Some brief thoughts on the Hijab - Peterson discussion - as few bother reading longer stuff!
I was disappointed with the interview, cringing throughout at Hijab's missionaryist preaching, namedropping, parrotting, Peterson praise and incoherent snippets of Islam's thoughts, culture and civilisation. If you believed Hijab this was 'traditionalist' Islam - Peterson however remained doubtful.
Peterson challenged Hijab in almost everything and was met by mush... Hijab for some reason chose to summarise Peterson's request for an overview of Islam with a theologian's 'proof'. Peterson questioned whether this prepositional argument was the actual basis of his faith. Hijab equivocated not expecting the question or maybe not understanding it. Peterson went on to challenge what he saw as the shocking and dark history of the Islamic civilisation, violent expansionism and its current failure to be peaceful amongst a number of other tangents he explored of which Hijab was woefully unable, uneducated and unprepared to address. As Peterson repeatedly met mush, he slowly took over the conversation. At the end he invited Hijab, like an undergraduate student, to a presentation he will be giving at Oxford where Hijab could watch him unpacking his thinking and premises.
I was reminded of Russell Brand's car-crash interview with Paxman, where the latter accepted all the criticisms of capitalism and democracy but asked what the alternative was - Brand had nothing. Mehdi Hasan's presentation at Oxford University, while entertaining misleadingly characterised the conflict with the West as that of some evil fringe Muslims with political grievances that had little to do with Islam or good Muslims.
The conversation illustrates and even symbolises how declined our core thinking has become over, historically commencing with our internalising of Greek speculative philosophy regarding aqeedah through to rigidification of the sharia (becoming a specialist subject for abstract academic enquiry and debate rather than a practical guide for all Muslims in life's affairs) and more recently the abandonment of what Islam deemed vital life-death issues for which we must sacrifice or be destroyed.
Thoughtful observers like Peterson and others rightly remain unconvinced and unimpressed by discourses infected by confusion, obfuscation or decadence.
And this is the problem.
Thoughts are a nation's treasure, its vital energy, its driving force. Once these are confused, clouded or lost we are in danger.
In concrete terms, our ideational problems range from reducing Islam from a deen of truth that brings comprehensive solutions to mankind's problems seeking to dominate all other deens to a hollowed-out subservient religion that can only partake in miserable interfaith or inter-religious dialogues with a defeated Christianity or Judaism under a dominating secular order; the Islamic aqeedah is drained of its rich and comprehensive worldview from which a civilisation emerges to a clinical prepositional argument for the existence of god; jihad morphs into a defensive warfare that may schizophrenically undertake preemptive attacks on civilisations who it suspects may attack it; the historic ummah is portrayed as a schismatically divided bickering or warring Sunni-Shia polity akin to Catholics and Protestants whilst the shariah is viewed as little more than a personal moral code with some legal rules devoid of socio-political cogency, coherency and function.
Hijab's 'traditionalist' Islam, or rather 'neo-traditionalism', of which he is its representative, is built on pillars incorporating Greek speculative philosophy, atomised Judeac-type law that can be readily practiced in secular liberal orders, resulting in disconnected texts, dogma and rituals. The tapestry of a complex, prosperous and progressive civilisation with a comprehensive communal worldview is incidental or marginal to the enterprise. Hijab's ideal polity is something like the rebellious multicultural and multi-religious Andalus that ignomonously ended in the fifteenth century under Christian triumphalism.
In 1953, Sh. Nabhani, Ahmed Dawur, Abdul Qadeem Zalloom et al undertook a detailed and comprehensive study that characterised a number of ideational problems as causal to the ummah's intellectual decline - vividly seen in her posture and responses especially post-924 to the flood of European worldview, ideologies and values, all of which are visible to us today.
They wrote of the need to reconstruct notions of Islam, khilafah, aqeedah, sharia and jihad along with their darkened history that had become dramatically distorted and confused. They needed re-articulating in a post-colonial world dominated by new ideologies and lifeways built on secular and atheistic worldviews that seek to discipline Islam as they disciplined Christianity and Judaism - something all messengers sought to do with their nations.
Before engaging serious thinkers with a superficial missionaryist call as neo-traditionalists like Hijab engage in, we seriously need to get our intellectually fragmented house in order, rethinking the handed down artefacts we mislabel Islam, re-implementing our deen at a civilisational level before resuming its call to other civilisations via diplomacy and military force.
I don't think our activists are mature enough in thinking or delivery to cover these sorts of public discussions given where they can go in the absence of a visible civilisation that underpins and constrains them.
Who can master 1400 years of history, theology, science, philosophy, politics, culture, economics or warfare?
Or the parallel civilisations and their shortcomings, mistakes and flaws?
Even if they were able to, what would be the aim? Missionaryism? Saving some lost souls whilst the systems corrupting all remain?
It is the imperative of our generation and far better that we target the ummah to resume Islam via khilafah - a future generation will then undertake these sorts of conversations and activities.
And Allah knows best!
Great answers start with great insights. Content becomes intriguing when it is voted up or down - ensuring the best answers are always at the top.
Questions are answered by people with a deep interest in the subject. People from around the world review questions, post answers and add comments.
Be part of and influence the most important global discussion that is defining our generation and generations to come