Polytheism is a false belief system that harms people psychologically and physically. It’s most clearly seen in the practice of sati, whereby a widow willingly burns herself alive on the funeral bier of her husband, or when, like during the past week, Hindu women wade into water full of sludge and toxic foam to perform religious ceremonies.
Polytheism is seen in many forms, but always follows false beliefs.
El Sheikh Mubarik Ali Shah Gillani’s 1987 book, “On Curing Some Incurable Diseases and AIDS,” defines false beliefs.
He says, “A belief which takes a person away from his Creator is false. And any doctrine, research, concept, or scientific achievement which enables man or a race to oppress another is most evil and to believe in it is upholding a false belief.”
It’s easy to see, in the context of Palestine, why believing that developing bombs and munition-laden drones is good can be a false belief. It’s also clear that belief in racism and genocide are also false beliefs. Upholding sciences that are used to torture people to extract information is another. Creating technology that’s used to exclude demographics and upholding the technology used to rob people of their privacy are yet other false beliefs.
The whole world, today, seems to be engulfed in one false belief after another. To avoid the harm it engenders, it’s important to see where the false beliefs lay.
Moving away from the doctrines, research and scientific achievements, only the concepts remain from the quote above that defines false beliefs. That is, the “concept” which “enables man or a race to oppress another.” In other words, the idea that arises and enables one person to oppress another is “most evil and to believe in it is upholding a false belief.”
Perhaps because it means to hold oneself supreme.
This false belief that leads to oppressing others is found everywhere in modern society: at work, at school, at play, at non-profits and within the family system itself. So it shouldn’t be surprising that governments have false beliefs when their people have their own as well.
This particular concept of oppressing others is rooted in another. El Sheikh writes that taking money and power as gods is the same as being a polytheist with false beliefs.
He continues, “When any Qalb [center of the soul] is plunged into total darkness of polytheism, certain diseases are manifested in the conduct and psychological self of the afflicted person,” such as anger, greed and ignorance. These attributes cause great suffering.
In the book, El Sheikh Gillani also writes that mankind suffers primarily from a lack of understanding of his own self due to his own spiritual blindness from following false beliefs. How are the two connected?
“Man is composed of a physical and non-physical body, and the physical body is a vehicle for the latter. The Almighty has created both and has endowed them each with a system, by which both are regulated, kept alive and healthy,” writes El Sheikh Gillani.
“Just as blood is life for the heart and physical body, similarly correct belief is the life source of the Qalb. Any false belief acts as poison to the Qalb.”
“The physical body of man was created to follow a set of laws designed for its preservation and protection. They are physical laws, which we are all aware of. For instance, man feels cold, he must clad his physical body to ward off chill, when his body becomes fatigued, he must give it rest’; since fire can burn the body, we keep away from it, etc. All of these precautions are derived from laws.
“Similarly, our non-physical bodies are subject to a law made by their Creator.”
“Materialists neither believe in Almighty God, the human soul or the law. Therefore they have been spreading falsehood [false beliefs] and increasing the miseries of mankind without being able to heal the diseases of the soul [mental illnesses].”