Before reading this piece let me tell you that if you liked it, thank Ahmed Khalil Poya (My dear cousin) and Sir Khadim Hussain Zia (Our dearest teacher). The prior for writing this piece and later for making the students of ‘Pentagon Academy’ to write long essays and present it on Mondays … That said, now read and share your views!
“As my turn came, I chose to write a seminar about Secularism … The title of my seminar is ‘Secularism As A Theme For Social Life’. But prior to proceeding with secularism, let me first define life. According to me,
Life is a phenomenon itself,
Life is to explore, to search,
Life is to say inorder to listen,
Life means a new day, a new night and a new ideology,
Yes! Life is pretty,
Life is an everlasting old furnace
If you ignite it, the dance of its flames will be visible from the horizon,
Or else it is silent and silence is a sin!
Coming to secularism, I would say;
To portray a new theme for human life on earth, the word secularism had announced it’s existence in our social life. Secularism was not needed for our contat with GOD, but was needed for our contact with our society.
The term ‘Secularism’ derives from the latin word Saecularis and means pertaining to the real world and time where we live, and is based on realism. Secularism in no way opposes the religious contributions in society but totally supports the isolation of religion from politics.
Religions may emphasize on mortality of the cosmos and observe the eternity only for religion. But secularism has an approach to materialism in which they have an experienced proof for the ‘Law of conservation of energy’ through sience. Thus, secularism while describing various aspects of life, wants us to decorate and celebrate life!
Secularism talks about the role of an individual human being and his wisdom in recognizing the phenomenon and society with full freedom.
From centuries, plenty of intellectuals have had their research about secularism and they have found this ideology very sympathetic towards the independence of thought and statements which is essential for giving talents and abilities a chance to run in the race course unlike religious government which restricts and limits the talents and abilities from exploration which is snatching a right ! Thus we can say that secularism is a product of Humanism.
In other words, secularism is not a governing system but is an idealogy through which we can fashion our behaviour, character, view and logic to deal with social environment and domination !
If you have ever seen the real Islam – not the one which is used for personal/political gains – you might have noticed that Islam itself is a secular religion! Interestingly, you cannot find a single person who can announce this! Although some people tried to introduce that secular version of Isalm in Iran but they were defeated because it would have jeoperdized the monopolized domination and was against the status and positon of ‘Wilayat e Faqih’ !
Likewise, people like Osama Bin Laden*, Mullah Omar, Maulana Fazl-ur-Rehman and their fans and followers want to establish the pure extremist Islamic Emirate which is/can be very opposite to today’s social structure of every community according to me! Despite being a Muslim I think it will be not acceptable to the majorty.
To understand further about the topic and portray a clearer picture, I did a research on the secularist tendency of well known poets like Maulana Balkhi And Ferdowsi whose proper aspects of philosphy and sprituality can be seen in their poems and verses. It must be stated here that other great poets like Hafiz, Khayyam, Sanaei Ghaznawi etc. also had secular tendencies.
The various identifications given to the afore mentioned personalities are obvious through their messages, remarks and poems. These personalities have gained such a position that even centuries after their demise they are celebrated all over the world. You may call them and their ideas as ‘classic’ but I would say how ‘Neo Modern’ because of the level of their knowledge, vast outlook, virtue, liberality, opposing fundamentalism and radicalism, opposing dictatorship and favoring realities.
It is necessary to mention that the views of people about those poets are diverse. Each person according to his ideology. Some people may acknowledge them as only poets, sophists and literate personalities. These type of people might be of the kind who don’t have the tendency to discuss and interfere in social and political issues. Thus, such people will analyze their poems and remarks from spritual point of view . On the other hand, other people will not just limit these poems to spiritual and literary circle. Instead, they will utilise those slogans to raise awareness for our social and cultural gains so that we can claim that our ‘Eastern Culture’ is rich but unfortunately the ideologies of these great personalities have remained unidentified and dead for centuries.
Maulana states in his Masnavi :
هرکسی از ظن خود شد یار من // از درون من نجست اسرار من
سر من از نالهٔ من دور نیست // لیک چشم و گوش را آن نور نیست
What I picked from it was that here Maulana is talking about the term secularism asnd usage of wisdom in Identification. Something like this can also be extracted from Ferdowsi’s poems. It is :
خرد گر سخن برگزیند همی // همان را گزیند که بیند همی
Human is smart. He is powerful. Human has had revolutions in his history. And Human wants to drive towards the beautiful destiny for exploring the his identification, luck and happiness and he strives to complete his mission. But the obstacles of life changes his wishes and hopes to ashes! This is then when human with the help of his wisdom will put his efforts together and will try till the lilt of music ends, inorder to cope well with the consequences in life. And this is wisdom which helps human to be successful. So, secularism is basically a return towrds wisdom through which we analyze various issues in our society. Including that, Secularism talks about isolation of religion from politics. Not from the state where people live. Better to say that secularism is not against the personal religious beliefs of people! The belief is that ; this is how the wisdom can be more functional in an open atmosphere where religious obstacles will not dominate.
The common idea is that Islam is incompatible with secularism, but as far as I am concerned, I think its quite the contrary.
According to the common belief, Islam was completed by Muhammed and every alteration or updating in it is counted as a sin. That because they think Islam of Muhammed is a complete code of life and that human had reached the highest values back then and that it is the last stage of human’s improvent.
But I think things are inverse to what is percieved.
According to my knowledge, Islam or you could say religion can never be stated as a final code of life because human has not reached at complete civilization and religion. This is because religion is simultaneous with our life and our civilization. The doctrine of Muslims that Islam is a complete code of life is a very old one. This saying is from the times of Prophet Muhammed. We are obviously ahead of that time now. Decades and centuries ahead. And a religion that old might not be able to answer today’s ambiguties and inventions and problems related to it unless it is improved in the frame of time.
The discussion: Isolation of religion and government is a lawful discussion.
An Islamic government says that the right of domination is personalized only to those who are spritual leaders or clergy men, or in other words belong to ‘Vilayat Faqih’ . But it is opposite to justice and realities ! That because spiritual leaders can not perform as good in finance, defence and interior ministries as a political leader would and these jobs are not our devotional affairs to be put at the hands of mere spritual leaders. Such jobs need professionals, not clergy man !
That included, in a country, domination of only one religion is possible. So, the dominating religion will be fierce and unwelcoming to other minorities which will possibly give birth to conflicts and clashes and in this process will deprive the citizens of their right to live peacefully !
Concluding my seminar, I would like to state that Let’s not make a dictator government by paralleling the government with religion and let democracy to be imposed through the frame of moderate secularism and liberality.
Thanks for your attention !