No matter from which line of thought, religion, or nation people may come from, one of the most important requests of all people in our day is freedom. People remain healthy as long as they feel free in the corporal and mental sense, express themselves freely and live as they wish. A person who is taken under pressure in any realm of his life no sooner starts to lose his peace, joy and the capacity to produce. When one recalls the cold, joyless expression, and the dullness in the eyes of the majority of people in the Soviet Russia and China in recent history, one will once again remember how, in human life, it is important to think freely and lead a free life.
Freedom, which is an important part of human life and raises the quality of life, is a blessing granted by Allah to human beings. Some people who do not know the morality of religion, and especially Islam or obtain information from inaccurate sources and examples may harbor several prejudices and erroneous convictions about this subject. Though having no accuracy whatsoever, these people assume that Islam will limit their living spaces and freedom, take their thoughts under control and restrict arts and science. The fact is however that Islam is a religion that ensures all kinds of intellectual freedom as well as freedom of worship and expression, that takes all kinds of rights of people under protection and, more importantly, presents real freedom to people. In the coming pages of this leaflet we will dwell on this fact in the light of the verses of the Qur’an and examples from the life of our Prophet (saas).
However, the following fact should be clear: Allah wishes ease, comfort, happiness and joy to people. Allah does not wrong people. The religion, which is the commandment of Allah, also shows people the way to the most peaceful, blissful, safest, highest quality, comfortable, and delightful life. There is no compulsion where religion is concerned. A person believes in Allah and lives by religion, by seeing Allah’s existence and oneness by using his conscience. Religion is an acceptance by the heart. If a person is obliged to live a religious life by force, then this person does not become devout and he simply becomes a hypocrite. As we are informed in the Qur’an, a hypocrite is someone who deserves Allah’s torment and whose place is at the bottom of Hell. Furthermore hypocrites not only give harm to themselves, with their insincere and tricky nature, but also they pose a threat for society as a whole.
Generating such a peril with one’s own hands, bringing hypocrites and a system of hypocrisy into being is something that Muslims would by no means wish. Every Muslim, as a requisite of the morality of the Qur’an, is responsible for showing people the true path, enjoining the good and forbidding the evil. But this never means to oblige others to think, live, act and dress like oneself. A Muslim shows the truth and leaves the choice to the person himself. This is the commandment Allah informs us in the Qur’an.
Along with this, a Muslim wishes all sorts of thoughts and beliefs to be freely expressed in the society. He respects the opinions, views and lives of others. He wishes the systems that are not in compliance with the morality of religion, and even irreligious, atheist ideologies and views to be explained, so that he can respond to them in the scientific and ideological sense. Prohibiting views and ideologies, taking them under pressure is not ease for a Muslim. On the contrary, this is a state that will make the communication of the religion difficult, and render the scientific struggle harder. In an environment where everyone can express their thoughts openly, religion develops easily and becomes even stronger.
Furthermore, a Muslim knows that every man lives the destiny Allah wills for him. He is aware that an atheist is an atheist because Allah created him so. Alternatively, he knows that an unbeliever does not believe in Allah because that is what is preordained for him by Allah. Accordingly he truly believes that a member of another religion believes in that religion because Allah wills it so. He approaches these people with compassion, understanding and affection. He wishes them to be free to express their own views, just as how he is free to do so. He wants them to live as they wish and be at ease, just as how he is free himself to fulfill his acts of worship. Surely this does not mean that he should condone immorality or cruelty and simply disregard them. However he does not struggle against them by oppressing the other party, putting pressure upon them, preventing them from speaking, writing and expressing his opinion freely. On the contrary, he carries on his struggle with patience, good words, modesty, affection and respect. As we stated earlier, a Muslim is not responsible for all the people’s guidance except calling them to the true path. It is Allah Who guides a person. A Muslim only calls to the true path but by no means oppresses the other party.
As is seen, in the essence of Islam, there is intellectual freedom, freedom of faith and expression. Some people assume that democracy entered the history of humanity with the ancient Greeks. However, it is Allah Who teaches democracy to people. From the time of the Prophet Adam (as) all prophets have been the genuine representatives of intellectual freedom and respect to views. The essence of all primary concepts – freedom of justice, not putting any pressure upon anyone, treating everyone as a first class citizens, respecting and trusting people, not judging anyone due to his views- which are associated with democracy and are present in the morality of religion. Throughout history, people have learned these concepts from the righteous religions revealed by Allah and witnessed its most beautiful examples during the times when people lived by the righteous religions. When we look at the times when people were oppressed due to their opinions and their different ideologies, members of various religions were humiliated, while the arts, science and architecture died out. People lost their joy of living and almost turned into robots. Book burnings, murders, massacres, genocides became widespread, and we see the influence of irreligious, atheist ideologies or those who interpret the religion with a radical mindset by distancing it from its essence.
Before explaining by evidence that once Allah’s righteous religion is lived in the form it is commanded by Allah, the real justice, democracy, respect and love, that people have been longing for can be experienced, we would like to remind with a beautiful good news from our Prophet (saas):
Very soon, democracy, brotherhood, love, friendship and peace will, by Allah’s leave, dominate the world in an unprecedented way in history and people will experience the joy, bliss and abundance of faith as much as they can. As one can clearly see from the signs of the verses, hadith of our Prophet (saas) and words of great Islamic scholars, the time in which we live is the End Times. The difficult and troublesome days of the End Times will, in this century, come to end with the Prophet Jesus’ (as) and Hazrat Mahdi’s (as) being instrumental, and the world will enter a brand new, bright era. (For further information on this subject, please see www.awaitedmahdi.com) Communicating the Oneness and Unity of Allah in the most beautiful and wise manner and introducing people to the Islam described in the Qur’an lays a very important ground for the bright days that we will attain in the near future. Our wish is that Allah renders also this work instrumental in attaining the beauties in question. We wish that the days when we see “people entering Allah’s religion in droves” come at once.