On the Validity of using Secular Liberal terms in a Muslim Critique of Secular Liberalism

Is it valid for Muslim interlocutors to utilise Secular Liberal Humanist terms in their project of critiquing Secular Liberal Humanism?

On the face of it, one would have to conclude a clear ‘no’ – especially since the Muslim critique often distances itself from the Secular Liberal Humanist paradigm by identifying certain ideas or notions that ‘Liberalised’ Muslims might be currently using (wittingly or) unwittingly, which the Muslim critique identifies as arising originally from the Secular Liberal Humanist paradigm and as such is deemed ‘un-Islamic’ or, to various extents, divergent to the project of Islam. An example might be the notion of ‘Liberation’ espoused by the Secular Liberal Humanist civilisations’ grand-narratives as being one of the primary motives and prima facie justifications for the (correct) development of human civilisation. The quest for liberation is often equated to notions of (supposed) progress. This ‘story’ might be useful for non-Muslim projects (and each to their own) but for Muslims to borrow this as though this is somehow a major Muslim priority so that (‘Liberal’?) Muslim activists focus on projects too that ‘liberate’ (i.e. via engaging with contemporary gender and sexuality wars) rather than projects to do with Tawheed, for instance (and its associated efforts for ilm, dawah, social-work in the community, charity and justice) can be regarded as seriously problematic.

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Logic is Not the Truth

Don’t religiously follow the dictates of logic (like a blind faith) because we have more sense than that. Be more reason-able.

Look at the example below.

The statement below is false.
The statement above is true.

Each sentence by themselves appear plausible and true-sounding. Each is logical by themselves. But next to each other suddenly we encounter a paradox.

Paradox definition:

  • a seemingly absurd or contradictory statement or proposition which when investigated may prove to be well founded or true.

    SOURCE

  • a statement or proposition which, despite sound (or apparently sound) reasoning from acceptable premises, leads to a conclusion that seems logically unacceptable or self-contradictory.

    SOURCE

Dictionaries sometimes give the ‘Liar paradox’ as an example of a paradox (albeit of the second definition variety). Indeed, this paradox was something that hounded the Ancient Greeks a long time ago – and it’s original form was known as the ‘Epimenides Paradox’. What is it? Much like the example above, it takes the form of something like this:

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Does Traditional Islam Need to be Liberalised?

Professor Lars Gule said:

“…So here is a confusion. The confusion that he brings with him into his presentation of the Liberalist tradition. I am not in that tradition. I find parts of it sympathetic, but he is – and it seems to me that he is reading every text as a Salafi – as something that is there – like the Qur’an, unchangeable, for eternity. The whole point with a tradition [i.e. the Liberal Tradition] in political philosophy is that it develops. Of course, we do think and say – Liberals do think and say something different to what John Locke said; that is the whole point of a [Liberal] philosophical tradition – is that those who follow John Locke, looked at what he wrote and saw: ‘Ah! He’s mistaken. I can do better. We can improve.’ And those that follow him again, says the same thing. So, Liberalism (now I’m speaking as a teacher) is different today than it was at John Locke’s time, and to say that we have to go back to John Locke to understand Liberalism is plainly nonsense. I’m sorry. It doesn’t make any sense. Because Liberalists today say something else than what John Locke said and wrote.

“So, here there is a confusion and actually a rather strange, if not to say, naïve presentation of the Liberal Tradition in political philosophy. Of course, people within the Liberal Tradition are affected by the circumstances: John Locke was a Christian; many Liberals, political Liberals, today are not religious; they say and mean different things. And how the tradition, how the contradictions within the traditions has been addressed and changed… Mr Hijab is quite correct: in the Liberal Tradition, there has been racist attitudes; there has been arguments for the death penalty that has been practised and legitimised and justified by Liberals… Today, if we say that Liberal political philosophy, Liberal political thinking is predominant (and there is a case for that) in the Western world today – look at Europe today: they have all abolished the death penalty. So, to argue that John Locke was in favour of the death penalty four hundred years ago and relating that to Liberalism today is simply absurd. It doesn’t make any sense. Because Liberalism today is completely different.” (Time-stamp: 52:42 to 55:33)

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The Truth about Islam in Africa

 

 

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Great Schism: The Bitter Rivalry Between Greek and Latin Christianity

“In our new animated historical documentary we will talk about the rivalry between the Catholic and Orthodox churches in the Middle Ages and how it shaped the history of Christianity and the whole world leading to the events of the Fourth Crusade and the Sack of Constantinople.” (SOURCE)

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Ye Olde British Value of Hijab

The Normans in England:

1066 to 1485 CE

This diagram comes from a book about ‘The Normans’. Though it’s for kids, the consultants for the book included Professor of History, J.C. Holt, from the University of Reading. In this section it talks about Norman dress for the ladies. It explains about the ‘wimple’ – which, in my opinion, is basically hijab that would be worn as part of ‘being modest’.

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Islam in the First Civilisations: 4. The Hittite Civilisation

The Aryans were the ancestors to a race of people as diverse as the Indians, the Iranians and the Europeans. This study on the Hittites hopes to glean any evidence from historical sources that demonstrate what the Qur’an claims about previous nations being sent messengers with earlier forms of Islam. You may be surprised with some of the findings, herein.

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Shirkification. What is it?

Many may not know what the Islamic concept of shirk is (please continue reading). Related to this term are other related and important terms. They include the likes of ‘shirkification’, ‘yushriku’ and ‘idol-isation’. But what exactly are they?

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A History of Islam in China

This video by br. Isa Ma is a great snap-shot on the history of Islam in China. It is 20 minutes – but the brother is an engaging speaker. Continue reading

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“WAS JESUS A MUSLIM?” is not a fair question

The question, “‘WAS JESUS A MUSLIM?’ [is] not a fair question” according to Yusuf Estes.

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