Like previous writings, this article will also be written without including references. Without reference, it does not mean that writing is born purely from personal thoughts, my writings certainly have had a very big influence on the books that have been read. It's just that I am too lazy and unable to verify the sentence I quoted from a book, because of my bad memory so I don't remember from which book the sentence I quoted was written.
On this occasion, with an awakening of my mind, because I saw the conditions and ways of living in various religions, I was interested in pouring out my thoughts about the essence of religion. Yes, the religion here is of course more specific towards Islam, although perhaps this article will offend other religions a little. I am not a religious expert even my religious knowledge is still very minimal, but it feels appropriate for a human child to just express his opinion. Errors are unavoidable, because of that, please forgive them and set them right.
In Islam, according to its level, it is known as sharia, essence and makrifat. Maybe in other religions, the same thing is known even though in a different language. In order not to get too far from the topic, the discussion here is limited to the aspect of worship and does not touch on the issue of makrifat.
Sharia, surely this word is already familiar to the Islamic community. Yes, sharia is a religious law that applies the rules of human life. In this article, the Shari'a refers to outward aspects of worship such as body movements during prayer, enduring hunger and thirst during fasting, setting aside money for zakat, etc. In short, the Shari'a here is all religious orders relating to the body or matter.
The essence is the basis, or philosophy of something. This is the main topic of this article. Essence is always related to Shari'a and questions such as what is prayer, fasting, zakat, etc. are questions that fall into the corridor of nature. This is where our duty as beings who think to dive into the ocean of Shari'a and find the beauty of the pearl of the essence in the vastness of the ocean.
Makrifat is the highest dimension in religion and I feel that it is not feasible to write it down because of a lack of knowledge. If you feel interested in this, you can visit the bookstore because there are quite a lot of books that discuss makrifat.
In my opinion, each dimension has its path and each road has a connecting bridge that has inter-dimensional linkages. Shari'a is the first way, to achieve it only needs to carry out the religious orders which are gathered into a dogma. Essence is the second path after the fulfilment of sharia, namely the search for the meaning of each sharia. Essence can be attained through a philosophical process. Makrifat is at the top of the hierarchy, makrifat is the unification and disclosure of knowledge. It is difficult to explain the meaning of makrifat, in Islam makrifat can be achieved through Sufism. These dimensions are not hierarchical, but rather, cycles are interconnected and interrelated.
In short, sharia is a form of physiological fulfilment, its essence is rational fulfilment, and finally, makrifat is spiritual fulfilment. Because basically, humans are thirsty for these dimensions.
Religion, through its teachings, especially its worship, has the aim of fulfilling these basic human needs, so it is true that if we are religious properly, we will become fully human! Unfortunately, only a few humans take advantage of God's facilities in the form of religion to achieve human nature through the fulfilment of basic human needs.
Worship has dimensions that consist of these three dimensions; sharia, nature, and makrifat. Most religious people do worship only in the sharia stage, for example, people who fast only hold back lust, hunger, and thirst. Understanding like this which only reaches the outward aspect indicates that the person only arrives at the dimension of sharia.
The fasting service is an easy example to explain an example of the dimensions of sharia and nature. Almost the same as other worship, fasting has three levels like education. At the basic stage, fasting instructs us to endure lust, hunger, and thirst or outward aspects. At the intermediate stage, fasting encourages us to reduce bad qualities such as jealousy, envy, anger, wastefulness, greed, and many more. In the final stage, fasting expects us to increase good qualities such as being humble, sincere, loving one another, giving each other, and many more. These three stages are not only in fasting but all other forms of worship such as prayer and zakat in Islam. Let us try to think about what are the stages and functions of other worship, but one thing for sure is that the essence will not be much different. The differences may only be obtained at the basic stage, but still, lead to one goal in the final stage.
It is at that final stage that the essence of religion is actually. Yes indeed, all religions must agree with these three stages and their functions. Intellect is one of the obligatory instruments in religion because there is no religion for people who have no sense! Therefore reason must be used in religion, including understanding the essence of religion. As explained earlier, in the final stage of worship, it functions to increase good qualities such as being humble, sincere, loving one another, giving to one another. The essence of this final stage is social interest! All worship contains this essence, understanding the essence is very necessary for humans who want to be religious properly.
Religion is not born for individuals, but how to manage individual problems about society! One of the universal messages conveyed from religious bearers such as Buddha Gautama, Jesus Christ, Rabbi Gamaliel, to the Prophet Muhammad SAW is "Love your neighbour as you love yourself". This is the essence of religion, social order.
As an example again, why do congregational prayers have a 27-fold greater reward and are even greater when performed in a mosque? Even though prayer itself can be more devoted than in the congregation? In my opinion, apart from social distribution, it is because congregational prayer makes us meet other people to socialize and when walking, it is possible to meet people who are in trouble and it is obligatory to help people who are in distress, such as one of the verses of the Al-Qur'an which more or less reads; "Whoever loves creatures on earth will be loved by those in heaven". Yes, once again that religion requires us to behave well towards others! All inhabitants of the earth including animals, not only behave well in their group.
Why is prayer the first practice that is checked on the Last Day? In my opinion, according to the verses of the Al-Qur'an is because prayer avoids acts of vile and evil. Deeds of vile and evil are certainly related to other people, therefore when we do not do evil and evil and do good, love each other and love each other, we will automatically be rewarded with what God has promised, which is His Heaven. When our prayers are right, then automatically we do not do vile and evil and do good, love one another, and love each other. Unfortunately, there are still many people who carry out the Shari'a regularly but still do vile and evil! We can see that in Indonesia many people wear headscarves, beards, and black foreheads (usually associated with people who pray very often), but they stay in prison because they have committed a criminal act of corruption! This is what makes many people no longer believe in religion, even though this happens because people who claim to be religious do not understand the essence of religion, especially worship.
To be able to understand the essence of reading the scriptures requires a contextual understanding because if it is only understood textually there will be a degradation of meaning and a rape of meaning. Like the war that took place during the time of the Prophet Muhammad which took many victims from infidels, including the Jews. In understanding the text we must understand the context at that time so that there is no misinterpretation so that it is considered that killing Jews is permissible. We must not become ahistorical humans who do not know history, because it is only through history that we can understand the context of that period. As the foremost German philosopher, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe said: “A human being who cannot learn from 3000 years ago is a man who does not use his mind".
From some of the literature that I read, religion regulates the procedures for dealing with the Creator, the procedures for relating to humans, and the procedures for relating to nature. The differences between religions only exist when regulating the procedures for dealing with God, the rest is the same! Even though there are particular differences, the substance remains the same!
Let us be religious by understanding its essence, let us use our minds to be religious, let us do good to others as an implication of our understanding of the essence of religion. There have been many examples from religious leaders who can be emulated. Religion is beautiful, but its adherents sometimes misinterpret and tarnish the teachings of that religion. Quoting the words of KH Mustofa Bisri or better known as Gus Mus, which reads more or less; "What can destroy religion is the adherents themselves, people outside the religion will not be able to destroy it" because it is not necessary that we hate people who try to destroy our religion, we only need to do good to them and so the image of our religion will automatically be good. As an example in the early days of the spread of Islam, the Quraish did not stop trying to destroy the religion of Islam, but the Prophet Muhammad SAW still did well to those who hated Islam so that in the end it was Islam that won, it was Islam that finally got a good image.
In closing, let us absorb the words of a humanitarian figure, Mahatma Gandhi: “When I gave up hope, I remember that throughout history the path of truth and compassion and love have always won. The tyranny of evil and murder will always be there. At times they may be invisible and unnoticed, but in the end, they always lose. Always think about it! " I hope that this simple and worthless writing can make an impression and be used as material for reflection for religious readers who always want to be better over time. This article must contain mistake that cannot be avoided, I hope readers can understand it.