The Legitimacy of Secularism by Imam Zaid Shakir

smile and remember him and hamdulillah rabbul aalameen was so that was salam ala sayyidal mursaleen sayyidina muhammad wa ala alihi wa sahbihi was said in testament kathira salam alaikum warahmatu allahi / cut alhamdulillah alhamdulillah he lady had an ally had awoken a lena headey a lola and had a noir our praises due to allah has guided us to this path and we would not have been able to guide ourselves and not Allah guided us the previous session I was given a task of addressing the issue of community in the context of the verse in the Quran well Adina jaha do phenyl and Andy unknown swollen when Lama and Mycenae that those who strive for sake we got in our paths and surely Allah is with those who are most excellent and their religion I mentioned that to leave this as a segue into a brief discussion to leave ample time for the audience and your questions and comments of Islam secularism and modernity which is the title of the session as I've understood it so really the essence of Islam is rendering ourselves amenable to the guidance of God so some define Islam and clear I'd been be managed a be an abuse Allah Allah and Allah sent him so being led along oneself to be led by everything the prof brought salut lillah wa salaam death of religious relevance where's the spirit governing both modernity and secularism and the two are intricately connected is that human beings can and in fact must guide themselves independent of the guidance of God and so one expression that's been closely associated with segment modernity and a sense of secularism itself is that man referring to humans including women women relaxed generic language man is the measure of all things including the measure of God and the measure of religion one of the principles of secularism is that religion will have no role in informing public policy governmental decisions or the direction or rulings between human beings so the judiciary the legislative branch of government the judiciary branch of government will have no will allow no room no role for religion values that are rooted in religious principles in a particular SIA to society may be allowed to enter into those realms but only after they've been measured and assessed by humans to pose no threat to the integrity of this secular system so this creates say a a chasm between both secularism modernity and Islam as Islam has been traditionally understood one of the great strengths of Islam and in fact fact all traditional systems or approaches to life is that they gave meaning to human beings meaning is intricately associated with context so if you want to know the meaning of the word a words you don't know what's one of the first things you ask can you let me know the context that that word is used in if you know the context many of if not all of you all of you are literate people when you're reading a book and you come across a new word sometimes you can figure out the meaning that of that word based on the context right you're reading you understand the context and in that context you know this word can only mean a B or C so meaning is intricately associated with context traditional societies provided the context that gave meaning to individual lives guys with me you with me I mean what did I just say it's alright you got it I could tell your eyes lit up so context provides the meaning traditional societies rather provided the context they gave meanings to individual lives one of the features of modernity and secularism once you remove that from the social equation once you remove religion from the social context then life loses its meaning and this were many scholars of modernity have said so Max Weber would be probably being and therefore from the great sociologist Max Weber so they said that modernity and secular societies are confronted with a dilemma these of the traditional societies that are by and large informed by divine guidance Islam being a traditional society in that regard so they say that one of the great dilemmas of modernity is that it pits rootless freedom because in a modern society modernity and secular societies where religion is removed individuals are free so they say this liberate s' the human being and individuals are then free to do whatever they want the caveat being one well some say you shouldn't get caught breaking the law but at a higher level was the cafe you can do anything you want in a liberal free society once they have as long as you don't violate the rights of others so if you're in the middle of the woods you could cry scream fire to the top of your lungs like the chipmunks who think you're insane like man that human means tripping over there and ain't no fire today's membrane in for two days but can you do that in a crowded theater because you might cause harm to others so as long as you don't harm others you can do whatever you want and that freedom creates a state of rootlessness and it creates a state where people don't know are disconnected from the meaning of life many Muslims who grow up in modern secular societies don't know what they're doing I don't know why I pray everyone in a traditional society knew how that why they pray they didn't have to read a Ghazali on the one hand in the taymiyah on the other hand to figure it out the context of the society itself provided meaning but now unless you're blessed if you want to know why you're praying you have to study it so you get a book in my uncle's alley the translation inner dimensions of Islamic worship and you reading it so now I know why I'm praying so this is just an example of the lack of meaning and we'll come back to this and concluding would I'll try to be brief tradition on the other side on the other hand viewed through the lens of modernity so one of the aspects of modern is that is hegemonic it doesn't allow for any competition it crushes any competition if it can now it's trying to crush you slam some Muslims are pushing back some in idiotic ways which only slow shows that they're slaves of modernity and we'll conclude with that point so through the lens of modernity traditional societies oppressive because you can't do what you want when you want how you want so Muslim once eat that big mac bacon ham sandwich smothered in swine that's some serious pork right there a bacon laced ham sandwich smothered in swine with Florida on the buns and lookin so good because they they dressed it up they photoshopped it but here she says Haram so the the secularist and the modernist would say you're oppressed you know you want to eat it you should be able to eat it you should be free to eat it the the Muslim sees a beautiful woman right by walk by and he starts saying and he realizes it's Haram I'm not married to her I can't do that I can't say that the secular say you're all pressed so rootless freedom freedom that's void of any ability to give meaning this is modern society this is secular society versus oppression oppressive tradition now Islam says there's a solution Islam says tradition is the real path to freedom and the freedom that secular and modern society advertised is a myth secularism says we keep religion out why because if we have religion and religion is the basis of membership in the community we can't have perfect equality we can't have perfect equality if Islam is the basis the kafir won't be equal with the Muslim the Christian or the Jew will be Adam me they won't be equal with the Muslim so we cannot have religion as the foundation of membership in the political community citizenship has to be the basis of membership in the political community because as citizens were all equal citizens were all equal and we have a foundation a constitutional foundation that guarantees certain rights for citizens now the problem with that whole arrangement is it's a lofty ideal but after 200-300 years of experimentation we find that inequality is greater than it ever has been in the history of humanity my saturation economically that's the public's fear that secularism dominates globally today the gap between the haves and countries like our own for Scandinavia or Japan and the have-nots and places like Nigeria are Mali or Burkina Faso or Bangladesh is greater than it has been in the history of humanity today in this country income disparity is greater than it has ever been in the history of this country today there are people who have for all practical purposes monopolized political power there are elections but elections don't always translate into political power in 2008 many people hoped that the election would translate into a redistribution of political power because hope would lead to change and we should have known something was up when the change was framed in religious terms change you can believe in that change was oxymoronic in a secular system should have known something's there's some disappointment on the horizon wait a minute change you could believe in and so now as President Obama who advertised hope and change you could believe in militarism is greater than it ever has been Wars indiscriminate killings the black sites Guantanamo is still in business despite a growing wave of public outrage is still in business economically foreclosures still high they say there's a recovery but its recovery on Wall Street as some frame it and not on Main Street politically incarceration is still the problem for African American and Latino communities that it was before President Obama took office if anything is worse the systemic draining of the last vestiges of any wealth from impoverished communities like Camden New Jersey or your average Indian Reservation or godforsaken places like Santa Rosa New Mexico I drove through two-thirds of the downtown is boarded up so in light of that fact and in light of the divorcing of policy both political and economic from ethics some would argue it's time for a return of religious values and as Muslims we would say Islamic values Muslim values which are consistent with the values that were advocated by the other mystic faiths should have a greater role because why we believe they can resolve that dilemma that the rootless freedom can be freedom within rational moral parameters that read that gives us meaning and the oppression of tradition is oppression view through the lenses of modernity or through the lenses of secularism but through the lens of Islam and I would argue most other traditional societies we understand that that apparent oppression is the key to real liberation because one cannot journey to one's Lord unless one restrains oneself well mm Mahathir Mohamad robbie he won NFC and in Hawaii fennel agenda Tahil met where as for one who fears the time they will stand before their Lord and denies their soul the things it inclines towards then paradise will be their reward why because by denying the soul some fan outsider might say you are pressing it but an insider will say you are creating the conditions for its real liberation and as liberation is found in knowing its Lord and other than that there is no real liberation where is the freedom now suicides are at an all-time high in this country and its highest amongst those who put their lives on the line to preserve the freedom that is supposed to be the highest value of the society military veterans average of 18 every day over 6,000 every year are committing suicide none so we have plenty of discussions we don't even need the five minutes so what I'm proposing so as one restrains oneself one removes the shackles on one soul and once so grows and we say it grows from what the enough Sun and matter of the suit that is the Neffs that's free the soul in its unrefined state that inclines towards those things that we were urged to refrain for the betterment of our condition as human beings and then it moves into the Neph Salama and many of you familiar with that and then the nestled mcmahon Neffs Aradia s lombardia all of these are mentioned in the Koran and then it's free its liberated because the shackles that tie it to this material world are removed and it's real hue that distinguishes it from this which by removing God from the equation by moving religion from the equation both modernity and secularism say man is no more than this a compilation of of atoms and molecules that somehow gain these miraculous properties and as we study neural neuroscience we'll get to the bottom of how it all happened the internal dynamics no we say humans are something higher and by reaching for that which is higher the oppression usually associated with tradition which provides the context for meaning is eradicated and by eradicating Atman or humans are both free and they have meanings and this is the job it's them proposes I think I do need the five minutes I said I stopped on this point I mentioned it earlier those people Muslims who are murdering people and think that they're going to somehow do a service to Islam they're sending a message to the West this is what their shape aiming for what have you said we're sending a message to the West yes a message that you're insane and we need to nuke you before you get your hands on a nuclear bomb and destroy this planet that's the only message there's no message oh the Muslims are coming the message that you're a lunatic the point is these people these individuals they're children of modernity not children of Islam as it's been traditionally understood they've lost meaning and to summarize they seek meaning and murder this is this epitomizes the conditions that modernity creates and if you don't believe me read Richard Wright they're bigger Thomas who took Shahada Sanaa Malik

Secularism doesn't mean you are permitted to hurt anyone you want. What an Asshole he is. Secular societies also permit you to speak stupid stuff like this.

MashaAllah 🙂 May Allah subhanahoo wa tala reward you , and be pleased with you , and the good people  Jazakum Allah Keyran  Ameen

Fuck ukecko72. He's not talking about the constitution. He's talking about inequality that even the most extreme positions within the political spectrum agree on. From the Tea Party to the Occupy Movement, everybody's talking about inequality in the economic sense. He's talking about the secular argument against traditional societies which attacks their unequal treatment of individuals, yet secularism has created an unequal society in this country.

If they just would make clear what they mean exactly. And state the arguments of others and explain and refute sincerely why they are of that opinion with Allah swt in mind.

Of course, after all, isn't it something muslims have to strive for? I thought the references where clear. To talk it down like he did is painful.

I think the muslim village project is a very good step.

Assalamu alaikum

Listened to what Hamza Yusuf said. For me it seems that he is forgetting about many aspects of Muslim leadership like opening the country for all the Muslims, position to free muslims in other countries, many things. It frustrates me that he never explains well. But i think he said that to calm people down who want to make that state forcefully

He also said the majority of muslim rules were secular, if that's true, by how far? They were still muslims, weren't they? Frustrating


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