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In the Name of God بسم الله

Imamology

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Freedom!

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Qa'im

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Freedom!

Western fixation on freedom has a long, crystallizing history. In 1215, the Magna Carta was signed in England, which ended the unilateral authority of the King. The King was imposing heavy taxes on the barons, who were wealthy aristocratic men, to fight a failed war. The barons rebelled against the King, and demanded that a committee of barons be established. The King would need to consult this committee before introducing new taxes. Certain legal rights were also introduced to the barons. This was the first big step towards freedom.

Fast forward to the 1500s; a new continent was "discovered" (i.e. Europeans found out about it). A major motivation for men to risk the high seas and migrate to an entirely New World was to avoid taxation and government overreach. They were able to seize vast, fertile properties without much nuisance. Freedom.

Around the same time, the Protestant Reformation was taking place, and most North-Western Europeans were using it as an opportunity to break away from church tithes and indulgences. Freedom.

Fast forward to the 1700s. The American Colonies rebel against the British because of "taxation without representation." Freedom.

Then in the 1800s. The Confederates rebel against the Union to prevent the North from intervening in their textile industry. The Union abolishes slavery. Freedom.

Here, we see a crystallization of yeomanry in White Anglo-Saxon Protestant (WASP) culture, which peaks in the American South. They have a strong distrust in government, public programs, and taxation. There is a strong "what's mine is mine" culture, where clichés like "the only things you can't avoid is death and taxes" thrive. "Conservative" to them mostly means "smaller government, lower taxes". In short, they believe that the freer they are, the happier they will be. Debates in American politics, from abortion to gay marriage to taxes, are all based on conceptions of freedom. It is also the theme of so many Hollywood films.

Feminism is rooted in the same freedom-seeking individualist liberalist mindset. Whatever gets in the way of women's liberation - even if it is God Himself - must be cast aside.

Freedom in Islamic literature would be "huriyya", which is really just a legal technicality - you are either a slave, or you are "free". Otherwise, our books do not take much stock in the concept. We do have treatises on "huquq", which is often translated as "rights", but a more accurate translation is "responsibilities towards". For example, the haq of a woman is the responsibilities of an Islamic society towards that woman. It is an onus.

Responsibility and duty often fly in direct contradiction to freedom. Yes, we have free will, but Islam legislates things that we *should* and *ought* to do, and there are consequences to not fulfilling those responsibilities.

Does freedom lead to happiness? It is actually our responsibilities that often make us happy. There is no growth in a care-free life with no schedule, no family, no commitments, and no work. These things tie us down, but they also build us up, fulfill us, and make us better people. No pain, no gain. Likewise, despite the fact that women's rights have increased over the past few decades, women's happiness has decreased according to many studies. Individualism teaches us that self-sufficiency is the key to happiness, when in actuality, success is sometimes found in submission.

Islam literally means Submission, because it is the recognition that we are all imperfect servants. We do not choose which family we are born into, nor our race, nor our health, nor our age, nor our genes, and often, not even our social conditions. None of us are truly free, and the most free of us is not necessarily the happiest. Rather, true, heartfelt contentment is in knowing God. We are born to look for Perfection; we seek it in our looks, our grades, our power, our status, our spouse, our children; but we all - sooner or later - realize that Perfection lies only in Him alone. Trust in Him gives you that true contentment, the ability to let go of the wheel, fear nothing but Him and accept all that He allots for you. Contentment.

If you are a believer, then your worldview should reflect your belief. We cannot import a cultural ideology that convolutes our belief. In many respects, jahiliyya represented what many of us today consider to be "freedom". But the Prophet Muhammad (s) came with accountability, and that turned the entire world around.

 

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Every time i read these blog-posts i feel my IQ increases a little. May Allah reward you on behalf of sharing this knowledge with us.

Eagerly awaiting the release of the Atoms post inshAllah, whenever you deem it appropriate. 

Edited by Intellectual Resistance

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Really? You are implying that during the period of Jahiliyya, women were free and they had power. We have always heard that before islam, women were in bad condition. They were buried alive and Islam gave them more rights. Please learn a little honesty. Where have you seen women who live without any responsibilities? So, in eastern culture, men only do their 40 hour job and don't do anything else. They don't even lift a finger when they are at home and in most cases, men don't even work for 40 hours. But that's okay, no one gives them lectures. While women in west work 40 hours, and I am pretty sure they don't spend the rest of time sitting idle. They are always doing something for someone. But just because they don't want to work 120 hours a week and raise kids while they are working full time, it means they don't want to take any responsibility? 

And what do you mean by submission? You sound so much like those male chauvenists who tell women: You are a woman, accept it, don't try to become a man or equal to a man. You can never be equal to man. Do you seriously believe that all women are supposed to be slaves? and being a woman is a disadvantage? Being a woman or being dark skinned is just like being born in a poor family or being in a war. This is a disadvantage which happened to you, now accept the consequences and submit to Allah who made you a woman. 

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My post is focused mainly on how Western socio-political discourse occurs between two poles: (1) Freedom, and (2) Harm. This is the result of a long, crystallizing history. Islam may have areas of overlap with utilitarians and classical liberals, but overall the Islamic thesis puts God above everything else.

Regarding your point about jahiliyya: I can easily say that jahiliyya gave many freedoms to women that Islam removed. Jahiliyya had no penalties for fornicators, it had rights for prostitutes, it allowed women to marry a second husband to conceive a high-status son, it had female prophetesses, and it had female goddesses. Islam restricted all of this. Yes, Islam did give many additional rights to women, but my point is that Islam is not all about freedom and liberation. It is about accountability, responsibility, and duty. It freed some aspects of our lives, but it restricted others. Anyone who reads Islamic literature with feminist glasses will be surely disappointed.

As for your point that men in eastern culture "don't lift a finger when they are at home", that sounds like a gross generalization of billions of people and hundreds of cultures. Even if I were to concede that eastern men generally cook and clean less than their wives, they work longer hours, and a lot of the handiwork, lawn-mowing, technology fixing is done by men. Either way, it's not a competition. One shouldn't have a men vs women mindset, or even a victimized mindset. Men too are victims; they are the ones most effected by violence, suicide, work injuries, drugs, prisons, gangs, and dropping out of school... a victim mentality however would not solve these problems.

Islam = Submission in Arabic, it's not submission to men, it's submission to Allah. Submission in some cases will be the opposite of freedom, but I would argue that sincere submission to Allah frees you from your fears and your desires, and leads to a good and contented life.

I never said women should be slaves to men, or that womanhood is a disadvantage, or being dark-skinned (?) is bad. Men and women are simply different and have different rights and responsibilities in Islam. Islam is a sexually dimorphic religion. Women don't pay mahr, they don't pray/fast during their time of the month, they are not conscripted in wartime, they don't need to work, they don't need to divide their wealth, etc. By the same token, women have some unique laws and responsibilities. Total freedom and equality means removing every gendered law, including the ones that restrict men and free women, and vice versa. This is antithetical to our revelation.

Please don't call me dishonest or a male chauvinist just because of one respectful criticism of modern feminism. That type of spiteful namecalling won't get you much sympathy from a neutral reader. State your arguments respectfully.

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On 1/19/2018 at 3:04 PM, Qa'im said:

Please don't call me dishonest or a male chauvinist just because of one respectful criticism of modern feminism. That type of spiteful namecalling won't get you much sympathy from a neutral reader. State your arguments respectfully.

While lots of the time I agree with what rkazemi says, I have to say I’m not seeing what she sees in terms of your blog post. I don’t see you telling woman to go back to the kitchen or any of those disrespectful slogans. Not even implied. 

what I see in your blog posts and responses to others is a very balanced, respectful individual. Many people on here look-up to you as inspiration as to how to be a better Muslim, and for your contributions to this forum, we greatly appreciate it and thank you. 

You are definitely not a male chauvinist. 

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      The cold had not left us in Fatehpur. At night, they would light braziers which were wonderful for bringing around family members, sitting together on the Indian style wooden beds, sharing each other’s warmth, stories and gossip. 
    • By 3wliya_maryam in spoken words/poetry/ deep thinking
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      When you go through a rough patch in your life
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