Scholars and intellectuals have raised the point whether political freedom is more important than freedom of thought. No sane person can favour political slavery but if a nation inspite of being politically free continues to fetter itself with the chains of ideological, educational and cultural slavery then this nation can never truly enjoy the benefits of freedom. As a nation we are facing a similar tragedy. Although it has been almost six decades since we got independence but our traditions, our dress, our festivals and way of living still show that we remain bound by the chains of slavery. Every passing day is making the bonds of our mental and ideological slavery stronger and stronger. As far as political freedom is concerned, everyone knows to what extent we enjoy it.
Whenever a ruler of our country has tried to oppose the United States, he has been eliminated. Therefore, fearing the same fate, every new ruler thinks twice before taking any steps. Our outward appearance and mental state bears a great similarity to that of Bani Israel, who, despite escaping from the cruelties of the Pharaoh and the forced rule of the Qabtis (Egyptians who worshiped bulls), spent 40 years of their lives wandering in the Valley of Tih. The wisdom behind isolating them thus way that having lived as slaves for so long they had become devoid of humanity. Slavery ran like blood in their veins and cowardice and fear had become second nature. They did not even hesitate in requesting Hazrat Musa ‘alaihissalaam to find a god for them whom they could easily see and touch as the Qabtis and other atheist nations had. And when they were ordered to enter the holy land (Palestine) and fight, they felt no shame in saying said, “O Musa, go you and your Lord and fight you two, we are sitting right here.”
Their answer proved how deeply they were enslaved, mentally and ideologically and how hollow were they spiritually. They were kept in the Valley of Tih so that they, who had been born and spent so many years of their lives in slavery, would die altogether and in their place would grow children, in the free air of Sina Desert, who would be mentally and ideologically free from all traces of slavery. It is regrettable to say that the Bani Israel did manage to get free of the signs of slavery after having stayed in the Valley of Tih for 40 years but we, in spite of living in a free country for the last 55 years, are not mentally or ideologically free yet.
We acquired this country in the name of Islam but even after 55 years of independence we do not see Islam anywhere except in mosques and madaris (religious institutions). Neither can it be found in our business, our politics, our judiciary, government affairs, or in our economy. It can be argued that it was the responsibility of our rulers to bring changes in these institutions but it is our bad luck that we never had a single ruler blessed with mental freedom; a ruler who loved the Islamic way of life more than the manners of the West. Yet rulers are also from the masses. Like people like rulers, as the saying goes. Let us for the time being, leave the discussion over the social departments, let us discuss the state of our individual lives. How many are there among us who, having acquired education in schools and colleges, love their own history, culture, language, religion and traditions? Suffering from a deep inferiority complex they think that the road to progress lies only in blindly following the culture and manners of the West. These mentally enslaved go so far as to change their own accent when they come across an American or Britisher speaking distorted English. Mentioning such people in his poetry, Khawaja Azizul Hasan Majzoob (rahimaullah) said:
Meaning: “When a Mister spoke to me in a language that was neither English nor Urdu, neither Pushto nor Persian I thought he was suffering from some disease which did not allow him to pronounce the words correctly.”
You must have definitely come across people in hotels, business centers, educational institutions, government offices or in your daily life, who, while talking of political, social, educational or business issues in Urdu consider it necessary to use fifty percent of English words. There are others who barely manage to use 25 per cent Urdu words in their conversation. In the same way do they try to copy the English in their style of living, eating and drinking. What else can it be called but mental slavery?
As people are becoming more and more enlightened, and as the light of Islam continues to spread, not only are men and women in Europe embracing Islam but they are being irresistibly drawn to the Islamic social values and Islamic way of life. They can see innumerable medical and scientific benefits in acting upon the Sunnahs of Rasoolullah (sallallahu alaihe wasallam). But the modern Muslims? They consider making fun of Sunnah a fashion! They are of the view that it is necessary to follow the Europeans in every sphere of life in order to make progress.
Had the Europeans only been imitated in the fields of science and industry, in being religiously punctual, in love of their country, in strengthening welfare and judicial institutions as they have done it would not have mattered, in fact, it would have been praiseworthy indeed, but the problem is we do not adopt the good habits of the Europeans in the departments where they are needed but we do copy them in, and blindly, in their animal traits, selfishness, nudity and fulfillment of carnal desires. The fact remains that there does not exist any natural desire, the fulfillment of which has been banned by Islam while remaining within the prescribed limits. Take the expression of joy, for example. It is not that Islam is a dry, spiritless, impassive sort of a religion which forbids people from smiling and expressing joy. Besides individual occasions of joy, Islam has designated, in consonance with its special nature, two festivals on the social level. The first one comes immediately after the month of Ramadhan (fasting) and the second falls on the tenth day of the historic month of Zil Hajj.
On both these occasions the whole Muslim world enjoys itself but in a way that no one forgets Allah Almighty nor forgets his less privileged brothers. On these festivals, the non-Muslims, just to please the Muslims, send them greetings but it does not happen that the Hindus, Christians and Jews celebrate them just as the Muslims do, or consider the Muslim’s festivals as their own, though if they were to do so, it would not cause any harm to their religion, for after all they are Kafirs, yet the surprising thing is that the Muslims, who are bound by Islamic laws in their expression of joy and sorrow, have become so liberal-minded that they have begun thinking of the festivals of the non-Muslims as their own! It may be Holi or Basant, it may be Christmas or New Year Eve, Muslims do all that the non-Muslims do on these occasions. It can only be called the evil influence of the TV that now when he gets married, the bridegroom is made to circle the fire as Hindu bridegrooms do! Matters might come to just such a head in the near future that some accursed heirs might put the dead bodies of their father or mother on a pier and set fire to it.
Who does not know that the first month of the Islamic year is Muharram? Yet we have turned it into an accursed month of mourning. And at the beginning of the Christian year our young brothers and sisters indulge in such revelry that very Decency is put to shame. What happens at drinking parties, in get-togethers, in special hotels is something a Muslim can never even think of. Muslims purposely dress and act in a way that no one can differentiate between them and non-Muslims. What we are afraid of is that our mental slavery just might lead us to mental apostasy.