When it comes to the belief of God, fear is seemingly the greatest obstacle to overcome when instilling religious and fundamental values into our household.
First off, let us define what religion is.
Religion is a belief system, a set of values that ultimately leads a divine and spiritual deity. For some of us it is the basis of morality for others it is a way of life.
Why fear religion?
In today’s society, religion is viewed as an act of forced worship rather than worship for the sake of a Loving and Merciful God.
On campus, I was speaking to my Christian friends, who has stopped going to church regularly on Sundays. She says she is driven more by routine than faith. “I can love God in my own time. Everyday”, she stated. As a Muslim, I could somewhat relate to her issue. When I was younger, I used to think of our daily prayers as “routine” based. As I grew older, I started to the ask questions, came the discovery of love and religion. I came to find that prayer was actually a symbolic connection to God, and therefore found myself enjoying the state of prayer, solely for the love of my creator.
This generation pushes the thought of fear, because they themselves are feared that without this control, their children may deviate away from religion. But religion is never forced.
Some families, in order to preserve the foundation of a religion base in their household, have done so through means of force or horror. They have instilled intimidation into beliefs, with remarks to children, making God as somewhat of a fearful force, rather than the all Merciful and Loving He is. This is detrimental to the overall teachings of religion, which is identified as peaceful. Anything forced, is not real. The relationship isn’t authentic but made out of a fear or a certain obligation or “duty” to uphold this devout image.
The 99 names Allah have representative titles like, al-wudud [The All Loving]. Along with names like, al-kareem [The Generous] and al-hafiz [The Preserver] throughout the Quran, is further evident that God is not to be feared, nor is he described as this source of fear, but to be understood. Once understood, religion will not be feared but loved for the sake of the Lover.
Names like al-jabar [The Compeller], al- muntaqim [The Avegenger], or al-muqtadir [The Powerful] are names that represent God in a fear like position to enforce the grip on religion towards the oppressors and evildoers. Almost like a source of conviction and justice when called for it. “And we have already created man and know what his soul whispers to him, and we are closer to him than [his] jugular vein” (Qur’an, 50:16) – God foresees all in his creation and is as close to his believers as the jugular vein.
Even in the biblical scriptures God is described as the forgiver. It states in John 1:9, “we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” – here God is used as a source of redemption.
In order to preserve the message about religion we must first have the proper understanding of our Creator. Once we fully comprehend God and his attributes we must do our best to emulate those attributes and in our day-to-day lives.
Whether someone has found God in the depths of sorrow, or in the height of happiness, it is in those times we define our relationship with God. This intimate relationship will either grow gradually over time or lessen; we choose.