There is much talk of truth and freedom these days as tangible things or goals to be achieved; the overthrow of tyranny; the establishment of democracy and human rights. People bandy these words around in public as though they are the masters of them or their proponents. They are deluded liars and they permeate societies at every level; they are the vociferous ones, who stand for justice, liberty and equality. They claim the moral high ground in the name of humanism and demand the changing of the order for the security of the masses. They are enemies to themselves, one section seeking dominance over another, snarling and biting each other like dogs over a carcase; their sign is that they say exactly the opposite of what they do.
We are not only talking of politicians, business leaders and bankers because their evil philosophy has permeated even to the poor; it is not only in social structures but even in the hearts of individual people. Allah, subhanahu wa ta’ala, has told us in surat al-Isra that when He wishes to destroy a people, He begins with its affluent by introducing deviation among them, and as most people tend to look upwards for their direction, then the corruption moves downwards and spreads abroad. It is endemic to our time and the horror of recognition that this is the world that we live in produces many reactions among our global society.
Truth and Freedom are immutable realities lent to man by Reality itself; they are not subject to change by opinion, action or desire and cannot be possessed by anyone, but are the philosopher’s stone, the red sulphur, that changes the base into the precious. They cannot be dictated to, grasped or wielded in some cause or other. Truth compels; freedom dictates and those who seek them are utterly destroyed upon their rocks and only survive as their helpless slaves, because they belong to their Master, the Lord of all the worlds, the Creator of all that ever was or will be, until such time that everything will be returned to its origins.
Truth will only be known by those who abandon every part of themselves in its favour, striving at all times to know what it demands and complying therewith. It is inexorable without a scintilla of negotiation; it has a path, but each step rips the self away from its own grasp and is Herculean in its scope and progression. Our part is commitment to its end, which is none other than our own destruction, but then, what is it that we are losing. This journey takes courage and a trust in Truth itself; that it is without dissimulation although it may be allegorical and by that token needs perception and effort. Truth has its people, its uncomplaining slaves, the muted reflections of its permanent light, guiding through the self’s immortal core to the inevitable. They are not recognisable by other than their like because they do not cling to a form or association, even though they may have both; they are free and only submit to what they see of the Real.
Freedom also has its people, hidden by the miasma of false ideas spouted in its name, utter slaves to how things really are; the very source of their freedom. Real freedom is total constraint, but a constraint imposed by Reality itself and not fanciful notions ignoring the bounds that the natural world declares in its formation. Man seems to think that scaling the highest mountain equals its conquest, or sailing the oceans is the taming of them and the subjugation of its peoples a demonstration of his power. What a fool, for he has lost sight of the strings attached to his person, making him dance to the tune of the only One with power. Freedom is the acceptance of his Lord’s total control of all things and the submission to His commands to the extinction and complete obliteration of any evidence of his seeming independance. The free man is by his Lord’s command on his Master’s business and no more. Other than this is slavery to every whim and fancy of his or other’s blind blundering around in darkness, save those who are struggling towards Truth.
It has always been thus and will never change, however, time transmutes everything because it is other than its Lord, the Immutable, and the varying seasons bring the appropriate responses; winter demands enwrapping and summer divestment. Man must understand where his Maker has placed him; in time as well as place. His birth in Madinah al-Munawwarah fourteen centuries ago is different from that in a twenty-first century city, whatever the specifics that may entail, albeit the one is the place and time of the best homogeneous human community to have existed and the other a complex of complexes, riven by the lowest aspects of human nature.
So, where are we now and what is our response to the eternal truth and what will free us from modern tyranny? Do we fight, disengage, assimilate, carry on regardless? We first have to use that faculty that has been educated, or more accurately, programmed out of us; the ability to think, reflect. This will not be easy as all the forms of media, along with modern education, have made us digesters and regurgitaters of information or ‘sound bites’ and video clips. People are not used to thinking for themselves, they are not pursuers of knowledge, rather collectors of opinions and useless facts. The wit is dulled, the heart moribund, and a company of spontaneity and insight is not readily at hand and neither generally sought. Having said that, finding that jewel of life quickly revives both and a pinpoint of light appears in what seemed pitch blackness. Of course, the nature of the beast is that no alternative to the status quo can be visualised, other than a meaningless reshuffling of the known parts producing deep fear of the unknown and a tenacity in defending the despised tyranny. So the first step is to find the company of the living and with them understand the nature of today. Most people will acquiesce to the terrible state of affairs, but there the unity of opinion ends, only to proceed in all manner of directions and dead ends.
Knowledge of the social pattern of Madinah al-Munawwarah has provided a blueprint with which to view human interaction from a totally positive perspective in all its social interconnectedness in relation to divine obligations. The struggle is to bring that sublime reality into being, in yourself first and then to those with you. This is the age of the individual, so you must do it, you must set out on this journey; establish the new city of light.