Freedom is not about being completely untethered to anything at all. We are human beings; we cannot be wholly self-sufficient. We rely on things like gravity to keep us grounded, and food to keep us going. Being independent of all other things is not what freedom — in the sense of the word that is actually good for us — is.
I think freedom is about being tethered to what is Khayr — good. Everything else — whatever is not good for the soul — we are held hostage under. We are all subjugated beneath at least one thing. This fact in and of itself is not something we can run from. The key question is: under what?
The unquestioning obedience to authority that schools sometimes teach. Others’ judging eyes. Systems and people that do not actually love us. Mistruths. These can weigh us down.
But in true religion, one finds honour in what one submits to.
The best, probably most-used, metaphor for freedom is the imagery of birds. They use their wings, and they fly. But… notice these white-tailed eagles, taking their places in flight, between mountain peaks. Notice how they are not wholly self-reliant. They extend and contract their wings over and again, for a while. And then, gracefully and with such trust, they know to also rely on the wind for a while.
Freedom is flying, but it does not mean ‘independence’. If we expect the bird to only rely on its own flapping wings, it will become exhausted; it may continue to fly for a while, but ultimately to the detriment of its own self.
In life, we will have our wings. And the natures we are bound by. And, for true — what we may term, ‘freedom’ —
who and what will our wind be?
Sadia Ahmed J., 2020