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).  http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/compatibilism/ 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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Can Citizens of Muslim Societies ever be Free? A critical analysis of M.J.Thompson’s Islam, Rights and Ethical Life

Malick Elias

Micheal J. Thompson, in his ‘Islam, Rights, and Ethical Life: The problem of Political Modernity in the Muslim World’ (Theoria: vol.57, ps.100-125, 2011) identified two broad theories which he states seeks to explain the lack of political modernity in Arab Islamic societies. First, there is the economic development approach which argues that the lack of it in Arab Islamic societies has prevented the domain of civil society from forming providing no opposition to authoritarian institutions (Zubaida 1992, 2001a; Bellin 1994a; Anderson 1995; Ibrahim 2002) The second explanation is that the value system of Islam as a religion is ‘anathema’ to modern forms of politics, thereby shaping non democratic and even authoritarian institutions. (Fish 2002; Barakat 1993; Korany 1994; Zakaria 2003). Thompson explains that both of these theories taken on their own are ‘inadequate’ and set about exploring ‘modernity’ in a different way, to offer an alternative explanation of Islam’s relationship with political modernity. It is important to note here that the real question that Thompson is exploring here is Islam’s relationship with Democracy. To what extent does Democracy represent ‘Political Modernity’ or ‘Modernity’ in the realm of politics is the sum of a form of ‘Democracy’ are questions needed to be explored in themselves. Continue reading Can Citizens of Muslim Societies ever be Free? A critical analysis of M.J.Thompson’s Islam, Rights and Ethical Life