We have cautiously approached the issue of Islam and secularization here, with a perspective that is more bark than bite. I speak as an outsider, and stop at the boundary of a world moslems themselves must reckon. But in the context of WHEE it is important to often an outside critique, or, not even that, but a caution as to the way the future will treat religions of the Axial period. Or rather religions arising in the wake of the Axial period. They have all encountered an elusive obstacle in the rise of modernity. Why is that? WHEE presumes no final answers but the epochal progression of world history shows the way religions enter and then fade away. We have no real religious legacies that precede the Axial period, although some, like hinduism, seem like exceptions.
But that does not answer to the possibility that monotheism will adapt to the new future and end into the new era, transformed.
Here it is important to distinguish secularism from atheism. There is no reason for the association, although confusion is understandable.
The future of Islam will then be the realization of a new interior legacy in the form of its core advance against greater antiquity. And Islam has embedded still another ‘religion’ called ‘sufism’ whose status is very uncertain.
We have repeatedly attacked sufism as a gnostic mafia out of control. Is this fair? What are the facts? Can the facts be found and assessed? I think the corruption of sufism will drive many toward the attempt to destroy Islam. I offer think the war on terror is the result of someone in the State Department, a generation or more ago, encountering rogue sufism and going into paranoic shock and vowing to destroy the whole phenomenon. In fact this kind of reaction has been frequent over history, but the modern version is slightly different. Few had every heard of sufism until modern times (and there have been sufis inside xtianity).
It is important, but almost impossible to arrive at the facts here.
I think the issue of modernization should be one of self-defense. Modernization does not require atheism, or the rejection of the core of Islam. Sharia law is probably a lost cause. But here an outsider cannot produce right commentary, so after a sort of rhetorical blast over the bows, it is ‘your move’ as they say.
So it is not a question of dismantling Islam, although a large action of hostile outsiders has become fixated in that mentality.
In any case, Islam, like Xtianity, is pervaded with legacies of ancient civilizations and these primitive additions to a different core are proving costly as the tide of epochal change breaks over Islam. Drop them. Streamline Islam. Redeem theology to what is evident in the core prayer ritual of Islam: a deep sense of the divine beyond the pop theism of monotheism degenerating…
But I will have to be on my way…it is not quite safe to dispense free advice here…from now on I will go undercover as a fakir, a beggar with hand outstretched, a bread crust, no?