March 2011: Page 1, 2, 3, 4

Rabi II 1432

Volume 27 No 3


In the name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

Submitters Perspective

Monthly Bulletin of the International Community of Submitters Published by Masjid Tucson

TRALIGION 

Tradition Mixed into Religion

Humans often confuse cultural traditions with God’s Religion. For example: in certain cultures, the head-covering for both men and women is often perceived as a religious requirement rather than a simple traditional dress. Moreover, the confusion is enhanced when the tradition of covering the head evolves and becomes an erroneously perceived religious law. It is important to distinguish tradition from religion and not confuse the two. In this article, the usage of the word tradition will refer exclusively to all man-made practices not found in the Quran.  

Traditions come in various forms such as celebrations, ceremonies, habits, stories, superstitions, beliefs, dress-codes, ethnic foods, and family and community values. All cultures throughout the world have their unique traditions and consider them as ‘identity enhancers’ of who they are and what they represent. It is important to note that, from a spiritual and religious standpoint, tradition by itself is harmless as long as it does not violate God’s laws (7:32).

(7:32-33) Say, “Who prohibited the nice things GOD has created for His creatures, and the good provisions?” Say, “Such provisions are to be enjoyed in this life by those who believe.

Moreover, the good provisions will be exclusively theirs on the Day of Resurrection.” We thus explain the revelations for people who know. Say, “My Lord prohibits only evil deeds, be they obvious or hidden, and sins, and unjustifiable aggression, and to set up beside GOD powerless idols, and to say about GOD what you do not know.”

When a prophet delivers a divine message, it comes in its purest form, free of man-made interpretation or cultural baggage. This is because the message is directly from the Source (God). But once this prophet completes his mission and departs from this world, the followers of that message start to intentionally and unintentionally inject their traditions into it, thus tainting a divine system with man-made dogmas. It is from this gradual merging of tradition into religion where the two become synonymous and confused. In fact, if tradition is mixed with religion it becomes a poisonous concoction of a newly invented religion that might be called “Traligion.”

Traligion

Traligion is common in many, if not all, religions of the world. It buries God’s simple and pure message under man’s cultural or personal customs and beliefs.

Traligion is the culprit of all baseless claims about God and His messengers.

 In Quran 2:78-79, God teaches us not to behave like the gentiles who injected their man-made traditions into God’s message, thus obscuring God’s Religion with tradition. The outcome of such a crime is “traligion:”

(2:78-79) Among them are gentiles who do not know the scripture, except through hearsay, then assume that they know it. Therefore, woe to those who distort the scripture with their own hands, then say, “This is what GOD has revealed,” seeking a cheap material gain. Woe to them for such distortion, and woe to them for their illicit gains.

Similarly, in the Bible’s Mark 7:7-9 Jesus condemned the Phairesees for replacing God’s commandments with their traditions, thus “traligion” is born:

(Mark 7:7-9) [Jesus said] 8You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men.” 9And he said to them: “You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions! 

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