Some people think that religion restricts individual freedom and disallows the fulfillment of some desires, whereas, in fact, the aim of religious teaching is not at all to put an end to logical freedom. Its aim is only to stop wastage of human energies and assets and to prevent their flow into improper and worthless channels.
For example, if religion forbids the use of intoxicants, gambling and improper indulgence in sex, does so for the safety of the body and soul of the individual and for the maintenance of social order.
This moral control is in keeping with the real spirit of freedom, for freedom means only that man should be able to take full advantage of the assets of existence to help in the evolution of the individual and the society. It does not at all mean squandering God-given energies and indulging in immoderation and libertinism.
Religion supports every kind of freedom that carries man forward towards evolution in various fields. Only this, is what freedom, in the real sense, means. Anything else is libertarianism.
That is why religion allows man to use all good things in life, to wear any reasonable dress, to relish any good food and to take part in any healthy pastime. In short, it has allowed the use of all comforts and conveniences of life, and does not ask anyone to give up any such things.
The Holy Quran says: "Say: Who has forbidden the beautiful things of God which He has produced for His servants and the pure food ?"
Moreover, our religion calls upon us never to forget the exigencies and requirements of time and to keep ourselves well-informed about the latest developments in medicine, technology and industry.
The leader of Islam, Imam Sadiq (A) has said: "He who knows his time and its requirements, shall not be taken unaware by the dark events of life."
Our religion tells us that out of the new ideas, customs and usages we should choose what is useful and worthy and should discard what is improper and wrong.
We must not follow others blindly and must not adopt anything that is not compatible with human dignity and the spirit of independent thinking.
The Holy Quran says, "Give glad tidings to my servants who listen to what is said and follow the best thereof. They are those whom Allah has guided and those who have good sense."
The following sources are used to prepare the above article.
1. Group of Scholars, Rationality of Islam (1978), under the auspices of Ayatullah Sayyid Abu'l Qasim al-Khu'I, Publisher: Islamic Seminary Publications, Pakistan