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Islam’s definition of freedom in the words of Imam Sajjad (a.s.)

Many years ago, I spoke about the issue of freedom during my Friday prayer sermons for ten, fifteen weeks.

I said during those sermons that we Muslims consider ourselves as servants of God, but certain religions consider human beings and themselves as children of God. I said at that time that what they say does not really mean anything: they claim to be children of God and yet they are slaves to thousands of human beings and thousands of things. Islam does not say this. Islam says, “It does not matter who your parents are. You just need to be a servant of God and nobody else.” The majority of Islamic teachings regarding freedom revolve around this point.

The famous narration by the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) – which I think has been quoted by both Imam Sajjad (a.s.) and Imam Hadi (a.s.) – says, “Is there any liberated man who will throw this worthless thing at those who want it?” So far, it is not clear what the Commander of the Faithful wants to say. The only thing that can be understood is that a liberated man is one who throws this worthless thing at those who want it and does not go after it himself. He continues, “… There is nothing other than paradise that is worthy of your soul, so do not trade your soul for anything other than that.” Here, it becomes clear that there was a price to be paid for that worthless thing. That is to say, one had to give up one’s soul and identity for the sake of that worthless thing. It was a business deal and this narration advises against such a deal. If you want to make a business deal, why do trade your soul for a worthless thing? You should just trade your soul for paradise and worshipping God. This is the essential point. Of course, there is another essential point, which is human dignity and is clearly indicated in “there is nothing other than paradise that is worthy of your soul”, but let us not enter into this discussion.

Nov 13, 2012

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