- Category: Occidentalogy
- Written by Ayatullah Sayyid Mujtaba Musavi Lari
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For all their propaganda machines and temporal power, the Western churches' intervention in cultural and social matters, and their religious preaching to refine morality and make men's hearts pure, has had little effect. It has not redeemed the bankruptcy of spirit, nor reined in the untrammelled self-indulgence that besets Westerners. How can a religion which permits its adherents unlimited freedom to commit shameful deeds hope to wrench their collar out of the talons of the subversives' grip on the polluted, or uproot the noxious growths of immorality?
Worship and godliness and true humanity must be approached with the sole aim of drawing near to God in purity of intent. But these practitioners have left the track and been perverted.
Religious leaders, who should constitute a staunch dam to hold back the floods of corruption, have themselves fallen victims to the prevailing fashion of permissiveness. How then can Christianity possibly produce renascence and moral revolution in the West? How can such institutions recall mankind to that purity of heart without which no man can know the Lord? Yet the world can only emerge from its crisis of morals by that road of purity via revolution and renascence.
The "Tehran Weekly Journal" (No. 1089) reported: "Church Fathers entice the errant into the church with dancing and music. The Revd. Francis Mieux of Montreal, Canada, 35 years ordained, is a skilled musician, both as composer and player, author of 1,500 popular melodies, a priest who combines the two callings of religion and art."
Surely to perform such works in a place of worship is to make a mockery of religion? Amongst the most solemn pronouncements made by all the prophets of God have been the asseverations that no man can serve both God and Mammon; and that there is no escape from the pollutions of the world, the flesh and the devil except by a resolute concentration of the attention on God. Inordinate attachment to materialist considerations must be set aside in favor of the quest for a personal knowledge of God's being, if human life is to be soundly equilibrated. This is the rock on which to build the house of life. All else is shifting sand.
True worship frees a man from the bondage of fleshly lusts, and draws him into God's presence and to spiritual joys. Observe how this truth of priceless inestimable worth has been squeezed out by the permissive' preaching primacy of carnal desire.
Islamic worship has many aims. One of them is to rip away the curtains of negligence and ignorance and so to usher in a mighty moral and spiritual re-armament and revolution.
Stanwood Cobb, Christian savant, in his book "Lord of the Two Ka'abas" p.227, compares Muslim and Christian worship thus : "I was," he writes, "allowed to be present in Hagia Sofia Mosque in Istanbul to witness a service of prayer and worship there. In such services repeated genuflections (Rukoo') and prostrations (Sujood) play a large part as the accompaniment to fixed forms of prayer and adoration. I was deeply impressed by the solemnity, humility and reverence of the worshippers. It far surpassed anything I have ever met in any Christian church in its sincerity of veneration, depth of self-surrender, and dedicated devotion to the Divine Essence.
I shared with other foreigners the privilege of watching the ceremonies of the Night of Power (Leilat-ul-Qadr) on which the Qur'an was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad. From a balcony in one of the squinches we looked down on the 5,000 worshippers who crowded Hagia Sofia, performing their rukoo's and sujoods in perfect unison, rhythm and order. The rustle of their bending to genuflect or prostrate themselves, the sound of their hands being placed on the floor before them, their united uprising, made deep quiet waves of reverence fill the vast dome, and ascend heavenward.
The sight was splendid, matchless; dignified, numinous, humble, reverent, expressive of a sense of individual freedom, democracy, equality, which allowed no discrimination of persons or classes. I saw an itinerant carpet-vendor cheek by jowl with a Pasha in gorgeous robes, in concord, without fear or favor, standing, kneeling, prostrating themselves in common worship, while big-bellied dark-faced Negroes busied themselves with their religious observances alongside the most chic of the Turks of Istanbul. For Islam from its inception has pursued a creed of brotherhood which it preserves today."
Western religion's biggest error has lain in treating faith as an individual private affair, unrelated to daily life. This mistaken doctrine casts its shadow over all aspects of Western society. Pollution, national crises, permissiveness, corruption, are all ills directly due to this divorce of religion from practical affairs.
Hence, too, the tug-of-war between inner spiritual values and the outward struggle for a livelihood. A sound creed dictates a man's code of conduct and draws guidelines for him which apply to every practical eventuality of living.
Belief shapes thought and action. Living cannot evade the formative effect of creed. Hence the downright sinfulness of separating religion from practical life. Such a separation runs directly in the face of the law of nature. As Dampierre writes in his book "The Conflict between Science and Religion": "Constantine decreed that Christianity was an official religion of the Roman Empire ; and, to please his pagan subjects, permitted many customs of the earlier paganism to be taken up into Christianity. Thus arose the idea, which prevailed in medieval religious days, and still prevails in modern irreligious days, that `religion is a private matter' concerned solely with the individual soul and its relations with God."
A frenetic consumption of alcoholic beverages augments our social ills, daily producing sinister perversions in manners and morals, and in religious, psychological and medical health.
No sane thinking person can fail to remark these bitter facts. Hospitals are filled with D.T. patients and with mentally deranged alcoholics, while outside them thousands, under the influence of drink, take to murder, suicide, theft, blackmail and character assassination.
Alcohol offers an escape from problems and worries: but always ends by multiplying them. Instead of diminishing life's sufferings, it adds material and moral bankruptcy to them, and crushes rather than relieves the sufferer. It makes the bells of doom and disaster toll even louder in his ears. He flees from their clamour back to his alcoholic solace. He seeks to drown his sorrows, in the hope of enjoying an imaginary paradise where his burdens will roll away, in the brief span of his drunken stupor.
"Be not drunk with wine but be filled with the Spirit" is the motto of a wise man who realizes that to resort to means which dull reason may lead to insanity, and to the loss of all those intellectual powers which raise man above the level of the beasts. For alcohol is indeed "the poison that men put into their mouths to take away their brains."
In Hamburg I was able to gain admission to view the inside of a synagogue to which I had been drawn by its splendid exterior. A guide showed us its various parts. To our surprise, these included a special room for wine and cheese parties. In consternation I asked: "Is wine drunk even on these sacred premises?" He replied with serious mien: "Only by a select group who have the right to drink wine in this room!"
So widespread has alcohol consumption become that universities and health authorities have set up organizations to check it. But they have not yet penetrated to the root of the problem — the cancer at the heart of Western creeds which leaves individual free-will too much rein in matters which should be of social concern, and so allows people to imbibe a poison that breaks up sound family life and ruins nations. The fear is growing that the working classes and the youth of tomorrow will be turned into an alcoholic mob, to the tragic disaster of the sufferers and of the peoples of the world.
Doctors attending the 24th International Congress for the Combating of Alcoholism in France issued the following statement concerning the effects of alcohol on mind and spirit : "20% of women and 60% of men entering hospital are alcohol addicts: 70% of mental patients and 40% of venereal patients were so afflicted as a consequence of misuse of alcohol. In England, experts affirm, 95% of mental cases are due to mental disease induced by alcoholic drinks." ('Health Magazine').
And the same magazine (No. 12, p.5) states: "French newspapers headline as 'shaking' the report of the French Minister of Health on the number of deaths due to alcohol, for it said that in one year 20,000 deaths in France were due to excessive alcohol-consumption, and cited the Secretary- General of the Committee for Combating Alcoholism as authority for the statistic that 25% of industrial accidents and 57% of automobile accidents in France were due to alcohol."