Why does the Arab intellectual always talk about philosophy?

Recently, in our Arab world there have been many seminars and conferences on philosophy. Among them is the grand symposium held by the Bait Al Zubair Foundation in the Omani capital, Muscat, entitled “The Bait Al Zubair Philosophical Forum”. A large number of Arab intellectuals contributed to it.
Now let’s ask this question: Why does the Arab intellectual talk about philosophy? Why ask for help? I can almost say: Why are you crying? The French, German or English intellectual does not need this, for the simple reason that it has several centuries full of philosophers and philosophers. His culture is replete with free philosophical discussions around the clock about society, politics, religion and everything. As for the Arab intellectual, he is filled with something else that has nothing to do with philosophy nor anti-philosophy. Let us agree on the issues here: We do not lack faith and praise of God, but we lack scientific or philosophical rationality. It is known that civilizations are based on only two pillars: science and belief, or religion and philosophy. Since we neglected philosophy, our civilization collapsed and we entered long eras of decadence. Imam Al-Ghazali blasphemed the philosophers in his famous book “The Incoherence of Philosophers” published around 1093.
And so did Ibn Khaldun after him in his famous introduction, which contains a chapter entitled: “On the Devaluation of Philosophy and the Destruction of Its Deceiver.” And in it he says in a letter: “Its damages to religion are many, so the truth about it must be cracked and the true faith in it must be revealed.” Despite Ibn Khaldun’s genius in studying urban affairs and sociology and careful study of how civilizations arise, rise and fall, he contributed to al-Ghazali’s influence in degrading philosophy and even stopping it, if not in criminalizing and expelling it. It is a strange thing: on the one hand he finds a great rational thinker in the analysis of political and worldly affairs. But when it comes to religious issues, his mind stops working and he becomes a hardline fundamentalist! But we should not ask him what he has no help in or beyond the ceiling of his time. We have to wait another few centuries, until today, for another giant thinker to emerge and dare what his great ancestor had not thought: here I had in mind Muhammad Arkoun and his book, which we transferred it to the Arabic language under the title “Liberation of Islamic Conscience: Towards Exit from the Closed Dogmatic Fences”. (Dar Al-Tali’a Publications. Beirut. 2011).
Let us return to Imam Al-Ghazali, who was a great scholar and great connoisseur of philosophy. But he erred in breaking the law of causality, because whoever breaks the law of causality simply abolishes rationality. Perhaps for this reason we have become lazy, surrendered to the predestined and the written, and ascetic of personal freedom and human will. It’s all written about you, man, and the inevitable is predestined, so why bother, keep your mind, and try to change things for the better? But the great legacy of Islam tells us, “Be wise and have faith,” and not just faith. It invites us to return to our God-given minds. For this reason, we say that Al-Ghazali dealt a painful blow to rational thought in the Islamic arena. On the contrary, Ibn Sina was a shining star in our history, as were Al-Farabi, Al-Maari and the rest of the planets and stars. They were completely preoccupied with their own minds even when it came to religious matters. And they did not understand religion metaphysically, alienatingly or fanatically (in parentheses: I refer here to Dr. Omar Marzouk’s wonderful book published in Paris in 2021 entitled: Ibn Sina or the Islam of Lights). Al-Maarri, one of the leaders of intellectual enlightenment in our history, says:
Laws have put us between us
And you taught us the advancement of enmities,
What is meant by the laws here sects and sects. Is he talking about his era or ours?
He also says:
The lie of thought has no imam but the mind
Showing in the morning and in the evening
He also says:
So consult the mind and let others lose
Mind is the best advisor who has joined the club
These are the jewels that should not be forgotten. With Al-Ma’arri, we can be proud of the nations, all the nations, because he did not precede anyone and did not deprive anyone of the grace of God. And say the same about Ibn Arabi and our other great men and geniuses. Addressing Taha Hussein, Nizar Qabbani says:
Throw away your glasses, you are blind
We are the choir of the blind
We possess one of the greatest religious heritage of mankind: the Arab-Islamic heritage. But did we study it in a philosophically rational, enlightened way, as did the advanced nations of the West with their Christian heritage? Did we sift and sift it, as Arkoun did, for example, at the Sorbonne or Fazlur Rahman at the University of Chicago? that is the question. There is, therefore, a philosophical way of understanding religion and a traditional, superstitious, outdated way. Most European thinkers were interested in studying religion from a rational, philosophical and enlightening point of view. This is what led to the reduction of the fundamentalist sectarian tendency among them, even to its complete elimination. At that point, the sectarian problem was solved with them from the roots. Let us give the example of the great philosophers of the Enlightenment in Europe: Immanuel Kant. He saved Germany and put an end to the Catholic-Protestant fanaticism that had shattered it. How did Kant save Germany? Writing a great book entitled “Religion Only Within the Limits of Reason.” Meaning: Religion is understood from a tolerant philosophical and rational point of view and not from a sectarian point of view, in the way of Takfiri fundamentalists and the Christian Brotherhood … etc. From this we conclude that the problem of the Enlightenment philosophers was not religion at all, but a fanatical, obscurantist understanding of religion. Our problem is also not religion, but the misguided and extremist understanding of religion. In any case, this is why European philosophers began to dismantle Christian theological closures and save their countries from the clutches of bigotry. Who said philosophy is useless? Who said that the words of intellectuals are empty rumors that neither advance nor delay? A book can illuminate the world for you, but not any book! A philosophical book can break the Diager darkness. This is what the Arab world lacks today. Sectarian wars terrified Europe to such an extent that its intellectuals, for three centuries in a row, had only dismantled the atoning fatwas that ignited the fires. Now the issue is no longer dealt with, simply because it has been resolved in the matter of history. There is no longer a sectarian problem between Catholics and Protestants in Germany or France or throughout enlightened and civilized Europe. National unity is strongly anchored and no fundamentalism can threaten or threaten it. On the contrary, fundamentalism has become what they fear, and not the other way around!
Why did the Germans feel relieved and sigh relieved when Kant or Hegel appeared? The same was said of the French when Descartes, Rousseau, or Voltaire appeared. Because philosophers are the heroes of thought and existence. Because they are the only ones who can open a hole in the dead end of history. Because they are the only ones capable of dismantling the old sectarian thought and inaugurating the new Enlightenment thought that encompasses everyone, regardless of their race, sect or sect. Political leaders appear behind philosophers, not before them. Religious reform precedes political reform and paves the way for it. The Enlightenment revolution precedes the political revolution. Montesquieu, Voltaire and Jean-Jacques Rousseau appeared before, not after the French Revolution. Why did the Arab Spring fail?
Finally, we say the following: Because Enlightenment philosophers were able to crystallize a new interpretation of the Christian religion, they breathed new life into the French, English, or German nation. Bismarck, the unifier of Germany, appeared immediately after Kant and Hegel and not before them (1815-1898). Now the German nation is fully united, both Catholic and Protestant. It cannot be returned to the era of rival sects and sects for a simple reason: the new Enlightenment interpretation of religion has completely triumphed over the old obscurantist interpretation. But he could not defeat him except after fierce battles and hard work. This is what we have consistently called: The decisive battle of the self against the self!


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