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The Primacy of the Freedoms of Thought and Expression within the Existential Framework: Implications on Sharīʿa  Regulations, Rights and Freedoms


· Academic

This paper surmises that the freedoms of thought and expression are integral to human growth and progression. The freedoms humankind accords to itself are the outcome of the existential state of evolutionary growth enjoyed by existence at large. Growth is an evolutionary process of self-realisation, and as such it is the inner telos and dynamism by which all entities gradually actualise their potential. This growth process entails the constant negation of, or liberation from, previous restrictive forms and states and the emergence of newer ones. In humankind, the growth process manifests as the incessant drive to progress, or actualise itself, both rationally and morally. This is because the nature of humankind is to be rational, moral, and actualise its potential both rationally and morally. Since rational and moral progression constitute the evolution and growth of humankind, the freedoms of thought and expression are fundamental to the growth process, for they are necessary prerequisites for rational and moral progression. Hence, the freedoms of thought and expression are existential in themselves, because they are growth-promoting essentially, and as such, they are knowable intuitively and subsequently justifiable rationally, that is, they are known and justified by the soul’s faculties of intuition and reason respectively.

This paper utilises the Ṣadrian principles of the unity of existence (wahda al-wujūd), individuality (tashkhīṣ), the gradation of existence (tashkīk al-wujūd), and the alignment of revelation (waḥy), intuition (al-ʿaql al-kullī), and reason (al-ʿaql al-juzʾī) to argue for the inherency of the existential telos of growth within humankind and it being the basis for (1) the freedoms of thought and expression; (2) the primacy of reason in determining the efficacy of normativity; and (3) the contextual nature of restrictions upon the freedoms of thought and expression.