7 Modern Deadly Sins and Misunderstandings: Inequality

In any given society, there are certain common sense moralisms ingrained within that culture. Certain aspects of ethical life and sentiments may be universal in nature and span multiple countries and continents, as part of a generalized weltanschauung. Yet, the particular way in which that ethic is practiced is always subject to cultural conditions and specifics. The key part to this common-sense morality is that you do not think much about these things: they are simply the immediate ethical context one engages with and considers as obvious. As a result, one of the main arenas where we see a stark shift from pre-modern to modern societies, and from religious to liberal societies, is in ethical sentiments and “common sense.” Continue reading 7 Modern Deadly Sins and Misunderstandings: Inequality

Conceptualization of Islam as a ‘Religion’ and the Possibility of the Secularist/Islamist Binary

The history of the modern Middle East is often narrated as a story of power struggles between competing ideologies. One such set of competing ideologies is Islamism and secularism. The aim of this paper is not to explore these ideologies in the light of Middle Eastern history and argue in favor of either one of the two; instead, this essay will attempt to explore one of the factors that enables this dichotomization in the first place. The conceptualization of Islam as a “religion” creates the possibility of characterizing actors as “Islamists” in opposition to those characterized as secularists. I argue that this “religion-making” is intricately linked to the workings of the modern state which makes “religion” essential to its existence as secular. Continue reading Conceptualization of Islam as a ‘Religion’ and the Possibility of the Secularist/Islamist Binary

Is ‘God’ Meaningless? Exploring Theological Noncognitivism

What is theological noncognitivism? [1] Most people may not be familiar with the term, but more familiar with the sentiment. Theological noncognitivism roughly holds that all theological discourse is meaningless. Unlike atheism, which essentially rejects the proposition that “God exists,” theological noncognitivism holds that propositions like “God exists” are not even meaningful or intelligible in any way. To really understand this position, it is important to talk about the position’s philosophical origins.  Continue reading Is ‘God’ Meaningless? Exploring Theological Noncognitivism

A Study of Worldviews: Islām and the Modern West, Part III: The Reign of Quantity

In the previous part, the notion of what I call ontological apathy was explored, which occurs when the reality of our place as humans in relation to God and nature is dissolved. In the worldview of Islām, we operate with the hierarchy of “ontology-epistemology-axiology-politics-economics,” and I have asserted that in the modern West, this hierarchy is inverted and thus it moves in the opposite direction, “economics-politics-axiology-epistemology-ontology,” which is what we will examine in more detail. Continue reading A Study of Worldviews: Islām and the Modern West, Part III: The Reign of Quantity

A Study of Worldviews: Islām and the Modern West, Part II: Ontological Apathy

This article is part two of a series, you can find the part one here and part three here .  In the last part, we established how the Islāmic civilization is built on a worldview that deems ontology as the highest determinative factor. This ontology, or pure metaphysics as Guénon calls it, concerns the Ultimate Reality, Allāh, and how everything else is contingent upon Him. … Continue reading A Study of Worldviews: Islām and the Modern West, Part II: Ontological Apathy

A Study of Worldviews: Islām and the Modern West, Part I: Inversion

How do we make sense of reality? This is inarguably the most difficult question one can pose because it amounts to giving an explanation of everything. Even if we concede to the Heideggerian claim that metaphysics is inevitably nihilism, nihilism’s fundamental claim that there is no such thing as reality does constitute itself as an explanation of everything (which to them is nothing!) regardless of whether we agree or disagree with it. Continue reading A Study of Worldviews: Islām and the Modern West, Part I: Inversion

Differences in Approaching History Between Reform Oriented and Traditionalist Muslims

Contemporary rifts between reform oriented and traditionalist Muslims might be traced back to differences in their respective philosophies on the progress of history. By first examining the three most prominent enlightenment philosophies of history, which share much in common, and then contrasting them with pre-modern philosophies of history, I will lead us to the possible formulation of an Islamic philosophy of history.  Continue reading Differences in Approaching History Between Reform Oriented and Traditionalist Muslims

Reclaiming the Question

You wake up one day to find yourself in an ornate and decorated room. You have no recollection of who you are or how you got there. From the moment you are conscious, you are beset by a relentless curiosity: Who am I? Why am I here? You are attempting to make sense of the situation that you find yourself in. The aim of this metaphor is to illustrate an elemental fact: as humans, we find ourselves in an existential situation. We find ourselves participating in a reality – the cosmos – that is not our own making. We are, as Martin Heidegger put it, thrown into the world. As such, we are essentially constituted by a dynamic consciousness that is driven towards meaning in order to obtain insight into reality and its ultimate grounds. The search for ultimate grounds emerges because as humans, although we have a number of concerns (e.g., familial, financial, political, etc.), our ultimate concern is, and ought-to be, our existential situation that is embodied in two questions: where-from? And, where-to? Continue reading Reclaiming the Question

Scriptural Reasoning: Healing the Divide Between the Self and the Other

The purpose of this piece is to bring attention to the field of scriptural reasoning which, among other approaches, proposes the use of logic of relations and a constructive-critical engagement with the Other. These approaches help curb the colonial instinct, or what has been identified as the subsuming nature of the Western philosophical thought, that stems from Enlightenment prejudices. The healing nature of these approaches can lead to possibilities of mediation and peaceful coexistence in the contemporary world order and the interaction between Islam and the West. It will help understand the needs of both the Other and the Self without delegitimizing or oppressing either one, because upon losing sight of the aim of peaceful coexistence one is bound to fall into the colonial instinct — as is the case with Enlightenment reasoning. Continue reading Scriptural Reasoning: Healing the Divide Between the Self and the Other