The words “liberty” or “freedom” are two much abused words today. Even our contemporary dictators call themselves freedom defenders in order to deceive international communities and pacify their own people. Part of their deception is to have their own people turn a blind eye to all failures, twist the truth and talk positively about their leaders. Their masked mobs will always be on alert to invade those who dare speak the truth.
For the past 30 years the Islamic Republic of Iran has been saying that the Sharia (law) of Islam has resulted in true freedom in Iran and that Iranians had never tasted true freedom in the entire history of Iran compared to what the 1979 Revolution has brought about. However, that so-called freedom-loving government has tortured, slaughtered and forced to flee hundreds of thousands of its own citizens who cried for freedom in the span of the last three decades. Oppositions were called ignorant, blinded by the external enemies (such as America or Israel), and incapable of seeing the freedom sourced by the Islamic Sharia. Leaders in Iran have been continually calling themselves freedom lovers but forcing people to surrender to their own way of life that is not compatible with freedom. To them, and for Islam, people are not capable enough to think and decide for their own best interests, thus unable of acting freely. The Quran forbids freedom:
…Accept anything the messenger may give you, and keep away from anything he withholds from you… (Q.59:7)
It is not for a believer, man or woman, when a matter has been decided by Allah and his apostle to have any option about their decision: If any one disobeys Allah and his apostle, he is indeed on a clearly wrong path. (Q.33:36)
When power qualifies a person or a group to possess every right, it is then obvious that others will only be assigned to carry out duties blindly and avoid asking question. For this reason, the word “why” and the concept of a questioning dialogue are both missing in the Islamic vocabulary. A Muslim leader is free to question everything or anybody he likes, but no one is able to question him. Diversity of thought is a sign of invasion for him and must be fought from the outset. While everybody is expected to be subject to him, he is not accountable to his followers. Here is how the Sharia of Islam affects Islamic families and societies: At the family level, power is centralized in the father or husband; at the state level, in the governor; at the country and international level, in the government (caliphate) in order to dictate their unchangeable orders over their communities. People have to shape themselves wholly in a religious system as slaves in order to accept everything that comes from the mouth of a leader. This is the definition of “freedom” in Islam, giving birth to dictatorship and freeing a dictator to take his people as hostages.
The exercise of superiority over others by a person or a group of people is an ungodly and inhumane method according to the leadership philosophy of Jesus Christ which is founded on justice, servant-hood, meekness, modesty, and unconditional love. For this reason, Jesus says:
You know that the rulers of the nations exercise dominion over them, and they who are great exercise authority over them. However, it shall not be so among you. But whoever desires to be great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be chief among you, let him be your servant. (Matthew 20:25-27MKJV)
Nothing creates more disruption among people than the desire for power by an individual(s) whose aim is dominance, whereby threatening democracy. A great leader does not thirst for power but shows earnest desire for exercising humility toward others, be they friend or opposition. Such a leader believes that nothing in him can make him greater than those whose presence and consent made him a leader. Since leadership is inherent in life and relationships, Jesus warns His followers and asks them to appoint leaders whose aim is not accumulating power to dominate over others but being in the service of others:
But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. (Matthew 23:11 MKJV)
In a similar way, a husband or father is not a lord and tyrant over his household according to Jesus, but a wise and friendly servant whose job is to be in the service of his family:
Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? (Matthew 24:45 MKJV)
No belief or ideology in the world has been able to offer a more caring and friendly leadership than what Jesus has left for humanity. In Jesus’ leadership, relationships are based on unconditional love so that every wall of separation is destroyed, the rights of everyone are preserved, and people can therefore function as members of one body in their communities.
It was the effect of Jesus Christ’s values that helped the western communities to prosper in every aspect of life, including leadership. It is sad that many people in the contemporary West have forgotten their past and turned their backs on Christ and are, intentionally or unintentionally, pushing their societies toward dictatorship. Some democratically elected governments are trying to accumulate more power under the influence of socialism, secular humanism, or environmentalism in order to push the values of Christ back and give weight to man’s power all in the name of defense for liberty.
Liberty is a God-given identity for individuals whereby they can come together in order to build free societies, establish governments to be in their service, and pave the way for them to protect their God-given autonomy. A government with a centralized power and without the active participation of its people will not be able to tolerate the people’s autonomy and liberty. The God-given liberty and autonomy are fragile because of their humble nature and therefore unable to go along with dictatorship or governments with centralized power. As a result, they must be safeguarded. The endeavors of great western men and women over the centuries have proven the truthfulness and necessity of such protection. It is therefore essential for us to wake up our societies to acknowledge that true liberty can flourish in every aspect of life if Jesus is accepted as the true spiritual leader and giver of life, and that vigilance and virtue are needed to preserve our liberty.