Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Need of Simplicity in Critique of Western Philosophy

Recently I forwarded one of my recent papers titled 'The possibility or impossibility of Islamization of knowledge in a neoliberal market order' to Dr. Asad Zaman, Vice Chancellor PIDE, for his feedback. Following is his profound reply which I publishing with his permission. 

Dear Omer

There is a serious AUDIENCE problem with works of a group of people who have really dug DEEP into Western Philosophy and understood the ROOTS of the problem, They write to expose these problems, and explain why the foundations of the intellectual building constructed in West are fundamentally wrong. 

This analysis is TOO DEEP. It can only be understood by those with DEEP training in Western philosophy, which VERY FEW Muslims have. Those who do are NOT our target audience. Our target audience is MUSLIMS who have been deceived by false Western philosophies and have accepted very ridiculous claims because Western education makes these claims. 

However, our target audience, which is the MODERN MU'TAZILA -- Muslims overly impressed with the West. For this audience, we do not NEED to tackle Western philosophy at its roots -- as your paper does -- your references involve really HEAVYWEIGHT Western Philosophers, and the whole paper is very heavy on Western Philosophy. It would be incomprehensible to 99.9% of average EDUCATED Muslim audience, even those with Ph.D in economics - because economists do not study philosophy. 

So what we need to do is something rather different from this. IT IS necessary to combat the effects of poisonous Western Philosophies, which is what you are doing. However, we do not need to attack them on their HOME ground, which requires the depth of knowledge and deep argumentations that you have used.

INSTEAD, what needs to be done is to look at the EFFECTS of Western philosophies on Muslim thought. Only the POPULAR PERCEPTION of deep Philosophy is the object of our attack. For example, MATERIALISM is now a dominant conception in the public mind. According to this, ideas do not matter, it is the hard physical realities which shape our lives. ALSO, it is our material circumstances which determine and shape our lives, and so we should strive to improve our material circumstances. Both of these are simple ideas which are easily refuted on TWO FRONTS. One is an EMPIRICAL front -- we can show that this is not true by examining our lives and looking at history to see how powerful ideas have shaped the world. The second is the Islamic Front, which shows how the message of the Quran is opposed to this message. Today, because most Muslims are steeped in secular modernity, the second approach does not work well -- given a conflict between Quran and western knowledge, the masses prefer the West and re-interpret the Quran to work. So unfortunately the EMPIRICAL approach must be given preference. That is showing in our lives and in history that materialism does not work. 

YOU have chosen the THIRD way. That is to examine how this philosophy emerged in the West and how Western intellectuals have been able to defeat it on its own ground, and how these critiques can be understood from an Islamic perspective and adopted to use in rejecting Western philosophy and projecting Islamic views. This third way is not effective because it can only be understood by those who have a deep knowledge of Western philosophies. To make it effective, we must FIRST expose our audience to the depths of this poison. That is, we need to train them in deep understanding of Western philosophy, making them ingest even more poison. THEN we can give them the remedy. This is not a good strategy. If people have ALREADY been exposed t this depth, then they WILL need this antidote. For MOST PEOPLE, they have only a very SHALLOW and SURFACE understanding of West -- it is this SHALLOW understanding that we need to attack. For this purpose, heavy weapons are not needed -- and in fact are counter productive

Asad Zaman
Vice Chancellor, PIDE
Islamic WorldView Blog: shortlink:

Saturday, March 17, 2018

The question of gender equality in modern market society

If the traditional family is abhorred like it is in the depicted picture, then perhaps modern free market would be considered as a better place for women to grow or thrive ... What needs to be acknowledged that often women in the modern market society also complain about their unequal treatment (not to mention colossal amount of sexual harassment cases [1] which doesn't seems to reduce with more freedom) like why their wages are not as same as men? Its seems this complain never questions the foundation of free market society which legitimize free competition in a social Darwinian context means the FITTEST WILL SURVIVE/THRIVE [2] ... free unregulated competition eventually create conditions for inequality, which hurt both men and women equally.