Fitrah – part 2

If fitrah is defined as what keeps us in a state of equilibrium, keeps us “in the garden” so to speak, then every progressive social movement is a movement towards gaining this lost equilibrium.

A commenter asked about Part 1:

I also have to say that little ‘c’ communism cannot succeed because adherence requires us to work against our free will, no?

First of all, the existence of free will is up for debate. Scientific studies have shown that humans react to their conditions on a basis that is not conscious, therefore the decision making process we engage in as human beings is simply to refine this unconscious process. We simply engage in the process to educate ourselves. All of our decisions are the product of previous experience – where you were born, who you were raised by, what your environment can offer, what history you know, etc. Therefore, human ideas are simply the refined process of examining previous decisions and reformulating knowledge.

Yet there are differences between ideas, and we can assign moral qualities to different streams of thought. For instance, willful destruction of the planet can be seen as a morally negative act because it would annihilate life on earth – therefore, we can assume policies working for this end would be considered “evil”. Likewise, actions that would take human life or keep humans in bondage to other humans would be considered morally negative because of the sanctity of human life and personal autonomy we take for granted all too often. We can go through all sorts of examples, but one thing that is a common factor in most moral thought is that what is bad for the goose is bad for the gander – that actions that work against a just society are considered bad.

All progressive human movements seek to wrangle humanity away from evil and into line with a more natural state of being, whether this is to be described as a communist utopia or complete submission to god. Communism attempted to do this by emphasizing communal good over the good of the individual – namely by fighting capital and the social ills (racism, classism, sexism) that capital created. Citizens living under such a system were required to submit to a power greater then themselves.

In reality, any human living in a society is required to submit to greater powers, but the importance was on the individual understanding and accepting the importance of such an action. Capitalism enslaves en masse but requires both the illusion of individuality and free will to sustain itself. Humans are lured away from the community to focus on themselves. This is why marketing, advertising, political discourse, and culture in general is geared towards the individual in a capitalist society. It is such a weak structural point in the human experience that one can find women slitting open their breasts to stuff them with plastic bags of liquid instead of donating money to those less fortunate.

One could describe fitrah as a passive denial of self – namely, that humans who have no sense of self cannot exercise “free will” and must therefore submit to their natural state, that being of pre-historical existence. Most of the world religions have an acetic component. Even hedonistic Islam (as compared to the foundations of other religions) requires charity and a month of self denial to reinforce the principles of submission. Indeed, communism also requires a denial of self to be understood and implemented properly.

The root challenge of humanity is the fight between self and others. It is in our biology to procreate and secure a place for future generations. However, a counter-movement is found in the message of capital, which encourages gain at the expense of others and of future generations. As stated before, all progressive human movements have sought to bring humanity in line with the principles of fitrah, it being the key to salvation. Therefore, as the Abrahamic religions reiterate over and over, the message of progressive human development is the denial of self and desire to submit to god’s will – that being the natural way of life. Whether that is through communism, national struggles for liberation, or through religion, the common factor is the stress on the common things found in humanity’s base state – that is, desire for self preservation by encouraging the denial of self.

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