Monthly Archives: June 2020

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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