Solving The Puzzle
By: Omar Hamid
The Modern Western civilization bases on the ideology of secular-humanism. This philosophy frames a religion functioning across the globe. It seems to have overcome all hurdles in its path, and to a great extent ‘civilized’ all its adversaries. Throughout the 16th to 19th centuries, the western powers colonized and westernized numerous nations across the world viewing these ethnicities as inferior races. They gave themselves the right to “liberate” these populations from their outdated traditions and “educate” them to adopting Western values. Subsequently, the European culture, language, social customs and religion were heartlessly imposed on these peoples, enslaving their thought and way of life. This imperialistic supremacy helped portray the western ideals and principles as universal values. Today all societies have fallen prey to this subjugation; the only ideological creed still defying it is Islam. To complete its ideological supremacy over humanity, the West has waged its last war. It is an ideological conflict over the principles each ideology preaches.
Ideological invasion begins with usage of concepts and values of the invaders. Therefore; it is imperative for any civilization that takes pride in its ideological and cultural heritage, and aims to preserve its existence, to make its primary priority to not to succumb to the concepts of its invaders. The West assumes the authority of conceptualizing and then compellingly universalizing values for the “enlightenment” of humanity. The defiance of the Muslim Ummah to this invasion must be founded on an approach to refuse the importing of these foreign values, because the use of others’ values leads you to become one of them.
Terminologies and concepts such as ‘Freedom’, ‘Equality’ and ‘Peace’ are alien to the Muslim world. They carry specific connotations which arise due to the circumstances of the time and place in which they originated. For instance, applying ‘freedom’ negatively to convey that freedom and equality does not exist in Islam, will lead to Islam being maligned as a religion of oppression and confinement. A positive application of these values, which claims that Islam offers such rights and liberties, will cause people to conceive the intended rights and liberties in Islam in the same perspective of such terms that their original ideological super-structure entails. Muslims should restrain from the usage of these terms, whether positively or negatively, because it results in them being caught in the trap of the colonial mindset. It also subjects their message to be interpreted within certain connotations they need not abide by.
Moreover, the desire for freedom in the sense in which it is used in contemporary societies does not exist in Islam. It is wrong to claim that it has ever been an issue in Islam because Muslims never needed such ethics. They are simply irrelevant in determining Islamic goals and values because Islam is a self-sufficient religion that does not need to incorporate terminologies from other dogmas.
“This day have I perfected your religion for you, completed My favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion.”(Al-Maida:3)
It is due to the absence of such a vision in interpreting Islam that secular and liberal factions have deviated. The liberals critically analyze Islam through this foreign perceptive thereby suggesting that it requires ‘reform’ to become coherent with modern times. These groups were raised in western educational systems where they were spoon-fed the worship of what the Western ideology had established as “universal principles”. Under this influence, they have launched an assault on Islam itself, basing their objectives on the very values of freedom and liberty of the individual from the authority of religion, state and society, on which secular-humanism was first established in the West.
The modern western dogma can be summed up and based on secular-humanism. All of its various theories and beliefs emanate from this philosophy. The ambiguous concept of secular-humanism has roots that trace back to the renaissance, which gave rise to the modern era. It was based on the ideas of various philosophers such as Rousseau, Voltaire, Adam Smith and Montesquieu along with others. They rejected the old ways of understanding the world based on religious paradigms. They sought to liberate the European Society from the shackles of religion. In the wake of the renaissance dramatic changes took place in terms of human perception of the identity and purpose of their existence. The core thought and ideology that shaped the western society was reformed. New principles of knowledge and understanding were established. A new Enlightenment emerged which gave the primary importance to the human intellect and reasoning in determining new paradigms. It was in the light of these determining factors that all ideas would be tested, and any beliefs that could not comply with this ‘scientific’ approach to reason were thought of as ignorance, prejudice and superstition.
The enlightenment theorists hoped that they could predict universal truths through their scientific approach. They formed a secular intelligentsia that valued the sovereignty of the individual, presenting an individual who was free of the boundaries placed on him by his family, society and religion. This freedom describes a state of independence from the influences and control of others. It is an absolute liberty bound only by what a person ‘wants’.
“Man is a being with free will…. It’s up to him and only him ( through his reasoning mind) to decide what he wants to be”
Any Rand (Russian American Writer and Novelist, 1905-1982)
‘Freedom’ exempts the individual from making obligatory decisions in choice and action, giving him a free will to speak or act as he desires. This view of liberty encourages the individual to become open and unreserved, allowing him to adopt an improper familiarity for breaking all inhibitions and licensing him to violating all rules of decorum.
“Freedom in general may be defined as the absence of obstacles to the realization of desires”
Bertrand Russell (English Logician and Philosopher 1872-1970)
Judging only from a worldly view, the desire for absolute freedom has severe implications which cause social anarchy. The human being can only live within a society, and his selfish desire to want to be free of all the influences of its various institutions leads to the destruction of society. A society is built on certain norms and values which would be lost as a result of individualism. People will no longer be able to distinguish right from wrong, which intimidates chaos and threatens social order. If every individual in society had a right to act freely in accordance with their ‘wants,’ it would be difficult to predict their behavior or to ensure that they make the right decisions. This would threaten social solidarity and lead to the disintegration of society. The insurance of the existence of norms and values in society is far more essential than guaranteeing the liberties of the individual human being.
The ideology of secular-humanism along with its views and concepts forms a complete religion. The principles of individualism, and the sovereignty and liberty of the human being lead to atheism. People begin to denounce the existence of Allah when they are poisoned with this ideology. Secular-Humanism causes people to give their intellect the supreme authority in interpreting events and controlling their lives. This belief leads to the worship of the human being and his intellect. Basing only on human ‘logic’, this religion rejects the belief in the last day, in paradise and hellfire. Nonetheless, human intellect cannot explain many basic questions such as the existence of the human being, the purpose of his existence and the origins of the universe. It lacks the ability to explain these fundamental questions, leaving him in state of total darkness in this world not knowing where he came from, why he exists or where he is headed. The absence of the belief in the day of Judgment causes the humanist perceptive to ignore the awaiting accountability from Allah, making it a loss in both the worlds. Thus, secular-humanism provides a very inadequate concept of life while Islam answers the fundamental questions that the human intellect is unable to address, giving a profound and a promising view of human life.
Islam is extremely intolerant of humanism. The religion of Islam is founded on the principle of Tawheed, which establishes that Allah SWT is the only Sovereign Being whose will cannot be challenged by any deity of any form. He is the Supreme power who controls destinies and grants all rights and liberties. The human being is not licensed to determine what his rights are independent of guidance from Allah. The unacceptable view emanating from humanism that the human being has a legitimate power in solely determining his fate challenges the authority of Allah. Islam is very critical of humanism and cannot cope with its teachings because it is packed with Shirk.
Furthermore, the western civilization sees no harm in the proliferation of indecency and immodesty in society; in fact, it might even encourage it in the name of “liberty”. Islam, on the other hand, defines these shameless transgressions as “fisq” and “fujoor.” They are violations of the Sharia’a of Allah SWT. Such disobediences ca2n not be allowed to grow in a Muslim society as Allah SWT demands from Muslims to enjoin the good and forbid the evil. The invading ideology is a destructive movement which aims to instigate and justify all the munkarat, and as such has no place in Muslim societies. It is a source of evil that encourages unbearable and catastrophic chaos in our societies. It is inherently incompatible with the teachings of Islam.
Islam starts with the negation and defiance of all ideologies, concepts, values and standards of judgment that stem out of jahili societies and traditions, and then establishes that Allah is the sole sovereign who legislates. Instead of having an apologetic attitude, Muslims should respond to all man-made ideologies with a daring defiance. Islam cannot be subjected to “reform” or possibly be reconciled with modern ideologies. As Omar ibn al Khattab(RA) said,
“we are a nation whom Allah has elevated through Islam, and no matter how hard we seek elevation without it, Allah will degrade us,”
so we need to quit embracing western philosophies and struggling somehow to merge them with Islam (as some ‘Muslim intellectuals’ have done). Ours is a defiance to uphold the dignity and honor of the Islamic society and religion against an ideological invasion. This defiance is a struggle to revive and maintain the ideological and moral high standards of the Islamic faith. This battle needs now to be effectively fought and won so that the word of Allah is the highest of all.
“And let there arise out of you a band of people inviting to all that is good, enjoining what is right, and forbidding what is wrong: They are the ones to attain felicity.” Sura al-e- imran ayah 104