“Why are we surprised our children become secular-minded after a secular education?” (See 0:27:54)
And so begins Daniel Haqiqatjou, Director of Religion and Scientism for the Yaqeen Institute for Islamic Research, in his lecture, ‘Decoding the Matrix: Restructuring Muslim Thought for the Modern World’.
“Part of your success as a… student in general in the college system is your ability to internalise certain … conceptual schemes… in the process of analysis [of] different texts… so for example, Islamic studies – as Islam is studied in Western nations, we’re assuming a certain conceptual language and we’re asking… ‘what is Islam?’ ‘what is Islamic?’ ‘how much does Islam respect minority rights?’ ‘how much does Islam respect women rights?’ ‘to what extent does Islam respect freedom, equality, and democracy?’… In asking those questions you’re deploying certain concepts – namely, what is a minority? What is freedom? What is democracy? What is power? What is authority? What is equality? These are the terms that any graduate student will understand intuitively. Those questions, however, are never in question. What’s in question is Islam. What’s in question is the Islamic conceptual universe…
And so my recommendation… is that we need to turn the tables in a sense, that we need to assume, as Muslims devotionally, we need to assume the Qur’anic conceptual landscape and interrogate the modern structures and the modern conceptual landscape in those terms… if we do that and have that kind of prioritisation in mind and exercise a little bit of skepticism and critique, that is going to in shaa Allah help us to live in the modern world succesfully, constructively and peacefully.” (See 0:44:08)
الحمد لله والصلاة والسلام على رسول الله
All praise is due to ALLAH and peace and blessing upon His Messenger
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
In the Name of ALLAH, The Most Gracious, The Most Merciful
The Growth of the Non-Affiliated ‘Deen’
(See 0:1:18 and 0:12:28)
Daniel Haqiqatjou mentions how, in recent times, there is a rise of people losing their religions – e.g. from Islam to atheism. However, he says that it is actually better to speak in terms of ‘deen’ rather than ‘religion’, in which case. people are moving from deen al-Islam to a ‘non-affiliated’ (secular) deen. The process of “gradually making something weaker and destroying it” it is called ‘Attrition’. And ‘deen’ is understood to mean ‘a way of life’, a ‘belief system’ and ‘worldview’; this is a broader term and an Islamic one, comprising of Ibadah (religious worship) and Mu’amalat (social interaction) rather than the restrictive term, ‘religion’, which concerns itself purely with a ‘privatised faith’ (i.e. ibadah alone – which, incidentally, is impossible to follow without Mu’amalat if one were a practicing Muslim). However, since the term ‘deen’ captures the fuller scope of ‘living with meaning’ Haqiqatjou’s presentation assists in providing a clearer account of what is actually happening.
Haqiqatjou explains how Humanists, Liberals and Atheists will explain away this attrition rate as a natural consequence due to the increase in education where religions – so they believe – will inevitably decline; Haqiqatjou contends, however, that the attrition rate is actually a result of the indoctrination underpinning a modern education (and popular culture) – not as a result of education par se.
Indeed, Haqiqatjou suggests that there is also a growth of what he calls a ‘civic religion’ or a ‘national deen’, and he cites David Gelernter, who asks: ‘Is Americanism a religion?‘ The implication here is there is a connection between civic religion and the non-affiliated deen. Haqiqatjou suggests that this non-affiliated, secular, civic religion at root goes back to the intellectual tradition of Philosophical Liberalism. He says: “[Philosophical] Liberalism [should be understood] as a deen, as a complete religion and faith even though it’s not considered as such.” (0:1:58 from the vlog ‘What is Liberalism?’)
What is happening now is that 1) Muslims who prioritise Philosophical Liberalism are shaping (and chaging) Islam to fit the parameters of this new deen (without fully comprehending the significance of their actions) rather than benefitting from deen al-Islam authentically to shape our lives in the way ALLAH, Most Exalted, prescribed. Please see the warning about how religions change in ‘When St Paul became a Verb‘. Moreover, 2) the Non-Affiliated ‘Muslims’, discussed above, who show indifference to deen al-Islam have consciously or otherwise already switched sides to a Philosophically Liberal one.
Haqiaqatjou presents a schematic of the modern deen of Philosophical Liberalism that underpins this non-affiliated, secular, civic religion, as follows:
From this, what we can see is that modernity – or the current secular civic-religion of Philosophical Liberalism – encourages, above and beyond everything else, the worship of (or devotion to) the Self.
As such, this deen nurtures us to inrease and refine our personal opinions (conjecture, thoughts, judgement, tastes) on every and any topic (including the religious and about ALLAH) and it promotes us to experience (the whims of) our desires – from conscience to fancy – as a means of ‘finding our selves’.
In Arabic the term ‘Hawa’ encapsulates both ‘the Opinion’ and ‘the Desire’ of the Self (Nafs) and Islamically it is a loaded, pejorative term. The Qur’an gives us a dire warning to those that are beholden to Hawa:
“Have you seen he who has taken as his ilah (god) his [own] hawa (Opinion and Desire), and ALLAH has sent him astray due to knowledge and has set a seal upon his hearing and his heart and put over his vision a veil? So who will guide him after ALLAH? Then will you not be reminded?” (Qur’an, al-Jathiya 45:23)
There will be a series of posts unpacking the deen of Philosophical Liberalism and promoting, instead, the Truth (with a capital ‘T’).
Please also see ‘Western literature for the Muslim and Islamic literature for the West‘: the Western literary canon, given the premise above, might also be considered to be an extension of the sacred texts of deen al-Philosophical Liberalism.
سبحان ربك رب العزة عما يصفون وسلام على المرسلين والحمد لله رب العالمين والصلاة والسلام على رسول الله محمد وعلى اله وصحبه أجمعين
Exalted be your Lord, the Lord of Glory, above what they attribute to Him, and peace be upon the Messengers, and all praise be to Allah, the Lord of the Universe. And the peace and blessing upon prophet Mohammed and his relatives and all his companions.