The Meaning of Tawheed Revisited in the light of Compatibilist Epistemologies

by Malick Elias

In my last article I had put forward a dialectic which shows that at a deeper level revelation and reason are but from one and the same source albeit they manifest differently in the minds of their recipients. At the base of the revelation-reason dialectic a Compatibilist position was implied.

Compatibilism, in philosophy disputes that there is any incompatibility between determinism (Jibr) and free will (Qadr). These conclusions also imply a Monistic way of looking at the world, where only one concrete object and by extension ‘one reality’ exists. These conclusions ultimately evokes questions surrounding how I define Islamic Monotheism or Tawheed and to the extent that both Monism broadly speaking  and Monotheism are the same. Why are these questions important? Firstly, because the history of the philosophy of science can be defined as a search for the meaning of God, the nature of His being and reality of His existence in the world.  Secondly, if my first assumption is correct then, Monotheists which have largely focused upon deconstructing the metaphysics surrounding God and Monist which as a movement has largely been preoccupied with philosophical and scientific explanations of ontological or object reality can both compliment each other and provide for Muslim intellectual scholarship the tools to redefine or sharpen their ontological argument. Lastly, ‘religious monism’ because of it emphasis upon progressing the ontological argument has given rise to other emerging faith-ways such as pantheism and panentheism. These new-age faith-ways are inheriting the consciousness of a generation of children of Monotheists by offering alternative perspectives on ‘reality’ often masked in liberal political and scientific discourses and or appeals to spiritualism and naturism and Muslim intellectual scholarship have to rise to the challenge of understanding these forces and the threats they pose to Islamic Monotheism.
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Exploring Reason as an Innate Ability to Recognise Moral Truths: Part 2

Malick Elias

Is it possible that there are other conceptions of rational choice behaviour that do not see maximizing one’s interest in ‘a zero sum game’ as the object of human endeavour?  According to the Holy Quran, Adam (pbuh) fell from grace after being promised that by eating from a tree forbidden for him he would have immortality and power. [Pickthall commentary of chapter 20, verse:120] Elsewhere, it states that humans were created in the “best of statures”. [Pickthall on chapter 94, verse 4] Moreover, there are verses which also cites that man is neither by nature good nor bad, but has the potential to recognise both and choose between them. What is the dialectic here? Is man by his very nature evil or good; or  potentially both? Ok, how then can we understand the Aristote’s claim that ‘man is a rational animal’ in the context of this duality? Furthermore, of what benefit it is to us to have answers such as these? Continue reading Exploring Reason as an Innate Ability to Recognise Moral Truths: Part 2

Reflections of Ramadan in the Middle East: A Journey of Faith and Hope

Malick Elias

I looked forward to the arrival of the Holy month of Ramadan with excitement and jubilation and hoping that I would be able to build upon my achievements from last year.

Last year, 2011, I began the Holy month in London of which I spent the first ten days living out of suitcases and having to break and begin my fast in a hotel. The whole atmosphere for me was less than spiritual. I made several visits to nearby mosques for the Taraweeh prayers and to catch up with old friends, but a mixture of factors led me to catch the earliest flight back to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to experience the rest of Ramadan there and I did not regret it. I thoroughly enjoyed the rest of Ramadan in Dubai and at the end of the month I was left with the feeling that through my prayers and fasting I was blessed. Six to seven months later those feelings remained with me. Continue reading Reflections of Ramadan in the Middle East: A Journey of Faith and Hope

Why Tawheed is about Humanity and Social Justice

‘And your god is one God. There is no deity [worthy of worship] except Him, the Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful.’ 2:163 (Translation from Sahih International)

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Thank God, it’s Friday!

For many parts of the world, Friday is the last day of the week when you get to meet friends, spend a little, laugh a little, breath a little, throw aside the shackles of routine and lose yourself in the little freedoms and vices one can afford. In the eighties I liked letting it all loose dancing to Saturday Night Fever … Staying Alive, Staying Alive …
Now as I rush through the narrative of my Sunday to Thursday life, I eagerly look forward to spending a different sort of Friday, one where the dawn is greeted with the sublime serenity of contemplation and prayer; of expressions of gratefulness and gratitude; of hope and forgiveness; of re-establishing emotional ties with God, man, children, relatives and the world. I pray: Thank God, it’s Friday.