What is Liberalism?
Liberalism is an ideology which advocates for the adoption of new ideas and beliefs to adapt to the culture and world around them. By this, Liberalism emphasizes the rights and privileges of the individual, and how the society must conform with the wishes of the individual, they have gained this understanding due to their interpretation of what is considered acceptable in modern times.
On the surface, Liberalism seems like a great idea as it promotes freedom of speech, assembly, press, religion, right to vote etc. However, these freedoms which liberalism claims to give are in fact fallacies and are actually just fever dreams of a utopia which cannot exist, and these freedoms are only given to support their own agenda. Many of the recent bid’aat (innovations) have come about and spread due to liberalism. This article will examine liberalism and how Islam speaks against its teachings.
Claims of Liberalism:
Liberalism claims that everyone has their own individual rights and freedoms. This belief of liberalism stems from modernism, that in order to adapt to the modernization of society, society must change according to modernization. Liberalism adopts this ideal due to it being a new idea against the cultural and societal norm of the time. The freedoms which liberalism advocates for are freedom of speech, religion, assembly, right to vote etc. Liberalism also claims that one should have an open world view and be tolerant to new ideas, these include: acceptance of LGBTQ, to restrict polygyny, normalization of extra-marital relations etc. Though these things were never present in society just a couple decades ago where even homosexuality was considered socially wrong. All these things have been normalized and accepted by people nowadays due to the effect of Liberalism.
Now when one hears a man has a partner outside of marriage, we are not even phased when we hear this. However, when we hear one man is in a polygynous marriage, most feel that this is wrong and unfitting for the times. Even as Muslims, when we hear someone has gotten into a polygynous marriage, though we accept and support him, we still feel some ache in our heart and still feel some sort of wrong occurred. These are through the effects of liberalism and a liberal society and how they weaken a person's Imaan by normalizing evil and making evil that which is normal. These are from amongst the signs of Munafiqun, as Allah Ta’ala states,
“ٱلْمُنَـٰفِقُونَ وَٱلْمُنَـٰفِقَـٰتُ بَعْضُهُم مِّنۢ بَعْضٍۢ ۚ يَأْمُرُونَ بِٱلْمُنكَرِ وَيَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ ٱلْمَعْرُوفِ وَيَقْبِضُونَ أَيْدِيَهُمْ ۚ نَسُوا۟ ٱللَّهَ فَنَسِيَهُمْ ۗ إِنَّ ٱلْمُنَـٰفِقِينَ هُمُ ٱلْفَـٰسِقُونَ
“The hypocrites, both men and women, are all alike: they encourage what is evil, forbid what is good, and withhold ˹what is in˺ their hands. They neglected Allah, so He neglected them. Surely the hypocrites are rebellious.”
May Allah Ta’ala protect us from this.
Contradictions of Liberalism:
In a liberal society, they claim to give equal rights to all citizens of the country despite whatever condition they are in. This is simply not true and frankly impossible to implement. For example, a blind person is legally not allowed to drive, this shows that one person does not have a right which another person has. Another example can be made that a police officer has the right to arrest someone, but a normal citizen does not have the right to arrest anyone. These examples show that despite all their claims, giving everyone true equal rights is simply not possible and not practical.
Another claim which Liberalism makes is that everyone is free in a Liberal society, this is also simply untrue. It is impossible for a society to be truly free and to function properly. For example, if a criminal is caught doing a crime, he is sent to jail. Therefore, he is not free. Another example is that the government forces taxes upon its citizens, or to go for jury duty. Another example which applies for some countries is mandatory military service, or being picked in a draft. Therefore, the government has the right to take some freedoms away in the service of the country. These examples show that some freedoms must be taken away for society to function. If criminals are left to roam free, there will be anarchy and mass crime on the streets, if citizens do not pay taxes, then the government will collapse, and if citizens are not drafted, then the country will be defenseless against foreign invasion, Therefore, it is necessary that some liberties be restricted for a society to function.
In Islam, there is much emphasis on obeying authorities, whether it be in religious, government, or familial affairs. The parents are the guardian of the child and guide him throughout his life. Without following the parent, the child would most likely not survive or lead a healthy life. In religion, the ‘Ulama are the guardians of the religion and they are the ones who preserve the Deen, therefore it is necessary to follow them in terms of religion. In terms of government, they provide security and safety in the country, so when the government calls you to pay Zakat or to go for Jihad, then it is necessary for everyone to follow them. In the Qur’an, Allah Ta’ala clearly states,
“يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوٓا۟ أَطِيعُوا۟ ٱللَّهَ وَأَطِيعُوا۟ ٱلرَّسُولَ وَأُو۟لِى ٱلْأَمْرِ مِنكُمْ ۖ فَإِن تَنَـٰزَعْتُمْ فِى شَىْءٍۢ فَرُدُّوهُ إِلَى ٱللَّهِ وَٱلرَّسُولِ إِن كُنتُمْ تُؤْمِنُونَ بِٱللَّهِ وَٱلْيَوْمِ ٱلْـَٔاخِرِ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ خَيْرٌۭ وَأَحْسَنُ تَأْوِيلًا”
“O you who believe, obey Allah and obey the Messenger and those in authority among you. Then, if you quarrel about something, revert it back to Allah and the Messenger, if you believe in Allah and the Last Day. That is good, and the best at the end.”
This verse shows that we must follow those in authority. Liberalism does not advocate for this, rather they advocate for further rights and freedoms. Therefore, it is necessary that we do not follow this. Another view of Liberalism is to be open to new views and ideas. In Islam, we cannot accept anything that is not from the Qur’an and the Sunnah. Whatever that is not from these, or the Ijmaa’ of the Sahabah or the habits of the pious predecessors is not from the Deen and therefore we cannot follow. Therefore, it is necessary for us to follow only the views which correspond to Qur’an and Sunnah
In conclusion, it is imperative that we follow only the views that come from Qur’an and Sunnah and respect the authorities upon us. We cannot allow for such bid’aat (innovations) to come about in our society, and we must resist these ideologies. May Allah allow us to be steadfast on his deen and protect us from such trials. Amin