Thoughts on Freedom

Bismillah al-Rahman al-Rahim

Freedom and Liberty are vague terms that are usually never defined by cultures. If you walk the earth and ask people “What does it mean to be free” they will probably stumble and say something like “Freedom is doing what you want without hurting other people“.

Moral Philosophers have divided what we call freedom into several types, there is Political Freedom, Physical Freedom, Moral Freedom and others. Even each type of the different types of freedom does not have a solid common definition, some define Political Freedom as “The absence of disabling conditions for a particular group or individual” others define it as “To do and believe what you please without government interference“, also Physical freedom has many definitions such as “The ability to move from one place to another place and to assemble“.

Nowadays when people talk about freedom they usually mean Political Freedom or Physical Freedom but there is another type of freedom we fail to remember and that is Moral and Inner Freedom, which I think  is the most significant type of freedom. In most religions I know of, Moral and Spiritual Freedom is achieved when the human reaches the state when he gives his life to God where he has nothing else to lose and stands like a warrior, in control of his ego and caprice and not enslaved by them, it is only then that he is invisible and it is only then that he is spiritually free. For if you’re not a slave to God, then you’re a slave to something else, ask yourself what is it..There is a famous saying in the gospel that says:

“And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul ?”

This is the type of freedom that I will continue talk about in this article. Terms have been defined, so let us ask the question “What does it mean to be free ?

I already defined Inner Freedom and that is to master our Ego, this definition has great consequences because it means that Freedom is a State of Mind, you could be imprisoned yet free, you could be tortured yet free. This reminds me of a quotation by Sheikh Ibn Taymmiah where he said:

“What can my enemies do to me? I have inside of me  both my heaven and my garden. If I travel they are with me, never leaving me. Imprisonment for me is a chance to be alone with my Lord. To be killed is martyrdom and to be exiled from my land is a spiritual journey. “

In Plato’s republic he discusses the issue of freedom with the his famous Allegory of the Cave where a prisoner freed himself from the cave and returned back to enlighten his mates but they preferred to live in the darkness, they where comfortable with their false reality,  his words where not enough to free them.

The black  people in the United States where not freed by Abraham lincolin when he said:

“All persons held as slaves within any State or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free”

Actually many of the slaves returned back to their masters to work as slaves again !

They where freed nearly 100 years later when they had the passion to be free in the civil rights movement lead by Martin luther king, Malcom X and others.

So you can’t just go to person and tell him your free, there is an inner battle that he must win first to free himself. Freedom is a Decision, Freedom is a Reaction, a Choice and a Responsibility. Just because you live right next to the statue of Liberty doesn’t mean you are free.


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