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Individual Self-Deceptions and Responsibility of Muslims

If we keep the deceptions that occur as a result of mental disorders or chemical therapies exceptional, we can be deceived in three ways: one can harm oneself intentionally as in the case of suicide, or masochism, and drug abuse, and unintentionally as in the cases that I elaborate below. One, unintentionally, can be deceived (a) by himself/herself, (b) through the mediation of the community that one belongs, and last but not least, (c) by perpetrators’ intentional destructive wills.

Unintentional self-deception may occur through the Freudian unconscious mechanisms, inner conflicts or their defensive mechanisms. Such crimes as sexual abuses, incestuous relationships, and crimes are committed by individuals with such personal motivations of grandiosity-kibir, arrogance and condescension (as in the case of Fir’awn), selfishness; and external stimulators such as “ziynat al hayat-al dunya”-“adornment of the worldly life”, “zuyyine linnas hub al shahawat…”- “Beautified for people is the love of that which they desire…”,wa kezalike zuyyine li firawne su’u amalih...” – “thus was made attractive to Pharaoh the evil of his deed…”. Through delicate conditions above, believers may easily deceive themselves by inner such suggestions (telkinler) as “it won’t hurt”, “one time, never mind”, “nobody sees”.

Unintentional self-deception may occur through the mediation of social community one belongs to. As society has no central brain system (unless all follow one tribe leader!), it changes and flows unintentionally in its own orbit. Therefore, it is very probable that societies degenerate morally and corrupt “unconsciously” at a certain time if it is left in its natural ongoing and if preventive measures are not taken timely. To use Marxian term “false-consciousness” arises within the very heart of the community. This social decline drags its members together into an ill destiny as verses warn unambiguously: “awa law kana abauhum laya'qiluna shay'an”"Nay! We shall follow what we found our fathers following."

It should be because of  above reasons, all dynasties, empires have ends in shorter or longer periods. Transformation of a society starts inside of individuals one by one (“inna Allaha layughayyiru ma biqawmin hatta yughayyiroo ma bi-anfusihim…”-Indeed, Allah will not change the condition of a population until their individuals change what is in themselves…”).  Nevertheless, in Muslims’ case, adherents believe that there is an “unseen” system working above the observed laws of society which is depicted well in the story of child Moses being breastfed by maternal aunt without being aware (Koran, 28/7).

Third unintentional deception could be caused by perpetrators’ intentional attempts. Therefore, Muslims are encouraged to double-check if they are suspicious about the source of a news (“in ja-akum faasiqun bi naba-in, fa tabayyanuu...”-if there comes to you a disobedient one with information, investigate...”). Self-deception via this mechanism is the most dangerous one compared the previous two which happen spontaneously or naturally. Muslims’ hardest struggles have been with such agents who attempted to fire anarchy (fasad) in Muslim communities.

In conclusion, belief that there is a higher mechanism and unseen dimensions of life functioning above our external world (see Qur’an, 18/65-82) which is managed by a united higher power should allow Muslims to comment on events optimistically (hayra yormak), not exaggerate sadness and depression, taking more factors in account in managing rough life conditions. This belief keeps believers distant from anxiety and makes them well. More importantly, Muslims have abundant responsibility to be aware and awake against inner deceivers and external perpetrators with analytical mind and keeping to be smart (but not kibr) as champion. Self-control, conscientiousness, and being analytical are psychological tools to overcome such difficulties. This is done not once in life but should be an ongoing habit revisited periodically.