Despite the worldwide campaign against it and the atrocious crimes of the radicals that add to that effect, Islam is spreading fast and strong. From the pubs of the UK, to the towns of Brazil, people of all ages, genders and backgrounds embrace this beautiful faith with an increasing pace.
Islam has a striking simplicity. Despite the numerous sects that have emerged over the course of centuries all attempting to complicate it, the Islam described in the Qur'an is beautifully plain and for this, gives the utmost freedom to people.
It teaches people that there is only One God and it is only He that they will answer to.
The implication in this is profound. While the majority of the world today is bound by thousands of different rules and people’s opinions of what is right and wrong, a person who submits to God is immediately freed from his chains. No longer does he have to work to meet the description of the ideal character imposed by society, or exert a significant amount of energy to comply with the wishes of thousands of different people; his character is shaped only according to the wishes of God. He no longer has to put his soul and mind to the herculean task of pleasing everyone, which is essentially impossible.
As he surrenders to God, his mind is literally liberated and purged of all unnecessary fears and worries. For example, in the case of a teenager, it means no more constantly worrying about the thoughts of his friends, the latest fashion trends at school or fitting in with the popular crowd. He will no longer be ruled by peer pressure, the trends in social media or the burden of having to have as many as possible friends on the Internet. For someone in the business world, it would mean no longer feeling inferior in the presence of their boss, or constantly having to compete with peers on everything or strive immeasurably to gain approval and admiration. It also would mean being released of the pressure of assuming the character of one’s profession, which could be condescending in the case of a white-collar job, and insecure and self-conscious for a blue-collar job. For spouses, they would no longer have to fit the description of the perfect husband or wife character dictated by society. Instead they would now be able to channel their pure and fortified love to their family, seeing them as a reflection of God’s beauty that have been entrusted to them. All of these people, now with bodies and souls cleared of the influences of fake idols, will turn to and surrender to God, Who created them, loves them and cares about them infinitely.
As believers enjoy this freedom from their chains, billions of other people who believe that they are free, but instead are weighed down by the wishes and opinions of countless different people, continue to be prisoners to the will of others. Shackled with numerous “must-do's” like, copying the behavior of characters on popular TV shows, keeping pace with the expectations of their parents, trying to be funny around fun-loving friends, and changing the attitude immediately when it is no longer wanted, they get exhausted. Amidst this emotional whirlpool, they inevitably lose their soul and their mind. In the end, they become so disorientated they no longer recognize themselves.
Yet in Islam, there is only One that a person has to please: God. The only thing a free person has to do it is to follow the direction shown by God. There is no trying to please others, worrying about what others might think, or constantly struggling - and failing each and every time - in the pursuit of gaining the approval of the world.
Surely, a believer also lives a life like any other member of a society with respect for the laws, the social norms of the society and respect for others, but he doesn't enslave his body and soul to the thoughts and wishes of others, who are in fact powerless servants just like himself.
Many people today are aware of this problem and work to break out of the prison in their minds. They sometimes use inspirational quotes and various mental techniques to do that. But how can they be successful if they don't address the real problem? They should know that trying to fight off the beasts in one’s mind one by one, instead of working on the pit they arise from, would be a futile attempt.
The truest salvation comes with a real love for God. One has to look at the world, himself, the universe and think about what he sees. He should try to grasp the infinite power of God, Who created the universe with precise perfection and beauty. He should understand that his life and the lives of everyone else depend on the most sensitive of balances, which could be disrupted any moment, if not for the meticulous protection of God. He should understand that God, Who created everything, has infinite power. He understands that the 300 billion galaxies in the universe, the flawless DNA, one strand of which could accommodate all the data in the world from Plato to today, or the electrons that travel at a speed of 2,000 km per second but never collide, all depend on God’s protection. He should see that no one else can have any power if God doesn't wish it. He should pay attention, watch closely and see that God regulates and creates and controls every single thing every single moment, like every heart beat of the seven billion people on Earth, every blossoming flower, every wing fluttering in the skies, every sugar level that has to be kept in check in everyone’s bodies and literally all the other countless details in the universe. And by looking at the Qur'an, he will see that the only thing God expects from him is for him to love Him with all one has and thank Him for all that He has given.
We are made to love God. Only then we can be truly happy and free.
So embrace God, break your chains and start enjoying real freedom.
Adnan Oktar's piece on New Straits Times: