Many Muslim thinkers and leaders today, being educated in the West and severed from their religious intellectual tradition, do subscribe to the idea that all religions are the same, subject to development and changes.
EVERY way of life is based on a certain way of looking at life. The way one looks at life is one’s philosophy, and since there are many ways of looking at life, there are many philosophies.
So, what is called “western” philosophy is the western way of looking at life and why should a Muslim follow it when Islam has its own philosophy? In the first place why should he listen to the West? Western ideas are not necessarily correct, the best, or relevant to everybody.
What a rational person would do to an idea is to subject it to rigorous examination and criticism. Take for example the western notion of freedom and human rights. A proper thinker would want to know the reason why western people think the way they do about those issues. Philosophy is human reaction to the problems of life; it cannot be separated from history.
Western idea of freedom has to do with their experience with Christianity. Taking a cue from the history of Europe, a western thinker would not hesitate to conclude that neither freedom nor civil society is conceivable as long as there is religion. Experience tells him that individual freedom can only be guaranteed when the role of religion is curbed to the effect that it does not interfere in social and political life the way it used to be in the Middle Age.
Some writers even believe that human condition is more tolerable under the pagan religion while the scriptural, doctrinal and universal religion may only cause disaster to human society.
by Md. Sham Ahmad
Fellow, Centre for Syariah Law and Political Science.