Tuesday, April 23, 2013

CLEFT BETWEEN EASTERN ISLAM AND WESTERN CHRISTIANITY CREATED BY THE WESTERN DECLENSION OF JUSTICE AND SECULARIZATION OF RELIGION - Muin-ud-Din Ahmad Khan



It is plain truism to conceive justice as to give somebody his just share, his natural deserts, his justly acquired claims. It is opposed to injustice, which means depriving somebody of his just share, denying somebody of just claim, oppressing and repressing somebody unjustly. Both these positive and negative situations inevitably carry moral and ethical connotation. For the reason why justice does not apply to any species of animals save and except human being since others lack freedom of will, freedom of choice and the power of discrimination between good and evil through diverse animal species may share rational calculation and general intelligence with humankind. Thus, justice is the distinctive capability of human being. First of all, we come across the concept of justice in the Old Testament of the holy Bible in the form of Righteousness (sadaqu) and the selfsame concept runs through the New Testament down to the holy Quran (adl). This Semitic Abrahamic religious cultural civilizational justice is ascribed in its all round perfection to the supreme lord, the one and unique Jehovah, God, Allah as the Jews, Christians and Muslims call Him respectively. And, at the same time, justice is demanded of men and women in accordance with his or her capacity in all mutual dealings and in his or her prayerful submission to the supreme lord, which has been tagged with religious faith in the all powerfulness of the supreme lord and resurrection of human beings after death on the Day of Final judgment by the supreme lord and award of appropriate reward and punishment to men and women for their good or bad motive and action.


In the Western tradition on the other hand, we find the great Greek philosopher Plato considering in the first instance the role of justice in human life in more than one millennium later than the O.T. in the 4th century B.C. (Before Christ), in his famous dialogue of the Republic. He acknowledges the pivotal role of justice in the functioning of the human soul (Nous) and as such its being the fundamental element of human life. Plato begins his discourse by saying that justice is ‘to give everybody his due’. But as it carries the implication of rendering equal rights to master and slave alike and thereby jeopardizing the Athenian democracy of a minority of citizen class, he reeled back to legal right. On the other hand he seems to have postulated ‘due’ as meaning morally fair and moral good. But unlike due, ‘right’ can be applied to rendering to somebody merely the legal deserts. This Platonic declension of the concept of justice turning its moral connotation of due to the secularist legal right, suited well with the imperial designs of the Roman Empire, which was also ruled by the citizens with the forced labour of slaves and serfs. The Romans adopted the justice of legal rights as the foundation stone of the empire.

The post Renaissance Christian West accepted Roman law epitomized by the concept of ‘giving everybody his right’ as the basis of modern Western civilization, which was paganistic and secular in orientation and stood wide apart from the divinely inspired Semitic prophetic intention and moral denotation of justice. Consequently, the Western modern civilization was skeptical to religion and spiritual values from the very birth. It creates a wide gulf between the modern Christian west and Islamic east, the latter being insistent upon unstinted faith in the unity and lordship of Allah and religious-moral-spiritual values of the scripture. The Platonic declension of the meaning of justice combined with the Greek-Roman paganistic secularism in conjunction with the post-renaissance Darwinian theory of ‘natural selection’ of species and Adam Smithian ‘usurious interest’ based capitalism eked out a brand naturalistic secularism in the West, which is spiritually, socially and economically repugnant to Islam. The Western Christian’s gross deviation from the original standpoint of justice as ‘rendering due’ to the declensional meaning of ‘giving legal right’, has created an unbridgeable chasm between them and the Muslims, which needs be properly analysed and clearly understood by both sides.

Judging justice from the Muslim point of view, the naturalist and secular juridical meaning implied by rendering rights, whether fundamental, humanitarian or liberalistic freedom oriented as adopted or adopted by the pagan Roman imperialism and the capitalist secular modern West, to say the least, amount to a perversion of justice pure and simple. This reminds us resonant Quranic warning: ‘When you judge between the people, judge with justice (adl),’ rejecting thereby any deviation or laxity in the dispensation of justice. It also amounts to outright rejection of Roman contention of the blindness of the goddess of law. Furthermore, to uproot such contention of blindness and laxity, the holy Quran exhorts: ‘Verily Allah commands you to do justice mingled with mercy (bi’l adl wa’l-ihsan)’, preferring thereby clemency to harshness in the dispensation of justice.

A gaping divide between the Western Christianity and Islam, which is presently surfacing world-wide with considerable anguish and ferocity by clever maneuvering of the western media in collusion with surreptitious scum of Western Diplomacy, resides partly (i) in the respective cosmological theories of western science and Islam and partly, (ii) in the nature of the respective Christian and Muslim religious faith relating to the truth of the mission of Isa Masih/Jesus Christ; and in addition (iii) in the open and / or covered ambition of the capitalist Western Christians to grabbing the natural wealth of the Muslim lands.

Forrest Cookson, says: “Muslim world and West have a deep, probably irreconcilable, difference in establishing the most sacred constraints on social behavior. Claims made or constraint or acceptance and demand for apology, given and accepted (pertaining to cartoons) are really irrelevant”... To the Muslim all of life is shaped down and guided by God’s teaching as represented in the holy Qur’an... “The implication of this faith is the extension of the religion into everyday activities of family, into relation with other persons, into the political sphere and finally, the rules of market. Human rights, freedom of speech and freedom of religion derives from the holy Quran itself.” “The secular West has a completely different view. Liberal democracy is built on a view of religion that believes in God as an abstract intellectual entity.” Freedom of speech is a fundamental principle of Western secular society.

This is the general attitude of the secular democratic West towards God, religion, prophets and related sacrosanct objects. In view of the Qur’anic direction: “O you who embraced faith! If any erring person (fasiq) brings to you detrimental news, thoroughly scrutinize it; lest you should inflict upon people harm out of ignorance, whereupon you get up repentant upon what you have committed! (Hujrat, 49:6).”

A minute examination of the above attitude, which is typical of the Renaissance bound Protestant Christians, brings into perspicuity an evolutionary metamorphosis in the texture of the Christian faith that has created an unbridgeable spiritual chasm between the Christian and Islamic faith, even though to prove their metal the case of both needs be genetically referred to the Semitic Abrahamic conviction of faith in One Omnipotent God, the Supreme Lord of the universe.

Commensurate with the above mentioned Platonic declension of the meaning of ‘justice’ from rendering ‘due’ to giving ‘right’ and thereby taking it out of the hands of the divine authority and entrusting it to the legislative power of the human authority, dragging justice from divine prerogative down to humanism, in the arena of Christian faith, the original Creator, Sustainer, Providence of the Universe, the Omnipotent Supreme Lord, God, has been reduced to ‘Intelligent Designer’ (I.D.) of the creation. Not only that, the secular West and its liberal democracy have reduced God into an ABSTRACT intellectual entity, that is to say, to an IDEA or CONCEPT of God that is nothing concrete or really objectively meaningful.

Thus the Christian faith of God, according to this secular political version, amounts to a belief in the abstract idea of God. As such, the distance between the modern Christian faith and the Muslim faith of living Allah, tend to stand a world apart, so that, it is plainly stated, that, in discussing abstract issues including religion anything goes. Nevertheless, in the secular West religion must not be deemed to have become unimportant. It is still very much important in the life of the people. But secularism has uprooted it from the socio-economical-political sphere of life. The modern West inclines to interpret individualism as ‘homomansura’ meaning human values and human success as the measure of all things.

Modern West secularism refers to exclusively in economical and political sphere of life. It is essentially expressed as ‘secularization’ of society meaning “the act or process of removing the influence or the power that religion has over something”; “the secularization of society and education” and by secularism: the belief that religion should not be involved in the organization of society, education etc. (Oxford Dictionary).

The secular West is thus firmly set on the three fundamental principles of (a) Freedom of speech and press, (b) Freedom of religion and conscience and (c) Constitutional Secular Democracy.

The differences in views over the recent ‘Cartoon Controversy’ are deep and fundamental. The aggrieved Muslims are essentially stating their worldview and the west is stating theirs. These are truly different and cannot be reconciled. These are indeed very valuable tips for Muslims to understand the point of view of the West. Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936), Nobel prize winner of 1907, had pronounced the world famous observation about a hundred years ago that, “The East is East and the West is West, the twain shall never meet”. The contemporary Eastern Muslim sage Iqbal cautioned : “O’ people of the East don’t judge the red lips of western girls as the sign of health! O’ people of the West, don’t regard the world as a shop of God!” Keeping aside the inexorable inner conflict of capitalism, there is seemingly a covert hint in the above quotations of an over-confident feeling of overwhelming superiority complex of experimental science oriented secular democratic West in their technologically acquired ability to dominate the rest of the world. 


         

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