Prominent Kuwaiti thinker and media personality Dr Abd al-Aziz al-Qattan says that the Western notion of secularism is not the separation of religion from politics, but in fact the separation of religion from all aspects of daily life.
Source: Islamasil.net (YouTube)
Date: May 21, 2019
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Our problem today, as Muslims, is that we read about ideas which grew out of the origins of secularism and its principles, which itself arose as a (type of) reaction. This reaction gave rise to the idea and the term (itself), which (then) became a belief – as if it were just another type of religious term, yet as defined by the humanities – and this is the disaster.
We agree with secularism in the sense that it is universal. Islam is a universal (religion). We support universality, but we are against this secularism. I believe, according to my humble reading, that (secularism) is the separation of religion from life, and not the separation of religion from politics. And this is (fundamentally) contradicting Islam since it is a religion for society. It is a comprehensive religion that seeks to establish truth and justice. Thus, to those who define, rave and talk about secularism as the refuge and savior, and those who want to clone the French experiences or the experiences of any era, we as an Arab and Islamic Ummah, we are supposed to produce a new (type) of thought which is in harmony with modernity and the future, while also being based on our terminologies, Islamic culture and Islamic principles.
Today, if we keep talking about definitions of secularism in a monotonous and old-fashioned way using the same terms, words and definitions – let us today observe its repercussions on our societies. As I mentioned before, what is meant today by secularism in our societies is the separation of religion from all (aspects of) life. Some would say no, it is the result of a certain reaction since the clergy and the Church at that time controlled the people, and that today, some Islamic movements are doing the same thing, or some revolt and say that political Islam has failed and such things. No, the point is totally different, because today Islam is (for all aspects of) life and not (merely) politics. Even today when they say, this person is Islamic and that person is secular – I say that every Muslim is ‘Islamic’. Every Muslim is ‘Islamic’. Even the term has been developed, i.e. when we say that someone is an ‘Islamic’ person, it (now) means he has an Islamic orientation, yet if he is a Muslim who believes in God and the Judgment Day, (in reality) he is (both) a Muslim and an Islamic person, whether he likes it or not.
We need today to give the audience the courage to speak and use such definitions, via academic-style episodes (such as these). We must not be deceived by Western terms, rather we must surpass them and produce our own. We are a nation that produced knowledge, science, grammar, ideas, and even Islamic terms, we produced them. It is then incorrect to be fascinated by the issue of secularism which results today in (all these problems)…speaking of which, even our imitation of secularism is a ridiculous and bleak imitation that has failed.