Dr. Ruth is no more with us. The social media is paying tributes to the noble soul. However, some of the people started to post about her faith and showed concern for her afterlife. It sparked an unwarranted debate whether she would go to paradise or hell. As if we are gods to decide about the jannat and jahanum of others. Even one of the religious scholars remarked in a televised show that if she had accepted Islam then she would have been in the paradise. Therefore, I could not stop myself to express my opinion according to my own understanding of religion.
Dr. Ruth was a devout Christian nun of the Society of Daughters of the Heart of Mary. She practiced whatever she beloved in. Moreover, she dedicated her fifty years in the service of humanity. God is not unjust that Dr. Ruth will be judged for not having the knowledge or understanding of a particular religion. Let me narrate a parable which I have heard from my elders. They used to tell us that once Mosa (A.S) was passing through the mountains. He heard a voice of a person. He stopped for a while and then he followed the voice. There a man was sitting in the shade of a tree, who was talking to himself. Mosa (A.S) heard him saying; ‘’oh God! You have such a huge burden on your shoulders. You are running the administration of the whole world. You must get very tired because I get tired when I only flock my herd for a day. If you ever meet me then I would offer you fresh milk’’. Listening to all this Mosa (AS) got angry and stopped him right there and scold him for his ignorance. When the person left, God told Mosa (A.S) why you stopped that person, he was busy in my prayer!
People born in different environments and these environments mold their beliefs. They adopt the same belief system, which is being practiced around them. If a person is born in a Jewish family, then (s)he would ultimately become a Jew. Similarly, if a person is born in a Muslim family, then he would habitually perform certain practices. The performance of the practices also depends on one’s family background. If the family elders show some laxity, then the individual will sporadically perform the practices. On the contrary, if the family is strict in the performance of the rituals then the person will be made habitual through coercion.
Therefore, the point I want to make is that if a person (Hindu, Jew, Buddhists, Muslim, Christians etc) is habitually performing certain practices which are being taught to them, and made them habitual of it through coercion. Then how could one practices of religion is better than the others? (Better in a sense of salvation in the hereafter)
Muslims go to their mosque, A Jew in the synagogue, a Christian into his church, Hindu in his temple and Buddhist go into their places of worship to perform certain rituals for salvation. These all are performing their practices with due diligence and humility. Interestingly, all are claiming to be the sole way of salvation.
If someone argues that the persons should investigate the righteous path to reach God. For that one has to critically study all the religious texts because these all are claiming to show the original way of proper communication with God. However, there are some problems which make it almost impossible for many to go through the arduous procedure. First, most of the people cannot read and write and ‘the most’ are almost two billion souls of the world. Second, not everyone who can read and write is having the urge or need to investigate this particular question. Let us be honest to ourselves, how many of us have actually read the translations and exegeses of Quran. The answer will be almost none. So if we are unable to read and understand our own scriptures, how could we blame the non-Muslim that they should have studied their scriptures and also ours? It is as such as if they are being punished for mere taking birth into a Christian, Hindu or Jewish family. Therefore, God would be unjust to absolve some and punish others for mere birth.
Furthermore, it is not our job to distribute the certificates of Jannat and Jahannum. It is the sole right of God and He will decide it on the Day of Judgment. If we decide that Dr. Ruth will go to hell then what’s the point of God’s judgment?
The only thing we can do is to practice our own belief system which must be based on the sole idea of promoting humanism. Moreover, we should listen to the perspectives and belief systems of others as well. We cannot claim self righteousness or divine righteousness. This is the least we can do to reach God. And this is the way of God, might be we are not right but we can at least say to our God that I was honest to search ‘the way’ (say religion) which could lead me to you.
Therefore, we must constantly strive in search of God. This urge for the ultimate truth is the sole medium for human salvation. Otherwise, mere birth might not be an excuse in front of God. May the soul of Dr. Ruth rest in peace!
By Noman Wazir
The writer is a socio-political analyst from FATA. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org