Sunday, November 28

Pluralism and Religious Freedom between Belief and Politics.. First Generation Approaches to the Arab Renaissance (1-3)

The work of the reformist thought of the first generation of the Arab Renaissance, in its volatile intellectual path on phases and stages, in presenting a new dress to the Islamic discourse that puts one foot in the bright part of the Islamic civilizational heritage, and the other foot in the enrichment of modern knowledge and the concepts and systems it produced, and Muhammad Abdo has sought and others to the environment and settlement of these concepts without creating situations of contradiction and conflict between them and the Islamic system of thinking and its manifestations in the reality of Muslims and their history, and among the manifestations of this is the response to a number of claims that were raised in the context of the intellectual debate between him and Farah Anton or between Jamal al-Din al-Afghani and Renan, and from that What is related to the claim of the nature of compulsion inherent in belief, and the transition of this compulsion from the confiscation of ideas to the confiscation of the right to exist for those who differ in opinion and belief, and the various problems and approaches that arise from all of this concerning the issues of pluralism, religious freedom and difference that concern our time as much as they are important to the generation of the Renaissance.

The dispute between sects and sects was not the origin of the manifestations of fighting that surfaced in different stages of Islamic history. As occurred between Al-Ghazali and the philosophers, Hajjaj may contradict in its content and premise the nature of the religious vision that prevailed. The dispute remained in the circle of purely theoretical Hajjaj, and did not evolve to be reflected in the practice of coercion at the social level.

1. The manifestations of religious difference and pluralism in Islamic history

Islamic history has known diverse manifestations and countless forms of difference and pluralism in opinion and doctrine, and that pluralism has maintained its social presence without this leading to fighting, except in the rare cases that had political roots and motives and not religious, that is the hypothesis for which he argues Mohamed Abdu.

The forms of difference in Islamic history were numerous and countless, which lays a fertile ground for violent conflicts and wars, according to the interpretation that the roots of violence exist in religion, and that its manifestations emerged in the civilization of Islam under its banner, in ignoring other elements and motives, i.e. conflicts of a nature Social and political, this omission of other influential motives is what Muhammad Abduh is trying to prove, because he did not “heard in the history of Muslims a fight between the Salafis and the Ash’aris with the great difference between them, nor between these two groups of the Sunnis and the Mu’tazilah, with the intensity of the contrast between the beliefs of the people of retirement and the beliefs of the people of The Sunnis are Salafis and Ash’aris, just as he did not hear that the Islamic philosophers formed a group for them and a war broke out between them and others.Yes, he heard of wars known as the wars of the Kharijites, as did the Qarmatians and others, and these wars were not triggered by differences in beliefs, but were ignited by political opinions in the way of governance. And these people did not fight with the Caliphs in order to support a doctrine, but in order to change the form of government. And what was the war of the Umayyads and the Hashemites, it is a war on the caliphate, and it is more like politics, rather it is the origin of politics” (Muhammad Abduh Al-Aamal Al-Kamil E, part 3, p.: 308)

The dispute between sects and sects was not the origin of the manifestations of fighting that surfaced in different stages of Islamic history. As occurred between Al-Ghazali and the philosophers, Hajjaj may contradict in its content and premise the nature of the religious vision that prevailed. The dispute remained in the circle of purely theoretical Hajjaj, and did not evolve to be reflected in the practice of coercion at the social level.

This means that the conflict with its negative repercussions was not in the sphere of beliefs and opinions, but was in politics and governance, and in a contemporary form, the motive for disagreement and conflict was politics, not religion, and the motive was authority, not belief, which we can find evidence of since the disagreement of the Companions and rebellious groups in Islamic history, whose revolutions were mixed with political, religious and social motives.

A number of theological, jurisprudential and philosophical differences were confined to the narrow circle of scientific difference, and did not become a social issue for which wars, coercion and the robbery of freedom of belief or thought were raised, as happened in rare cases such as the sedition of creating the Qur’an with Ahmed bin Hanbal or the forced divorce with Imam Malik. , which were not free from political motives, as many of the conflicts that may appear in a religious or creedal dress, which have arisen from time to time from ancient times to the present moment, usually have their determinants in politics and not in thought, as the intellectual difference and the practice of criticism and dialogue remained Between the various lords of sciences and knowledge is present as long as fanaticism does not block or the glare of the mind is extinguished from performing its function as it occurred in the later centuries, and that is in the critical moments in which many conflicts emerge in which the deterioration of the political conditions in certain periods of history constituted a major impetus to internal strife, According to the requirements of the dominance and the thorn that formed the document of the authority / state in Islamic history, while religion or belief comes as an ideological cover and a source of legitimacy only.

2. The corruption of politics and the whims of the rulers are the root of conflict and weakness…between Ibn Khaldun and Muhammad Abduh

By highlighting the manifestations of difference and religious freedom in the context of Islamic civilization, Muhammad Abdo did not lose sight of the critical sense of the forms of bloody conflict that the Arab Islamic civilization has known at times. His adherents are aware of the position on the other and on religious and cultural pluralism.

Through this approach, the origin of division, weakness and conflict, according to Muhammad Abdo’s perspective, is “the greed of rulers, the corruption of their whims, and their love for the monopoly of authority over others.” They are due to the ignorant taking over their government.” And the ignorant in his view are “the people of rudeness and arrogance who were not educated by Islam and whose beliefs had no control over their hearts. The other hand, that is for their hereafter, and this is for their world, and they marched crowding the Europeans, so they crowd them” (Muhammad Abdo, Al-Aqaam al-Kamel, Part Three).

We find in Muhammad Abdo a sharp criticism of what the unbridled desires of the rulers left in the deterioration of the situation. Rather, the deterioration of the situation and what the situation reached in his time is due, in his view, to the temperaments that dominated those in power, which are characterized by harshness and violence that go back to the cultural component, so to speak. That is, to the morals of the tribe, which are based on dominance and power, and not to the morals of religion that strip people of the clothing of harshness, ignorance and rudeness.

This interpretation finds its roots in Ibn Khaldun, who traced the aspects of influence that religion had on the nature of the Arabs, who were people of nomadism and harshness, familiar with hardships of life, so religion adapted their souls against urbanism and politics. Various political entities and civilized forms, until those systems withered and their ties disintegrated, as Ibn Khaldun was a witness and critical reader of all those details that printed Islamic history, then as Ibn Khaldun considered one of the links between two histories in the civilized and Islamic contexts, that is, since his recording of a testimony about the beginning of the decline, To the beginning of the landmarks of Arab and Islamic renaissance thinking in the 19th century, some of its symbols were inspired by his philosophy of analysis and consideration, and perhaps the most prominent of them is Khair al-Din al-Tunisi, who wrote the introduction to his book “The Best Paths in Knowing the Conditions of Kingdoms” in a manner that derives its vocabulary from the Khaldunian lexicon.

Ibn Khaldun refers to the religion factor in the urbanization of the Arabs and their transfer from a state of chaos and devastation to urbanization and civilization, saying, “They only become to it after the change of their character, and it is replaced by a religious character that erases that from them, and makes them shy from themselves, and makes them defend each other from each other, as we mentioned. That is with their state in the creed when religion was built for them. The policy of politics by Sharia and its rulings that take into account the interests of urbanization outwardly and inwardly, and the succession of the caliphs in it was at that time their kingship and the strengthening of their authority” (Ibn Khaldun Al-Muqaddimah, 164). In prayer, he said, “Omar ate my liver, teaching dogs manners” (Ibn Khaldun, Introduction, pg: 164).

This is the qualitative shift that religion has brought about in individual behavior and in Arab social systems and all countries that entered Islam and began to devote to it in certain periods of history, but the succession of generations and changing conditions have returned Arabs and Muslims to their previous position of division and diaspora, especially in the present time when it has become The role of the Arabs is marginal in history and the scene of political, cultural and civilized events, and let us follow a text by Ibn Khaldun describing the reasons for that deterioration, saying, “Then after that, generations of them were cut off from the state, they abandoned religion, forgot politics, returned to their wilderness, and made the affair of their nervousness with the people of the state by keeping them away from the state.” Submissiveness and fairness, so they became savage as they were, and there was nothing left for them of the king’s name except that they were of the caliphs’ race and from their generation… But after their covenant with politics, when they forgot the religion, they returned to their origins of Bedouinism” (Abd al-Rahman ibn Khaldun, Introduction, p.: 164, Dar al-Fikr) .

The reasons contributing to the decline and failure were intertwined, but they were embedded in the disease that afflicted the system of governance and authority, and the conflict between the people of cities when the influence of religious values ​​and ethics on individual and social behavior, and in controlling the behavior of rulers and politicians, and then affecting social systems and the forms that characterize them. pluralism and difference, and this led to the loss of one of the reasons for the rise. The factors affecting the rise are the same as the reasons that led to the decline and regression. Ibn Khaldun predicted this when he was living in a state of disintegration and conflict, which provided him with a ground for contemplation of the curve of rise and fall, and he is the examiner of the conditions of politics and urbanization. And the laws, and the thinkers of the first generation of the Arab renaissance took it back in diagnosing the situation that the situation of Arabs and Muslims in various manifestations has taken place when Arab awareness collided with the dawn of modernity overlooking from the other side.

In conclusion, the causes of conflict and disagreement leading to damage to the social fabric and the aspects of pluralism that permeate it, through this renaissance perspective presented by Muhammad Abdo, existed in the circle of politics and the dominant tendencies in Arab and Islamic society, and not in the circle of belief and religion, until history is cast Islamic in the nature of religious conflict, which may make some record the absence of intellectual tolerance and acceptance of the other; This is because diversity remained its symbols in the various fields of knowledge that arose in the Islamic and Arab environment, and pluralism was an expression of richness and richness at the level of the social fabric in moments of civilizational glow, while it was revealed to the public with fanaticism fueled by political and social motives and reasons in which religion is usually used. To possess the legitimacy of political existence, and to say about the political and social roots of the emergence of the conflict means that the negative tendencies of some of the tribe’s morals and the cultural component dominate the behavior of politicians and elites, because the circle of disagreement expands in the circle of religion in view of its reliance on freedom and non-coercion, and narrows in the circle of politics in which the Sultan uses logic Force and oppression, as we will see the merits in the next article.

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