ʿAqīl المُصْطَفَوِي

ʿAqīl المُصْطَفَوِي

24-10-2021

02:28

We live in age of contradiction—those attuned to their fiṭrah would realise this pre-reflectively. Things that are morally wrong are redefined to fit an incomplete framework of ethics. This is what causes spiritual unrest in many people, and agitation in much of discourse.

Sexual jokes, explicit content in media, overall degenerate behaviour are deemed acceptable as long as those participating in it are fine with it. The contradiction, of course, is that the same people who profess to be Muslims are the one defending this. This is nothing other..

than expressive individualism clothed with language of 'consent'. "Oh so you don't believe in consent, what a rape apologist!" is the invariably low-IQ response people give to this. Not denying the importance of consent, but the bigger picture is the place of consent as the...

ultimate arbiter of morals. It's an idol to be worshipped in any discourse on morals. It quite literally has taken the place of God in divine command (what is construed as 'consensual' can never be definitively said as immoral regardless of what the content is, vice versa).

Alasdair MacIntyre in his book 'After Virtue' talks about this—much of the moral claims made in the modern world is simply an expression of preference: that "good" simply means nothing more than "I like it". He calls this ethical theory of expressive individualism as "emotivism".

As I said, this is incomplete because it deliberately leaves out, and even denies, an important aspect of Islamic ethics—that one can do wrong towards one's own soul (literally: performing injustice to one's soul, as per the Qur’ānic phrase ظلم نفسه). Syed Naquib al-ʿAṭṭās...

has an interesting explanation for this in his discussion of morality. Injustice is "the putting a thing in a place not its own" and thus injustice towards the soul is that "he has misused it... caused it to deviate from what is right". This implies that even as much as the...

secular-liberal ideal of society is to remain indifferent towards what one does in the private sphere, and to protect any consensual fāḥishah from being definitively called immoral, the true believer recognises that individual moral responsibility still exists in these cases.

As al-ʿAṭṭās puts it, "neither the state nor the society are are for him real and true objects of his loyalty and obedience". Anything that has been definitively said to be fāḥishah will remain a fāḥishah, regardless of whether it's consensual.

Thus, we now have a conflict. On one hand, the believer has the innate realisation that there is a need for Divine authority in dictating ethics. As M.A. Draz puts it in his 'The Moral World of the Qur'an', "only positive divine law can continue and complete natural moral law".

On the other hand, we have a conception of liberal ethics that allows for people to be degenerates—as long as this remains in the individual sphere or as long as their degeneracy is consented by others. This conflict that exists creates a form of ambivalence that unsettles us.

Zygmunt Bauman addresses this brilliantly in the opening line of his book, Modernity and Ambivalence. The fact that there are some things that we can assign to more category—in this context, consented fāḥishah is simultaneously immoral and moral—causes discomfort in us.

Why exactly does is this discomforting? I would posit that this is because the believer not just sees it as the Sharīʿa being violated—in a disengaged sort of way. Rather, the believer actually feels something personal within him is violated when fāḥishah is normalised as moral

This is why Imām al-Ghazālī in his Iḥyā’ says that it is meaningless to talk of an obligation coming to us from outside of ourselves, because it would be absurd to concern ourselves with something that is of no value to us. On the contrary, the believer internalises within...

themselves that it is our human reason that delivers us to divine reason, hence having a personal element to it—which is why spiritual agitation occurs within Muslims even when they are not necessarily the ones committing fāḥishah. On another note, the solution given to this...

by both sides ("educate people on consent!", "educate people on Islāmic values") both fall short of what is actually needed. Knowledge is necessary, yes, but that is only the first step. The Platonic theory of the soul might not be still fashionable in this day and age but it...

makes a lot of sense. Miskawayh, in his Tadhhīb al-Akhlāq, posits that good actions can only come from good character. And good character only comes through cultivating the virtues—merely being "educated" on something is not enough to guarantee good actions. Few understand this

However, this brings us to another problem. How can virtues be cultivated in an individual when the society surrounding him is degenerate? al-Fārābī's theory of the Virtuous City (al-madīnah al-faḍīlah) is relevant here.

The virtuous city is one in which the people living within it co-operate with each other to cultivate the things required to attain felicity. This is why it makes no sense to allow consensual degeneracy in society, and at the same time hope for virtuous individuals to be...

born from that sort of environment. This absurdity is another contradiction that the true believer can feel pre-reflectively. Wallāhu aʾlam. Correct me if I'm wrong.

Someone great once said “Some can read, of those who can most are functionally illiterate and cannot reason as a consequence”. This is an exhibit of it. How do you expect and judge “”the state”” to be good if the individuals in power are themselves not individually virtuous?

Addendum: On the modern disregard for base desires/vices



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