Philosophy of Modernism


Beliefs & Practices, Chapter 01, Islam & Modernism / Saturday, August 16th, 2008

Philosophy of Modernism

A group of philosophers has been mentioned in the discussions of Legal Theory. Their concept of morality is called the Cognivist Theory. The famous legal expert Dr. Friedman has summarized this view in his book “Legal Theory” in these words:

“Reason is and ought only to be the slave of the passions and can never pretend to any other office than to serve and obey them” (p.36)

The end result to be derived from this view, in the words of Dr. Friedman, is:

“Every thing else but also words like ‘good,’‘bad,’‘ought,’‘worthy,’ are purely emotive, and there cannot be such thing as ethical or moral science” (pp.36,3’7).

However bad or wrong this view may be to form the basis of moral conceptions, it provides a true and realistic interpretation of secular reasoning. Factually, there can be no other outcome of submission to secular reason that no such thing as “Morality” should exist in the world, and nothing but passions should govern the words and deeds of man. In fact secular reasoning and ‘morality’ can never go together because a stage is arrived in the pursuit of ‘modernity’ when a man’s conscience regards an action as bad yet he feels bound to adopt it because ‘modernity’ and secular reasoning offer no argument to reject it. The western thinkers of today are helplessly facing the same predicament. A large number of British thinkers do not like the legalization of homosexuality adopted by the Parliament a few years ago but they were obliged to accept it because in the doctrine of a purely intellectual “modernity” there remains no option but to legalize every evil that has prevailed in the society. How admonishing are the words of the Wolfender Committee which was appointed to consider this issue:

“Unless a deliberate attempt is made by society acting through the agency of the law to equate this fear of crime with that of sin, there Must remain a realm of private morality and immorality which in brief and crude terms is not the law’s business.” (The Legal Theory).

In fact, once reason alone is made a judge to decide what is good and bad Man will be deprived of every standard that may be used as a basis to stop a new practice harmful to society. Reason has to be made to follow Divine standard of good and bad.

The law-makers are extremely worried that in the presence of the general trend of modernity what method can be adopted through which at least some exalted human values might be preserved. An American judge Carduzo has written that the most important legal need of today is that a philosophy of law should be organized which could create a harmony between the contradictory and antagonistic demands of stationary and revolutionary values. But the fact is that this job cannot be done through reason and philosophy. The entire disruption has started because the function of Wahy (Divine Revelations) has been imposed on the intellect of Man and in this way a burden has been placed on his shoulders which he cannot bear. It is only on the basis of some valid arguments that a law can be called perpetual and free of changes, but the human intellect is incapable of producing any such argument. Today some people may regard a law as unalterable on the basis of their reasons but tomorrow others may realize that it is not fit to be a perpetual law and they would declare it alterable. The only solution to the problem is that instead of making himself a slave of his passions he should submit  to the Being Who created him and the entire universe. Since that Being is fully aware of all the changes that would occur, no body else can determine which principles of law are unalterable.

The famous author of jurisprudence, George Paton, has written:

“What interests should the real legal system protect? This is a question of values in which legal philosophy plays its part…. But however Much we desire the help of philosophy, it is difficult to obtain. No agreed scale of values has ever been reached indeed. It is only in religion that we can find a basis, and the truth of religion Must be accepted by faith or invitation and not purely on the result of logical argument.” (Portion: Jurisprudences p.121).

In short secular intellect has totally failed to define good and bad. Hence there is no solution to the problem except that Man should seek guidance from God and follow the revealed doctrines. There is no other way of salvation for humanity. The Qur’an said:

“Is he who has a clear proof from his Lord like those to whom their evil deeds are made alluring and they follow their caprices?” (Muhammad: 14)

Hence the only solution to the problem is that every new trend or custom and convention should be judged, not on its apparent shine and glitter but on the basis of standards laid down by Allah, the Lord of the Universe. Once one finds any injunctions of Allah and His Messenger concerning it, then it must be followed without the least hesitation. The Qur’an says:

“And it is not for a believing man or a believing woman, when Allah and His Messenger have decreed a matter to have choice in their matter” (Q: 33:35)

Another verse of the Holy Quran speaks:

“But no, by your Lord, They will not believe until they make you (O Prophet) the judge of what is in dispute between them, then find no vexation in their hearts over what you decide and submit with full submission”. (Q:4:65)

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