People talk about secularism and how by contrast, Islam is violent in its core: Well, there is nothing in secularism saying that one cannot adopt violent ideologies, or that such ideologies are in themselves rational or irrational. For example, forms of racism, socialism, or capitalism, are extremely violent and would result in true destruction if situations turn out in certain ways. Secularism cannot actually prevent anyone from adopting these as nationwide or international norms, but merely says it will implement whatever peaceful, violent, progressive or regressive systems formally legislated or procedurally dictated.
About this also one has to keep in mind that racism, socialism, capitalism, all these strands under discussion are a-religious ideologies, one can hope that they don’t bring about large-scale violence but again, it is a hope that this will not happen. Thus, the proponents may use secularism to make inroads into people’s minds and the electorate but the result may not necessarily be pluralistic or peaceful, since the end goal may be more important to them than pluralism or peace. For example, the end goal of a just economic society may be so very important to zealous proponents so as to make war in the short term or muzzling of dissenting views acceptable as practical options.
It seems the thesis of the Twelver is like that of other religions before Islam, that they were terribly persecuted for generations and centuries, thus their books/critical sayings are lost for good basically, until the Mahdi, Avatar, Buddha, etc., comes along in the far-off eschatological future.
People ask that why do the laws of Islam seek to protect Islam and keep it supreme? One partial answer is that laws work like this in all cases, to protect the structure with most importance first and foremost. In secularism, the laws seek to protect and perpetuate the superiority of whatever happens to be the mores and beliefs of the nation-state. So it is not at all strange that the laws (the Sharia) of a place seek to perpetuate, strengthen, and defend the most important thoughts, mores, and principles. Among Muslims, it will be and should be Islam itself.
Saying that beliefs or religion should remain private is an oxymoron of sorts; if “keeping beliefs private” was really meant then even what is mostly considered good like kindness to others or helping others should have had no public manifestation and people would simply keep all thoughts to themselves. This is the height of paradox – and of course this is not what is meant in the secularist’s language by “private beliefs”, rather they deem that it must be kept private only when it interferes negatively with the goals and aims of the secular polity, not when it confirms or reinforces them.
Some people say Muslims impose Shariah in their countries and that secularists do not; well, if secularists believe in a public space (and they do) they will believe in imposing laws on all, those who like it and those who do not. Thus disagreements are ultimately scuttled, but not always peacefully. If there is long-term trust in the democratic institutions and minimal disagreements then yes this is a somewhat peaceful road, but otherwise there will be conflict; in fact most countries of the world sprung up because the conflicts were too deep and the viewpoints too disparate to be resolved peacefully, or through voting while staying in one polity – the only solution was a war of independence/secession along with its associated consequences.
A general observation: Look into how technology is having an almost religious-like effect on people’s psyches and their institutions. Weakening of traditional faith is seen, since technology is claimed to always work, even people think death will eventually be solved with the proper technology.
The matter about (for example) “Islamic feminism” in its modern manifestation is that the Islamic texts can be read by all, yet if the context is looked at very wrongly, the zeitgeist says “So what? It is an acceptable interpretation nevertheless”.
The overriding principle is assumed to be freedom – yet don’t think that freedom prohibits the possibility of thinking you may kill others without any rules whatsoever attached to it – that is, there is a warped and wrong interpretation of the Islamic texts which allows wanton killing of people, yet the proponents of it think it is good because it is their “freedom” to interpret it in such a way. Thus the principle of “freedom of interpretation” can become very problematic if allowed to run loose.
One matter for us Muslims to consider is that the opposition uses arguments which are in effect mutually contradictory – for example, someone may say a religion like Islam must be banned since it is against secular logic and order, yet from another angle he considers everything to actually be naturalistic and secular in origins, including religion– thus he is only using the first argument as a kneejerk reaction against Islam.
We Muslims forget at times that Western society is not a monolith, the vague principles of freedom, diversity, truth, etc., play themselves out quite differently in Western society both historically and in today’s various polities.
If one says ‘individual goals or freedom’ is the supreme paradigm, how does one know that this paradigm is, in the long run, favored over a society where “group goals” are given the advantage? That is a big unanswered question even from the naturalistic paradigm itself.