Islamosecularism (in Arabic: التدين-العلماني) is a firm belief in Islam as a religion (with its many sects), and at the same time a firm belief and emphasis on non-interference between Islam and political life and public rights in the society.
Believing in Islamosecularism is referred to as the Islamosecularist (in Arabic المتدين-العلماني).
Islamosecularism is a new term developed in 2017 by the originator of this page, which is a term of one word and not two words, and its linguistic significance will be defined on this page, which is certainly not related to the two independent religious and secular. In other words, there is an interdependence between the three terms: religiosity, secularism, religiosity, and secularism.
Background of the term Islamosecularism
Arabic people, most of whom are Muslims belonging to different sects, did not find in secularism a suitable space for them. Many internal and external forces, political parties and cultural movements, tried to make secularism part of the Arabic culture. For the sake of objectivity, the Arabic society has given full opportunity to these parties, some of which still exist. But this attempt has failed due to the structural defect in the definition of secularism on the one hand, and the lack of adequacy to the Arabic society on the other.
Based on that, we decided to create a new intellectual space, with new terminology (vocabulary), that preserves the identity of the Arabic human and does not try to twist it to fit into unacceptable space. And at the same time an intellectual space that allows diversity, renewal, coexistence, and harmony between the components of the Arabic society itself, and introduces the Arabic society in its true, genuine, civilized, and advanced image.
What is the heart of islamosecularism?
The Heart of Islamosecularism
- There is no place for atheists in this intellectual space. Certainly the islamosecularist does not interfere with the beliefs of others, even if they are atheists, and coexist with them on the basis of equality. But at the same time, when he defines himself as an islamosecularist, he exposes his personal human identity to the world. The islamosecularist solidly rejects any ambiguity between himself and the atheist, and this is his natural right. This new intellectual space, along with the new terminology, guarantee such ambiguity-free expression of identity.
- Islamosecularism includes Christianity in principle, but I have emphasized on Islam because of the sensitivity and the importance of the subject for Arabic Muslims. This point remains subject to discussion, research, participation and even a change of vocabulary to more clearly include Christians.
- When the islamosecularist defines himself as an islamosecularist, he affirms his religious commitment on the moral and intellectual level, not on a certain sectarian level. Moreover, he accepts to be in the same intellectual space with followers of the monotheistic religions (Abrahamic religions) without any discrimination while retaining his full right to express his religious identity at any time he chooses – without any timidity nor ambiguity. For example, he can say I am a Muslim. I am Suni. I am an orthodox. This is not at all contradictory to his identity as a islamosecularist.
- With regard to the practice of religious rituals (Liturgy), especially the public rituals, the islamosecularist is genuinely attentive to respect the environment in which he lives in, and considers that the general harmony with this environment is an objective by itself, he does so in a manner that does not contradict his religious beliefs.The islamosecularist often succeeds in finding this precious equation to achieve harmony between his firm beliefs and the social and political environment, which is often diverse in religious, intellectual, and cultural aspects. The islamosecularist does not scratch nor harm the general harmony with shocking acts such as the niqab (Niqāb) in Europe or drinking alcohol in Mecca (Mecca).
- What is contrary to islamosecularism is taking of the religious identity of the person or group and attempting to pose it onto the public political or social spaces, such as the formation of political parties of a certain sectarian color, or the acceptance of practices of religious or sectarian foundation in the state or society. We will discuss the tendencies that contradict islamosecularism in the following paragraph.
Tendencies and Practices Contrary to Islamosecularism
- The formation of political parties of a certain sectarian color or on religious grounds, or derive its principles or goals from a specific religious vision. The formation of such parties, affiliation with such parties, or even sympathy, is fundamentally counter islamosecularism.
- The islamosecularist acceptance of practices that are founded on religious basis in the state and/or society is fundamentally counter to islamosecularism. These practices include: discrimination on a sectarian basis, attempts to change the beliefs of a population group, restrictions on a population group for religious reasons, or an attempt to change their original place of residence. This acceptance, or even non-objection, automatically exits the person from the intellectual space of islamosecularism.
- The islamosecularist rejects, completely and unambiguously, the coexistence with countries that are based on religious foundations such as Iran, and rejects, completely and unambiguously, the coexistence and tolerance with religious parties such as the Muslim Brothers and Hezbollah.
- To discuss from a specific religious perspective in a public space. This contradicts radically with islamosecularism. For example saying: “alcohol should be banned because Islam …”. Such a sentence is impossible to be said by islamosecularist. He is entitled to obey and follow the teachings of his religion-sect not to drink alcohol, but he is not entitled to take this commitment based on religious foundation to the public space, social, political and/or legal.
- The islamosecularist rejects all kinds of religious and missionary preaching of any kind or sect, such as Christian evangelism or Iranian Shiites preaching. Religious groups have the right to set up schools and accept students, but they have no right to advertise and propagate these schools. They do not have the right to invite followers of other religions or atheists to join these schools. Accepting or disregarding such tendencies automatically exits the person from the islamosecularism intellectual space.
- The islamosecularist can have and believe in different political, social and economic goals, but these goals can not be contrary to his firm islamosecularism belief. When such contradiction occurs, he must choose. And the islamosecularist adjective will be automatically disqualified if he believes in goals that are wholly or partially incompatible with the definition and essence of islamosecularism as defined in this page. In this context, it is not necessary to prove faith in these goals. A written or audible expression that belittles islamosecularism or supports another political, social or economic objective or activity that contradicts it.
To summarize, the islamosecularist is a guard and a defender of two foundations of the Arabic society:
- Devoutness, which is the essential foundation of the identity of all Arabic citizens alongside their diverse beliefs. And their right to express and exercise this devoutness freely.
- Coexistence, harmony, and non-inculcation of private religious belief in the space of the state and/or the public society.
It may seem that there is a contradiction between these two foundations, on the contrary these two foundations are perfectly compatible. The Arabic community in all the Arabic countries has practiced these two items with a firm faith for hundreds of years. It is now time to expose this practice, which is a pioneering cultural landmark, theoretically and and to provide the adequate terminologies and vocabulary, and later constitutionally.
Limitations of the concept of secularism
There are several definitions of secularism, such as the definition contained in the Global Arabic Encyclopedia (Global Arabic Encyclopedia) and the definition described in the Encyclopædia Britannica (Encyclopædia Britannica) . These definitions are inconsistent with each other, although they all include separation of religion and state. Severe variations in definitions is one of the weaknesses.
The known secularism (Secularism) suffers from serious limitations, which is a structural failure in its definition and its origin, which led to the impossibility of its application in the Arabic world for real and objective reasons that we will explain briefly:
- The proven and unclear ambiguity between secularism and atheism: is there a contradiction between secularism and atheism? of course not. Does secularism encourages atheism? No. Does secularism encourage devoutness? Not clear. In all cases placing the atheist and the devout in a single terminological space deprives both of them of the faithful expression of their identity. This expression is the most important human right.This ambiguity made the Arabic citizen, who is devout in nature, made him fundamentally rejects the use of secularist term to express his identity and orientations, even if he supports the non-interference between Islam and political life and public rights in the society.
- Secularism adopts neutral position of religion, as if it does not exist: the known secularism (Secularism) came as a result of the injustice practiced by the religious institutions in Europe hundreds of yeas ago, and their tendency to dominate the state and society. The reaction was to consider religion and devoutness as an affair that must be treated with caution because it leads to negative results. Religion has simply been treated as a negative subject. However, this has nothing to do with religion at all, this is the result of the practice of a particular religious institution. The truth is that Abrahamic religions (Abrahamic religions) are positive driving force in the lives of individuals and societies, and religions, specifically Islam, is a decisive factor in the psychological, intellectual and moral stability of the human and society. More clearly, there is no alternative to religious theory to understand human’s relationship to the universe and the meaning of his existence. These important and existential questions are dealt with by secularism with childish ignorance.
- The structural contradiction between secularism and the identity of human being in general and the Arabic human in particular: the vast majority of Arabic citizens believe in the Islamic religious theory. In general, all Arabic citizens believe in the religious theory that is based on Abrahamic religions (Abrahamic religions) . The Arabic citizen believes in the existence of God, without any minor doubt, and he believes that the God ordered all human beings to follow the ideals such as honesty, respecting the truth, and others, and that the God has delivered his message through his prophets such as Jesus, Son of Mary, Moses (Moses), and Muhammad the Seal of Prophets and Messengers. He also believes that God is everywhere and he rewards his people for their good actions and punish them for their mistakes. The Arab believes that predestination (Predestination in Islam) is in the hands of the God and this does not conflict with the responsibility of the human for his actions. This faith and the acceptance of religious theory is the main component in the personality and the identity of the Arabic human, and thus in his existence. The Arabic human is meaningless without his religious belief. The expression of the Arabic human of his identity, including his religious faith, is a fundamental human right. Secularism did not respect this right, and tried to obliterate and disparage religious identity. Thus, in the case of the Arabic human, secularism eliminated his identity and existence in a fundamentally-unacceptable way.