In this video, I answer the following questions:
- Should religion be organized?
- If yes, why, and how much?
- What is the only authorized form of organized religion in this world?
- What sort of structure should such an organization have?
- What are the proper channels of communication between those people?
- How do the finances flow in that organization?
- Who, what, where, when, and how to do it?
- And, how to join a correctly organized religion?
But first, let me give you a brief history of organized religion.
God sent religion through Abraham, but He sent organized religion through Moses. So, the first time in history that organized religion was established correctly was at the time of Moses, and this lasted until after Aaron and the 70 Judges, when the Children of Israel lost the Ark of the Covenant. The second time that organized religion was established correctly was at the time of David, and this lasted until after Solomon when the Kingdom of Israel split in two kingdoms. The third time that organized religion was established correctly was at the time of the Apostles of Jesus, and this lasted until after their death when people started to call themselves ‘Christian’. The fourth time that organized religion was established correctly was when Muhammed migrated to Medina, and this lasted several decades until the Battle of Karbala when the Muslims split in two factions. By the way, God sent many other messengers in the past but they did not organize the religion. They did not organize it because their job was to expose false religions first, and before they got a sufficient number of believers to organize the true religion, they got rejected. So, in the whole history of the world, there were only four cases with the right circumstances to establish organized religion correctly with God’s authorization. And now the time has come for the fifth case, and this time it will last until the End of the World. However, let me clarify that I am not talking about organizing all aspects of religion. Religion will still be mostly an individual pursuit, a personal lifestyle. I am only talking about organizing the public aspects of religion, only what is necessarily shared, and what brings benefits for all. So, how do we set up a correctly organized religion? What type of political system should organized religion have?
The political system of a properly organized religion is not a democracy, not communism, not an autocracy, not a republic, not a business, not a corporation, not a partnership, and not an NGO. These systems function even when people are disbelievers. The correct political system should automatically fail when people are disbelievers, and it should only work when people are believers. The only political system which succeeds only when people are believers is a peaceful religious army. This religious army will be without weapons, because we pay taxes, so let the police do their job. I will never use or authorize weapons for religious purposes. I know that God allows weapons in general, but they are useless for religious purposes in democratic circumstances. So, the political system of a correctly organized religion today resembles an army without weapons, and as such, it has a top-down hierarchy.
Now, let me show you the hierarchical structure of a properly organized religion. I looked at all the hierarchical positions mentioned in the Quran, and here they are:
- King (Malik).
- Prophet (Nabi).
- Messenger (Rasul).
- Successor (Khalifa).
- Director/someone in charge (Emir).
- Custodian/Protector (Wali).
- Scholar (Alim).
- Teacher (Mulla).
- Leader (Imam).
- Submitter (Muslim).
- Dependent Submitter (Abd).
So, these are all the positions mentioned in the Quran, but do they all apply in today’s circumstances?
- Prophet? – There are no more prophet’s today – Muhammad was the last prophet – so let’s remove that position. This is not an active position anymore.
- Khalifa? – Khalifa is a political position. It has been replaced by Presidents and Prime-Ministers, and Parliament Members. Let’s remove that.
- Custodian? This is only applicable if you rule over Mecca, which we are not today. So, let’s remove that.
- Scholar (Alim)? – replaced by scientists. Let’s remove that.
- Teacher (Mulla)? – Replaced by professors and school teachers. Let’s remove that.
- Leader? – Actually this is not really a formal position. Anyone can lead unofficially. The Quran says that we are leaders of our children. Imam simply means ‘the first’. Anytime you happen to lead the contact prayer you are a leader, but once it is finished, you are not anymore. You can be a leader even when there are no organizational structures in place. It is a description of a temporary action. So, let’s remove that.
Now, we are left with only these five positions:
- and Dependent Submitter
So, let’s describe these positions:
- The King is God.
- The Messenger is the Quran, or a human being authorized by God to promote the Quran.
- Directors, or more specifically, Congregation Directors, are submitters who are put in charge of a local congregation within a city and their authority is limited only on collective religious aspects, but they do not have authority over the individual lives, beliefs, and opinions of submitters. They are appointed through a God-given system recommended in the Quran, which takes into account qualities like Quranic knowledge, charitable life experience, and success in promoting the message.
- Submitters are people who Observe the Contact Prayer and give the Obligatory Charity.
- Dependent Submitters are submitters who are incapable of joining the organization directly for reasons like language difficulties, internet difficulties, people under the age of 18, people with serious health difficulties or mental difficulties, or any similar difficulty. They communicate with the religious organization through another submitter, but not directly.
So, here is how the hierarchical structure looks like:
So, as you can see, this hierarchical structure looks like bricks in one wall, and that is exactly what God calls it in the Quran – bricks in one wall.
The first criterion which makes an organized religion the correct religion is its meetings – the time of meetings, the purpose of meetings, and the place of meetings. The only authorized meeting decreed for submitters is the Friday Congregational Prayer. Unity of submitters happens through the Friday Congregational Prayer. Don’t let people fool you by promising you unity through other means. God did not specify for us any other meetings. If people invite you to other gatherings, or other meetings, other conferences, those are simply distractions. On the Day of Judgment, there will be a list of questions which you will be asked about, and one of them will be, “Did you attend the Friday Prayer?” There is nothing there in that list which will ask you, “Did you go to that Saturday Quranic Study, or did you go to that annual conference, or did you go to that monthly religious meeting?” They will not be items in your record. They are simply irrelevant distractions. The Quran says that there is nothing good about other religious conferences except for those with the purpose of gathering charity, or righteous works, or making peace among the people. Some other people think that you can be a submitter by hanging out with other submitters during Saturdays (usually when they don’t have to go to work). Saturdays are not a substitute for the Friday Obligatory Prayers. In fact, God’s prediction in verse 16:124 is that those who meet on Saturdays, as a religious meeting, they will always end up disputing with one another. The only authorized meeting we attend is the Friday Congregational Prayer, and this is how we organize. Organizing in the cause of God is attending the Friday Congregational Prayer. So, when the call to prayer is made, the Quran tells us to hasten to the commemoration of God, and the commemoration of God happens in God’s mosques. I am only talking about those mosques, those masjids where God alone is commemorated, without commemorating anyone else in them. If there is no such mosque near your location, I provide the Friday sermons for you online, temporarily. I give you the detailed religious justification for the permission to do it online in another video, but the main point which I am making here is that if you are a believer, you will never find yourself in a situation where you can not attend the Friday Prayer. So, now that the religion is properly organized, the Friday Prayers will always be available for you, at least online, if not in location. Therefore, attending the Friday Sermons is obligatory and possible for every submitter, anywhere in the world. And, it does not matter how busy you think you are, or whatever opportunity you might think you are losing, or whether your boss might not like it, or whatever unreasonable fears you might have. What God provides for you is far better than any business or entertainment you might be pursuing.
The second criterion which makes an organized religion correct is the correct financial flow – charity. Who gives it? Who receives it? Who collects and distributes it? When? How much? If this is done right, then we have the correct organized religion – we belong to the correct community. Charity is community, and community is charity. Whoever thinks that he can organize a community without organized charity has fooled himself. A moral organization does not exist without charity.
Many examples in the Quran which support the idea of COLLECTIVE charity. For example, the Quran mentions how some people in the community used to criticize Muhammad’s distribution of charity if they were not given from it, but if they were given from it, they would be satisfied. In another instance, it mentions how some of them would actually issue a promissory note to the collectors of charity to pay it later, because they might not have had the grains and animal stocks for the moment with them. In yet another instance, God informs us how the people in charge would enforce Zakat in the community, when someone became negligent, and how the submitters would be able to identify their allies based on who gave the collective charity, because it was a public organized thing.
The main reason for organizing a religion is that the purity of the community must be endangered from the inside. Moses did not organize it as long as his enemy was an outside enemy – Pharaoh. But after the Children of Israel were freed, when they moved to the desert, their enemy was within, and Moses organized the religion with the Ark of the Covenant and the Tabernacle and the Sabbath, to ensure the purity of the community. Similarly, during Muhammad’s time, only after they moved to Medina, they organized the community, because many tribes who were pursuing their own interests joined and endangered the purity of the community. Similarly, during our time, the purity of the community is being endangered from the inside by ignorant people. And they are exactly the ones who organized incorrectly and prematurely. They tried many organizational structures. They tried social media groups, half-secret societies, social movements, pretend masjids, friendship rings, heritage conferences, Quranic philosophy groups, NGOs, liberal movements, hate groups, blogger groups, and many other approaches of organizing themselves. All of them had more problems then they had people. All of them had something in common. None of them collected and distributed Obligatory Charity, and that is bad organizing. If a style of organizing ourselves is not based on how the Quran tells us to organize, then of course, it will cause problems, or not progress at all. God says that the community of submitters is one community, and this can only be achieved through a united charity process. United charity means united community.
So, even though it was not my plan to organize the religion, now I organized it because it has already been badly organized. In this way, I am not really putting any burden on you. God is actually relieving the bad burden from you. This is why I am organizing it and Rashad Khalifa did not. The difference between Rashad and me is like the difference between Abraham and Moses. Abraham brought the religion, but Moses organized it. Abraham taught the people how to give the obligatory charity, but Moses taught the people how to collect and distribute the charity. Abraham taught the people how to pray, but Moses taught the people how to pray together. An individual is purified through the rituals of Abraham, but a community is purified through the rituals of Moses. Of course, we all follow the same religion, and the religion did not change, but the circumstances changed, and the new circumstances don’t just require religion, they require organized religion. The difference in circumstances is that Abraham did not have to deal with ignorant organizers of the true religion, while Moses had to deal with ignorant organizers of the true religion. So, organized religion did not make sense for Abraham, but it made sense for Moses. It did not make sense for Rashad, but it makes sense for me.
Someone might say, “But wouldn’t it be better if we just gave the Obligatory Charity individually to our families and relatives, because we know better who really needs it?” Well, not in this case, because poverty is mostly a condition of the whole family or whole relatives. If we just gave directly to our families and relatives, then the rich people would usually give to their rich families and the poor people would usually give to the poor families, and there would still be whole families who are poor, and God says in verse 59:7 that this is not the best way to distribute charities. It is not enough for the money to just move around within a social class. It also has to move from one social class to another. Also, Obligatory Charity is not only about alleviating poverty. It is also about creating that bond, that community trust, by giving and taking. I mean unity can only be achieved through love, and one of the signs of love is exchange of material things, and that is what we should do.
Who are we?
The name of our religion is Submission, and we are submitters. The Quran says that the only religion approved by God is Submission. If you want to know who belongs with us, and who does not belong with us, first you have to know what defines our group. We do not define ourselves based on common scripture, like the protestant churches and the Quranist organizations, or based on common leadership, like the Catholic Church and the Shia organizations, or based on common tradition, like the Sunnis and the Orthodox Churches, or based on common ethnicity, like the Jewish organizations. We do not define ourselves based on common nationality like the Russian Orthodox Church, or Anglican Communion, or Turkish Diyanet, or Egyptian Ministry of Endowment, or Uzbekistani Muslim Spiritual Directorate, or Evangelical Church of Germany, or Saudi Ministry of Islamic Affairs. We also do not define ourselves based on political views, like the Progressive Muslims or the Liberal Christians, or the Christian Right, or the Islamists. We also do not define ourselves based on common doctrine, like the Baptist Church or the Methodist Church, or the Seventh Day Adventists Church. We do not even define ourselves based on common belief. We do not call ourselves ‘believers’. The Quran tells us not to do that.
Now, let me tell you based on what we define ourselves. We define ourselves based on common worship. This is the only criterion which makes sense to define a religious organization, because God says in the Quran, “I did not create the humans except to worship Me,” to worship God. And if you have a common way of worshiping God, like us, then you have absolutely no reason to divide, and you are with us.
So, if you want to know whether someone belongs in our group, you have to ask him three questions:
- Who do you worship?
- When do you worship?
- How do you worship?
If all the answers are the same as ours, then we belong in the same group. If he says, “I worship God. I worship Him at Dawn, Noon, Afternoon, Evening, and Night. I worship him exactly like Abraham worshiped Him.” Then, he belongs in our group. We worship together. Forget the division, even if his religious doctrine is different, even if he has strange beliefs, even if you have different political views, even if he understands the Quran differently. See, if he has the wrong beliefs, he is wrong. But, we don’t define our group based on belief. We define our group based on worship. Submission is a form of worship, not a form of belief. Belief is between him and God, and it is not part of Organized Religion. This also should serve as an explanation to the Christians who criticize the Muslims for having specific prayers. They say, “Why can’t we pray anyway we want, with our heart?” Well, if you are going to ski, ski anyway you want. But if you are going to play football, you have to coordinate with the team. Football is a team sport, and the Contact Prayers are a team worship – worshiping God together. You can still have your personal worship of God, how you feel, but that’s not part of Organized Religion. And this is what the Christians don’t understand. They think that Jesus updated or changed or maybe nullified the rules of Moses. But the reality is that Moses brought Organized Religion, while Jesus preached individual salvation. I mean, why would Jesus preach organized religion, when God had decided to take organized religion away from the Jews, and why would Moses preach individual salvation, when God had decided to save the Children of Israel all together as a group? So, of course what Moses preached and what Jesus preached seem different, because they dealt with two different aspects of religion. One of them dealt with the collective public aspect, the other dealt with the individual aspects. In this video, I focus on the collective aspects – organized religion.
So, the Contact Prayer, a specific form of organized worship of God, is half of the collective worship. The other half of collective worship is the Collective Obligatory Charity – Zakat. If someone does the Contact Prayer, but does not agree to give COLLECTIVE Obligatory Charity, from now on, he is half a submitter, a dividing submitter, a weak submitter, an ignorant submitter, a coward submitter, a cheap submitter, a selfish submitter, and an unsupportive submitter.
To be a member of this religious organization, you do not need to change your name, nor get baptized, nor get circumcised, nor get uncircumcised, nor declare your belief in any messenger, nor declare your disbelief in any messenger, nor declare any kind of belief. Your belief is between you and God. You do not need to join any app, nor join any social media group, nor declare your loyalty to anyone. To be a member of this organization, according to the Quran, you only need to fulfill two requirements:
- Observe the Contact Prayer, and
- Give the Collective Obligatory Charity.
Now, because these are collective religious rituals, you are responsible to do them, and prove to the others that you do them. You prove to the others that you do the Contact Prayer by attending the Friday Congregational Prayer once a week, and you prove to the others that you give the Obligatory Charity so that other submitters can see that you belong with them. So, if you do these two, you are in. If you do not do these two, you are out. Moses and Muhammad excluded anyone who did not give the Collective Obligatory Charity and did not do the Contact Prayer. On the other hand, Moses and Muhmmad did not exclude from the community anyone for having the wrong opinions, but God will exclude them on the Last Day. Of course, if you are in, and you do evil deeds, we will pressure you to pay a compensation equitably. However, if you do not do these two, you get kicked out, regardless of how good you are. Simple. These are the two religious rituals which determine who is part of the community and who is not part of the community. No people should have the right to decide who gets in and who gets expelled. It is determined only based on these two religious rituals. And this is very clear in the Quran.
Chapter 9, verse 11 says – and this is the main verse of this video – It says:
“If they repent and (1) observe the Salat (Contact Prayers) and (2) give the Zakat (Collective Obligatory Charity), then they are your brethren in religion. This is how we explain the revelations for people who know.”
So, organized religion is two things:
- Attending Jumu`ah COLLECTIVELY and
- Giving Zakat COLLECTIVELY.
Don’t let anyone fool you with any other organized thing, no matter how promising it appears. Again, remember, if you wish to join the properly organized religion, here is what it means, here is what you agree to do together: Jumu`ah, Zakat; Jumu`ah, Zakat; Jumu`ah, Zakat; Jumu`ah, Zakat. That’s it. Nothing else. The rest of the religious aspects, like fasting and Hajj are personal. They are obligatory, but personal. They are part of religion, but not part of Organized Religion, which why we find them mentioned separately in the Quran, while Salat and Zakat are almost always mentioned together.
Why should you organize with us?
You should organize with us because God orders you to organize. Here is what God says in the Quran:
“O you who believed, when you are told, “Organize in the cause of GOD,” why do you become heavily attached to the material things? Have you chosen this worldly life in place of the Hereafter? The materials of this world, compared to the Hereafter, are nil.” (9:38)
“Unless you organize, He will commit you to painful retribution and substitute other people in your place…” (9:39)
“You shall readily organize, light or heavy, and strive with your money (collective charity) and your lives (collective prayer) in the cause of GOD. This is better for you, if you only knew.” (9:41)