On the beautiful Christmas morning of 25th of December 2019, Mohamed Salah, a world renowned football player and a Muslim from Egypt, along with his hijab-clad wife and cute daughter took a family photograph in front of a well-decorated Christmas tree. Afterwards, Salah shared the photograph on his verified Instagram page.
The backlash he got from some of his millions of Instagram followers became the motivation behind this write-up. I write this to all those people and everyone like them.
I singled out the particular comments from two of his followers among quite a number of self-righteous irrational religious critics.
A man with Instagram username, Mbizzofficial, wrote –
@mosalah, are you aware that you are celebrating the claim that Allah the one, the sustainer & controller had a son who was given birth on this day? Have you lost your mind?
Another man, a Turkish, with Instagram username, senol.usta.05, wrote –
We watched Salah, who was proud of his Islamism takip The man is throwing pine for Christmas. I will not follow you again!!! You’re not a man, Salah.
What could be wrong in a stunningly beautiful tree decoration that signifies love, generosity and good tidings just because it is termed Christmas tree? What exactly could possibly be wrong with that?
Only religion can stir up hatred and intolerance for a thing of such goodness.
These two comments perhaps reveals clearly enough for any discerning mind the kind of deadly mental disease religion has created in the thinking faculty of millions of people all over the world.
Religion has a clever way of killing the humanity in us all. It has a way of giving evil a righteous appearance. It has a way of making people throw common sense away for the ridiculous to hold sway.
The presiding pastor over a popular Nigerian church said Christmas is unbiblical and that it was not recorded in the bible that Jesus was born on December 25. He claimed that December is a date originally set aside by the ancient Romans for the Mars festival by the worshippers of the sun. It is for these reasons that himself and the hundreds of thousands of members of his church do not participate in Christmas celebrations.
I do not know if Jesus was born on December 25 or if this is the original date when ancient Romans celebrates Mars festival. What I know for certain is this – Christmas day is a distinctive day in the year when the display of love and charity by people is most pronounced. I see people giving out of their resources to other people, smiles and laughter on display like no other day in the year, people eating different assortment of delicious food – in fact, it is the only time in the year when lots of poor people who can hardly afford two meals a day get to eat to their satisfaction.
That is enough reason for me to celebrate Christmas even if I do not believe Jesus was born on December 25. Even if I do not believe that a man called Jesus was born at all.
The world is full of so much suffering, poverty, sorrow and selfishness. We should have 365 days of Christmas.
How can any mentally balanced human being be against such a day just because it is also the day that the birth of Jesus is being celebrated? Only religion can inspire such irrationality. Only religion can make people see something wrong in a beautiful, positive energy-provoking Christmas tree.
There are Christians who finds it abominable to mention the word ‘Allah’. Allah is simply an Arabic language used to describe the creator of the universe just like ‘God’ is an English word used to describe the Supreme Being.
Allah Akbar means ‘God is greater’ in Arabic language. Most non-Muslims will not be caught dead mentioning those words.
I had my primary education in a Muslim-owned school. During many of our morning prayers on the assembly ground, we would say the popular Muslim prayer starting with the first line – Bismillahi Rahmanir Raheem which means ”in the name of Allah (God), most gracious, most merciful”. Now, that’s a beautiful prayer.
I love participating in that prayer back then and I don’t have any reservations joining Muslims to pray that prayer now. It is a beautiful prayer exalting the name of God in an Arabic language. It is the same thing as praying to God in English, French, Spanish, Chinese, Yoruba, Hausa and so on.
Religion has a way making what is harmless looks dangerous. It creates hatred and intolerance for people who worship God in a way or language that is different from the one we know and accept.
Religion has turned men into beasts willing to kill harmless, defenseless, innocent people for their religious sect beliefs. A 42 year-old mother of seven, Mrs Eunice Elisha, the wife of a Redeemed Church Pastor was murdered in cold blood in the early hour of Saturday 9th of July 2016 by suspected Muslim fanatics while evangelizing around an area in Kubwa, a satellite town in Abuja, Nigeria.
Religion has turned nations into a community of people who celebrates mediocrity. It has caused nations to abandon weightier matters in need of urgent attention for issues that does little or nothing to advance the well-being and development of their country.
This is why most nations in Africa are underdeveloped.
In fact, every single nation in the world that puts religion at the forefront of public affairs are among the least developed countries of the world – plagued with hunger, poverty, poor infrastructures, corruption, human rights violation and the likes.
The Government of Zamfara state in Northwest Nigeria lauds as its achievement the building of 140 mosques in 2 years between 2017 and 2018. This is a state with massive human and capital underdevelopment. Only religion can engender such terribly misplaced priorities.
Religion legitimizes corruption and immorality. A great example is the Nigerian state. People steals brazenly from state treasury and go scot-free because of their religious affiliations. Under-aged female children are married off to men old enough to be their grandfather just because religion gives it some kind of legitimacy. Incompetent leaders that can hardly manage their marital homes are handed the governance keys of a whole nation because of their religious affiliations.
I do not blame a nation like China making serious efforts at clamping down on religion. They’ve seen the problems, contentions and setbacks that religion has created for many nations in the world. China is controlled by a Communist Party which is officially atheist. The party disapproves all kinds of religious organizations as they are seen to undermine its grip on power. Authorities in China subject Muslims to an unprecedented amount of surveillance, shut down Christian churches and force monks to pledge allegiance to the state.
This is why speedy trials can be conducted on corrupt state officials in China and they are killed without any section of the country shouting religious persecution.
This is not a tacit way of supporting the human rights violation in China, but they have been arguably better off without the social virus religion injects into the development journey of many nations in the world.
The Creator of the universe cannot be religious. When the rain falls, it falls on every one of us. When the sun shines, it shines on us all. When any one of us plant seeds into the ground, it yields fruits for us all. The air we breathe in without which we would be lifeless is available for everyone. The water we drink taste the same in our mouths and quench the thirst of everyone who drinks it.
The gifts of God for mankind is available for everyone. Those gifts of nature that keeps us alive everyday are not selective. They are available for Muslims, Catholics, Protestants, Buddhists, Taoists, Sango worshippers and every kind of person with any faith system.
Even those who don’t believe that God exists enjoys all the provisions of the universe.
If the God we believe in can tolerate everyone and provide for us all irrespective of our religious sect or faith, then who are we to consider people not aligned with our faith unworthy?
We must all recognize evil, corrupt and immoral people for who they are.
Religion is their perfect decoy for the perpetration of the evil in their hearts and we must not be disillusioned into thinking they are people fighting for the course of God.
Every act that does not promote love, causes resentment and brings pain and suffering to people must be seen as complete evil. Nothing more than that.
The Supreme Being that we hold in utmost reverence is not religious in his acts, none of us has the right to be religious in our actions.