Almost everyone of us has a religion to believe and becomes the follower of the religion we chose. But, what is religion exactly? Is it just a 'name' for us to write in our identity card? Is it just a status so that we are accepted in certain society? Or, is it something that doesn't have any meaning at all but since everybody has a religion then we follow one without understanding it…?
What is religion? Basically, religion is a compilation of teachings in which when a person applies those teachings he can achieve his goal in life. The ultimate goal of every human being is undoubtedly being happy in the world and being in the heaven in the hereafter. Every person, whether he is rich or poor, sick or healthy, wants to be truly happy where ever he is.
Islam is a religion and it is a compulsory 'tool' for human being to achieve the ultimate goal of being truly happy in the world and in the hereafter. The teachings of Islam, as contained in the Qur'an, such as doing shalat (praying), fasting, sincerity, gratitude, charity, honesty, doing good deeds, making effort, destiny, etc, will lead people to the true happiness in this world and in the hereafter. Since it is a 'tool' that can bring us to the ultimate goal, we have to realize that religion is not an obligation. Religion is a need.
Islam is a final religion that had gone through improvements from previous prophets and finally reached its perfection in the time of Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him. Allah (God) says in the Qur'an chapter 5 verse 3: "This day have I perfected your religion for you, completed My favor upon you and have chosen for you Islam as your religion". And the Qur'an is the final scripture confirming the previous scriptures of the previous prophets as God says in verse 48 of the same chapter: "To thee We sent the scripture (Qur'an) in truth, confirming the scripture that came before it and guarding it in safety, so judge between them by what God hath revealed…".
The consequence of choosing Islam as our religion is that we must be willing to be ruled by Qur'an, the holy book of Islam. We must think, speak, and act according to the rules of God. The Qur'an is our life guidance and we need it for our lives in this world, NOT for the life in the hereafter. All the teachings and rules in the Qur'an are for us to be implemented in our daily life in this world. What will happen to us in the hereafter, either hell or heaven, is the result of our implementation or our negligence of the rules of God.
The religion of Islam provide human being the instructions, the 'how to' for achieving the ultimate goal of true happiness in the world and in the hereafter. However, it's up to us whether we want to grab it or not.
"Verily this Qur'an doth guide to that which is most right (stable)…" Qur'an chapter 17 verse 9