The Philosophy Issue

A Reminder of Old Truths

Learning from the Qur'an.
A Reminder of Old Truths

Haleh Anvari, On the Road

Audio version read by George Atherton – Right-click to download

The Qur’an is a reminder of old truths already known to us all: for humans to live together successfully society must practice compassion, justice and equity. This insight lies at the root of political Islam.

Instead of the preeminence of the market, to which other social and community objectives are subordinated, the making of a society based on compassion, justice and equity becomes the overriding objective – to which other objectives, including markets, are subordinated.

It is revolutionary in another aspect: Instead of the individual being the organizational principle around which politics, economics and society are shaped, this Western paradigm is inverted. It is the collective welfare of the community in terms of such principles – rather than the individual – that becomes the litmus of political achievement.

Islamists are reopening an old debate – one at the root of both Western and Islamic philosophy. Posed by Plato, that debate questions the purpose of politics. Some Westerners are troubled that after 200 years of settled opinion, the Western paradigm is being questioned anew. One American conservative commented to me recently that with Descartes, the West had discovered “objective truth” through science and technology. It had made “us” rich and powerful and Muslims could not bear that. They knew that ultimately they would be forced to acquiesce to Western “truth.”

But the Islamist revolution is more than politics. It is an attempt to shape a new consciousness – to escape from the most far-reaching presuppositions of our time. It draws on the intellectual tradition of Islam to offer a radically different understanding of the human being, and to escape from the hegemony and rigidity of the Cartesian mindset.

The Islamist revolution is a voyage of discovery to a new “Self” that is far from complete. It has many shortcomings, but its intellectual insights offer Muslims (and Westerners) the potential to step beyond the shortcomings of Western materialism. This is what excites and energizes.

Alastair Crooke, NPQ, Summer 2009

48 comments on the article “A Reminder of Old Truths”

Displaying 1 - 10 of 48

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Andrew2000

Acquiescence to religion will not solve anything. It only provides yet another "us" against "them". And I am always wary of someone who identifies themselves first by their religion, colour, culture and even geographical location. Until you are prepared to identify yourself primarily as "a human being", you are setting yourself up to be divisive.

Andrew2000

Acquiescence to religion will not solve anything. It only provides yet another "us" against "them". And I am always wary of someone who identifies themselves first by their religion, colour, culture and even geographical location. Until you are prepared to identify yourself primarily as "a human being", you are setting yourself up to be divisive.

Genth

Extremely low quality article. I am a Philosophy major and this kind of article would have brought me a D-. What's that mention of Descartes out of nowhere? Didn't the author hear that the Arabs used and translated many ancient books and became a flowering culture in Spain *exactly when* they conformed more to the Hellenistic culture-style? Disappointing, Adbusters, disappointing. I may not be a native English speaker but this article doesn't have an excuse - if you really want to be a voice of the free world.
However, I believe the author considers Zizek the new messiah with all these pseudo-lacanian stuff like "discovery of the self" etc. As Kant said once, you can't change a revolution with another revolution. And that's what exactly the heated-heads in the middle east do, with the friendly help of the US.
And a new dark age of religion isn't what exactly "energizes" me. But then again, the herds have never been more populous than now. So, friends, let's burn all these "materialistic" stuff and keep only the Koran. Happy days are at horizons: a discovery of our most archaic collective "self" that stones to death women, homosexuals and anyone who doesn't OBEY (= ISLAM means 'to obey') the theocrats.

Genth

Extremely low quality article. I am a Philosophy major and this kind of article would have brought me a D-. What's that mention of Descartes out of nowhere? Didn't the author hear that the Arabs used and translated many ancient books and became a flowering culture in Spain *exactly when* they conformed more to the Hellenistic culture-style? Disappointing, Adbusters, disappointing. I may not be a native English speaker but this article doesn't have an excuse - if you really want to be a voice of the free world.
However, I believe the author considers Zizek the new messiah with all these pseudo-lacanian stuff like "discovery of the self" etc. As Kant said once, you can't change a revolution with another revolution. And that's what exactly the heated-heads in the middle east do, with the friendly help of the US.
And a new dark age of religion isn't what exactly "energizes" me. But then again, the herds have never been more populous than now. So, friends, let's burn all these "materialistic" stuff and keep only the Koran. Happy days are at horizons: a discovery of our most archaic collective "self" that stones to death women, homosexuals and anyone who doesn't OBEY (= ISLAM means 'to obey') the theocrats.

wikipedia

Alastair Crooke is a highly educated insider and informed analyst of the middle east situation....

From wikipedia:

Alastair Crooke (born 1950) is a British diplomat and was formerly a ranking figure in both British intelligence (MI6) and European Union diplomacy.

Crooke was a Middle East advisor to Javier Solana, High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy of the European Union (CFSP) from 1997 to 2003, facilitated a number of de-escalations of violence and military withdrawals in the Palestinian Territories with Islamist movements from 2000 to 2003 and was involved in the diplomatic efforts in the Siege of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.

Crooke studied at the University of St Andrews (1968–1972), from which he obtained an MA in Politics and Economics.

wikipedia

Alastair Crooke is a highly educated insider and informed analyst of the middle east situation....

From wikipedia:

Alastair Crooke (born 1950) is a British diplomat and was formerly a ranking figure in both British intelligence (MI6) and European Union diplomacy.

Crooke was a Middle East advisor to Javier Solana, High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy of the European Union (CFSP) from 1997 to 2003, facilitated a number of de-escalations of violence and military withdrawals in the Palestinian Territories with Islamist movements from 2000 to 2003 and was involved in the diplomatic efforts in the Siege of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.

Crooke studied at the University of St Andrews (1968–1972), from which he obtained an MA in Politics and Economics.

Anoq

What are you doing is a fallacy called 'argument from authority' and means that when asked why do you agree with a statement the only reason you give (besides personal preference, of course) is an appeal to the authority of the author. What in regular newspapers people do when they see an article with the title "experts say..." you are doing here.
And the crook you are talking about is exactly the kind of man used by the US to 'revolutionize' the Arab world, so his intentions, at least in this article, are clear as daylight.
World wide shariah is near.

Anoq

What are you doing is a fallacy called 'argument from authority' and means that when asked why do you agree with a statement the only reason you give (besides personal preference, of course) is an appeal to the authority of the author. What in regular newspapers people do when they see an article with the title "experts say..." you are doing here.
And the crook you are talking about is exactly the kind of man used by the US to 'revolutionize' the Arab world, so his intentions, at least in this article, are clear as daylight.
World wide shariah is near.

subhi.bora

Lol, the world couldn't be further from "world wide shariah".

Shariah literally means "the path to the source of water" so if by "world wide shariah" you mean "world wide access to water" then i agree, that is a pretty awesome thing to strive for ;)

I think the purpose of this article is to challenge misconceptions about Islam (that line has been so overused that it is almost cliche, but there is undeniable truth at the heart of it.) Instead of languishing in our mis-information, i believe we should challenge the texts we read and untruths we passively obtain via biased media. Is that not the very purpose of this publication?

I believe that there is a place in this world for acceptance of one another, that does not mean we have to live identically to one another, but that we can treat one another with respect. There is no "one way" of living life, even under Islam all Muslim's do not live the same way... just how all Christian's or Jew's or Buddhist's or Atheist's or Agnostic's do not live the same way.

Read "Three Cups of Tea" - now that's an awesome book. Greg Mortensen respects the knowledge and humanity of the Pakistani Muslims, and he does not try to change their cultural practices or ideologies in any way...He provides them with what they need; support, the opportunity to develop, and respect. You will find that the idea of building a school in a Muslim village was actually the request of the Muslim village chief, and he is the one who specifically wants to educate the girls. You will also discover that the "Mullah" or local religion teacher/religious leader supports and advocates for the building of the school and for the specific education of girls.

There are many problems in the world, we haven't even perfected the very basics like access to clean water and the education that all children deserve, and unfortunately they cannot be fixed over night. Nor can they be fixed by accusing the belief system of over 1 billion people in the world as the root of all problems. The problem is not a "theology" or "belief in God", the problem is humanity's unfailing ability to degrade, belittle, and destroy one another, and all that is inherently good.

subhi.bora

Lol, the world couldn't be further from "world wide shariah".

Shariah literally means "the path to the source of water" so if by "world wide shariah" you mean "world wide access to water" then i agree, that is a pretty awesome thing to strive for ;)

I think the purpose of this article is to challenge misconceptions about Islam (that line has been so overused that it is almost cliche, but there is undeniable truth at the heart of it.) Instead of languishing in our mis-information, i believe we should challenge the texts we read and untruths we passively obtain via biased media. Is that not the very purpose of this publication?

I believe that there is a place in this world for acceptance of one another, that does not mean we have to live identically to one another, but that we can treat one another with respect. There is no "one way" of living life, even under Islam all Muslim's do not live the same way... just how all Christian's or Jew's or Buddhist's or Atheist's or Agnostic's do not live the same way.

Read "Three Cups of Tea" - now that's an awesome book. Greg Mortensen respects the knowledge and humanity of the Pakistani Muslims, and he does not try to change their cultural practices or ideologies in any way...He provides them with what they need; support, the opportunity to develop, and respect. You will find that the idea of building a school in a Muslim village was actually the request of the Muslim village chief, and he is the one who specifically wants to educate the girls. You will also discover that the "Mullah" or local religion teacher/religious leader supports and advocates for the building of the school and for the specific education of girls.

There are many problems in the world, we haven't even perfected the very basics like access to clean water and the education that all children deserve, and unfortunately they cannot be fixed over night. Nor can they be fixed by accusing the belief system of over 1 billion people in the world as the root of all problems. The problem is not a "theology" or "belief in God", the problem is humanity's unfailing ability to degrade, belittle, and destroy one another, and all that is inherently good.

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