Freedom of Thought in Islam

A man called Mughees and his wife, Bareera, who were living in slavery in Medina, decided to accept Islam. After some time the wife was set free. By winning her freedom she legally obtained the right either to live with her husband or to seek a separation from him. Bareera decided in favour of separation. But Mughees, who was greatly attached to her wanted her to change her decision and continue to live with him.
This is a long story recorded in books of hadith in detail. To put it briefly, the matter was finally brought before the Prophet. Both of them came to the Prophet, Bareera in front and Mughees, a black, following her. As recorded in the hadith, the Prophet said to Bareera: “It would be better for you to take back your decision.” Bareera replied, “O Prophet of God, is this your command?” The Prophet said: “No, it is only a suggestion.” Bareera replied, “Then I do not need it.”
This is the highest and ultimate example of Islam granting such great freedom to men and women. This freedom does not mean anarchy. It is a concession to human nature. The development of human nature is possible only in an atmosphere of freedom. Just as a tree flourishes in an open environment similarly the human being develops to the full only in an atmosphere of total intellectual freedom.