The relationship between freedom of thought and creativity is a relation between prelude and result, because freedom of thought ends in creativity. However, the meaning of “thought” in the Islamic perspective should be defined first. Thought means a conscious movement of the mind towards Islamic text, i.e. the Holy Quran, and its explanation, i.e. the authenticated teachings of the Prophet.
If thought takes a direction other than that of Islamic text, it takes the nature of what it heads for. In other words, if thought heads for Church literature, it becomes Christian, if it takes a Marxist direction, it becomes Marxist, and so on.
Islamic thought ends in creativity so long as its focus is open, rich, expansive and renewed whose wonders have no end, as Prophet Mohammad (peace and blessing be upon him) described it. Creativity is a new and useful contribution in some human field, and it is as diversified as the different walks of human life.
Discussing this general idea in detail, we find that Islam strongly calls for thought and meditation. It urges man to ponder the universe carefully from the heavens to the earth, and from animals to all other creatures that live on earth. After reflection, man must record and evaluate his results, so that he can neglect what is harmful and keep what is good, for him and others who will come after him.
Islam does not stop the freedom of the tool of thought, i.e. the mind, nor does it restrict or keep that freedom within certain boundaries. On the contrary, it calls on man to move and wander deliberately in this universe, so that he may discover its secrets, know its laws and deduce its interrelations and balances. Then, he should use all these factors to deepen his belief, better his worship of the Almighty Creator and improve his services to mankind, both materially and morally.
In the Holy Quran, Islam reiterates the call for extensive assessment and reflection. This call and this demand pour into the receptacle of creativity. Everyone must look. And everyone has his own scope of vision. It should be known to all that when they are invited to look, the invitation is for “creativity” and renewal, not for repetition and emulation. Creativity and renewal are requirements of an Islamic attitude, and Allah has promised to send someone for renewal at the start of every hundred years, as mentioned in the authenticated teachings of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him).
I would like to avail this opportunity to call on those with religious influence to focus their addresses on widening the scope of worship, so that it may not be confined to direct and pure forms of worship, such as prayer and fasting. It should strongly encompass agriculture, industry, medicine, engineering and pharmacology. As Prophet Mohammad (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Faith has seventy-odd branches. The largest is لا اله الا الله (There is no God except the One True God) and the smallest is removing harm from the one’s way. Modesty is a branch of faith.” The optimum that our imams can do in their sermons is to discuss these branches in details. I believe that if they discuss them in detail, all fields of human knowledge and activity with fall under them.
Therefore, we must realize that Islam calls for thought after reflection, and desires thought to take a creative course. It teaches its followers that this thought and this creativity are among the most important requisites of this true religion.
By: Mahmoud Okam
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