In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
“FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION” – IS IT UNFETTERED?
[Shamim A Siddiqi,
“Freedom of expression” is the bounty from the Creator and Sustainer.. It is one of His special favor that distinguishes man from animal or inanimate objects of nature. Allah has described it as His blessing to mankind. In Chapter 55 of the Qur’an, He declares:
“ Al-Rahman. Allam-al-Qur’an. Khalaqal Insan. Allamahu al-Bayan (the speaking power)” [Verse # 1- 4 of Surah Al-Rahman].
Translation: The Beneficent, [the Most Gracious]. Had imparted this Qur’an [unto man]. He had created man. He had imparted unto him articulate thought and speech
[NOTE: “Al-Bayan” applies both to thoughts and speech. As it comprises the faculty of making a thing or an idea apparent to mind and conceptually distinct from other things or ideas, as well as power to express this cognition clearly in spoken or written language. [Lexicon: Tajul Urus as quoted by Muhammad Asad – The Message of the Qur’an]
As such, the “freedom of speech” is a gift of God to think and express about what he/ (she) feels in self or reacts seeing some thing happening outside on this earth, in his environment or in homes. Anthropologically, had this power not been given to man (along with the placement of human’s “thumb” enabling humans to hold/catch) by the Creator, in His infinite mercy, human society and civilization would have never reached to this stage as we see today. It would have been wiped out at the very outset. But this freedom is not unfettered or goes unrestricted. God gave this faculty to man to express what he feels, thinks or reacts to grow smoothly in union with other fellow humans and not for violating others rights.
The freedom of expression, as gifted by God, is “limitless” in its concept but is “fettered” in application if it injures the feelings of others; it is used disrespectfully in derogatory manner for others or creates the sense of mutiny or revolt against a benevolent established state or a system or it violates the religious personalities of other religions who are holding their “Prophets” in highest esteem. It means that when the “freedom of expression” hits the freedom of others or violates other human freedoms that are permitted by the Creator who has given us the power of “Al-Bayan’, it must be stopped or restricted by state interference. If it is not done, only a state of lawlessness will prevail all around. European states have failed to come to this natural standard in checking the outrageous presentation of the Prophet of Islam in the most disrespectful manner. Rather, they are adamant to hold the wrong concept of unrestricted freedom and are supporting disgracefully the false stand taken by their media Moguls.
One under the “lust” of given freedom of expression cannot dare go and use filthy language against someone; go on wandering on the streets like a vagabond and utter the most abusive and lustrous language against anyone; play with the prestige of some one and dishonor respected elders, religious dignatories and symbols of love and devotion. If any one does so, he would definitely misuse his freedom and the law of the land will take its cognizance with exemplary punishment. All rights, liberties and freedoms are God –gifted and the legacies of moral education that Allah’s Guidance promoted, protected and guaranteed. All are His bounties to human society. Now if anyone exaggerates the freedom of speech and stretches it beyond its natural limitations as envisaged above, he or she commits an unpardonable crime against humanity, irrespective of the fact whether it is an individual, a journalist, an institution or a modern state. If it does violate others’ rights, it loses its moral ground of existence by committing a clear crime against humanity and that country must be punished under the International Law of Justice at Hague and should be declared by UN Charter as the “barbaric” one. Denmark, as such, should top the list, followed by other European nations.
The attitude of obstinacy that is being
shown by the secular governments of
How hippocratic the European
countries are can be well imagined from the fact that no one can dare speak
against the “holocaust” as Jews are protecting and preserving with their
religious sanctity. Just today [
Equally, the Muslim countries who are violently protesting against
the historical misbehavior of the so called enlightened countries of
Allah (SWT) has clearly permitted the “Mazloom”, the oppressed, to protest against the oppression but not with violation:
“ Allah does not like any evil to be mentioned openly or the utterance of harsh speech save by one who had been wronged (thereby). And Allah indeed all-hearing, all-knowing” [The Qur’an: :Al-Nisa - 4: 148]
Through this verse from the Qur’an, Allah permits Muslims to protest against any wrongdoing by their adversaries anywhere in the world but nowhere it allows them to become violent, unruly, abusive in their language and act as the agent of devilish forces of death and destruction. This behavior is totally against the character of a Muslim. How they should have reacted against the misbehavior of the West has clearly been spelled out by Allah (SWT) in Verses # 125 -128 of Chapter- (16) Al-Nahal. Muslims will have to recast their attitude and redefine their “reaction” afresh. They should have reacted like Da’ees Ilallah and not like the die-hard “Reactionaries”. If they do not revise their position on earth, they will go on sinking more and more down the earth. Their superiority lies in meeting all such situation with dignity, Sabr (patience) and Hikmah (Wisdom) and they will get the success of both the worlds.