Is secular Islam possible in our country?

The recent PAS muktamar brings to the forefront – yet again – the question of whether secular Islam is a possibility in an increasingly racially and religiously acrimonious and divided Malaysia.

Secularism has been defined as the separation of public life and civil/government matters from religious teachings and commandments, or more simply the separation of religion and politics. It is an evolution that the great majority of the world’s nations have gone through – some quickly, others more slowly.

However, almost all nations, even as they develop at uneven speeds, have inevitably gravitated towards a separation of religion and state.

Today, except for a few countries such as Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Iran and Yemen, most nations – developed and developing – view a religiously-based state as a throwback to a more primitive form of government; and a historical era in which life was nasty, brutish and short, except for the religious elite.

[A TO RATED COMMENT] Ahok sentenced to two years for saying nothing! Increasing intolerance, bigotry and religious hatred, and the moderate majority and irresponsible politicians in power staying silent out of fear of being branded as anti islam by the fanatics. A very disturbing trend indeed, perhaps 40 plus years of wahabbi petrol dollar fueled mind poisoning is starting to bear fruit among the once peacefiul shores of Islam Nusantara. Watch this space, this could be the beginning of the end!

[ANOTHER] There is no such thing as secular Islam. There is such a thing as secularism. All modern and civilised societies are based on secularism. Muslims fleeing violence, terror and destruction in Islamic States invariably run to secular historically Christian societies for shelter. Muslims must ask why do fleeing Muslims never opt to go to rich Muslim countries like Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Dubai, Kuwait, Abu Dhabi for a better life?

[ANOTHER] The Quran, ‘authentic’ Hadiths, Islamic historical texts and the Sharia are replete with injunctions which reject each and every point presented above. None of the so called liberal and secularist Muslims have adopted a position whereby they state it is possible to be a Muslim and yet not believe that the Quran is the exact word of God or believe that the Quran is a man made creation susceptible to human fallibility.

Religious belief should always be a personal matter as there is no means of ‘proving’ that an individual’s belief system is true. It is only by force and violence that one can impose a belief system. I dare say in the modern world, it is only Islamic countries which impose Islam on the populace in varying degrees, thus automatically being in conflict with modern values such as freedom of thought and human rights. The crux of the issue is whether Islam can square the circle of allowing for freedom of worship, human rights and Secularism? [Malaysiakini] Read more

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