1ST PRIZE IN AURA ARTICLE WRITING COMPETITION THE REAL MEANING OF FREEDOM
Category : COVER STORY
“Indeed, Allah has purchased from the believers their lives and their properties [in exchange] for that they will have Paradise.” Quran 9:111

Freedom is defined as “the quality or state of being free, such as the absence of necessity, coercion, or constraint in choice or action.” Liberty and autonomy are also closely related terms. The Western idea of freedom is summed up well in the famous quotation by Jean Jacques Rousseau in his book ‘The Social Contract’, “Man is born free but everywhere is in chains.” It can be interpreted from this sentence that the most ideal expression of freedom is manifested in newborn or young children who possess the freedom to express, think and act unfettered based on their whims and fancies. As they grow old and begin to interact with the social environment around them, their thoughts and expressions gradually tend to conform to the existing societal norms. In this context, it is assumed that a child who has unrestricted freedom to exploit the resources available with him possesses absolute freedom. However, the fundamental flaw in this line of thought is that ‘absolute’ freedom is a false notion because the individual is as a matter of fact a slave of his own desires. This is evident from the following verse of the Qur’an

“Have you seen him who takes his own lust (vain desires) as his ilah (god), and Allah knowing (him as such), left him astray, and sealed his hearing and his heart, and put a cover on his sight. Who then will guide him after Allah? Will you not then remember?”
Quran 45:23

Human beings are in constant need of guidance and in absence of the same they are lost, misguided, and confused. By enabling absolute or unrestricted freedom, the very essence of a meaningful existence is jeopardized. The real meaning of freedom therefore is realized only by navigating within the boundaries marked by God. In this way, it is ensured that the individual does not inflict harm on his own self or on the society around him.

“Have you seen him who takes his own lust (vain desires) as his ilah (god), and Allah knowing (him as such), left him astray, and sealed his hearing and his heart, and put a cover on his sight. Who then will guide him after Allah? Will you not then remember?”

Quran 45:23

In other words, it can be said that in the hierarchy of values, freedom does not always occupy the highest position as the modern western philosophers have led people to believe. It is well understood that freedom can be exchanged for more valuable physiological, social, and emotional needs. For example, a rider driving a vehicle on a road submits his freedom to drive unrestricted without following traffic norms in exchange for a safe and smooth driving experience. Another relevant example is that young children submit some of their freedoms to their parents/guardians so that their basic needs such as food, shelter, clothing, and other emotional needs are fulfilled.

This idea aligns well with the Islamic ideology wherein human beings submit their will to God (Allah) in exchange for a permanent abode in heaven. The relevant Qur’anic verse in this regard is quoted below: –

“Indeed, Allah has purchased from the believers their lives and their properties [in exchange] for that they will have Paradise.”
Quran 9:111

Thus, it can be concluded based on the above discussion that the real meaning of freedom is the ability of an individual to exercise the legitimate freedom to think and act upon his will without violating the sanctity of his relationship between him and other humans or God. In this way, his/her true purpose of existence and self-actualization is duly satisfied which the Qur’an describes as follows:

“And I did not create jinns and men except for My worship alone. I did not create them to make a partner for Me.”
Quran 51:56

1 Comment

  1. Usmankhan U. Pathan

    Really a good article with clarity of thought. Exercise of
    every fundamental right is subject to reasonable restrictions. One aspect of telling truth to power which Islam calls the best of Jihad could be highlighted with shining examples from Islamic history.

    Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *