Apr 10 2017

The Concept of Freedom in Islam

Source: http://www.islamanswering.com

By the authors at QuestionsOnIslam.com

Freedom, both as a concept and as a value, has been denied to many individuals, groups, and nations. It has been often misunderstood and abused. The fact is that in no human society can man be free in the absolute sense of the word. There must be some limitations of one sort or another, if the society is to function at all.

Apart from this general idea, Islam teaches freedom, cherishes it, and guarantees it for the Muslim as well as for the non-Muslim. The Islamic concept of freedom applies to all voluntary activities of man in all walks of life. As already stated, every man is born free on the fitrah or in a pure state of nature. This means that man is born free from subjugation, sin, inherited inferiority, and ancestral hindrance. His right of freedom is sacred as long as he does not deliberately violate the Law of God or desecrate the rights of others.

One of the main objectives of Islam is to emancipate the mind from superstitions and uncertainties, the soul from sin and corruption, the conscience from oppression and fear, and even the body from disorder and degeneration.

The course which Islam has enjoyed on man to realize this goal includes profound intellectual endeavors, constant spiritual observances, binding moral principles, and even dietary regulations. When man follows this course, religiously, he cannot fail to reach his ultimate goal of freedom and emancipation.

The question of freedom with regard to belief, worship, and conscience is also of paramount importance in Islam. Every man is entitled to exercise his freedom of belief, conscience, and worship. In the words of the Qur’an, God says:

“There is no compulsion in religion. Truth stands out clear from error. Whoever rejects evil and believes in God has grasped the strongest bond that never breaks. Gods knows all, and hears all things.” (Qur’an, 2:256)

Islam takes this attitude because religion depends upon faith, will, and commitment. These would be meaningless if induced by force. Furthermore, Islam presents the Truth of God in the form of an opportunity and leaves the choice for man to decide his own course. The Qur’an says:

“The Truth is from your Lord. Let him who wills, believe, and let him who wills, disbelieve.” (Qur’an, 18:29)

The Islamic concept of freedom is an article of faith, a solemn command from the Supreme Creator. It is built on the following fundamental principles. First, man’s conscience is subject to God only, to Whom every man is directly responsible. Secondly, every human being is personally responsible for his deeds and he alone is entitled to reap the fruits of his work. Thirdly, God has delegated to man the responsibility to decide for himself. Fourthly, man is sufficiently provided with spiritual guidance and endowed with rational qualities that enable him to make responsible, sound choices.

Such is the foundation of the Islamic concept of freedom and such is the value of freedom in Islam. It is a natural right of man, a spiritual privilege, a moral prerogative, and, above all, a religious duty. Within the framework of this Islamic concept of freedom, there is no room for religious persecutions, class conflict, or racial prejudice. The individual’s right of freedom is as sacred as his right of Life; freedom is the equivalent of Life itself.


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  1. Phillip Slepian

    ramy – Please do not put words in my mouth. Have I ever, in any of my comments, insulted your intelligence or ascribed comments to you that you did not make? I have no desire to see ISIS grow or spread. On the contrary, I would prefer it if ISIS, and all violent Jihadi agents were vanquished forever. I would also prefer it if the leaders of the Uma would abandon their calls to subjugate the entire world to Islam. But having educated myself on Islam, I understand that the conquest of the entire world is essential to normative Islam, and the reformers are a tiny minority with few followers and no influence on the greater Uma. Nor have I ever claimed to speak for Islam as an “authority” on Islamic law. But since you usually are not able to refute the points I make in my posts, you resort to ad hominem attacks, a classic Islamist response to anyone who dares to question their dogma or expose some inconvenient truths about Islam. Color me deeply unimpressed by your reply, ramy.

    1. ramy

      So you can call us liars, but you get upset if I call you ignorant?
      Yes you have insulted me and many others affiliated with Muslims for Liberty in the past. And you don’t have to go very far in your comment history to see examples. Just look at your initial comment right here where once again you throw your accusation of taqiyyah (lying) against any Muslim who advocates peace and liberty. It’s you who resorts to ad hominem attacks. And you also have this strange idea that somehow you understand Islam better than Muslims understand it. You present yourself as an authority when you keep saying the same foolish things over and over again.
      Your image of Islam and Muslims is that of ISIS. And your attempt at labeling us “Islamist” and that we want to conquer the world, is pathetic. What “leaders of the uma” are you talking about??
      I thinks it’s the American military that has dozens of military bases around the world. Can you name one Muslim country that has the same? I think it’s the American military which has been meddling in and bombing dozens of countries over the last 50+ years. Can you name a Muslim country which has done the same and on the same scale?
      Nice log you have in your eye there..

      1. Phillip Slepian

        ramy – I usually try to be careful not to lable you a liar. I usually say that, when something you claim flies in the face of something that I have read regarding Islam (from authoritative sources that I try to include), I have to assume that either you are unaware of the what the source has said, or that you are are aware of it, but deny it anyway. So, yes, the latter possibility means that you could be employing the Islamic principle of Taqqiya. I didn’t invent this concept; it is well established in Islam. I don’t object to any Muslim advocating for peace and liberty, as long as there is agreement of how those terms are defined. But I do have an issue when someone (Muslim or not) claims that peace and liberty, as defined in Western culture, does not conflict with Islamic law. Because, well, it does, in many crucial ways. I have never claimed to understand Islam more than anyone else. But I go to reliable, accepted Islamic sources. Does this mean someoneborn a Muslim, but not educated in Islam knows more than a non-Muslim scholar who has studied Islam for years? Id there something in the blood of a Muslim that enables him to get a better understanding of Islamic texts than a non-Muslim? I have a lot a trouble accepting that. My image of Muslims and Islam is not entirely ISIS, as you claim it is, alsthough I see less conflict between ISIS and normative Islam than I do between M4L and normative Islam. As for the sources for my claims, I will return here with quotes (once again) and their sources. I will let the readers decide who’s quotes are more reliable and authentic. I commend you for having the courage to allow me this liberty (no pun intended).
        Oh, and yes, Islam has bases all over the world. Except they’re called mosques. Google the Erdogan quote about the mosques being the fortesses of Islam. Just because the jihad does not always take the form of a conventional military structure doesn’t mean there is no war being waged.

        1. ramy

          mosques are military bases? lol.. Have you ever been to a mosque before? Maybe you should go visit one and find out for yourself, instead of living in your imaginative Internet world.

  2. Phillip Slepian

    “The command of “no compulsion in Islam” was a unique command that had doctrinal authority for only a little over two years. It was abrogated both by the Sunnah and the Koran. Its short lifetime was preceded and followed by commands that non-Muslims were to be given the option of converting to Islam, fighting to the death, or, at times, paying the Jizyah. Muhammad was indeed the militant prophet of a militant religion that supported forced conversions to Islam.” – Stephan M. Kirby in “Islam’s Militant Prophet: Muhammad and Forced Conversion to Islam”

    Once again, by ignoring the well-established doctrine of abrogation, the authors at QuestionsOnIslam.com are either showing their ignorance or practicing taqqiya. As they say nowadays, “Google it”.

    1. ramy

      The delusions of Phil and Stephan Kirby have no authority in Islamic theology.. in other words, they don’t know what they’re talking about. They would rather Muslims follow ISIS than follow the peaceful teachings of Islam

      1. Mahmoud Ragab

        i find it actually a little stupid that we care this much about terrorism and many people labeling all Muslims as extremists too, which makes terrorism even stronger, you make them feel like they achieve things when more people die chocking on food than to terrorist attacks, America nuked Hiroshima and Nagasaki destroying lands, and all you care about is 9/11, and why was there no terrorism before, why did it only exist in the modern age, did Muslims start understanding Islam now ???, or was it something created by America to put the middle east into constant wars, to pave the way for Zionists and give them strength, i am a Muslim and like majority of Muslims i respect others as much as i respect my own people, and people like you Philip make me question why are we glorifying extremism and hate for each other, why don’t you just accept that Muslims are people just like you, we have brains to distinguish right from wrong

        1. Phillip Slepian

          Mahmoud: The clear difference between WWII and Islam’s war against dar al-Harb is that WWII consisted of uniformed armies of sovereign nations. The bombs we dropped on Japan, and the bombings of civilian population centers in Europe brought the war to rapid conclusion, saving thousands of lives. And the Allies were looking for unconditional surrender, which they got, and then dismantled the ideologies of Nazi Germany and Imperialist Japan – the ideologies that caused the war to start in the first place. In exchange, the Allies instituted democracies which survive, and thrive, to this day. The Allies did not defeat Germany and Japan in order to force their foes into submission, or paying the jizya.

          Of course there was terrorism prior to 9/11. Who said there wasn’t? It was 9/11 that awakened many in dar al-Harb that Islam is at war with us. But too many still ignore this. The modern reality of Jihadist warfare against non-Muslims can be traced to Hassan al-Bana’s Muslim Brotherhood, who instructed, based on Islamic law, how and when to employ violence, and how and when to expand the Uma without violence.

          That America has “put the Middle East into constant wars” is silliest thing I have read in months. The Muslims, commanded by Mohammed and his successors, stormed out of Arabia in order to conquer, rule and plunder the entire world. That is why, for 1400 years, on and off, the Middle East, and much of the world, has had “constant wars.”

          I never glorify “extremism”. I never even use that word. I simply encourage free non-Muslims everywhere to resist submission to Islam unless it is their own free will to submit. IOW, I encourage non-Muslims to fight back. It is not “Muslims” that I reject, but the Islamic legal system. And that puts me, and millions of others, in conflict with the Islamic obligation to expand the Uma by any means necessary.

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