How does Islam view freedom?

Visit count: 282    Category: Religion and Freedom         
A brief explanation about the meaning of freedom is required before touching upon the answer. Freedom apparently means the lack of any impediments in human progress in three spheres of belief, speech and conduct. What adds to the depth and value of this attitude is the appreciation and interpretation of freedom in respect to the truth of human race. The quality of knowing man and their life plays an important role in exploiting freedom as wrong interpretations concerning human race might lead to erroneous understanding of freedom. Who is human? Human is a fact comprising of two dimensions of matter and metaphysics. That is, man comprises of soul and flesh. Spiritual aspects of a valuable man are genuine and immortal, and his material aspects are temporary, fleeting and rudimentary for the perfection their divine dimension. We can take a look at Islam`s attitude about freedom according to existential dimensions of human race. Freedom is one of the characteristic attributes of mankind. As the essence of human race belongs to God, all their attributes and possessions including freedom also belong to God. Thus, freedom has been left in the trust of mankind. The reason behind it from point of view of Islam is its exploitation by mankind for realization and emancipation of talents in diverse spheres of both spiritual and material life. Thus, man has been ontologically created as a free creature whereas he is not an absolute free one in legislative terms and is obliged to conform to legal and religious laws. Thus, ontological freedom should not be mixed up with legislative freedom and ought to be avoided. The holy Quran emphasizes in many verses that there is no obligation in accepting any religion including this verse," There is no compulsion in religion; rectitude has become distinct from error". The holy Quran` s emphasis on human will to accept the religion or reject it proves man is ontologically free to accept religious beliefs as Allame Tabatabai states below the aforementioned verse: "This verse negates compulsory religion because religion consists of a glossary of scientific teachings as well as practical ones following those scientific rules. All in all, religion comprises of beliefs. Belief and faith are among inner matters in which there is no compulsion." But the holy Quran states in the following verse," Allah is the master of the faithful; H e brings them out of darkness into light; as for the faithless, their patrons are the rebels who drive them out of light into darkness; they shall be the inmates of the fire; and they shall remain in it forever."(2) This verse conveys how man should abide by the facts of the universe which are the truth of faith, unbelief and their expediencies for us in legislative terms.


1- Surat al-Baqarah, verse 256 2- Surat al-Baqarah, verse 257 ------------------------------ Source: The translation of Qur’anic passages is adopted from Sayyid ‘Alī Qulī Qarā’ī, The Qur’an with a Phrase-by-Phrase English Translation (London: Islamic College for Advanced Studies Press, 2004). [Trans.] Translation by: AhlulBayt News Agency (a.s) ( Please refer to the text`s Persian version in order to view footnotes of this question and answer.

The opinions expressed in this text do not necessarily reflect those of the publisher

Comment Text