By Farid Gabteni
بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّحِيمِ
رَبِّ اشْرَحْ لِي صَدْرِي وَيَسِّرْ لِي أَمْرِي وَاحْلُلْ عُقْدَةً مِنْ لِسَانِي يَفْقَهُوا قَوْلِي؛
رَبِّ أَدْخِلْنِي مُدْخَلَ صِدْقٍ وَأَخْرِجْنِي مُخْرَجَ صِدْقٍ وَاجْعَلْ لِي مِنْ لَدُنْكَ سُلْطَانًا نَصِيرًا
In The Name of God The Origin The Arranging
God My Lord! Relieve for me my chest and Ease for me my task, and Untie the knot from my tongue that they may understand my speech.
God My Lord! Make me Enter a credible entrance, and Make me Emerge a credible emergence; and Give for me, from Yourself, a rescuing authority.
Today, in this third series of conferences, I will continue my presentation of the original Message of Islam in greater depth.
First of all, I would first like to remind you once again that, etymologically, in the Arabic language, Islam / “al-islām” / الإسلام, from the root S-L-M / س ل م, from which the word “silm” / سلم / “peace” is first derived, means “Pacification”:
The action of pacifying, establishing, re-establishing and maintaining peace; fully and completely surrendering to God through peace.
Islam is the activation of peace / “al-silm”, “al-salām” / السّلم السّلام: he who surrenders to God gets pacified / “yuslim” / يسلم, he banishes troubles from his mind, the rebellious streaks within him and around him; he is pacified, Muslim / “muslim” / مسلم, and a pacifist / “mussālim” / مسالم.
He yearns for peace, safety and tranquillity; he is not in favour or involved in troubles and rebellion; as a result, he acquires a peaceful / “salīm” / سليم, healthy and saintly heart, at peace with God and His Creation.
At the time of the Prophet, each civilisation had its own values, and the notions of good and evil were different from one population to the next.
Since the second half of the 20th century, humanity has reached a high level of civilisation and knowledge; sciences and technologies have experienced an unprecedented rate of development. However, what of the fallibility of man? Although the decor has changed, the mentality has generally stayed the same.
Corruption and evil have still predominated; they have names such as: injustice, mass manipulation, obscurantism, misery, wars, massacres, crises, all forms of trafficking, environmental degradation, extinction of species, pollution, climate change, etc. We read an indisputable, premonitory announcement, in verse 41 of chapter 30:
”ظَهَرَ الْفَسَادُ فِي الْبَرِّ وَالْبَحْرِ بِمَا كَسَبَتْ أَيْدِي النَّاسِ لِيُذِيقَهُمْ بَعْضَ الَّذِي عَمِلُوا لَعَلَّهُمْ يَرْجِعُونَ“
“Corruption has appeared throughout the land and sea by [reason of] what the hands of people have earned so He [God] may Let them taste part of [the consequence of] what they have done that perhaps they will return”
In Africa, Asia, South America and elsewhere in the world, forests are being devastated, lakes and rivers have dried up, lands and villages are engulfed, entire populations are displaced.
Millions of people live below the poverty line, there are hundreds of thousands of victims of famine, murder, kidnapping and human organ trafficking. Millions of women are beaten and assaulted, hundreds of thousands of children are enslaved.
There is no mention of that except beyond a certain threshold of horror‚ or then, for the Football World Cup.
Another paradox is while Islam is radiating and extending to the scientific spheres, the current Muslim world, far from being the model to follow, is in fact adrift.
Nowadays, Islam and Muslims have become the obsession of the world. They are most often mentioned in terms of war, terrorism, immigrants or migrants.
These two observations are sufficient to demonstrate that Islam distinguishes itself by its divine originality, from Muslims who are fallible by nature. And it is said in the Qur’an in verses 26, 27, 28 of chapter 4:
”يُرِيدُ اللَّهُ لِيُبَيِّنَ لَكُمْ وَيَهْدِيَكُمْ سُنَنَ الَّذِينَ مِنْ قَبْلِكُمْ وَيَتُوبَ عَلَيْكُمْ وَاللَّهُ عَلِيمٌ حَكِيمٌ (٢٦) وَاللَّهُ يُرِيدُ أَنْ يَتُوبَ عَلَيْكُمْ وَيُرِيدُ الَّذِينَ يَتَّبِعُونَ الشَّهَوَاتِ أَنْ تَمِيلُوا مَيْلًا عَظِيمًا (٢٧) يُرِيدُ اللَّهُ أَنْ يُخَفِّفَ عَنْكُمْ وَخُلِقَ الْإِنْسَانُ ضَعِيفًا (٢٨)“
“God Wants to Make clear to you and Guide you to the practices of those before you and to Accept your repentance. And God Is Knowing and Wise 26 God Wants to Accept your repentance, but those who follow [their] passions want you to digress [into] a great deviation 27 God Desires to Lighten things for you, for man was created a weakling 28”
Islam is synonymous with vitality and is on the rise, numerically at least, with nearly two billion faithful on the planet and the number of those embracing Islam continues to grow. In time, Islam will become the leading religion on earth.
The advance of Islam, which contrasts with the degeneration of some Muslims, can be explained by the universal nature of its original Message, a Message that cannot be restrained by the vicissitudes that Muslims have been facing for many centuries.
In verse 9 of chapter 61, it says:
”هُوَ الَّذِي أَرْسَلَ رَسُولَهُ بِالْهُدَى وَدِينِ الْحَقِّ لِيُظْهِرَهُ عَلَى الدِّينِ كُلِّهِ وَلَوْ كَرِهَ الْمُشْرِكُونَ“
“It is He who Sent His Messenger with guidance and the religion of truth to Manifest it over all religion, although those who associate [others with God] dislike it”
It is useful to remember here that in Arabic, the word “religion” / “dīn” / دين expresses the sense of approximation, obligation, duty and debt; in this case, it refers to the creance owed to God; therefore, I translate “religion” as the “creance.”
The simultaneous emergence of the charlatan and charlatanism is from now on effective worldwide. In Arabic, “al-dajjāl” and “al-dajal” / الدجّال والدّجل, are pseudonyms in the Judeo-Christian culture: the anti-messiah, the antichrist.
Charlatans and eschatological charlatanism characteristically present themselves under the false pretences of virtue and piety: robe and cloak, calotte and veil, greybeard and bearded one; all these names have evidently been Arabised and ḥalalised, “that goes without saying”.
Many believe in these facades, and get into danger as a result. Until the light of knowledge, the Light of God, is irrevocably manifested and confounds these dark and evil forces.
In verse 81 of chapter 17, it says:
”وَقُلْ جَاءَ الْحَقُّ وَزَهَقَ الْبَاطِلُ إِنَّ الْبَاطِلَ كَانَ زَهُوقًا“
“And say: ‘The truth has come and the falsehood has vanished; surely falsehood is a vanishing [thing]’”
And in verse 72 of chapter 17, it says:
” وَمَنْ كَانَ فِي هَذِهِ أَعْمَى فَهُوَ فِي الْآخِرَةِ أَعْمَى وَأَضَلُّ سَبِيلًا“
“And whoever is blind in this [life] will be blind in the Hereafter and more astray in way”
And for accuracy, I have not forgotten to mention verse 46 of chapter 22:
”أَفَلَمْ يَسِيرُوا فِي الْأَرْضِ فَتَكُونَ لَهُمْ قُلُوبٌ يَعْقِلُونَ بِهَا أَوْ آذَانٌ يَسْمَعُونَ بِهَا فَإِنَّهَا لَا تَعْمَى الْأَبْصَارُ وَلَكِنْ تَعْمَى الْقُلُوبُ الَّتِي فِي الصُّدُورِ“
“So have they not traveled through the earth and have hearts by which to reason and ears by which to hear? For indeed, it is not eyes that are blinded, but blinded are the hearts which are within the breasts”
Under the cover of an islam that has been distorted by ignorantists, some fanatics, corruptors of the faith, who are at ease with ignominy, commit the worst crimes against God and humanity.
By distorting Islam and all the universal, moral values, they are cultivating discord, hatred of others, violence and sectarianism.
Although it is undeniable that these demonic criminals target and threaten civilisation as a whole, Muslims are the first victims of their theories and their nightmarish practices.
Criminals do not have a religion; they take joy in murder, destruction and corruption on earth. Islam condemns the demonic and murderous charlatans – woe betide them in this world and the next.
Islam is innocent of the crimes, cruelties and massacres perpetrated falsely in its name by deviationist and criminal heretics.
Those are rather the henchmen of evil, perverts and corrupters on earth. God does not love aggression or the aggressors, and certainly not the corrupters on earth, the bloodthirsty and the criminal butchers.
The heart of the problem concerning terror perpetrated in the name of Islam lies in an obscurantist, fanatical and violent traditionalist ideology, which preaches hatred and murder.
This type of heretical ideology runs contrary to and undermines original Islam, leading the ignorant and weak-spirited astray and turning them into criminal demons.
We must inform, teach and raise awareness amongst Muslims of original Islam, a fount of science, progress, tolerance, peace and civilisation.
I would remind you again that in Arabic, the words “assurance” and “faith” / “amn” and “īmān” / أمن وإيمان have the same root (A-M-N / أ م ن ), from which the word “amn” / أمن is first derived, meaning: “assurance, safety, security”.
In the Quranic language, faith is acquired through knowledge, by making sure and assuring; it is far more than a vague and relative belief.
Rationally, God Is Evident, one can only testify this; and this testimony must be made with full knowledge of the facts, with full science and consciousness.
The “believer”, which I translate as the “assurer”, makes sure and secures himself, by educating himself about the Fact of God; this is how he becomes secure and securing, assured and assuring, “mu’min” / مؤمن.
What is universal and inherent to all people believing in God and the Last Judgement, can be read in verse 77 of chapter 28:
”وَابْتَغِ فِيمَا آتَاكَ اللَّهُ الدَّارَ الْآخِرَةَ وَلَا تَنْسَ نَصِيبَكَ مِنَ الدُّنْيَا وَأَحْسِنْ كَمَا أَحْسَنَ اللَّهُ إِلَيْكَ وَلَا تَبْغِ الْفَسَادَ فِي الْأَرْضِ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يُحِبُّ الْمُفْسِدِينَ“
“But seek, through that which God has Given you, the home of the Hereafter; and [yet], do not forget your share of the world. And do good as God has Done good to you. And desire not corruption in the land. Indeed, God does not like corrupters”
Faith is intimately linked to kindness and benevolence. Disarray is inwardly connected to brutality and violence. In verse 57 of chapter 3, it says:
”وَأَمَّا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ فَيُوَفِّيهِمْ أُجُورَهُمْ وَاللَّهُ لَا يُحِبُّ الظَّالِمِينَ“
“But as for those who believed and did righteous deeds, He will Give them in full their rewards, and God does not like the wrongdoers”
Once again, I would like to point out that in Arabic, the words “injustice” and “obscurity” / “ẓulm” and “ẓulmah” or “ẓalām” /ظلم وظلمة أوظلام have the same root (Ẓ-L-M / ظ ل م), from which the word “ẓulm” / ظلم is derived meaning “injustice”.
An inherent logic in the Arabic language explains the link between injustice and obscurity: in the darkness we act without correctness, we operate blindly, we take and move things incorrectly, we deviate, we stray and lead others astray; we are unjust, we assess and act unjustly.
In light of these facts, you will understand that I use these terms for my own good and for good. In light of the facts that I have mentioned about the lack of accuracy in obscurity.
We can say and argue that the unjust is obscurantist and obscuring, and conversely, the obscurantist, obscuring, is unjust: الظّالم ظلاميّ والظّلاميّ ظالم.
And in the same way, we can argue and say that he who suffers injustice is obscure and obscured: المظلوم مُظۡلِم.
I would like to point out that in both Bukhari’s and Muslim’s collections, we read a ḥadīth attributed to the Prophet Muhammad, which confirms and reinforces the principle of a relationship between injustice, obscurity and obscurantism:
“… الظُّلْمَ ظُلُماتٌ يومَ القيامةِ …”
This passage is usually translated as:
“… Injustice (الظُّلْمَ / al-ẓulm) is darkness ( ظُلُماتٌ/ ẓulumāt) on the Day of the Straightening…”
Therefore, I occasionally, but intentionally translate the word “unjust” as “obscurantist”. In verse 16 of chapter 13, it says:
“… قُلْ هَلْ يَسْتَوِي الْأَعْمَى وَالْبَصِيرُ أَمْ هَلْ تَسْتَوِي الظُّلُمَاتُ وَالنُّورُ…”
“… Say: ‘Can the blind and the seeing be adjusted? Or can darkness and light be adjusted?’…”
I would like to stress here that, contrary to Quranic Arabic, the term “obscurantism” has only existed in the French language since the 19th century, precisely since 1819, to mean hostility to the Enlightenment.
In his time, the Prophet never took on a war of aggression; contrary to what traditionalist extremists preach.
All of those he was forced to take on were either defensive: “jihād al-dafaΣ” / جهاد الدفع or (more rarely) preventative: “jihād al-talab” / جهاد الطلب.
It is useful to specify here that the term “jihād”/ جهاد means “striving”: to think and/or act with effort. This original meaning can circumstantially extend to the armed struggle.
The latter (armed struggle) is rather referred to as “qitāl” / قتال in the Arabic and Quranic language.
Those after the Prophet, who gave a different meaning to preventive war, “jihād al-talab” / جهاد الطلب, to make it an equally offensive war, of aggression and conquest, bear sole responsibility before God and History.
Original Islam calls for humanism and universalism, unlike ideological traditionalism which leads to communitarianism and identity withdrawal.
The first is the Teaching of God, Master of the worlds; the second is the infatuation of the doctrinarian and narrow-minded sectarians.
Some, led astray, spend their time, tearing each other apart, often most sincerely. Both sides claim ‘God Is The Greatest!’ and, in one camp like the other, they pretend to defend God’s righteous cause.
They are in a restricted mental state through which ignorantism perpetuates obscurantism, superstition and violence.
They reproduce what is called in Arabic: “al-jāhiliyyah” / الجاهلية, the doctrine, the attitude of those delighting in ignorance.
Many have become hostages or puppets of bygone dogmatism and era. What else is there to say but: “Lā ḥawla wa lā quwwata illā billāh” / لا حول ولا قوّة إلّا بالله / “there is no environment nor power except in God”?
In verse 77 of chapter 5, it says:
”قُلْ يَا أَهْلَ الْكِتَابِ لَا تَغْلُوا فِي دِينِكُمْ غَيْرَ الْحَقِّ وَلَا تَتَّبِعُوا أَهْوَاءَ قَوْمٍ قَدْ ضَلُّوا مِنْ قَبْلُ وَأَضَلُّوا كَثِيرًا وَضَلُّوا عَنْ سَوَاءِ السَّبِيلِ“
“Say: “O people of the Book! exceed not in your religion the bounds, trespassing beyond the truth, nor follow the vain desires of people who went wrong in times gone by,- who misled many, and strayed [themselves] from the even way””
Σāshūrā’ / عاشوراء is an example of dissension among Muslims: the tenth day of the first month of the Hegira year, a celebration for some, during which one rejoices; it is a period of mourning for others, during which people flagellate themselves.
It should be neither a festivity nor a mortification by flagellation. Muslim historians, without exception, tell that the last and beloved grandson of the Prophet, Al-Ḥussayn, was killed and beheaded by so-called Muslims on the day of Σāshūrā’, corresponding to 10 October, 680 AD.
Who can thus claim Muhammad’s community and rejoice on that day? How can one also allow mortification by flagellation while Islam entirely rejects this process?
This day should be a time of contemplation and thought about our history – both of yesterday and today – to make us optimise ourselves tomorrow.
In addition, and let me take this opportunity to say, with regard to the Prophets’ birthdays, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad did not celebrate their dates of birth.
Nor did the Jews, the first Christians and the first Muslims celebrate the anniversary of the birth of their Prophets.
Furthermore, in the history of religions, we find no trace of a Prophet who would have initiated their disciples into such celebrations.
That being said, it is worth pointing out that such rememorations cannot be regarded as illicit as long as they are not made sacred, to the point of being deified.
In verse 48 of chapter 6, it says:
”وَمَا نُرۡسِلُ ٱلۡمُرۡسَلِينَ إِلَّا مُبَشِّرِينَ وَمُنذِرِينَ فَمَنۡ ءَامَنَ وَأَصۡلَحَ فَلَا خَوۡفٌ عَلَيۡہِمۡ وَلَا هُمۡ يَحۡزَنُونَ“
“And We Send not the Messengers except as bringers of good tidings and warners. So whoever believes and reforms – there will be no fear concerning them, nor will they grieve”
Moreover, on a completely different topic, the Prophet appointed and sent officers and instructors to teach Monotheism through Islam through Pacification.
Nevertheless, he instituted neither clergy nor government, and he designated no one – precisely and clearly – to exercise political and/or religious power after him.
Therefore, original Islam did not promote and legitimize the inauguration of a theocratic establishment – in any manner or nature whatsoever – yet ideological traditionalism did, and continues to do so.
Islam conveys the philosophy of life, metaphysically and physically; traditionalism conveys a systemic ideology. A religious, ethical and moral, political and societal summary can be deduced from verses 36 to 43 of chapter 42:
”فَمَا أُوتِيتُمْ مِنْ شَيْءٍ فَمَتَاعُ الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا وَمَا عِنْدَ اللَّهِ خَيْرٌ وَأَبْقَى لِلَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَلَى رَبِّهِمْ يَتَوَكَّلُونَ (۳٦) وَالَّذِينَ يَجْتَنِبُونَ كَبَائِرَ الْإِثْمِ وَالْفَوَاحِشَ وَإِذَا مَا غَضِبُوا هُمْ يَغْفِرُونَ (٣٧) وَالَّذِينَ اسْتَجَابُوا لِرَبِّهِمْ وَأَقَامُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَأَمْرُهُمْ شُورَى بَيْنَهُمْ وَمِمَّا رَزَقْنَاهُمْ يُنْفِقُونَ (٣٨) وَالَّذِينَ إِذَا أَصَابَهُمُ الْبَغْيُ هُمْ يَنْتَصِرُونَ (٣٩) وَجَزَاءُ سَيِّئَةٍ سَيِّئَةٌ مِثْلُهَا فَمَنْ عَفَا وَأَصْلَحَ فَأَجْرُهُ عَلَى اللَّهِ إِنَّهُ لَا يُحِبُّ الظَّالِمِينَ (٤٠) وَلَمَنِ انْتَصَرَ بَعْدَ ظُلْمِهِ فَأُولَئِكَ مَا عَلَيْهِمْ مِنْ سَبِيلٍ (٤١) إِنَّمَا السَّبِيلُ عَلَى الَّذِينَ يَظْلِمُونَ النَّاسَ وَيَبْغُونَ فِي الْأَرْضِ بِغَيْرِ الْحَقِّ أُولَئِكَ لَهُمْ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ (٤٢) وَلَمَنْ صَبَرَ وَغَفَرَ إِنَّ ذَلِكَ لَمِنْ عَزْمِ الْأُمُورِ (٤٣)“
“So whatever thing you have been given – it is but [for] enjoyment of the worldly life. But what is with God is better and more lasting for those who have believed and upon their Lord rely 36 And those who avoid the major sins and immoralities, and when they are angry, they forgive 37 And those who have responded to their Lord and established prayer and whose affair is [determined by] consultation among themselves, and from what We have Provided them, they spend 38 And who, when insolence visits them, do help themselves 39 And the recompense of evil is punishment like it, but whoever forgives and amends, he shall have his reward from God; surely He does not love the unjust 40 But indeed if any do help and defend themselves after a wrong [done] to them, against such there is no cause of blame 41 The way is only against those who oppress mankind, and wrongfully rebel in the earth. For such there is a painful doom 42 But indeed if any show patience and forgive, that would truly be an exercise of courageous will and resolution in the conduct of affairs 43”
On the subject of the service, prayer or jointing, quoted in verse 38, I remind you that in Arabic, the word “al-ṣalā” / الصّلا refers to the middle of the back or the small of the back, or the area between the buttock and the tail (which is residual in certain species), or what is to the right and left of this tail.
In horse-racing, the word “al-muṣallī” / المصلّي, which has the same root, is used to refer to the runner-up whose head meets and follows closely behind the middle of the winner.
Again, with the same root, the word “al-ṣalāt” / الصّلاة means the action of articulating by jointing, of tightly assembling the following element, or event, to the middle of the other; in this way we accomplish prayer.
It was by jointing that Abraham built the foundations of the Building of God. In Mecca, we joint around the Kaaba and between the “al-ṣafā” and “al-marwah” hills (الصفا والمروة).
And Muslims articulate addressed (standing position), bent over (reclining position) and bowed down: positioning, phase and phrase, one after the other, one stemming from the other. This is the “prayer”, which I translate as the “jointing”.
Back to my earlier point, Islam cannot be represented by a clergy, neither by religious dignitaries nor even less by a state institution.
As for the specialists in Islamic religion, they can profit only from one prerogative: deliver opinions, that’s it.
After the death of the Prophet Muhammad (632), several events and historical circumstances, which it would be difficult to enumerate here, led different individuals to legislate in every domain.
Some interpreted the Qur’an and the life of the Prophet in accordance with what they believed to be just from their own perspective, others in relation to their own interests.
This resulted in the sharīΣah / الشّريعة, the legislation, theology and jurisprudence among Muslims.
Now, more than ever, we have a duty to study and examine in detail and in depth, objectively, historically and scientifically, the Islam present during the Prophet’s lifetime and what became of it after his death.
Considering the origins of theology and jurisprudence in the Muslim community; in order to get back to the true and original Message of Islam.
God Taught the human all the names (chapter 2, beginning of verse 31):
”وَعَلَّمَ آدَمَ الْأَسْمَاءَ كُلَّهَا…“
“And He Taught Adam the names – all of them…”
This, to analyze, reflect, discern and legislate accordingly. The only sharīΣah, Law, Legislation of God – unchanging and inviolable – happens to be the laws of physics, unaltered and unalterable since the creation of the universe.
Any other law is circumstantial of time, place, cause, and purpose. I will often repeat this last expression: “circumstantial of time, place, cause, and purpose”. Ignoramuses and fanatics are as illustrated in the Qur’an, verse 179, chapter 7:
” وَلَقَدْ ذَرَأْنَا لِجَهَنَّمَ كَثِيرًا مِنَ الْجِنِّ وَالْإِنْسِ لَهُمْ قُلُوبٌ لَا يَفْقَهُونَ بِهَا وَلَهُمْ أَعْيُنٌ لَا يُبْصِرُونَ بِهَا وَلَهُمْ آذَانٌ لَا يَسْمَعُونَ بِهَا أُولَئِكَ كَالْأَنْعَامِ بَلْ هُمْ أَضَلُّ أُولَئِكَ هُمُ الْغَافِلُونَ“
“And We have certainly created for Hell many of the jinn and mankind. They have hearts with which they do not understand, they have eyes with which they do not see, and they have ears with which they do not hear. Those are like livestock; rather, they are more astray. It is they who are the heedless”
Let me take the opportunity to quote this verse to remind you that the word “al-jān” / الجان / “the jinn” is in fact “gene”, which etymologically means race, type, species in French and Arabic.
Now let’s get back to the topic of the day. For the Muslim who knows, only the Qur’an is the Revelation of God, thus Sacred; the rest is a composition of men, thus fallible.
The Qur’an clearly affirms freedom of conscience and expression; I would even say freedom itself. Thus, when God Announced to the angels that He would form a successor “to what preceded” in the earth, in the verse 30 of chapter 2, then they retorted:
”… قَالُوا أَتَجْعَلُ فِيهَا مَنْ يُفْسِدُ فِيهَا وَيَسْفِكُ الدِّمَاءَ…“
“… They said, ‘Will You place upon it one who causes corruption therein and sheds blood? …”
God! Far from blaming them from such thoughts, Replies to them and Argues such a decision:
”… قَالَ إِنِّي أَعْلَمُ مَا لَا تَعْلَمُونَ“
“… He Said: ‘I Know what you know not.’”
Moreover, in the Qur’an, it is even allowed for the devil to disobey God, to justify his disobedience and wrongdoing “at his peril”, obviously.
In verse 99 of chapter 10, it says:
”وَلَوْ شَاءَ رَبُّكَ لَآمَنَ مَنْ فِي الْأَرْضِ كُلُّهُمْ جَمِيعًا أَفَأَنْتَ تُكْرِهُ النَّاسَ حَتَّى يَكُونُوا مُؤْمِنِينَ“
“And had your Lord Willed, those on earth would have believed – all of them entirely. Then, would you compel the people in order that they become believers?”
For anyone who thinks, everything has been said, about freedom, in what I have just outlined. All of the Qur’an illustrates – through a number of examples – freedom of conscience and expression.
The ideal of freedom is not the characteristic of homo occidentalis but that of human nature; the word ‘freedom’ was proclaimed, throughout human history, by all the oppressed, from all nations, all over the earth.
The universality of this noble word has been enshrined, in contemporary times, by the struggle of colonised, stripped and enslaved peoples; freedom is inherent in the evolution and the achievement of humans.
Unfortunately, the last countries to have abolished slavery were the so-called ‘Muslim’ countries, in total contradiction with the precepts of the Qur’an and the Prophet’s conduct, encouraging the emancipation of slaves.
In the heart of Islam, like others, in verse 177 of chapter 2, it says:
”لَيْسَ الْبِرَّ أَنْ تُوَلُّوا وُجُوهَكُمْ قِبَلَ الْمَشْرِقِ وَالْمَغْرِبِ وَلَكِنَّ الْبِرَّ مَنْ آمَنَ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ وَالْمَلَائِكَةِ وَالْكِتَابِ وَالنَّبِيِّينَ وَآتَى الْمَالَ عَلَى حُبِّهِ ذَوِي الْقُرْبَى وَالْيَتَامَى وَالْمَسَاكِينَ وَابْنَ السَّبِيلِ وَالسَّائِلِينَ وَفِي الرِّقَابِ وَأَقَامَ الصَّلَاةَ وَآتَى الزَّكَاةَ وَالْمُوفُونَ بِعَهْدِهِمْ إِذَا عَاهَدُوا وَالصَّابِرِينَ فِي الْبَأْسَاءِ وَالضَّرَّاءِ وَحِينَ الْبَأْسِ أُولَئِكَ الَّذِينَ صَدَقُوا وَأُولَئِكَ هُمُ الْمُتَّقُونَ“
“Righteousness is not that you turn your faces toward the east or the west, but righteousness is [in] one who believes in God, the Last Day, the angels, the Book, and the prophets and gives wealth, in spite of love for it, to relatives, orphans, the needy, the traveler, those who ask [for help], and for freeing slaves; [and who] establishes prayer and gives the religious tax [al-zakāt]; [those who] fulfill their promise when they promise; and [those who] are patient in poverty and hardship and during battle. Those are the ones who have been true, and it is those who are the righteous”
This time, let me take the opportunity to quote this verse, which cites the sacred tax, to remind us that in Arabic, the word “al-zakāt” / الزّكاة designates everything that is developed and purified and purifies by its development; it also refers to the momentum of returning part of any asset acquired to the beneficiaries and/or those who need it. This is the sacred tax, which I translate as the ‘epuratory’.
Praise be to God, Lord of the Worlds.
والحمد لله رب العالمين
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