Saturday, November 27

The project of Hassan Hanafi and the transformations of the philosophical lesson in Egypt (2)

Hanafi’s project – in terms of structure, borders, and goals – can be considered the broadest and most ambitious project of heritage reading that was discussed in its context in last week’s article. He sought to rebuild the sciences of Islam, a huge and reckless task; His project was divided into 3 sections:

  1. The position of the Islamic heritage.
  2. The position of the Western heritage.
  3. Attitude to reality or what he called the theory of interpretation.

And each section of it includes several parts, in addition to other large works he wrote that are outside this outline that he developed for his project in the late seventies of the last century and published in his theoretical introduction entitled “Heritage and Renewal” which was published in 1980 AD.

This is how the Hanafi project differs from the Jabri project. Al-Jabri assumes the existence of conflicting and conflicting systems in the heritage, and believes that his task is to reveal them and restore what has atrophied or withered from them to resume the resigned mental renaissance, that is, he reveals them to side with one of them and settle a historical account with the rest of the systems that are supposed to exist and which he believes have prevailed in previous times Because of what has happened, it is the reason for our backwardness

An essential feature of Hanafi’s project is the centrality of reality and the priority of the practical over the theory. Karl Marx famously said, “The philosophers have done nothing but interpret the world in various ways, but the most important thing is to change it.” This dominant feature of the Hanafi project led to the following:

First: The priority of reality over thought, and the priority of history over revelation, a feature we find in leftist thought in general, where reality and context take precedence. But the relationship between revelation and history is a confused relationship for Hanafi. Sometimes he says that “the revelation – which is the source of the heritage – came in response to the call of reality and adapted on its basis,” and another believes that “the purpose of the revelation is to develop reality in the historical moment we are going through, and not to prove an absolute existence.” He is God Almighty. This has no meaning other than the precedence of reality over revelation in terms of the normative reference; So that the text becomes a servant of reality and constantly adapts to it, that is, it turns into a raw material that can be reshaped according to the needs of each age and time. Hence, it does not seem strange for Hanafi to conclude by saying “atheism is the original meaning of faith,” and “secularism is the basis of revelation. Revelation is secular in essence,” and “religiousness” is an emergency on it from the making of history, and that it appears in moments of backwardness and cessation of development of societies. !.

Hanafi does not help us resolve this contradiction; How is the function of revelation to adapt it to reality on the one hand, and to constantly change it on the other? Who sets the evaluation criteria for this reality? The text or the reality itself? But the theoretical introduction to Hanafi’s project tells us that reality and its reference dominate everything else.

Secondly: Heritage, according to Hanafi, is “a means of mobilizing the masses and changing the reality…, and the contemporary of the people is what is required to be achieved”; Heritage “does not contain purely theoretical systems that we are interested in revealing, but rather contains practical possibilities that the thinker reveals by re-interpreting it according to the interest of the masses.” Hence, his project aims to “form a popular mass movement and a revolutionary party that will be the investigator of the national culture oriented to the behavior of the masses, as well as It aims to change the inherited theoretical frameworks according to the needs of the times.

This is how the Hanafi project differs from the Jabri project. Al-Jabri assumes the existence of conflicting and conflicting systems in the heritage, and believes that his task is to reveal them and restore what has atrophied or withered from them to resume the resigned mental renaissance, that is, he reveals them to side with one of them and settle a historical account with the rest of the systems that are supposed to exist and which he believes have prevailed in previous times For a defect that has occurred, it is the cause of what we are behind.

Third: Hanafi’s criterion is practical, not theoretical, and this criterion, more like the ideas of Sophism, leads to 3 central things in my opinion:

First command: He corrects all perceptions in its time, “and therefore all choices may be correct at different times, and the principles of religion are not the same in every time and place. Monotheism is constant, but its aspects of understanding differ according to the needs of the times.” That is why his theology turns into a theology of liberation like the one that prevailed in Latin America, who translated Spinoza’s theology and politics at an early age to teach us the importance of daring to criticize the religious text, not just the heritage.

Second order: He denies the existence of fixed meanings of the central concepts and terms, for “the categories of atheism and belief are two theoretical statements that do not express anything realistic, because what some think of as atheism may be the essence of faith, and what others think of as belief may be atheism in particular.”

Third command: Ijtihad – according to Hanafi – is a comprehensive process that includes jurisprudence, speech, action and consideration; For the purpose of selecting the best theories and the most appropriate ones for the needs of the times; According to the diagnosis of this revolutionary ideology, which claims to be based on a “scientific theory” of reality, but – in fact – a conceptual ideology based on a materialistic perception that believes that beliefs do not have “subjective not objective”, so their sincerity is shown only by their impact on life. And change it to reality, not in itself. Beliefs are nothing more than “directions and motives for behavior, and they have no material equivalent in the outside world.” So, are his wishes, which we opened with an article last week, in which he hopes for forgiveness of sins, and to meet God and be intimate with Him, just symbolic, or is it a transformation that occurred in his thinking and practice at the end of his life?

Fourthly: He believes that ideological work is part of changing reality and its theoretical basis, and “the reality will not change until after an ideological work.” Therefore, he alienated early from his professors who did not link philosophical thought to reality and did not make realistic projections of it, and since the years of university study, he had questions that would determine his future course. Such as “What is wrong with combining science and ideology: leftist or Islamic? Is it beneficial to teach human sciences such as sociology, law and philosophy without ideology? What is wrong if ideology leads to political action?”

The “Heritage and Renewal” project revolves around “direct theorizing of reality” and adapting to it in the face of those who proceed from a pre-existing theory that they want to impose on reality (whether from the owners of the inheritance or from the owners of the movables). To provide him with a theory that explains it and changes it at the same time. Thus, the heritage becomes a historical “theory of reality”, and the renewal becomes the rebuilding of that heritage in line with its vision of the current reality, and therefore there is no room to talk here about a “scholarship”; Except as far as it serves ideology.

Based on the foregoing, rebuilding the sciences of Islam – which is the largest part of its project – revolves around the priority of reality, and the re-adaptation of sciences to respond to reality by bringing about a transformation in the subjects and purposes of science:

  • The science of the origins of religion is supposed to move us “from faith to revolution,” that is, to turn into a “revolutionary ideology of the Islamic peoples” that reconstructs the masses’ perceptions of the universe.
  • The science of jurisprudence is supposed to move us “from the text to reality” by reshaping the branches of jurisprudence; Because it is the science that combines the inner formation of man “in terms of time and intention,” and his outer formation “in terms of action and behavior.”
  • The science of Sufism is supposed to move us “from annihilation to survival,” a science in which man appears as an independent dimension, in which feeling is the starting point. Because he sees inherited mysticism as a danger to our contemporary conscience and national behavior, equal to the danger of inherited theology. Sufism represents “negative values ​​such as patience, trust, contentment, conviction, fear, apprehension, crying and sadness, to the last known statuses and conditions.”
  • The sciences of transportation are supposed to move us “from transmission to the mind.” Therefore, it reconstructs the sciences of the Qur’an, hadith, interpretation, biography, and jurisprudence by dropping their old content and highlighting topics that serve the priority of reality. I mention, for example:
  1. The “reasons of descent,” which Hanafi sees as emphasizing “the priority of reality over thought,” without paying attention to two central matters in it; The volume of the Qur’an contained in a reason from the entire Qur’anic text, and the reliability of those reasons; Because it is historical news that is supposed to be critical and balanced with the original Qur’anic text to which it is a footnote. Leave your possible interpretations of it while he is busy researching possibilities.
  2. “The Abrogated and the Abrogated,” which he reads as representing “time and development,” without paying attention to the small size of the abrogated in the heritage in relation to the total Qur’anic text, as well as the multiple interpretive capabilities of the abrogated, as well as the critical reformist readings of it in the modern era, which surpassed it to the priority of the text on Historical news that talks about copying. That is, Hanafi cuts here with two directions; Heritage and Reformation.
  3. In the Biography of the Prophet, Hanafi wants to transfer us from focusing on the person of the Prophet, may God bless him and grant him peace, to abstract speech, so that the diagnosis and worship of the person in our public lives are eliminated, without discussing central concepts in Western and Islamic moral philosophy – alike – about the idea of ​​a model (or an example). and its role in establishing concepts and bringing about value and moral transformations in society; Because man always needs living models to be emulated or embodiments of the biography that should be emulated.
  4. In jurisprudence, Hanafi wants to transfer us from worship to transactions, and from personal status to state systems, that is, from God to man; Despite all the theological discussions of the Mu’tazilites and others that talk about the first duties of the person responsible, which is the rational consideration that leads to God.

Hanafi imprisoned himself in the Marxist idea on the one hand, and within a set of dualities on the other, and then began to reshape the knowledge of a nation and civilization based on his reality and his perceptions of this reality, and then his project summarized in bringing about that transformation from one end of these dichotomies to the other, without trying Building an integrative or harmonious vision, internalizing the idea of ​​controversy. Then he wanted to move from the mind to nature, from the soul to matter, from God to the world, from the soul to the body, and from the unity of belief to the unity of behavior. The ideology that filled the thought and conscience of his generation.

Hanafi studied Ali Othman Amin, Zakaria Ibrahim, Tawfiq Al-Taweel, Ahmed Fouad Al-Ahwani and others, but he was close to Othman Amin, and therefore he wished to meet him after death, as the opening paragraph in the previous article told us. And Osman Amin wrote his letter on Muhammad Abdo, and was a student of Mustafa Abd al-Raziq, a student of Muhammad Abduh. Amin was related to the French philosopher André Laland, and he attended Youssef Karam’s lectures at the Egyptian University, and their relationship was so close that Amin issued one of his books as a gift to Youssef Karam. The friendship between Youssef Karam, Mustafa Abdel Razek and Muhammad Youssef Musa, and among the students of Karam were Abdel Rahman Badawi and Tawfiq Al-Taweel, and he had worked as an assistant to Laland at the Egyptian University in 1927 AD.

Hanafi then contacted the scientific philosophical group in Egypt, and by following up on the publications of that group, we can identify the nature of the Egyptian philosophical lesson in that era in which two approaches dominated:

The first: the historical method, which seeks to present the development of philosophical thinking within Islamic civilization, and to research its original tendencies, subjective characteristics, factors of its origin, development, interpretation, origins, fruits and results.

The second: the objective approach, which is concerned with ideas and relies on detailed analytical research, selects certain doctrines, classifies opinions and recombines them to present them in a presentation governed by a guiding idea.

The study of philosophy in Egypt began according to the first (historical) curriculum with Mustafa Abdel Razek and his students such as Mahmoud Al-Khudairi, Mohamed Abdel Hadi Abu Raida, Ali Sami Al-Nashar and others. As for the second (objective) trend, it is represented by Ibrahim Madkour, Mahmoud Qassem, Mustafa Helmy and others. There are those who combined the two approaches, such as Abd al-Halim Mahmoud and Abd al-Rahman Badawi (who is also a student of Mustafa Abd al-Raziq).

The follower of this production notes a general feature that characterized the philosophical work in Egypt at that era, where the philosopher combines translation from a foreign language according to a scientific or renaissance vision, in addition to the investigation of ancient texts on the one hand, and authorship on independent topics on the other hand, so that he is involved within the group. scientific, and a participant in the scientific field.

Although Hanafi March is in its three beginnings (translation, authorship and joint realization of an orphan text), it represents – in my opinion – the stage of transformation in the Egyptian philosophical lesson, and it is part of general transformations that prevailed in the Arab world, where the ideology and battles that I dealt with in an article last week.

After the preoccupation with philosophy – before Hanafi – was a scientific or epistemological preoccupation, and in controversy with some Orientalist visions on the one hand, and in the rediscovery and revival of the philosophical heritage on the other hand, we are faced with personal and ideological projects that aspire – recklessly – to reformulate an ideology begging heritage to change Reality or victory over ideological opponents, in light of the tensions in the relationship with the West, the rise of different discourses of identity, and the struggle with political Islam groups.

Hanafi was not inclined to the spirit of pure academic study that his teacher Ahmed Fouad al-Ahwani enjoyed, for example, nor did he fit in with the spirit of Youssef Karam, who wrote discreet study writings. Rather, he saw that his teacher Othman Amin “praised Muhammad Abdo too much.” Hanafi was upset. Whoever adheres to the idea that the mind is not independent of the revelation (the Prophet), and then considers that his servant is irrational, and considers himself closer to the revolutionary Afghan than to his servant, as if it is a restoration of the ancient debate about the relationship between prophecy and philosophy as we find in Al-Farabi and Ibn Sina and after them .

Hanafi spent his life passionate about the idea of ​​his residence since he graduated from the university as a young man when Youssef Murad – who was a professor at the university at the time – asked him about the subject he would specialize in, and he replied that he wanted to turn “Islam into a general curriculum for the individual and the group.” asked him why? He replied, “By it I would reform the nation’s condition and raise its status, which is Al-Afani’s project, but on the intellectual level first.”

It seems that the ambition of the youth persisted throughout his life despite all the fluctuations he went through and the contradictions that accompanied him and he tried in vain to reconcile them. The big and the hybrid together, and he died and was still haunted by the political work that he started in the beginning, and he turned in every turn.

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