Striving for Liberty

Auron ka hai Payaam aur, mera Payaam aur hai, / Ishq key dardmand ka tarz-e-kalaam aur hai! (Iqbal) Thus, liberty is what Islam is all about. And it was to set humanity free from its chains and shackles of mind, body and spirit that Islam came into this world. And striving to bring to humanity…

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SYED HUSAIN PASHA

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Auron ka hai Payaam aur, mera Payaam aur hai, / Ishq key dardmand ka tarz-e-kalaam aur hai! (Iqbal)

Thus, liberty is what Islam is all about. And it was to set humanity free from its chains and shackles of mind, body and spirit that Islam came into this world. And striving to bring to humanity the gift of liberty is Islam’s greatest gift and imperative. Read the Qur’an and you will know. Don’t believe me? Here is the Qur’an for you: Yadwa-‘u ‘anhum israhum wal aghlaallati kaanat ‘alaihim.

Paraphrase: “Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, frees them from the chains that bind and shackle them and takes down the burdens that oppressed them and broke their backs.”

Elsewhere the Qur’an holds out activism in the service of liberty as the lodestar of human life. Fa-laqtahamal ‘aqabah, it says condemning those who will not strive in the pursuit of liberty.

Paraphrase: “And he did not make the hard choices.”

Wa maa adraaka mal-‘aqabah?

Paraphrase: “Do you know what that tough decisions is?”

Fakku raqabah!

Paraphrase: “It is setting people free by shattering the bonds around their necks.”

That is Islam for you, folks. It came to set human beings free. And it came to encourage everyone to work to set everyone else free.

If Muslims forgot that or never learned it, and if non-Muslims never found that out about it or pretended not to know it, then it is the fault of neither Islam, nor of the designer of Islam, God Almighty, nor of the Prophet of Islam, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam.

The responsibility rests entirely on us, human beings of our time, both Muslim and non-Muslim, A, for not knowing it in the first place and, B, for not sharing it with others thereafter.

 

LOST SOULS OF ISLAM – AND NON-ISLAM

Now let us look at some reasons why the world knows so little about Islam

My readers have every right to ask, if Islam is all you say it is, and if the Qur’an contains any or all of these seemingly earthshaking claims you seem to be making in its behalf, how come no one knows about it?

The answer has many parts and here are some of them.

Part One. The main reason why “no one,” as we say, knows about it is because the Muslims have more or less given up telling people about it. There were times when Muslims did it with gusto, tell the people about Islam I mean. Those were the times when Muslims cried from every rooftop about Islam and its beautiful message of love, liberty and uncompromising human dignity and equality.

That beautiful message was the reason why everyone everywhere rushed to embrace Islam, not because, as some so-called scholars, writers and protagonists claim, Muslims went around chopping off every non-Muslim head they could find.

If Muslims had done that, two things would have happened. First, there won’t be any heads left to accept Islam. Second, there won’t be any non-Muslims left in much of the world today, at least in those parts of the world where Muslims were in power to any degree.

So, this was one of the most brazen lies perpetuated against Islam by all those who were opposed to the fundamental message of human liberty and equality that Islam brought into this world and that Muslims tried, at one time, to take to everyone’s doorstep everywhere.

This was done to stop the march of Islam, to slow the progress of human liberty in the world and to keep human beings in bondage and chains everywhere. That is how tyranny over the minds, bodies, souls, lands and resources of human beings came to be so rampant in all these past centuries and continues in one form or another to this day.

Therefore, Islam spread not because Muslims went around chopping off non-Muslims’ heads wherever they went, but for two simple reasons. First, people everywhere welcomed and embraced Islam because Islam was the most liberating and life-giving message the world had heard in a long time.

 

WHEN MUSLIMS WALKED THE WALK

Second, people welcomed Islam because the Muslims not only talked the talk but they also walked the walk. In many ways and to an extraordinary extent, Muslims personified in their own lives and societies the message of human equality, dignity and freedom that they preached and spoke about.

Most fair-minded non-Muslims, most of them in bondage and suffering all kinds of injustices, oppression and exploitation, couldn’t believe their ears when they heard the message of love, liberty, tolerance and human fellowship Muslims preached. Nor could they really believe it, until they saw with their own eyes, over and over again, that Muslims were not merely preaching these things but they were also actually practicing them.

When these non-Muslims could no longer deny the testimony of their own ears and eyes, they had no option but to jump on this colossal bandwagon of love and liberty that was Islam. That is how Islam spread to the four corners of the world at a time when there were no newspapers and when there was no radio, television or the Internet.

 

SHOW-AND-TELL ABOUT ISLAM

If Muslim individuals, families and societies don’t “show” a great deal of true Islam in their lives, the way Islam is truly supposed to be lived and shown to be practiced at all these different levels, by and large Muslims have also lost their historic flair for “telling” or preaching about Islam. So, they don’t “show” and they don’t “tell.”

So, how do you expect the rest of the world to know about Islam?

Add to this great wall of Muslim silence and the anemic and misleading Islam many Muslims practice the totally false propaganda and hate that are let loose upon the world about Islam from so many different sides – by the so-called enemies of Islam – and you have a perfect scenario for the way the world is either ignorant about Islam or suspicious of it.

At the same time, someone somewhere should ask the non-Muslims what efforts they have made on their part to learn about Islam. Muslims are one-fifth of the population of the world and yet non-Muslims have not lifted a finger to decipher Muslim life on earth? Unbelievable!

Islam in many ways dominates and drives the lives of so many people in so many parts of the world and yet that does not make non-Muslims sit up and smell the roses? What planet do they live on?

Muslim oil forms the life-blood of modern civilization and society at all levels and yet non-Muslims will not go beyond the oil slick and take an honest look at what Islam really is – beyond the naiveté and foolishness of Muslims and the propaganda of non-Muslims?

Unbelievable!

Part Two. So, part of the reason why so many non-Muslims do not seem to know about the true nature and teachings of Islam is because so few of them seem to be showing the necessary curiosity or taking the required initiative that would connect them to the true message of love and liberty that Islam and the Qur’an brought into this world.

Part Three. Another powerful reason for the closing of the non-Muslim mind to Islam is the negative propaganda that is let lose on the world to demonize Islam and Muslims by those who have reason to fear the success of Islam in the world.

The Crusaders, for example, not only killed people – mostly Muslims but also Jews – for centuries, they also engaged in systematic demonisation of Islam and Muslims by spreading all kinds of lies and distortions about them.

The Colonizers built on the falsehoods the Crusaders had invented and further deepened and compounded the ignorance and mistrust of most non-Muslims about Islam and Muslims. Ever since, the military onslaught against Muslim lands, as well as the propaganda barrage against Islam, the Qur’an and Muslims have continued, right down to our days, under new names, forms, pretexts and excuses.

Part Five. By and large, the Muslims themselves have lost the flair for the preaching and practice of Islam as a message of liberation and uplift for the world and have chosen to view and practice Islam as a set of often empty rituals mostly for purposes of personal salvation. Most Muslims – the good ones I mean – are mostly fixated with success in the next world often to the detriment of success in the present world.