in category Other Culture

Are secular liberal values the same as Islamic values?

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Embedded in every value statement is a belief system. And every belief system produces its own terminology, which reflects its values. In the most successful secular religion of our generation---Liberalism---you will find the following words pop out regularly as the measuring sticks of goodness:

  • egalitarianism
  • equality
  • democratic
  • individualism
  • tolerance
  • freedom
  • diversity

...and many more.

Go to Communism and you'll find a whole other set of terms. Shift to spiritual religions and they have their own terms. When you commit to a belief system, you adopt those value terms and try to live by them, seeing everything through those lenses. You don't take another set of terms and try to fit your religion into them. In Islam, where everything revolves around the will of the Maker, the terms look like this:

  • iman - belief
  • ikhlas - sincerity
  • rida Allah - the pleasure (of Allah)
  • ja'iz - accepted by God
  • muharram - prohibited by God
  • fard - obligated by God
  • sunna - done by the Prophet peace be upon him
  • umma - the community of belief

...and many more.

The above list revolves around God and the Messenger first, and then individuals and society. Big difference.

My advice is to not *ever* try to justify the deen through liberal terminology, or any other religion, secular or otherwise. I cringe when I see titles like "Equality in Islam." Who doesn't love equality, but every system has its own language rooted in its beliefs and cosmology.

I would ask what is the closest Quranic concept and use that term instead. It's absolutely no different than saying, "How to Attain Nirvana in Judaism." What? That's someone confused.

If you notice, it's the weaker group that always uses the stronger groups' terminology. You'll never see a Western liberal academic using a framework of 'permissible vs. prohibited.'

To conclude, if you enter into a discussion where the terms derive from some other system, you will lose and end up looking foolish.

Dr Shadee

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