Islam has the best social system to control the masses, through different religious congregations and religious gatherings. Having a 75-year history, Pakistan is still a fledgling state where institutions have yet to mature. A politically unstable, economically crippled, and socially confused state is still swinging between the pendulum of maturity and consciousness. Being an Islamic state, religion here can be an important social force in solidifying the current conditions of the country.
Islam has robust power to control people from many social ills practically as well as socially. We are a nation blessed by God but not by our intuition because we have not been able to pragmatically manipulate things for 75 years. If we can solve our problems by using religion as a social agency, we can hinder many social problems without tremendous effort. I will discuss some social issues and how religious entities can constitute a conscience in this regard.
The Jummah prayer is the weekly activity where many Muslims gather in one place, the Masjid (mosque). This social gathering can be used for social purposes for the state. Our religious authorities are used to delivering sermons from a traditional perspective, which is not problematic but insufficient to control society and culture. From primary education to university education, every child encounters the fundamentals of religion, but social issues are not addressed, even at home or at university.
Religion is a social institution, just like education. Just as education can enrich young minds for a competitive economic market, religion makes them “social men.” Through daily gatherings five times at the mosque, Jummah prayer gatherings, Eid sermons and other religious activities, our religious and moral authorities can discuss social issues that are spreading in our society like contagious diseases . Religion must develop the consciousness of the masses for the collective good of humanity.
Population is one of the growing social problems in Pakistan. Quoting Robert Malthus, Population growth in Pakistan is on the geometric average 2,4,8,16,32…and the sources of sustenance are increasing on the arithmetic average 1,2,3,4…so the capacity of the land to produce food food is deteriorating day by day. Food consumption and food storage are both huge problems. Food waste is a serious problem due to which we have to produce more food and during this process soil degradation doubles.
By 2050, the population of Pakistan will have doubled. This growing population will bring disaster to the nation in terms of standard of living, employment and prosperity which will further lead to deviance, crime, anomalies and crimes. Here, then, is religion as an active social force in raising people’s awareness of this issue. During Jummah prayers and other religious gatherings, our religious authorities may discuss this issue to raise awareness of the growing problem. Through religious sermons, imams can play a vital role in upholding the true meanings of Islam, which focuses on the prosperity and coexistence of human beings. Religion can be a social agency here to constitute the consciousness of the population explosion. Islam focused on responsibility which should also be taken into account when breeding. If the state and individuals cannot responsibly support more children, it is better to resist unfettered growth. By a gradual process, during Sermons in the Mosques, religious authorities can build a constructive consciousness to reproduce less and feed effectively.
Going forward, gender-based violence is one of the least discussed issues due to social taboos. Abusing subordinates economically and socially in houses is easy. Second, culture prevents us from exposing abuse because it goes against the grace of family patterns.
Abusive households are problematic for the balance of society. For example, in 2021, 128 women were killed in the name of Ghairat (Honour), which is pure injustice and a day of ignorance of our emerging situation. Islam emphasizes the sanctity of human life and avoids all forms of violence. Here, religion can again emerge as the institutional authority to induce the social ethics and social norms established by Islam 1400 years ago. If religious leaders at Jummah sermons and other religious gatherings talk about the seriousness of domestic violence, acid attacks and economic depletion of genders in rural areas, that will build people’s conscience. The Jummah prayer can be a beneficial force to develop the minds of people through religion which will restore the harmony of society and the mutual coexistence of genders.
Without science and technology, no nation can prosper in the days to come here. Religion can play a vital role as an active social agency in constituting people’s inclination toward modern literacy, technology, and advancement. During Jummah prayers, the prayer leader can develop people’s awareness of religious literacy as well as scientific knowledge for the collective prosperity of the entire Ummah.
The socialization of children and the grooming of the emerging young generation is one of the most difficult phenomena for the state and parents. The next generation is the future. But our youth are confused and confused by conflicting values, for example, popular wisdom and progressive values. Youth is between the two ideologies. Here religion can again be a positive force to control people. During the Jummah prayer and religious sermons, prayer leaders can contribute to the intuition and cognition of young minds. During religious congregations, they can discuss the contradictions of opposing values by comparing and contrasting methods to help young people be clear-minded.
It is time to practice religion as a social force to realign and re-manifest our priorities. According to Louis Althusser, religion is an Ideological State Apparatus (AIS) which is a legal force used by the state and social elites to control and, at the same time, manipulate people. It is now up to our state to decide whether it wants to integrate religion as a force for social welfare or as a regressive state apparatus. Islam itself claimed the manifestation of balance and the restoration of society for the solidarity of peoples. Our religious representative must incorporate Islam as an enthusiastic force to make people mature and “social men”.
In conclusion, many Muslims are constantly confused because religious authorities do not do their job at an authentic pace, so most Muslims fall between the religious and progressive ideologies of the West. Religious authorities should play an important role in curbing socio-economic and socio-political issues by educating people during the Jummah prayer rather than centering their religious activities on limited exposure to religion. Religion is the social institution that must reorganize and reinvigorate the contemporary confusion of people, social problems, and social pathology. Max Weber said Protestantism caused industrialization and human progress in the early 19th century rather than technological progress. Religion can be a robust and vibrant force in building people’s consciousness, intuition and cognition for social control. The State should also play a role in developing the conscience of religious authorities so that religious authorities can constitute the refined morality of the People.