By Maulana Wahiduddin Khan
(Translated by Yoginder Sikand)
Muslims today suffer from a bizarre sense of loss. Perhaps no other community faces this sort of predicament to the same extent. They have failed to make use of the myriad opportunities provided by modernity. One of these valuable opportunities is freedom. The ideologues of the French Revolution claimed that man is born free but everywhere is in chains. This became the slogan of the modern world, and now freedom has been accepted as the basic right of every human being. Everyone has the right to adopt what he or she thinks is right and to act accordingly. There is only one limit to this unfettered freedom: in the exercise of one’s right one should not harm someone else, and in the pursuance of one’s objectives one should seek to use peaceful, not violent, means.
300 years ago, when America won freedom from England, an American man, so the story goes, rushed out into the street to celebrate. He swung his arms up in the air in glee and as he brought them down he hit the nose of a passerby. The latter was, naturally, enraged, and demanded an apology. The first man said to him, ‘Now America is free and so I can do what I want’. The passerby retorted, ‘Undoubtedly you are free, but your freedom ends where my nose begins’. Continue reading