Life & Religion

Zaira Wasim, Choices, And A Clash Of Worldviews

Zaira Wasim, the Bollywood actress who declared her dissociation from the industry last weekend, has grabbed many eyeballs both for the right and wrong reasons.

While fellow Muslims, who have even the slightest bit of iman (faith) and can see through the filth of Bollywood, have lauded her for her courageous move on the Path of Allah Subḥānahu Wa Ta’āla (Glorified and Exalted Be He); the online space is largely flooded with reactions around “personal choice”. Wasim, in her lengthy post, has expounded on how her career made her compromise on her iman and interestingly enough, she doesn’t even remotely allude to “personal choice”.

If anyone has read her post carefully, they certainly cannot deny that she has clearly differentiated between the two paths: Right and wrong. She mentions about her Bollywood journey where she “silently and unconsciously transitioned out of iman” and tries her bit to make us understand as to how she has made the right decision for herself.

She hasn’t, for even once, justified it by claiming “my choice”. In fact, she speaks from the vantage point of objective morality and has thus negated the worldview that claims to “respect” every good and bad.

Liberals, instead of getting to the root of her argument, have tried hard to debate the content of her post within the bounds of the “choice” narrative. Many have registered their frustrations despite being “pro-choice”. They have miserably failed to navigate through this within a structural framework; against which she has so passionately made a case.

Clash of Worldviews

In this case, we see the clash of two completely competing worldviews at play. On the one hand, we have the dominant secular liberal worldview which seeks the deletion of The Creator as “The Divine Moral Anchor” and views the human being as the ultimate authority over himself/herself.

Within this worldview, “maximization of pleasure” is considered as the sole purpose of life and a rather abused concept of God is kept only to be invoked for the satisfaction of the self. Religion is sought to be made subject to the desires of human beings instead of human beings subjecting themselves to the Divine Will.

Human Beings “approach religion as consumers”. Within this worldview, nothing is really perceived to be good or bad (as long as it is a personal choice) since the human being, who has been placed on the pedestal of God, decides for himself/herself. This is why, here, personal choice reigns supreme.

“Have you seen he who has taken as his god his [own] desire, and Allah has sent him astray due to knowledge and has set a seal upon his hearing and his heart and put over his vision a veil? So who will guide him after Allah? Then will you not be reminded?”

Qur’an (45:23)

On the other hand, we have the Islamic worldview, wherein Allah is The Ultimate Authority and all human beings are His slaves. The purpose of life is the Worship of Allah and human beings have to subject themselves to His Will.

The Right and the wrong have been clearly demarcated in the Divine Law and all have been made subject to it. Truth and falsehood have been made clear and those who tread the path of truth have been promised rewards while those who go wrong have been promised the eternal fire.

“There shall be no compulsion in [acceptance of] the religion. The right course has become clear from the wrong. So whoever disbelieves in Taghut and believes in Allah has grasped the most trustworthy handhold with no break in it. And Allah is Hearing and Knowing.”

Qur’an (2:256)

In the Islamic worldview, the Divine Law pervades all aspects of life, even where there is free will. Here, the test of human beings is to align the free will in accordance with the Divine Will, just like the rest of the creation. Within this worldview, the Divine Law guides the human free will to be in line with “the default setting of the creation.”

“And to Allah prostrates whoever is within the heavens and the earth, willingly or by compulsion and their shadows [as well] in the mornings and the afternoons.”

Qur’an (13:15)

Navigating the Liberal Frustration

Now, since the deen of secular liberalism has placed the human being on the pedestal of God and treats “personal choice” as the divine mandate, its adherents shall not tolerate somebody from amongst their ranks come up and delegitimize its very foundations.

Zaira Wasim has apostatized from that religion of self-worship and hence, many secular liberals are understandably frustrated. Despite tall claims of being “pro-choice”, they only tolerate those choices that are made within the structural framework of secular liberalism. This is why Zaira’s choice of quitting Bollywood is up for debate in the media.

It is not like liberals do not value choice but what kind of choices? Tea over coffee? Sure! Media over Bollywood? Go ahead! Islam over Liberalism? You are an apostate! It’s like you can choose from items given in a menu but you cannot make a fundamental choice and switch from a wrong path to the right path.

Zaira Wasim has switched from a false worldview to the truth and hence, her choice can never be comprehended (let alone accepted) within a structural framework that claims “tolerance for all” but actually enslaves people from a position of self-righteousness.

A Word of Caution

Muslims should be really wary of the language we employ while presenting Islam and defending its practice. Isn’t something out of place that the rulings of Deen ul-Haqq (The Path of Truth) have been recorded in the Qur’an and the Sunnah and Muslims have been observing it since then but, it is only recently that we see a sudden evolution of rhetoric on this subject?

Expressions like “personal choice” were never employed to defend religious practices. Who is pulling our trigger? Certainly, all those who come up with expressions like “assertion of identity”, “choice determines good or bad” are not coming up with these ideas on their own. They are copying a narrative which is generated by the dominant power structures and very obediently repeated by the masses.

And then, there is this exercise of pulling out bits and pieces from the text like “La Ikraha Fid-deen” (There is no compulsion in religion) in order to make a case for the Liberal worldview. When we tend to use these expressions, are we not then, knowingly or unknowingly, furthering the cause of a false worldview (Secular Liberalism) in the name of defending Islam?

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