The Individual and Collective Self-Liberation model of Ustadh Mahmoud Mohames Taha
Beyond the Secular West, Edited by Akeel Bilgrami, Columbia University Press (2016)
32 Pages Posted: 17 Jul 2019
Date Written: 2016
Being a Muslim is foundational for me, it informs and guides everything I do or say in every aspect of my life. It is therefore inconceivable to me that I can hold any philosophical or ideological position that is inconsistent with my being a Muslim by my understanding of Islam. I have said that frequently regarding human rights, for instance, and affirm it here regarding secularism. It is from this perspective that I support the secular state for the possibility of being a better Muslim, and not secularism as a life philosophy that diminishes the public role of religion. "In order to be a Muslim by conviction and free choice, which is the only way one can be a Muslim, I need a secular state. By a secular state I mean one that is neutral regarding religious doctrine, one that does not claim or pretend to enforce Sharia." As I will explain later, the neutrality of the state regarding religion does not mean the exclusion of religion from politics-the formulation and implementation of social and public policy outside the realm of the state. The challenge is how to maintain religious neutrality of the state without attempting to exclude religion from politics. I say "attempting to exclude," because in my view it is not possible to do so in practice; the political behavior of believers will always be influenced by their religious beliefs, whether that is acknowledged or not.
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