al-Hadid, 57:23).

This is the correct neutral position of detachment (Arabic: al-zuhd) vis-a-vis worldly possessions. The term zuhd does not mean not to possess anything, but rather zuhd means that we are not possessed by anything.

Following the same line of thinking, if everything truly belongs to God, then how can one be jealous of something that another person has? It is He who has given, so one should be satisfied with what others have as it is coming to them from God (See Chapter 8 about ʿubudiyya). There is no need to be jealous over other people’s success.

Therefore, monotheism is necessary to remove arrogance, greed and jealousy from the soul. The stronger our understanding of the reality of monotheism is, the higher our spirituality will be; the higher our spirituality is, the closer we will get to God; the closer we are to God, the more we will manifest His attributes in us. In other words, those who are more spiritual or closer to God, have more compassion, mercy, kindness, justice, benevolence, knowledge, wisdom, forbearance, love, truthfulness and independence from others and what others have. They will feel full, content, and relaxed in their own being, unaffected by what is happening around them. Through their spirituality, they are connected to the source of “Light upon light.”

One of the ways to know our spiritual status is to see how much dependent we feel on others. How much do we rely on others’ help or assistance? Again, the point is not to be socially isolated, but to realize that every possession that we have and every relationship that we have, and everything around us is temporary and dependent on something else, and it could change or walk out of our lives or be taken away from us at any point. The stronger our connection is with the Reality of all realties, (i.e. God), the less we will feel dependent on shadows. Those who are soaked in monotheism - the friends of God - are at peace with themselves, they emanate contentment and their company even relaxes other people:

أَلَا إِنَّ أَوْلِيَاءَ اللّٰهِ لَا خَوْفٌ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَا هُمْ يَحْزَنُونَ

Behold! The friends of God, neither fear shall overwhelm them, nor shall they (ever) remain in grief. (Qur’an, Surah Yunus, 10:62).

Another important point should be mentioned here is that spirituality does not come by merely reading or writing about it or attending a seminar on spirituality. One has to really struggle against the soul and its base desires; it is a life-long practice in which every aspect of a person’s life style helps shape their spirituality. It is a stepwise program in which a person progresses, or regresses based on what they believe and how they live. In other words, spirituality is a practical science, not just a theoretical discourse. The final destination is God and people are at different levels and stages in their ascent towards God, some are conscious of this motion, while others are oblivious to it, bewildered by worldly pursuits and goals.

It must be cautioned that some people in the society use spirituality for their own material gains. They sell “spirituality” by offering expensive courses or seminars. They seek fame and following for their apparent spiritual conduct. But this “spiritual materialism” is the worst form of materialism in which one is using spiritual knowledge or insight to earn money or seek fame. Beware of such traps!

Religious Pluralism

There are several different religions in the world with millions of adherents. Most of the time people adhere to the religion in which they were born or which is followed by their family, with a few exceptions when people give up on the religion of their birth and start following a different ideology. A question that is often asked is that: Is there only one religion that God wants us to follow as opposed to all other religions and ideologies? If there is only one true religion, then what will happen to the people who are born into other religions and by default follow that way of life? If there is no one religion that is better than others, then does it really not matter what religion a person follows?5 This question troubles many believers, as well as non-believers and requires some further discussion.

It should be kept in mind that this book has been written from the perspective of Islam. With that said, Muslims believe that the last revelation to humanity available to us today is the Qur’an and this text clearly states that the only acceptable religion with God is Islam:

إِنَّ الدِّينَ عِنْدَ اللّٰهِ الْإِسْلَامُ وَمَا اخْتَلَفَ الَّذِينَ أُوتُوا الْكِتَابَ إِلَّا مِنْ بَعْدِ مَا جَاءَهُمُ الْعِلْمُ بَغْيًا بَيْنَهُمْ ۗ وَمَنْ يَكْفُرْ بِآيَاتِ اللّٰهِ فَإِنَّ اللّٰهَ سَرِيعُ الْحِسَابِ

Decidedly, the true faith acceptable to God is Islam. Those who were given the Scripture were not at variance except after the knowledge had come to them; (their differences were) due to mutual envy and to spite one another. And whoso denies the Messages of God (should bear in mind that) then God indeed is Quick at reckoning. (Qur’an, Surah Ale ʿImran, 3:19).

The expectation from mankind today is that they should adopt the latest and most comprehensive ideology – Islam - in their lives. There are many analogies which we can give for the variations of Divine monotheistic religions however the one which I present here is that the various religions are like the different versions of the Windows OS in the computer. Every few years, we have a new version of the OS with more enhanced features. The latest version has the most advanced features and the user get the most out of it. But they all are versions of the same basic operating system. Similarly, as human thought has evolved, the Divine monotheistic religions have also been upgraded - and the most up-to-date system is Islam.

If Islam is the correct religion with God, then do all the followers of Islam automatically achieve salvation even though they may live a wicked life and act cruelly towards others? Are all of the followers of other religions condemned even though they may have lived an upright moral life making useful contributions to the society? In other words, do Muslims get punished for their bad actions, and do non-Muslims get rewarded for their good actions?

The answer to the first question is very straightforward, if a Muslim intentionally commits an evil act and is not remorseful about the action, this will damage the soul and one will have to face its consequences which may be in the form of hell-fire depending on the severity of the bad action.

As for the good actions of a Muslim or a non-Muslim, one has to see the intention of the action. The reward or punishment in the hereafter is dependent on the intention of the action, not necessarily its outer appearance or quantity. Is the action performed for the sake of God to seek His pleasure, following His orders, or is it performed for secondary gains like fame, boasting in front of others or any other secondary advantage. The reality of actions in the afterlife is heavily dependent upon our intentions, which most of the time are hidden from others and thus we should be cautious before judging others as we often do not know what other people’s true intentions are.

The majority of the world population is made up of non-Muslims, so do their good actions have merit with God – meaning, will they be rewarded for them? Or are all of their actions null and void since they do not follow Islam? The second scenario does not appear to be just. We understand God as just and The Creator who deals fairly with everyone:

وَمَا اللّٰهُ يُرِيدُ ظُلْمًا لِلْعِبَادِ

And God does not want injustice for His servants. (Qur’an, Surah al-Mu’min, 40:31).

Though the Qur’an clearly states that the religion with God is Islam, it also states that:

شَرَعَ لَكُمْ مِنَ الدِّينِ مَا وَصَّىٰ بِهِ نُوحًا وَالَّذِي أَوْحَيْنَا إِلَيْكَ وَمَا وَصَّيْنَا بِهِ إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَمُوسَىٰ وَعِيسَىٰ ۖ أَنْ أَقِيمُوا الدِّينَ وَلَا تَتَفَرَّقُوا فِيهِ ۚ كَبُرَ عَلَى الْمُشْرِكِينَ مَا تَدْعُوهُمْ إِلَيْهِ ۚ اللّٰهُ يَجْتَبِي إِلَيْهِ مَنْ يَشَاءُ وَيَهْدِي إِلَيْهِ مَنْ يُنِيبُ

He (God) has ordained for you the same course of faith as He enjoined on Noah (to adopt), and which We have revealed to you, and it is that (same faith) which We enjoined on Abraham, Moses, Jesus, so keep the faith and do not differ in it. (He ordains you) to establish obedience (to God) and not to be divided (in sects) therein. Hard upon the polytheists is that (teaching) which you call them to. God draws (him) towards Himself who wishes (to be drawn to Him), and guides him to Himself who turns (towards Him with a sincere heart). (Qur’an, Surah al-Shura, 42:13).

In another verse we read:

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَالَّذِينَ هَادُوا وَالنَّصَارَىٰ وَالصَّابِئِينَ مَنْ آمَنَ بِاللّٰهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ وَعَمِلَ صَالِحًا فَلَهُمْ أَجْرُهُمْ عِنْدَ رَبِّهِمْ وَلَا خَوْفٌ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَا هُمْ يَحْزَنُونَ

Surely, those who (profess to) believe (in Islam), and those who follow the Jewish faith, the Christians and the Sabians, whosoever (of these truly) believes in God and the Last Day and acts righteously shall have their reward with their Lord, and shall have nothing to fear, nor shall they grieve. (Qur’an, Surah al-Baqarah, 2:62).

Each community has been given its own teachings and way of life, to be judged according to it to see do they follow the teachings or do the follow their conjectures and personal whims.

وَأَنْزَلْنَا إِلَيْكَ الْكِتَابَ بِالْحَقِّ مُصَدِّقًا لِمَا بَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ مِنَ الْكِتَابِ وَمُهَيْمِنًا عَلَيْهِ ۖ فَاحْكُمْ بَيْنَهُمْ بِمَا أَنْزَلَ اللّٰهُ ۖ وَلَا تَتَّبِعْ أَهْوَاءَهُمْ عَمَّا جَاءَكَ مِنَ الْحَقِّ ۚ لِكُلٍّ جَعَلْنَا مِنْكُمْ شِرْعَةً وَمِنْهَاجًا ۚ وَلَوْ شَاءَ اللّٰهُ لَجَعَلَكُمْ أُمَّةً وَاحِدَةً وَلَٰكِنْ لِــيَبْلُوَكُمْ فِي مَا آتَاكُمْ ۖ فَاسْتَبِقُوا الْخَيْرَاتِ ۚ إِلَى اللّٰهِ مَرْجِعُكُمْ جَـمِيعًا فَيُنَبِّئُكُمْ بِمَا كُنْتُمْ فِيهِ تَخْتَلِفُونَ

And We have revealed to you this perfect Book comprising the truth and wisdom, fulfilling (the prophecies of) the Scripture which was present before it and stands as a guardian over it, then judge between them according to that which God has revealed (of the Qur’an), and do not deviate from the truth that has come to you in order to follow their low desires. For each one of you did We prescribe a spiritual law and a well-defined way. And if God had so willed He might have made you all one community (by force), but He wishes to show your perfection (the capacities and capabilities) that He has endowed you with. Therefore vie one with another in (doing) good deeds. To God is the return of you all, then He will inform you as to that wherein you were at variance. (Qur’an, Surah al-Ma’idah, 5:48).

Therefore, based on these verses, we understand that there is a commonality between the teachings of the different prophets. We also understand that those who believe in God and the afterlife, will get rewarded and will not be condemned even though they may be followers of different religions beside Islam. But the key point is to understand that they must have faith in God and the afterlife, and they must perform good actions with pure intentions.

Now does that mean that as long as one has faith in God and the reality of the afterlife, there is no difference between the different religions? In other words, if everyone who believes in God and the hereafter - even though they may not follow any religion - will be rewarded for their good actions? If so, then what is the advantage of being a Muslim, or why is Islam the right religion with God?

The answer is because Islam provides the most comprehensive and sophisticated program for spiritual development, and unless one follows that program, one cannot achieve a high spiritual rank. If someone believes in God and the afterlife and does good actions with pure intentions but does not perform the Islamic practices, then they will be rewarded in the afterlife, but will not be able to achieve a spiritual status that they could have achieved had they followed Islam. For example, Muslims are obligated to fast for thirty days every year and also perform five daily prayers. If someone follows this regimen with pure intentions, then their spiritual growth should be much more than someone who does not perform these acts.

What about those who do not believe in God or the afterlife? Within this group there are some whose circumstances are such that they were never able to learn about the reality of Islam but not out of a fault of their own – for example, maybe they lived in an isolated community. These people cannot be questioned about something that they have no knowledge about and as such, they will be judged by God according to their own individual circumstances. But there are those who know the reality of Islam, or God and the afterlife, but are obstinate in front of the truth and do not want to change their ways and their lifestyle that comes with accepting a Diving religion like Islam. Will they be rewarded for their good actions?

Well first of all, they should not expect any reward in the afterlife as they never even believed in anything after death. So if they do not get anything there, it will not be unjust for them. They cannot expect to achieve felicity and salvation in the afterlife as they never aimed or worked towards it. For them everything is the life of this world and they expect everything in it only, with no regards to what will happen to them in the afterlife:

مَنْ كَانَ يُرِيدُ الْعَاجِلَةَ عَجَّلْنَا لَهُ فِيهَا مَا نَشَاءُ لِمَنْ نُرِيدُ ثُمَّ جَعَلْنَا لَهُ جَهَنَّمَ يَصْلَاهَا مَذْمُومًا مَدْحُورًا وَمَنْ أَرَادَ الْآخِرَةَ وَسَعَىٰ لَهَا سَعْيَهَا وَهُوَ مُؤْمِنٌ فَأُولَٰئِكَ كَانَ سَعْيُهُمْ مَشْكُورًا كُلًّا نُمِدُّ هَٰؤُلَاءِ وَهَٰؤُلَاءِ مِنْ عَطَاءِ رَبِّكَ ۚ وَمَا كَانَ عَطَاءُ رَبِّكَ مَحْظُورًا

For him who desires the present (transitory) life (only) We shall hasten an immediate reward for him in this very life (giving) what We will to whom We will. But We have prepared Hell for him, he shall enter it, condemned and rejected. As for those who choose the Hereafter and strive for it, the striving that is its due, and are believers, it is these whose striving shall find favour (with their Lord). To all of them, these (who hanker after this world) as well as those (whose choice is the life to come) We render aid, (and this is) out of the bounty of your Lord; the bounty of your Lord is not confined (to any one section of the people). (Qur’an, Surah al-Isra’, 17:18-20).

Will they get any compensation for their good actions? If a non-believer performs good actions with a pure intention of doing a good deed without any expectation for getting secondary benefits like fame or recognition, then they should get a reward for it. Due to lack of belief in the hereafter the reward however may come in this life in the form of riches or fame or good fortune. They may also get some relief from the misery that they have created for themselves in the hereafter, and God knows best:

مَثَلُ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا بِرَبِّهِمْ أَعْــمَالُهُمْ كَرَمَادٍ اشْـتَدَّتْ بِهِ الرِّيحُ فِي يَوْمٍ عَاصِفٍ لَا يَقْدِرُونَ مِمَّا كَــسَبُوا عَلَىٰ شَيْءٍ ذَٰلِكَ هُوَ الضَّلَالُ الْبَعِيدُ

The works of those who disbelieve in (the Messages and blessings of) their Lord, are like ashes on which the wind blows violently on a tempestuous day. They shall have no power to reap the fruit of their deeds. That is indeed an extremely ruinous error. (Qur’an, Surah Ibrahim, 14:18).

The expectation from mankind today is that they should adopt the latest and most complete ideology i.e. Islam in their life. Islam takes a comprehensive position regarding the true teachings of the earlier prophets. It does not reject any of them, but at the same time in today’s world compared to Islam, the other ideologies will not be sufficient. The important thing is to ask if we are following what we regard as the truth and are submitting to it, or are we obstinate in front of it and prefer to follow our desires and conjectures?

قُلْ آمَنَّا بِاللّٰهِ وَمَا أُنْزِلَ عَلَيْنَا وَمَا أُنْزِلَ عَلَىٰ إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَإِسْمَاعِيلَ وَإِسْحَاقَ وَيَعْقُوبَ وَالْأَسْبَاطِ وَمَا أُوتِيَ مُوسَىٰ وَعِيسَىٰ وَالنَّبِيُّونَ مِنْ رَبِّهِمْ لَا نُفَرِّقُ بَيْنَ أَحَدٍ مِنْهُمْ وَنَحْنُ لَهُ مُسْلِمُونَ وَمَنْ يَبْتَغِ غَيْرَ الْإِسْلَامِ دِينًا فَلَنْ يُقْبَلَ مِنْهُ وَهُوَ فِي الْآخِرَةِ مِنَ الْخَاسِرِينَ

Say: ‘We believe in God and in that which has been revealed to us and in that which was revealed to Abraham and Ismail and Isaac and Jacob and his children and in that which was given to Moses and Jesus and to all other Prophets from their Lord. We make no distinction between anyone of them (in believing them) and to Him alone do we submit.’ And whosoever seeks a faith other than Islam (complete submission to the will of God,) it will never be accepted from him, and he shall be of the losers in the Hereafter. (Qur’an, Surah Ale ʿImran, 3:84-85).