Can I Be A Secular Muslim?

Secular Muslim

The dispute over the separation of state and religion has gone viral on mainstream and social media. Its advocates have striven immensely to promulgate their doctrine, hoping to make it appealing to the Muslim masses. Amazingly, they’ve even tried to substantiate its credibility by using arguments from the Quran and authentic Sunnah. What’s even more stunning to see is that some of the supposedly Islamic schools serve the secularist doctrine and exploit, cunningly, every argument in favor of it.

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The feeble lay Muslim, who lacks knowledge to help him distinguish between truth and falsehood, is isolated from the nation’s scholars and is in a state of bewilderment and unable to decide who to believe and follow. Especially, when he observes both parties leaning on legitimate proofs from the Quran and Sunnah to substantiate their pretensions.

Often, we see the mainstream media, when holding debates between a secularist and an Islam advocate, host a well-experienced and articulate secularist apologist, who knows how to cunningly manipulate the debate. Unlike his Islamic opponent, who would be an unknown, weak and inarticulate representative of Islam, who is easily manipulated and deceived by his secularist rival.

But, thanks to the All Mighty, we are gifted by scholars and observant students of knowledge,
who brought the disturbance of these secularists and their allies to halt, through social media and neutral or pro Islam TV channels. They were able to expose and disprove the secularists’ arguments and prove its incoherence with statistics, which patently display the devastating consequences of the secularists’ values in the lands where it emanated from. These statistics substantiated the decline of morals, degradation of values, and dismantlement of the social and family structure in the bigot secularists countries, which, sadly, our “secularist Muslims” strive fervently to imitate.

Frankly, I want to direct my discourse to my fellow Muslim brothers and sisters, who are not fully aware of the issue and bewildered by the arguments of both parties and failed to decide: “Who is Correct?”

I say: “O Blessed Muslim brother and sister, who have submitted himself/herself willingly to Allāh and so eager to please your Lord, may Allāh guide and safeguard you”

Allāh, the Exalted, placed universal laws, which regulate the galaxies, earth, stars, planets, atoms and even particles within atoms. He placed laws to ease life for His creation from the moment it was a tiny creature called the cell, which can only be observed through microscopes, to the moment it became a fully grown creature. He sustained it with all means to prolong its existence such as air, water, plants, seas, day and night. He supplied it with a spouse to procreate and guaranteed the continuation of its race.

Allāh, the Exalted, said:

وَمِن كُلِّ شَيْءٍ خَلَقْنَا زَوْجَيْنِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَذَكَّرُونَ

And of all things We created two mates; perhaps you will remember. (Surah ad-Dhariat, Ayah 49)

And if we just ponder upon the male/female correlation within the animal kingdom, it becomes apparent how great this Creator is.

Thus, we show complete submission and absolute amazement when we ponder on His creation and how He is stunningly running this ever expanding intricate universe with all the startling diverse creations. All that through universal laws that He had placed, which are so intricate in their construct, yet so perfect and delicate in their performance. Everything is fine-tuned to optimum efficiency. He, the Exalted, manifested great deal of care for every single existing creature even if we cannot comprehend it.

Due to this perfection, we have never heard any criticism on how this universe operates.

Have you ever heard any objection about how the sun operates or any criticism of the laws and order it follows?!

Have you ever heard any disappointment of the creation of day and night or the laws in which both operate in?!

Have you ever heard any one arguing on:

Why do women conceive and not men?

Why women breast feed and not men?

Or why women have menses and not men?

Similarly, we don’t hear any opposition against the way in which His entire creation exists or the laws in which they operate in.

Why is that?

This is because, everyone has sensed and enjoyed this perfection and was reassured and grateful by the delicate universal laws and the enormous care Allāh has given to His entire creation.

So, O Muslim, you have submitted willingly that He is the Creator and the Disposer of all affairs in this entire universe; and your senses and limbs fully admit and testify to that.

Hence, is it fair and justifiable after all that to oppose your Creator’s legitimate laws?

How contradicting it is to praise Him for his universal laws and simultaneously oppose His legitimate laws!

Is it rational to submit to Him in one instance and display rebellion in another?

Does such behavior comply with the definition of Islam, which is to completely submit to Allāh?

When Allāh, the Exalted, instructs mankind to abstain from specific food or drinks, this because He knows best what’s beneficial and what’s harmful to these bodies, which He has created.

When Allāh, the Exalted, instructs us to conduct monetary transaction according to specific set of laws and asserts to be free from any deception, usury or ambiguities in any deal, this is because He know best how to preserve the rights of others and to prevent any potential monetary disputes.

When Allāh, the Exalted, instructs that the family laws and regulation such as marriage, divorce, child custody, and inheritance, to be constrained in specific manner, this is because He knows best what maintains serenity for people’s life and deter any potential feud and hatred amongst them.

When Allāh, the Exalted, instructs us to apply punishments for specific crimes and He declares a set of laws against the wrong-doers and places a fair and consistent judiciary laws, this is because He knows best how to deter the aggressor and preserve for the society its peace and tranquility.

When Allāh, the Exalted, instructs rulers to regulate people’s affairs using specific laws in peace and war, this is because He knows what’s fit in preserving the unity and serenity of the society and what maintains for people their worldly and religious affairs.

So, how surprising it is to find people questioning, all over media, the credibility and validity of Allāh’s legitimate laws, while they, personally, stand in reverence before Allāh’s universal and cosmological laws.

فَمَا لَكُمْ كَيْفَ تَحْكُمُونَ

Then what is [wrong] with you – How do you judge? (Surah Younus, Ayah 35)

And how self-contradicting it is to find a Muslim titling himself as “Secularist Muslim” in an attempt to reconcile between two extremes. A Muslim is a person, who fully submits himself to Allāh’s injunctions; while the secularist is a person, who is fully rebellious against Allāh’s legitimate laws. Secularism is founded on secluding any divine laws from regulating the states affairs, whether it was political, economical, judicial or social system. Secularism deems religion as a personal affair, which should not reflect on how we operate our worldly affairs.

In real, as if the “Secularist Muslim”, who is rebelling against Allāh’s legitimate laws, is saying: “O Allāh you have perfected creating the universe and fascinated us in how you run its affairs. And we submit that you are the Omniscient and the Competent, who have fine-tuned everything to optimum. We have read the Qur’ān and saw all the legitimate laws that You have stated, but we don’t need them; and they are inapplicable and inefficient for us; we are more knowledgeable and more capable than You are in putting laws and regulations, which meet our demands!

Thus, we came to conclusion to replace Your laws by ours. And we have the right to regulate the laws that we desire; and it’s us alone, who decides what’s lawful and what’s not!”

O servants of Allāh aren’t you astounded by those, who admit that Allāh is the one to be worshiped and obeyed alone. He commands them to apply these laws and regulations, which are all over His noble Quran and promulgated by His Noble Prophet Muhammad ﷺ throughout his entire life, and then they not only persist and argue on not submitting to these divine laws, but also call for replacing them by laws made by fallible, incompetent, mortal and immensely limited in knowledge human beings.

We ask the “Secularist Muslim”: “What’s the use of all these verses in the Qur’ān, which instruct us to abide to the Book of Allāh, and the multitude of verses, which state many laws pertaining our worldly affairs such as monetary transactions, economics, marriage, divorce, family matters, crimes, punishments, judiciary laws, politics and how to run the nation’s affairs in peace or war?!

Are you claiming that these verses were revealed merely for us to read and acquire the blessing of doing so? Or are we obliged to apply these rulings and laws in our life and put them into practice?!

Then why would Allāh, the Exalted, throughout the Qur’ān warn enormously against violating these laws and rules?!

For this reason, Allāh, the Exalted, condemned the Jews, who have replaced Allāh’s laws or tampered with, and He proclaimed that a great torment is awaiting them for committing such aggression.

Allāh, the Exalted, said about them:

أَفَتُؤْمِنُونَ بِبَعْضِ الْكِتَابِ وَتَكْفُرُونَ بِبَعْضٍ ۚ فَمَا جَزَاءُ مَن يَفْعَلُ ذَٰلِكَ مِنكُمْ إِلَّا خِزْيٌ فِي الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا ۖ وَيَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ يُرَدُّونَ إِلَىٰ أَشَدِّ الْعَذَابِ ۗ وَمَا اللَّهُ بِغَافِل

So do you believe in part of the Scripture and disbelieve in part? Then what is the recompense for those who do that among you except disgrace in worldly life; and on the Day of Resurrection they will be sent back to the severest of punishment. And Allāh is not unaware of what you do (Surah al-Baqarah, Ayah 85)

The verses and ahadith (Prophet’s statements), which instruct us to refer to the Book of Allāh and Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ are immense.

Allāh said:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا أَطِيعُوا اللَّهَ وَأَطِيعُوا الرَّسُولَ وَلَا تُبْطِلُوا أَعْمَالَكُمْ

O you who have believed, obey Allāh and obey the Messenger and do not invalidate your deeds. (Surah Muhammad, Ayah 33)

So, is he, who rejected many of Allāh’s legitimate laws, deemed to be obedient to Allāh and His messenger or a rebellious disobedient sinner, who had invalidated his deeds?

How can we ignore the divine discourse presented in these verses?

فَلَا وَرَبِّكَ لَا يُؤْمِنُونَ حَتَّىٰ يُحَكِّمُوكَ فِيمَا شَجَرَ بَيْنَهُمْ ثُمَّ لَا يَجِدُوا فِي أَنفُسِهِمْ حَرَجًا مِّمَّا قَضَيْتَ وَيُسَلِّمُوا تَسْلِيمًا

Allāh, the Exalted, said: (But no, by your Lord, they will not [truly] believe until they make you, [O Muhammad], judge concerning that over which they dispute among themselves and then find within themselves no discomfort from what you have judged and submit in [full, willing] submission. (Surah An-Nisaa’, Ayah 65)
Allāh, the Exalted, said:

وَمَا كَانَ لِمُؤْمِنٍ وَلَا مُؤْمِنَةٍ إِذَا قَضَى اللَّهُ وَرَسُولُهُ أَمْرًا أَن يَكُونَ لَهُمُ الْخِيَرَةُ مِنْ أَمْرِهِمْ ۗ وَمَن يَعْصِ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ فَقَدْ ضَلَّ ضَلَالًا مُّبِينًا

It is not for a believing man or a believing woman, when Allāh and His Messenger have decided a matter, that they should [thereafter] have any choice about their affair. And whoever disobeys Allāh and His Messenger has certainly strayed into clear error. (Surah al-Ahzaab, Ayah 36)

These legitimate rulings were exclusively practiced and preached by the Prophet ﷺ; and he was extremely strict in establishing them. The Caliphs, who came after him, exerted similar efforts and practiced these laws and fought for establishing them. And this was the norm with all the rulers, who followed them for centuries. Despite all these facts, we are astounded by the blatant pretension of some, who say that the Prophet ﷺ called for the separation of state and religion!

We are in a time, where many are attempting to tamper with the pure teachings of Islam. Our religion (Deen) is the most valuable thing we possess, which we must safeguard using every possible mean. And we should exploit every rational argument to disprove any attempt to approach our valuable Deen with criticism or misinterpretation.

We should support the scholars and students of knowledge, who have dedicated their life, time and knowledge to defend the Deen. And we should not stand as side viewers observing this onslaught against the main principles of Islam without offering any assistance to Islam’s advocates.

If one of us had a box filled with precious jewelry, is he going to leave it open and handy for everyone to reach or even look at? Certainly, he won’t even allow anyone to reach the lid of the box! In fact, he’ll place it in a very far and secure place and exert every effort to safeguard this box.

Well, our religion is more precious to us than this valuable box. Thus, we must safeguard it and spare every effort to protect it more than protecting that precious box which is full of jewels and gems.

Here are few suggestions to enlighten us on how to safeguard our religion:

  1. We should be very careful to whom we listen to and from whom we take our religious knowledge.
  2. We should avoid and be aware of those, who are known for criticizing the religion, scholars and tamper with the legitimate rulings of Islam.
  3. We should be close to the devoted well learned scholars and acquire their support in order to protect our faith. Allāh, the Exalted, praised the scholars immensely and instructed us to refer to them for any inquiry we have.

Allāh, the Exalted, said: And when there comes to them information about [public] security or fear, they spread it around. But if they had referred it back to the Messenger or to those of authority among them, then the ones who [can] draw correct conclusions from it would have known about it. (Surah an-Nisaa’, Ayah 83)

And the Prophet ﷺ praised them and said: Verily, the scholars are the heirs of Prophets [1]

And if you ask: “How can we know these scholars in which we can refer to in peace and calamity?”

I say: we know them through their correct belief; their devotion and righteous deeds; and their good manners and care of the community. They glorify Allāh’s Book; embody the Sunnah of the Prophet ﷺ in their practice; highly knowledgeable in both; practice their teachings; did not tamper with their contents; fervent advocates of both; and upon the path of the companions they walk without innovating in the Deen.

The Prophet ﷺ praised in many occasions the status of the scholars and prophesied that deviance appears in Muslim communities once they distance themselves from the scholars and take knowledge from other than them.

Abdullah Ibn Amr narrated that the Prophet ﷺ said: “Verily, Allāh does not take away knowledge by yanking it from the people, but He takes it away by taking away (the lives of) the scholars till none of the scholars stays alive. Then the people will take ignorant ones as their leaders, who, when asked to deliver religious verdicts, will issue them without knowledge. So, they will go astray and will lead the people astray.” (al-Bukhari & Muslim)

Whoever constantly listens to the controversies presented by the deviated ones, he will certainly expose his faith to corruption. And whenever he is confronted with an articulate deviated preacher, he would abandon what he believes to what this deviated preacher is promulgating. Such a person will never find stability in faith and he’ll keep transforming between the arguments of these preachers. You may find him listening to everything and reading from everyone; pretending that he is wise enough to distinguish the truth from falsehood; and the poor guy is limited in knowledge and does not have time to go back to the devoted scholars or read their answers, until he is strangled by these doubts and misinterpretation and choked to death.

Our righteous predecessors warned immensely against listening or intermingling with the people of innovations and deviance. See to what extent they’ve distanced themselves from them.

Yahya Ibn Abi Katheer (d. 129 AH) used to say: “If you see an innovator walking along a path, move to another path.” [2].

We have observed how intermingling and listening to the people of innovation and deviance, while abandoning intermingling and listening to the scholars had led many youths even within the Arabian Peninsula not only to atheism but also to practice and preach devil’s worship!

May Allāh show us the truth as true and grant us following it; and show us of falsehood as false and help us avoid it.