Imagine for a second, it is the era of Prophet Noah, peace be upon him. Wherever one looks, idol worship and lack of faith is rampant. We are also present in that period and the religion of our birth happens to be idolatry. We find out that Prophet Noah is inviting people to worship only one God but we find that invitation strange. Our prejudices become a hindrance in accepting this message. We reject the Prophet just to please our parents, friends, and nation instead of realising that belief in one God is so natural and logical.
Imagine it is the time of Prophet Moses (peace be upon him). This time, luckily, our birth is amongst the Israelites; therefore, the invitation to accepting innate religious guidance and belief in one God does not sound strange. However, we have to face a tyrant as ruthless as the Pharaoh, on whose orders our newborn children are being slaughtered. The worst type of slavery and persecution imaginable is our destiny. We become utterly disheartened and complain to the prophet of God, but his reply is to be steadfast as this is the decision of God regarding our fate.
Just Imagine. This is Mecca of one and a half thousand years ago. Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, is here, as the Messenger of God. Idol worship is our ancestral religion. We can see that Bilal, Sohaib, Khubab, Samia, Ammar, and other companions of the Prophet (RA) are facing severe torture and persecution as a punishment for embracing Islam. We feel that the safest path is that we quietly continue worshipping the three hundred and sixty idols in Mecca.
Just think! We are living in today’s world. We are one of the billion and a half or more Muslims in this world. We harbour no prejudice against Islam in our minds. If we decide to become practical Muslims, no one will stop or hinder us. However, we fail to utilise this great opportunity that has been given only once in the history of mankind. That is, to follow this faith in an era when not only is it easy to do so, furthermore on account of subjugation of Islam, in doing so we become worthy of a reward that is comparable to that of the earliest companions of prophets.
Albeit, we do not follow this course of action. Religion fails to become the essence of our lives. To serve and contribute in its propagation is not our prime concern. In fact, it is not a priority for us to even try and gain understanding of our religion. We remain imprisoned to the sect or school of thought we were born into. Whichever scholar or leader we hold the hand of, we consider him to be like a prophet; we accept all his reasonable and unreasonable sayings solely because they are in accordance with our bias and emotions.
Imagine for an instance. It is the Day of Judgement. People are being presented in front of the Almighty for decisions about their fates. When it is our turn, we are shown the era of the Prophets when accepting faith was tantamount to walking on fire. Then our past is brought in front of us; it was a time of utmost ease for worship and performing good deeds. How did we manage to waste that time in negligence, love of this world and in following our vain desires? It was a golden opportunity to embrace true faith and reap the highest of rewards however; we wasted it in pursuing our prejudices, emotions, and sectarian allegiances. Not only this but as a punishment of our sins, it is decided for us that we are deprived of Paradise and are destined for hell fire. We scream, cry, plead and beg for one more opportunity but to no avail!
Just think! This time is not here yet. There is still an opportunity to forego our negligence and disobedience. An opportunity to give precedence to the Almighty over people, an opportunity to leave behind the mentality of bias and nationalism, to embrace true faith, and to forgo of our selfish desires to tread the path of the Prophet of God. Please, do not squander this opportunity, because this has never been given before nor will it ever be given again!
Translated by Bashir Nazir