“And argue not with the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians), unless it be in (a way) that is better (with good words and in good manner, inviting them to Islamic Monotheism with His Verses), except with such of them as do wrong, and say (to them): “We believe in that which has been revealed to us and revealed to you; our Ilah (God) and your Ilah (God) is One (i.e. Allah), and to Him we have submitted (as Muslims).” (Qur’an, Al-Ankabut 29:46)
Hi there again,
I’m enjoying this conversation by the way. I think through civilised discourse you can get to understand and appreciate different perspectives.
“O mankind, indeed We have… made you into peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of ALLAH is the most righteous of you. Indeed, ALLAH is Knowing and Acquainted.” (Qur’an 49:13)
1. The Mission: A Very Important Choice
I fully agree with you that “one must first establish the validity of the text as a source of knowledge.” (See point 6, below.) Firstly, what I like about Islam is that our mission is to spread the word about Islam but not to compel anyone to it.
“There shall be no compulsion in [acceptance of] the deen (way of life, religion). The right course has become clear from the wrong. So whoever disbelieves in Taghut (corruption, evil) and believes in ALLAH has grasped the most trustworthy handhold with no break in it. And ALLAH is Hearing and Knowing.” (Qur’an 2:256)
“So if they argue with you [O Muhammad] , say, “I have submitted myself to ALLAH [in Islam], and [so have] those who follow me.”… “Have you submitted yourselves?”… but if they turn away – *then upon you is only the [duty of] notification*. And ALLAH is Seeing of [His] servants.” (Qur’an 3:20)
This is because the rapport each one of us has (or the lack thereof) with The Creator is something between us (individually) and Him, at the end of the day (i.e. the Last Day – i.e. the Day of Judgement).
In which case, consider the adage: ‘Don’t shoot the Messenger.’
The modern city walls are constrainingly grey,
Prone to obviating the prospect of the boundless sky,
Delimiting the perspective for profundity,
Dulling my perception to the duniya.*
Its system is like the sewer:
“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)
There is a view of the world that designates ‘culture borrowing’ as the sole explanation as to why a later culture may contain features that mirrors or matches a pre-existing culture. Often this is the most probable or plausible explanation. Let us call this the ‘Negative-Material-Contingent’ explanation of cultural continuity, which utilizes solely secular or empirical evidences, attempting to find patterns and then make general deductions based on the material evidence available. Its blind-side is with the dearth of material evidence its generalisations will become wider and, therefore, more likely to be off-the-mark. Another blind-side is not only its delimitation to material evidence but its insistence to deny any explanation involving ‘genuine’ revelation. Such an explanation will never be factored-in as plausible, because this approach has no measuring tool to assess the veracity of such a truth-claim and its possibilities. (See ‘The Challenge of the Qur’an‘ for an example of an attempt to demonstrate in ‘Open’ secular terms, material evidences for revelation.)
The atheists talk (in this video) about the need for evidence(s) for God, which is a good and reasonable point. And because of a supposition that, “there is none”, they conclude: there is no God.
(See God Focussed or Self Focussed to see how Evidences for (or against) God can be (or can’t be) gleaned based on our perspectives. How can we be conclusive about the answer to this question? (See a later post, pending.) But the point that must be acknowledged is that there are evidences being proposed; not that there are no evidences for God.
ALLAH, Most Exalted, says:
“And on the earth are signs for the certain [in faith]
And in yourselves. Then will you not see?
And in the heaven is your provision and whatever you are promised.
Then by the Lord of the heaven and earth, indeed, it is truth – just as [sure as] it is that you are speaking.” (Qur’an, Adh-Dhariyat 51: 20-23)