We keep harping on “freedom” as an ideal until the cows come home; sometimes, until they go grazing in the morning again. But, what we do not discuss but should necessarily talk about is; what exactly is freedom? And if not properly understood and internalised, can it possibly hold us hostage writ large? Actually, it can.
Consider a girl that has been churned since forever into believing that the more she dresses a certain way and the more she “rebels” against every damn thing and cribs about the overall state of things the more she will be considered as “liberal/free” (for want of a better word and thanks to the loaded vocab of the Third World). Even though, this might be the most unpopular thing to say; but allow me to suggest that this girl, if not intellectually equipped with a sound ability to percieve the World and its ways keenly, is likely to suffer from major self-esteem issues. She might not want to wear skin-tight jeans on a sunny afternoon but the belief that she will not look “good enough” in baggy clothes might hold her back. She might be wishing to throw those heels away but the apprehension that somebody might call her out on her “unpresentability” might compel her at the back of her mind to ward off the idea. The moot point is how often, in this dying-to-be-free society, do we operate wholly and solely as free beings? How often are our actions really guided by the real quest for freedom instead of the desire to appear free to the rest of the World? How often do we value freedom over something that looks like it?
Freedom is not about doing whatever we want to do. Because, our wants/desires/ego, if not kept in check, actually enslave our selves instead of setting us free. Freedom is about not being withheld by forces that are created and therefore, exclusive to this mortal World. It is about realising that no -ism, force, entity, thing, desire has a greater right on our bodies, energies, abilities, talents, our entire beings than the One who created us, this entire Universe and basically all that exists. It is about internalising the fact that we, in fact, belong to Allah (the ilaah/True God) alone and that we wholeheartedly denounce any other false god; tangible or intangible, living or dead.