The original definition of secularism is separation of Church from the Government; religious institutions have no part in decision making. Today, definition (or concept) of secularism has diversified and has attained more meanings. One popular definition implies that all people are equal before the law irrespective of their religion and secular law gives complete freedom to every individual to choose and propagate their own religion. Another definition of secularism is absence of belief in God; this opposes religion and religious institutions; this view is held by Marxists, liberals, so called enlightened people (pseudo intellectuals) and socialites (for me, this word means use less people.).
In my last post, I have not written much about secularism; instead I focused on human rights and the way they are outlined in UN charter and in Cairo declaration of Muslim majority nations. We saw that Cairo declaration is nothing but affirmation of Islamic Sharia law which is discriminatory and intolerant towards Non Muslims. Any sane minded man/woman who has read UN charter, Cairo declaration and Sharia (how it treats Non Muslims.) can easily see that Sharia, at least as a concept, is completely opposite to that of notion of human rights as we accept today. The part of Sharia I presented for study is about Islamic laws discriminating against infidels. There is another aspect of Sharia which deals with jihad and peace and one can read on this from here. In this post, lets see if sharia is representation of Islamic main line thinking ?
Sharia, as a concept, is not compatible with concept of secularism as it rejects freedom of religion by decreeing that apostates (those who leave Islam to another faith.) must be killed; it equally prohibits people of other faiths from propagating their religion. And the fact that Muslims and Non Muslims are not equal before law is also against the principle of secularism.
I am mostly writing about Sharia than secularism! But let me ask myself about what do I want to write and prove in this post? Simple, I want to say that Islam and secularism are incompatible and Islam is intolerant towards non muslims. I want to show that Islam is expansionist and permits violence for realizing its objective: to bring the whole world under Islamic law. Read the following Koranic verses:
So when the sacred months have passed away, then slay the idolaters wherever you find them, and take them captives and besiege them and lie in wait for them in every ambush, then if they repent and keep up prayer and pay the poor-rate, leave their way free to them; surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.(Shakir, 9:005)
Fight them, Allah will punish them by your hands and bring them to disgrace, and assist you against them and heal the hearts of a believing people.(Shakir, 9:014)
Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued. (YUSUF ALI, 9:029)
He it is Who sent His Messenger with guidance and the religion of truth, that He might cause it to prevail over all religions, though the polytheists may be averse. (Shakir, 9:033)
O ye who believe! Fight those of the disbelievers who are near to you, and let them find harshness in you, and know that Allah is with those who keep their duty (unto Him). (Pickthall, 9:123)Those who have read ‘how Sharia treats non muslims’ and ‘jihad and peace in Sharia’ will agree with me that Islam rejects secularism; of course they have to agree with my assertion that sharia law is derived from main line Islamic thinking based on Koran and Hadith i.e. it is not a product of representatives of few Muslims who misunderstood Koran and Sunna. But Muslim apologists object to my equating of sharia with Islam.
Muslim apologists say that Islam should be judged by Koran and deeds of Mohammad, prophet of Islam, but not by Sharia which is written by men, thus, fooling non muslims in to thinking that Islam is one tolerant system.
It is true that Sharia law is written by men but they have written it based on Koran and Sunna (deeds of Mohammad). Whether it is triple talaaq (explained here), penalty of death for apostasy, death penalty for blasphemy (here), amputations for theft, stoning for adultery, death to lesbians, veil, polygamy, institution of slavery or Jihad (here, based on hadith), all these laws have basis in Koran and Sunna.
Secondly, if Sharia is not representation of true Islam, Koran and Sunna then why did OIC (Organization of Islamic Countries) upheld it to be source of legislation and discussion? We should remind ourselves that there is not a word of criticism against Sharia or any part of Sharia in their declaration. If Koran and Sunna are misinterpreted in the form of Reliance of Traveler (Manual of Sharia law of Shafi’I school of thought, in English) then why did Al-Azhar University approve it?
Muslims apologists also say that there are many sharias and schools of thought in Islam. This is very weak argument. Because there are only 4 major schools of thought (it should be noted that sect is different from school of thought) in Sunni Islam and they are unanimous on the concept of Jihad, death to apostates and blasphemers, stoning and amputations and triple talaaq. Shia Islam is no different from Sunni in the above stated issues.
At its root, sharia law is like a constitution to Islamic society and Islamic government. So, Reliance of Traveller (ROT), English translation of manual of Islamic law in Shafi'i school, is fair insight to what Koran and Sunna say.
When ROT says that a non muslim can not testify in an Islamic court of law, it is based on Koranic verse 65:02. When ROT forbids non muslim men from marrying Muslim women, it is based on verses 2:221 and 5:05. When ROT says non muslims have to pay jizya, it is based on the verse 9:029. When ROT imposes humiliating conditions on non muslims and says muslims and non muslims are not equal, it is based on many Koranic verses (read from here). Sharia law is like condensation and extrapolation of Koran and Sunna. When one wants to know Islamic view on a certain issue, instead of looking in to Koran and Hadith for all the verses and hadith relevant to that issue, can easily find from sharia law; after all Koranic verses are ordered in most ridiculous manner.
Islam can never be secular because sharia is not secular? Wrong way to think. Islam can never be secular because Koran is a manual of hate against non muslims. Koran is manual of Islamic imperialism. When individual Muslims read Koran, they will find incitements for detesting , hating and disliking non muslims and this reason makes Islam and muslims intolerant towards non muslims.
Finally, lets see what Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi, some non muslim apologists of Islam in west consider him as a moderate muslim and some muslims all over the world say that he is the greatest living Islamic scholar, has to say on Islam being secular. He wrote a book and in it he flatly says muslims can never accept secularism in place of Islamic law.
A Saudi online news paper writes some excerpts from that book, pp. 113-114:
Secularism can never enjoy a general acceptance in an Islamic society. For Muslim societies, the acceptance of secularism means something totally different. As Islam is a comprehensive system of worship (Ibadah) and legislation (Shari’ah), the acceptance of secularism means abandonment of Shari’ah, a denial of the divine guidance and a rejection of Allah’s injunctions. It is indeed a false claim that Shari’ah is not proper to the requirements of the present age. The acceptance of a legislation formulated by humans means a preference of the humans’ limited knowledge and experiences to the divine guidance: “Say! Do you know better than Allah?” (Qur’an, 2:140)
For this reason, the call for secularism among Muslims is atheism and a rejection of Islam. Its acceptance as a basis for rule in place of Shari’ah is downright apostasy. The silence of the masses in the Muslim world about this deviation has been a major transgression and a clear-cut instance of disobedience which have produces a sense of guilt, remorse, and inward resentment, all of which have generated discontent, insecurity, and hatred among committed Muslims because such deviation lacks legality.
Secularism is (only) compatible with the Western concept of God which maintains that after God had created the world, He left it to look after itself. In this sense, God’s relationship with the world is like that of a watchmaker with a watch: he makes it then leaves it to function without any need for him. This (baseless) concept is inherited from Greek philosophy, especially that of Aristotle who argued that God neither controls nor knows anything about this world.
This concept is totally different from that of Muslims. We Muslims believe that Allah is the sole Creator and Sustainer of the Worlds. One Who “…takes account of every single thing.” (Qur’an, 72:28); that He is All-Powerful and All-Knowing; that His Mercy and Bounties encompass everyone and suffice for all. In that capacity, Allah revealed His divine guidance to humanity, made certain things permissible and others prohibited, commanded people observe His injunctions and to judge according to them. If they do not do so, then they commit Kufr, aggression, and transgression.– Translated from ‘Al-Hulul Al-Mustawradah wa Kayfa Jaat `Ala Ummatina’ (How the Imported Solutions Disastrously Affected Our Ummah), pp. 113-4.
Any way, the best way to check whether Islam can ever be secular and tolerant is to find out about how non muslim minorities in Islamic nations fare; one will find that they are suffering abuse and discrimination in all muslim majority countries. The population of non muslims in muslim majority countries is in free fall.