The True Meaning of Merdeka (Freedom)–A Quranic Perspective

August 28, 2016

The True Meaning of Merdeka (Freedom)–A Quranic Perspective

by Kassim Ahmad

Image result for Malaysia's Official Independence Logo 2016

Really Merdeka–Are We Malaysians Free?

This is the 60th year of our independence. We spend millions of ringgit yearly to celebrate this auspicious day of August 31 with parades and the like, with every citizen flying or waving the national flag. We have been doing this year in and year out.

Is this the true spirit that we want to inculcate in our citizens? Of course the parades and such like have their uses. But independence must mean more than that. It must mean the acting out of freedom in our souls. We must act freely to realize our place in the several countries that we are in and in the world — the just and peaceful world that everyone wants.

In this sense of the word independence,  we are far from it in the several countries that we are citizens of and in the wider world.  We suffer hardships of various kinds and magnitudes. The ultimate hardship would be a Third World War, using nuclear weapons. So far we are in stalemate, one bloc fearing destruction at the hands of the opposite bloc – the so-called mutual assured destruction, the MAD of human madness.

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Kassim Ahmad and Rosli Dahlan–Defending our rights to be Free Malaysians

That means our independence is hollow and a fake. That means we are not at peace with ourselves, the OTHER being no more than ourselves. This is a scary and disastrous discovery. Where have we gone wrong?

To answer that question, let me bring two pointers from the Quran. In Surah Al-Baqarah, verse 30, God informs the angels that He wishes to create a human being to rule and change the earth, to which the angles protest, arguing that the human beings would spread evil and shed blood. God simply replies He knows better.

Humans have of course shed blood in the two World Wars and other wars since. But  man is also a creator civilizations, the good side of him that God refers to.

The second pointer is from the first Surah, the great human prayer to his Lord. Verses 6-7, states, “Guide us in the right path, the path of those whom You blessed, not of those who have deserved wrath, nor of the strayers.”

Let us analyse these two verses. Those whom God Blessed are clear. They are the true believers. Those who incur His wrath are also clear, that is, the deniers of God and their own selves. The strayers are those who think that they are believers, but are in actual fact disbelievers.

So those who are actually free are those who live in this blessed state of freedom, happy with themselves, happy with their environment and happy with their Lord. They are in the abode of Paradise. This is the true meaning of freedom.

8 thoughts on “The True Meaning of Merdeka (Freedom)–A Quranic Perspective

  1. Quote:- “So those who are actually free are those who live in this blessed state of freedom, happy with themselves, happy with their environment…”

    If one is truly “free” one would not derogatorily call others who disagree or do not believe in or with you or your religion “strayers”, “disbelievers”, etc, who deserved nothing but wrath, etc.

    You are therefore not “free” You are just trapped in your own mental prison gated and fenced in by a manufactured sense of self-righteousness which is paraded as piety.

  2. Can there be patriotism with unity as in a cohesive society where a significant portion of its population are discriminated by reason of their race that is cast in legislation and institutionalized practiced daily in the public administration. Victims of this racial discrimination are denied their natural justice, their life chances are stunted and obscured . This discrimination entrenches the victim into low self confident as citizens of inferior level that the dominant discriminators treat them with disdain and irrelevance. Is it any wonder the non-malays are breeding silent hatred towards the discriminators.?

  3. Robert Chelliah
    Maybe you should make a Tamil movie on this discrimination in the country with you playing a leading role as a fighter against injustice the way Mahatama Ghandi was portrayed on the silver screen in his fight against the aparthied rulers in South Africa and the British Raj in India.Maybe the world will finally stand up against Malaysia just like they have stood up for the low castes Hindus and the 80,000 Kashmiris massacred by the Indian soldiers in the last three decades.

  4. No need to make movies when the actual script is played out daily in Malaysia for one and all to see other than those who wish to deny reality . Oppressors and irrational discriminators will of course not admit reality but would deflect it with irrelevant comparisons.

  5. > So those who are actually free are those who live in this blessed state of freedom, happy with themselves, happy with their environment and happy with their Lord. They are in the abode of Paradise. This is the true meaning of freedom.

    En Kassim, Amen to much you have said, except for the above.
    When I pray to my Lord, I am not at peace with the grave injustice happening in the land I am raised, though I am grateful for being able to realize there exists a just and merciful God.

    I suspect for those who desire to be happy with their Lord, they too will see why they could not be happy nor content with their environment.

    The right-path … the rightways (no pun intended for @rightways) …

    Racism, corruption, and living off on others is leading my oppressing race into the land I am raised to their own doom. If I were to look the other way, perhaps there would be peace, as sweet Jesus has given me the gift to forgive the oppressor. But, if I open my heart and listen to the feedback from my prayers, I am called to not forget those who are still being oppressed, and to love even those doing the oppressing. Most of all, perhaps I too am part of the oppressing race in another way.

    Turning the other cheek is what my Lord teaches us. Perhaps, it is exactly what the nation needed. The moment of getting whacked again, the Selma moment of Malaysia, the catharsis cure, is what is needed for us to realize how we have all been hurting ourselves since 1969 incident. Yet, seeing how Libya, Egypt, Syria, and Turkey has fallen from bad to worse is exactly what I fear for our Malaysia. Peace and calm in this Merdeka day.. Nay, when I prayed.

    May your Lord’s wisdom be with the Malay and may His will be done, so that more could experience freedom as you have mentioned in Malaysia. For the other non-Bumiputeras, pardon us. But, before that, please stop oppressing us.

  6. Let’s not be over sensitive, mercenary and reactionary about things, guys.

    Happiness is a state of mind and Pak Kassim is absolutely right in his concept of ‘Freedom’ as it pertains to his point of view. Without ‘Freedom’, no one can be ‘Happy’.

    Merdeka, as used by the powers-that-be, has become a catch-phrase for those who do ‘Wrong’ in order to enslave the minds. of the vulnerable. I do not intend to go into merits of comparative ‘anything’.

    The Greek term ‘Eudaimonia’ applies. It means well-being or human flourishing. Those interested can go here:

    In a modern or even postmodern perspective: duty, morality-ethics, self actualization or purpose in life, honest and positive social relationships and self determination or autonomy is the foundation of our ‘Being’. Anything negative serves to detract from this state. That is the problem with brain-washing and false rote education.

    Happiness is elusive, so all we can ask for in this (for atheists, the only) Life, is Serenity.
    How about “don’t worry be worry be happy” and just land in Mondolkiri and jual diri.–Din Merican

  7. This is a temporal world and not God’s world. If the latter, it would be peace all over the world.

    As long as a race uniformly makes religion the centrality of life and by extension governance, the already divisive society is only going to be more divisive. Compared to the Sabahans and Sarawakians, who seem to have an upper hand now and seeking more and more from the Federal Government, the Chinese, Indians and other non-Muslims have very little to bargain with. In the long run will they have a future unless they short change themselves and become converts?

  8. Ibu tiri, kafir harbi, hasad dengki, jual diri dll, sounds like hara kiri, my friend.
    Yup. Here’s to all of us – the perennial kids of the world:

    Let us spend the remainder of our days fighting for what we believe, not what others want us to believe.

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