Liberalism is a ten-letter word but to many Muslims, it’s a five lettered one – HARAM. As such, they see this word as a bad word and not in line with Islam - which is rather unfortunate.
On the other hand, I see Prophet Muhammad as the ultimate liberator of humanity. Let me explain.
While the West and the world generally see John Locke, the 17th century English philosopher and physician, as the Father of Liberalism, I found my liberal role model in Prophet Muhammad. With all due respect to John Locke, to me, none in history can beat the Prophet in liberating humanity. The Quranic verses shared below will provide ample evidence.
But first we need to relook the preconceived notion of the word liberal. By liberal, I do not mean liberalism in the loose sense that is promoted by the hedonistic and freewheeling Western media-driven culture and the misunderstandings by a large segment of Muslim opinion makers. We are not asking or telling mankind to sunbathe or run around in the nude. That is an extremely shallow idea of liberalism.
By liberal, I am suggesting the ideas of liberty and equality, not unrestrained freedom.
We want to free humans to discover their real potential and explore their talents. The type of liberalism that encourages people to listen to others, be our best and to act with empathy, just like the Prophet did - as a mercy to all creations. A true liberator.
We must remember that when the Prophet announced these Quranic guidance, that was 1400 years ago. Furthermore, he did not just propose a theory or a philosophy but acted on them – he created a liberal society long before the word liberal was coined. He was a liberator that impacted his society and generations to come in mind, body and spirit.
This time around I will quote Quran based on areas of which the Prophet acted as a liberator and share one verse explaining it. You can look for a few other verses on the same subject in an earlier article here http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/opinion/2017/10/15/why-prophet-muhammad-is-my-liberal-role-model/
Let me share 10 in this entry. All emphasis are mine to help readers focus on a particular message.
1. The Prophet liberated women making them equal to man: -
· As for anyone - be it man or woman - who does righteous deeds and is a believer withal - him shall We most certainly cause to live a good life and most certainly shall We grant unto such as these their reward in accordance with the best that they ever did. – Quran 16:97
2. Gave rights to everyone to do business and be successful: -
· If one desires the rewards of this world, [let him remember that] with God are the rewards of [both] this world and the life to come: and God is indeed all-hearing, all-seeing.- Quran 4:134
3. Liberated humans from ridiculous beliefs, or kepercayaan-kepercayaan mengarut, and instead he guided man to contemplate the wonders of creation: -
· ARE, THEN, they who are bent on denying the truth not aware that the heavens and the earth were [once] one single entity, which We then parted asunder? – and [that] We made out of water every living thing? Will they not, then, [begin to] believe? - Quran 21:30
4. Made the freeing of and liberating slaves and those in debt, helping the poor etc as a duty (Taqwa)
· The offerings given for the sake of God are [meant] only for the poor and the needy, and those who are in charge thereof, and those whose hearts are to be won over, and for the freeing of human beings from bondage, and [for] those who are over burdened with debts, and [for every struggle] in God's cause, and [for] the wayfarer: [this is] an ordinance from God - and God is all-knowing, wise. – Quran 9:60
5. Liberated mankind through education and encouraging the pursuit of knowledge - gave rights to education for all men and women equally: -
· READ in the name of thy Sustainer, who has-created man out of a germ-cell, Read - for thy Sustainer is the Most Bountiful One, who has taught [man] the use of the pen – taught man what he did not know! Quran 95:1-5
6. Liberated the orphans, the poor and the needy from the clutches of poverty by giving them rights to the wealth of the nation: -
· And in whose possessions there is a due share, acknowledged [by them], for such as ask [for help] and such as are deprived [of what is good in life] - Quran 70:24-25
7. Liberated mankind to choose what to believe by declaring that there is no compulsion in religion
· THERE SHALL BE no coercion in matters of faith. Distinct has now become the right way from [the way of] error: hence, he who rejects the powers of evil and believes in God has indeed taken hold of a support most unfailing, which shall never give way: for God is all-hearing, all-knowing. – Quran 2:256
8. Liberated places of worship and set rules to protect them: -
· Those who have been driven from their homelands against all right for no other reason than their saying. “Our Sustainer is God!” For, if God had not enabled people to defend themselves against one another, all] monasteries and churches and synagogues and mosques - in [all of] which Gods name is abundantly extolled - would surely have been destroyed [ere now]. And God will most certainly succour him who succours His cause: for, verily, God is most powerful, almighty. Quran 22:40
9. Gave rights to all ways of live/faith to co-exist with Islam and declared that religious diversity is intentional: -
· And unto thee [O Prophet] have We vouchsafed this divine writ, setting forth the truth, confirming the truth of whatever there still remains of earlier revelations and determining what is true therein. Judge, then, between the followers of earlier revelation in accordance with what God has bestowed from on high, and do not follow their errant views, forsaking the truth that has come unto thee. Unto every one of you have We appointed a [different] law and way of life. And if God had so willed, He could surely have made you all one single community: but [He willed it otherwise] in order to test you by means of what He has vouchsafed unto, you. Vie, then, with one another in doing good works! Unto God you all must return; and then He will make you truly understand all that on which you were wont to differ. Quran 5:48
10. Declared that Diversity and Inclusion is the right way and making consciousness as the criteria for morality: -
· O men! Behold, We have created you all out of a male and a female, [and have made you into nations and tribes, so that you might come to know one another. Verily, the noblest of you in the sight of God is the one who is most deeply conscious of Him. Behold, God is all-knowing, all-aware. Quran 49:13
Please do contribute more Quranic verse/s with the same theme should you like to.
Google and find out more. 😊