What Does It Mean To Be Religious?

Jan 29th, 2013 | By | Category: Latest, Pakistan, Religion, World


We all seem to have an image. An image of what a God-fearing and religious person looks like. That image may be founded on our experience with those whom we consider to be “religious” or at times based on what we imagine a pious person to be, created upon our reading from a particular book, novel or after having watched a video.

The fact of the matter is that despite of what we imagine and consider being a God-fearing person, there are, there will be and have always been some really outstanding and amazing God conscious people in almost every nook and corner of our planet. But, the most pious people on the planet do not go around boasting of how good they are, nor do they look down arrogantly upon others. It is their sincerity of work, humbleness in their achievements, and trust in God which really makes them superior to those who claim to be sincere, humble, and trust worthy yet act otherwise. It is however, strange that on a more general opinion, people assume that the more pious a person becomes, the less cheerful he gets and the more arrogant he appears to be. One should realize that a truly pious Muslim is the one who is more caring for his/her parents, takes good care of his/her neighbour, kind in treating the ones younger than him/her and respectful towards his/her elders. If this was not the kind of pious person you had in mind then you should know, that the person you have had a bad experience with and whom you thought was religious was in fact not a God-conscious person, at least not yet!

As an inspiration for all Muslims and even all non-Muslims, let us learn from the impeccable characteristics of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and his companions. Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) was once recorded to have said:

“None of you [truly] believes until he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself.” [Recorded in the Book Saheeh Bukhari]

Similarly, on another occasion the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) said:

“He is not one of us who does not show tenderness to the young and who does not show respect to the elder.” [Recorded in the book Tirmidhi]

Allah says in the Qur’an: “O people, surely we have created you from a male and female, and made you tribes and families that you might know one another. Indeed, the noblest of you with Allah is he who is best in conduct.” [Qur’an, 49:13]

And there are many more verses and sayings of the Prophet (pbuh) that prove the same point. Hence, a significant amount of Islamic literature deals with improving one’s character and dealings with not just other human beings but also with animals. The Prophet (Peace be upon him), told his companions of a woman who would be sent to Hell for having locked up a cat; not feeding it, nor even releasing it, so that it could feed itself. [Narrated by Abdullah bin ‘Umar (R.A.), Recorded in Saheeh Bukhari] Therefore, improving one’s good manners and characters is a possible sign of him trying to be more pious. However, Islam is not just about good manners. It’s about perfecting one’s prayer, removing any possible chance of showing off, standing up and speaking out against injustice, giving money to the needy and the under-privileged, in short, being closer to the creator of the universe, and doing all that one can to maintain and improve upon that closeness.

However, one important point of consideration is to make one’s intentions pure. One should not study so that other humans can praise him for his vastness in knowledge, not to give in charity so that others can praise him for his generosity and not to fight against injustice so that others can call him brave. As a matter of fact, such people shall be in loss on the Day of Judgment due to their misappropriate intentions. One should only do good deeds so that the Creator of the universe will reward him for that. This is precisely what it means to be good. To do good sincerely and with full devotion keeping in mind that the creator of the universe is well aware of his intentions and hence should be sincere and diligent in doing good deeds is indeed a success in itself. This is exactly why; the companions of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) were world renowned for their incredible character and amazing patience. They did not do good deeds so that other human beings could praise them, but, because they wanted to thank God in any way they could. They did not do good deeds so that people would reward them with medals or prizes but because they wanted to be rewarded by God in this life and the life hereafter.

It was due to this blend of sincerity combined with devotion, patience, and authentic knowledge of the commands of the prophet (peace be upon him) and of God, which made Muslims unparalleled and outstanding. And, unless and until we adopt this amazing yet simple recipe for success in this life and the hereafter, we would still remain lost in the same mess where we find ourselves today.

Ali Naqash

About the author

Ali Naqash is a Final Year Structural Engineering student at the National University of Sciences & Technology (NUST), Pakistan and a proud muslim. He wants to change himself and the society for the better, even if it be a small positive change.

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  1. Concise. Original. Intellectual. Inspiring. MashaAllah

    Loved the conclusion.

  2. Very nice article.

  3. Greetings,

    Thank you for this article. I like very much the positive and inspiring tone of it.

    All good wishes,


  4. Masha Allah
    Nice article

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