“Show us the straight way” verse from Al Fatiha (1st Surah of Qur’an) and Muslim Prayer.
We(Muslims) are instructed by Allah in the Quran to say the Al Fatiha at least 5 times a day in our 5 obligatory daily prayers. We believe the “As-Ṣirāṭ al-mustaqīm”(straight way) is the path of freedom that leads to Paradise as our final goal in the hereafter. And more importantly than the use of the English word “freedom”, the Path of Liberty.
Why is it important to distinguish Liberty from Freedom?
I want to distinguish the idea of freedom given in Islamic teaching as a component of man's natural inclination to be respected in society. The demand in the nature to have freedom of opportunity and selection to choose and pursue the best life is the sacred category of freedom called 'liberty.' Islamic teaching presents 'liberty' as one of the wombs for human progress.
I have chosen the word 'liberty' carefully here. It is rich in meaning and identifies a special category or characteristic of freedom. Liberty is a sacred property of freedom. Not all freedom, or any type of freedom, is desired by people ordering their life in the disciplines of obedience to G'd. Freedom to think and act should not be the only way we understand freedom. In America, at the invitation of the language of the commercial establishment and with the nod of hidden powers, the people are influenced to act on their freedom as only a function of impulse. They do not want you to think. They just want you to act, and impulsively buy whatever they are selling, or digest whatever is presented to you. Americans, and even most within the reach of the industrialized or technology-driven world are directed by this seduction of external and subliminal stimuli. American media programming and other spiders hidden in the world-wide-web can capture and poison you by displaying every freakish existence there is, broadcasting through the air every example of impulse-driven, unconscious, undisciplined human behavior. This is a corrupted liberty, and is not the Islamic moral interest in freedom. The Islamic moral interest is a true liberty -the freedom to acquire knowledge, to think, to act, and to make informed choices for moral and principled achievements. Liberty is a higher order of freedom. Those who restrict liberty are in the category that should be opposed and protested against. Those who corrupt liberty are devils seeking control of man's ability to make moral choices. The Prophet made demands of his society in Makkah to respect his rational choice of the Oneness of G'd and to respect the common dignity of human life. The leaders in Makkah rejected that liberty and oppressed the Prophet by attempting to force his compliance and that of his followers to the Makkan chief's designations for what should be worshipped and what class of people should be respected and should have the rights of moral choice. Bilal did not have the rights of moral choice under the Makkan system in pre-Islam Arabia. Neither did women have this liberty, nor any class of persons that were not acknowledged by the Makkan tribal hierarchy system of rule. Pre-Islam Arabia did not accept the idea that all human beings are entitled to any public rights or dignity by nature. The Prophet's teaching was actively identifying and aiming to protect the properties of natural liberty, and from that womb of this liberty came the great Islam-influenced change in human society. This is why Muhammed the Prophet is known as Liberator.
Written by Ayesha Akbar-The People Of Imam W. Deen Mohammed and
Imam Earl Abdulmalik Mohammed- Representative of Imam W. Deen Mohammed