The planet, and potentially even beyond, hosts a diverse array of living things. However, what sets humans apart from other beings is their exceptional intellect and capacity to reason, which is exclusive to them.
While humans may not be as physically strong as animals, their intelligence is unparalleled. For example, instead of running 10 miles in an hour, someone utilized their mental powers to build a car, allowing us to travel long distances quickly. Likewise, writing a long Facebook ad in just five minutes was impossible for me two years ago, but with the help of AI, it is now achievable thanks to innovative technology.
You may have heard the saying “You cannot teach an old dog new tricks” which implies that humans, like dogs, are unable to learn new skills. However, this is a fundamental error. Unlike dogs, humans have the ability to learn new skills at any age using their mental capabilities. They have the freedom to choose what, when, and how to do things or even choose to do nothing at all, thanks to their God-given intellect.
Western civilization places a strong emphasis on personal freedom of choice, whether it is deciding to carry a baby or have an abortion, practicing a religion or not. This prioritization of personal freedom sometimes occurs even at the expense of other humans.
While a person acts freely and lives their lives, at times they may not pay much attention to the impact of their actions. But accountability is hardly on the mind when the objective is to live a free life where “no one tells me what to do or how to live My life.” We have to realize that whatever we do, our actions have consequences and others are impacted to various degrees.
When we have choices, we forget about God and His rules but when a calamity hits, we find people saying “Why did God do that to us?” or “Where is God now?” While people often question why God does things, they rarely look at their own actions. Sometimes people may question God’s ability and mercy in the face of drought, starvation, and suffering, but it is important to recognize that needless consumerism and corporate greed can also contribute to such situations. It is crucial to take responsibility for our actions and their consequences.
With greater freedom comes greater accountability. As adults, parents have the power to decide the direction of their own lives and guide their children’s paths. However, this privilege also comes with an immense responsibility, and no sane person would believe it is a free hand to do whatever they please.
Is there a Creator?
We must consider a fundamental question here: should we believe in a Creator? If the answer is no, how can we explain the sophisticated nature of human beings? Examining the human mind and anatomy reveals an immaculate design that cannot be accidental. The only prerequisite for this realization is to be humble and keep an open mind to possibilities that science cannot yet explain. We are not even able to comprehend what is known as the “Science of Small,” which explains the smallest unit of matter. How, then, are we equipped to give a definite explanation for larger things? As one scientist said, “We know so little about so much.”
If we do believe in a Creator, we must realize that He is perfect and unlike any created being with weaknesses. If God were not perfect, the world would have long been destroyed. Imagine if God were hungry or sleepy; would He be affected like our performance is affected? The truth is that if He were anything like us, He could not have created a world with humans who have powerful brains and perfect ecosystems.
Now comes the tricky part: we must admit that God is perfect, all-wise, and all-knowing. In His infinite wisdom, He knows what is best for us. It is not difficult to see that He gave us certain rules and regulations to keep us living a productive life. When an engineer innovates a machine, he writes a manual for it so that the machine can function at its optimal level, and in case of any malfunction, the user can refer to the manual for troubleshooting. God has laid down the framework for humans to follow so that there is harmony in society. When we give preference to our desires, it creates disharmony and lays the groundwork for conflict. Unlimited freedom is not the solution; rather, following divine laws is the key.
Islam & Freedom
Islam recognizes the value of individual free will and personal responsibility. God has given human beings the ability to choose their actions and make their own decisions. However, in order to prevent harm and chaos, Islam emphasizes the importance of making choices in line with certain laws. While individuals have the freedom to choose the kind of life they want, they are responsible for ensuring that their choices do not harm others or society in general.
It is important to realize that every action has consequences and creates ripples in society. Therefore, it is imperative to keep the divine guidelines in mind when exercising free choice, so that individuals and society can prosper to their full potential in this life.
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