God revealed His Scriptures to mankind as a guide. Obviously, the clear guidelines in His Book are meant only for those who are observant, believe in the Unseen, observe their covenant with Him and are certain about life after death. But for those who disbelieve, He seals their hearts and their hearing, and He places a veil upon their eyes so that they cannot understand His Book. That is why He says the Messenger cannot guide those he loves. God guides whomever He wills and He is fully aware of those who deserve the guidance. The fortunate believers are committed to doing deeds to show their appreciation to the Creator. That is all. The Creator assures those who conduct their lives in accordance with the prescribed decrees that they will not be subject to fear or grief in this world and the Hereafter.
Men and women follow different paths. They have different cultures and ways of life through observing different systems. Although they were created with different colours and languages, their unifying factor is God who gives them life and death. The best among them, however, are those who work righteousness.
Among His signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the variations in your language and colours. These are signs for all mankind. (30:22)
O mankind! We created all of you from the same male and female, and We made you into nations and tribes in order that you recognise each other. But the best among you is the most righteous. God is omniscient, cognisant. (49:13)
The Reading does not envisage a religion of ‘holiness‘ or a ‘divine‘ life. The Reading is a Book of guidance and good news for sincere people who wish to lead a righteous life by doing good deeds, by sacrificing their egos, greed and selfishness. A manual of life, if you like.
Indeed this Reading is a guidance for the upright and good news for those who believe through performing good deeds. They have deserved the great recompense. (17:9)
We would live a better world today if the religionists were to follow the example of the Last Prophet and deliver the good news to the world. Instead, they choose to duplicate Stone Age barbaric laws denying the faithful basic human rights and freedom of speech.
During the author’s brief visit to Mecca, Medina and Jeddah, he was surprised to see that all shops and businesses are forced to close each time the mosque’s loudspeaker summons the people to prayer. Crowds of worshippers – men in ankle-length white robes and chequered headgear, women covered in black – hurry towards the mosque. On the street, squads of mutawwa (the feared religious police) trawl for slackers. The rules of behaviour and dress are draconian and enforced with barbaric cruelty. This is not what the Reading teaches.