One of the most commonly used terms today is being enlightened. Most people do not know what it means to be enlightened and where this concept originates. The concept of being enlightened is the reflection of the “Enlightenment” philosophy that emerged in European countries in the 18th century. The concept of being enlightened is used synonymously with the concepts of being civilized, contemporary, rational, scientist and democrat. For them, someone who is enlightened is progressive and civilized. However, when we go into the origin of this concept, it becomes clear that this is not the case at all. In this article, the concept of Enlightenment will be discussed in detail and its inconsistencies and inaccuracies will be revealed. We recommend that Muslims examine this article carefully so that they know the truth underlying the concept of enlightenment.
What is Enlightenment Philosophy?
The term enlightenment is used to express the Western thought and philosophy culture in the 18th century. But what exactly is the Enlightenment is controversial. In general, however, the Enlightenment is that man tries not to depend on religion and traditions in thinking and evaluation, but rather to direct his life through his own mind and senses. To do so, it aims to use and glorify his mind, even to deify it.
The pre-history of the Enlightenment was the Renaissance movement in the mid-15th century, the Reform movements in the 16th century, and the Analytic philosophy whose effects became apparent from the mid-17th century. The Renaissance movement is the beginning of a transition from a life order rooted in a supernatural world to a life order rooted in this world. That is, when people want to abandon the rules laid down by a Creative Deity and begin to completely regulate their lives with the data of the world. In Europe, people have tried to shape their views about the world and life, using the ways provided by reason, especially as an excuse for church bigotry. Societies against church bigotry turned to religious reform movements and revealed the sects of Protestantism and Calvinism against Catholicism. The ideas of philosophers such as Descartes (1596-1650), Spinoza (1632-1677) and Leibniz (1646-1716) in the 17th century turned into a cultural philosophy in the 18th century and led to the maturation of Enlightenment philosophy. The main attitude of this philosophy is that they want to approach the truth of human and nature with reason and experiment, and want to explain and understand everything with reason. Therefore, the philosophy of the 18th century is called “Philosophy of Enlightenment” and this period is called “Age of Enlightenment”.
Enlightenment, as an intellectual movement, began with the British Revolution in 1688 and reached its peak with the French Revolution of 1789. In this process, Capitalism was first born and developed in England, gained power in France and came to Germany last because of feudal conditions. Enlightenment is more experimental in the UK; it is more rational in France; in Germany it is more mystical-rational.
In this cultural movement called enlightenment philosophy, there is no any philosophical system that can be distinguished from other philosophies and has its unique features. In this process, each philosopher developed his own teachings. While these teachings sometimes show parallelism, sometimes they are diametrically opposed. The ideas put forward in that period were also criticized by the philosophers of that period. For example, Hume (1711-1776) systematically refutes the arguments that the values of the Enlightenment are firmly established. Therefore, the various views put forward during this period do not constitute a homogeneous doctrine. We will give examples on various topics below.
Philosophy of Knowledge
What is the view of the Enlightenment on this issue? According to Locke (1632-1704), all our imaginations come from experience. Even abstract concepts, which at first glance seem to have nothing to do with experience, are a combination of some basic experiential knowledge. However, according to Kant (1724-1804), the basic concepts do not come from experience, they are a priori knowledge of understanding ability. They are also prerequisites for experience. So it is impossible to experiment without this a priori knowledge. Locke and Kant are two famous philosophers of this period, and their views on the philosophy of knowledge are diametrically opposed.
Philosophy of Being
The concept of matter, substance and ore has been understood in various ways. Locke accepts both substance as matter and substance as spiritual entity. Berkeley (1685-1753) rejects the material substance and accepts the spiritual substance as the basis; Hume rejects both. According to Kant, substance is a knowledge of understanding ability. Accordingly, the Enlightenment philosophy's view of existence is not uniform.
Likewise, opinions about the way to reach scientific knowledge are different from each other. Voltaire (1694-1778) is based on Newton's method (1643-1727) and gives importance to experiment and induction. On the other hand, according to Kant the scientific knowledge is included a priori in the understanding ability. Descartes also mentions the existence of a rational, pure deductive method of science.
Hume explains morality based on emotion. Kant considers morality completely independent of emotions.
Philosophy of Religion: Locke finds Christianity plausible. Hume explains religion with fear. Voltaire defends the deism. J’Holbach (1723-1789) and La Mettrie (1709-1751) advocate atheism. Kant, on the other hand, sees God and soul as the idols of the mind.
There are many different opinions on the social contract. Locke's social contract provides a more appropriate basis for a pluralist-liberal regime. The social contract of Hobbes (1588-1679) and Rousseau (1712-1778) is more conducive to defending single-party regimes. As a matter of fact, the Bolsheviks adopt Rousseau's idea of “general will”. In the National fight, Ataturk defended this theory when the TGNA (Turkish Grand National Assembly” was established in Ankara. On the other hand, Montesquieu (1689-1755) defended the separation of powers.
From all this we understand that the Enlightenment philosophy has no distinctive feature. Western thinkers also acknowledge this. N. Hampson (1922-2011), for example, says in his book The Age of Enlightenment:
“There is no benefit in trying to make a general definition of the enlightenment current. Such a definition would be so full of contradictions and inconsistencies that it would have no meaningful validity. ”
However, in the Enlightenment period, some thought activities have become more prominent. These are intellectual activities such as “criticism”, “rationalism” and “opposition to religion”. According to some, it is stated that the authors of the Enlightenment period did not put forward original ideas on these issues and they took some basic thought patterns in the Middle Ages and secularized them.
In the books on Enlightenment, English enlightenment, French enlightenment, German enlightenment, American enlightenment are mentioned as different phenomena. Such a philosophy change from country to country, change from philosopher to philosopher, and whose original aspect cannot be determined, can it be consistent and valid? However, how do we explain how this philosophy can be survived and adopted by humans and used as a measure to become civilized? In order to explain this, it is necessary to look at the history of Enlightenment thought a little more deeply.
The most important social basis of the European Enlightenment is that it originated from industry. The maturation of the industrial revolution in England was towards the end of the 18th century. The use of scientific discoveries in production and the organization of bourgeois in trade and production led to the development of capitalism. While the middle class formed a large community in England, it remained a minority in France and Russia. While the bourgeoisie determined economic and social power in England, the bourgeoisie of France had a Jacobin character. With the power given by these developments, the governments became the collocutors served by the Enlightenment philosophy. With this logic, the Enlightenment became the views of political and economic powers. The bourgeoisie has embraced the concept of enlightened despotism in order to retain its power. This concept, which was first used by Diderot (1713-1784) in 1760, describes the actions of monarchs in European countries such as Prussia, Russia, France, Spain and Austria to improve social order. An important contribution of enlightened despotism is that it provides a patronage services in the field of art. In particular, musicians like Bach, Handel and Mozart performed their art under the patronage of the despotic Enlightenment. In addition, the feudal lords maintained the interests of only a part of society, claiming that they were observing the interests of the whole society. In this process, philosophers and despots used each other for specific purposes. For this reason, the cooperation between them is determined by realpolitical concerns rather than philosophical.
Therefore, when the French Enlightenment is taken into consideration, it is easy to understand that halls, lodges and cafes stand out as the venue of the Enlightenment process. The halls were managed by women who were aristocratic or bourgeois but close to the palace or with social prestige. Under the patronage of the halls, philosophers not only found a community in line with their thinking, but also provided a large source of livelihood. Masonic chambers were open to new ideas and their defense. All kinds of ideas were passed through the necessary critical filters without being publicly available. In this respect, the chambers were obliged to aim for the perfect bourgeois society.
Accordingly, the themes of the general philosophy of life represented by the Enlightenment were in harmony with the way of the world looking of a certain class (the bourgeoisie and the aristocracy) in the 18th century , no matter how it was explained with universal and general terms.
The social project of the French Enlightenment rests on a despotic society and state; The community project of the British Enlightenment rests on parliamentary absolutism and the community project of the German Enlightenment rests on an authoritarian social order. In contrast to the economic power and reputation of the British bourgeoisie, the French bourgeoisie had political and ideological constitutionalism in its society. In Germany, the bourgeoisie had not yet been produced; hence he did not have the historical-social dynamics of the Enlightenment. In societies such as Russia and Italy, which later joined European history, the Enlightenment was the object of either an intellectual enterprise (ie an economic enterprise) or the political goals of a despot.
The Enlightenment philosophy, in principle, believes that Enlightenment is only possible in a society ready for the Enlightenment. Therefore, the “other”, ie the non-European, non-Christian tribes, could not be enlightened. The other was ignorant, barbarian and undeveloped. Thus, in Russian society, the Enlightenment was formed only in the personality of a despot. Here, it is seen that the Enlightenment philosophy is closely related to the development and secularization of the middle classes. Since such a middle class had not formed in Russia, the Enlightenment had found a despot as the subject to carry it.
Enlightenment was a Western discourse from beginning to end. For him, there was no living and concrete one. There was no political goal other than the defense and reconciliation of broad middle-class interests outside aristocracy and clergy in a reshaped world. Once the Enlightenment became institutionalized, for once and for all times it was nothing more than a mythical mind itself, which was directed to keep people and objects in the grip of eternal domination. This mythical mind has completed its historical mission. If we judge him against the world he has destroyed, he is the "monster with a single tooth."
The structure between the enlightenment and the ruling forces continued in the following centuries. The powers always kept the idea of Enlightenment fresh and thought that it was necessary and useful for them to remain strong. Today, the idea of Enlightenment is put in front of people on every occasion. In the Republican period in Turkey, the model of enlightened, modern human was always worked and supported by the governments. The concept of enlightenment has been expressed as light at various times. Thus, it has been suggested that being civilized is a property of the enlightened person. As an indicator of being enlightened, thoughts such as living secular, keeping reason and science above everything, seeing nature as the origin of everything were expressed. Today, people who want to be out of secular life, who do not make their mind God, and who want to bring their religious views to the forefront are labeled as being reactionary and not civilized. These evaluations are the results of the philosophy understanding which is injected into the society by the governments whose see the Enlightenment philosophy as support for themselves.
What is the need for the Enlightenment in Muslim societies today? The discourses of the Enlightenment in the Ottoman Empire since the administrative reforms period and in the Republican period covered the society. The ideas of reforming Islam are circulating in the society. These views contradict Islam. Because Islam does not need to be reformed. Those who think that the West has developed and enriched with the Enlightenment, think that this is also applicable to Muslim societies. However, the reasons of Western Enlightenment are not valid for Islam. Because it is wrong to compare Islam with falsified Christianity and draw conclusions from it. Nevertheless, enlighteners in our society argue with zeal and persistence against Muslims' religious beliefs and views human mind and rationality as antithesis.
Islam is preserved intact. However, those who oppose Islam are trying to eliminate the true Islam by characterizing it as corrupt and outdated. Their aim is to eliminate the true Islamic religion. This is what the West has long desired. Today, these desires are trying to break the Islamic religion under the pretext of reform and enlightenment. In the following verse, Allah Almighty, the owner of this religion, clearly states that he will not allow this:
“No doubt, we have sent down the Qur'an, of course we will protect it again.” (Surat al-Hijr, verse 9)
The principles of Islam and Enlightenment philosophy are diametrically opposed. This will be expressed in some of our criticisms below.
Sufi Critique of Enlightenment Philosophy
It is seen that the Enlightenment philosophy has brought some principles to the fore. These principles are still considered by some people of our society as positive. These principles are considered as indispensable elements of civilization. These principles are rationality, criticizing religion, understanding of science, freedom, happiness, secular life.
The Enlightenment philosopher defines the mind as something that recognizes no authority other than itself, sees itself as the sole authority, and is a basic power and ability that allows man to act not only right thinking but right action. According to Kant, this is the courage to use the mind. According to them, the institutional and cultural environment is one of the main factors that prevent the mind from its normal functioning. Church, state, religious beliefs are responsible for this distortion of the mind. For this reason, most of the philosophers waged war against the clergy and God. Atheist Hume used his septic philosophy to demonstrate the inaccuracy of traditional evidence of the existence of God. According to Hume, it is a contradiction that a sane man believes in miracles. They see metaphysics as a remnant of religion. According to them, the essence has no knowledge, but the laws of order between appearances and phenomena can be known. For this reason, they see metaphysics as an important buttress of the traditional structure that will be destroyed in this period, which is allied to religion.
Rationalism is against all religions, especially Christianity. Some of the philosophers believed in the existence of God, but were fundamentally opposed to religious beliefs and metaphysics because of the inconsistencies of falsified Christianity in the Middle Ages and the bigotry of the Papacy. In generalizing their views, it is clear that they have never studied Islam.
Today, it is desired to keep the mind above religion in our society. It is believed that progress and civilization will be achieved in this way. However, this is not the truth. For reason is a creature and is limited. Therefore, the reason and the point to be reached are also limited. It is not possible to fully perceive things and events in nature through the mind. Because every article and phenomenon has two sides. One is the apparent (visible) face and the other is the hidden (invisible) face. The apparent face is the side of the goods and phenomena in the world. This face can be perceived by five senses and reason. The hidden face cannot be perceived by five senses and reason. The face of the hidden can only be understood by the science of secrets. The science of secrets is the subject of revelation and discovery. In our article about the science of secrets, titled “The Beauty in the Science” extensive explanations have been made. The hidden face is from an unseen (unknown) realms. Some of the information here is closed to people. This face is exactly seen and known only by God.
“Allah knows the unseen things of heaven and earth. Allah sees all that you do.” (Surat al-Hujurat, verse 18)
"He knows before them and all that behind them. They can grasp only that part of His knowledge which He wills.” (Surat al-Baqara, verse 255)
It is not civilized by excluding religious beliefs. The full understanding of human and natural phenomena and things can only be understood with the real revelation information. Those who are deprived of true revelation cannot fully perceive the human and the universe. But the people who deify their minds, are far from understanding. Those who think that they will know all the facts with the mind should first explain the nature of the mind. What the mind is and how its structure is closed to them. It is a total ignorance to think that you can comprehend all boundaries with limited reason. This shows that one cannot comprehend his own creation. Enthusiasts of the Enlightenment philosophy are in conflict with the Divine, who forgot that they were created from a sperm. This is clearly stated in verse 77 of Surah Yasin:
“Does not man see that We created him from a drop. Yet there he is, flagrantly contentios.”
Experimentalism and Understanding of Science
Enlightenment philosophers thought that natural phenomena could be understood through experiments after making their mind God. But there are many events in the universe and in the structure of man that cannot be experimented. With what experiments can you understand the creation of the universe, the functioning of galaxies, the nature of mind and self?
The maturation of human beings through the mind is possible by using the mind to access the right information. But where is the absolute right information? To what extent can the right information be obtained with the mind? According to many philosophers, the mind can comprehend everything and reach the absolute truth. But since he is a creature, his ability is limited. However, philosophers claim that the power of the human mind is infinite and that it can obtain all kinds of information. But this has not been proven up to date. In the last centuries, people have reached many scientific knowledge and inventions. However, when these knowledge and inventions are examined, it is seen that they do not reflect absolute truth and there is always an uncertainty and deficiency. Various articles related to these have been published on our website. (See: Quantum Physics and Sufism).)
These deficiencies and uncertainties do not diminish the value of the information obtained. Each information obtained contains a partial margin of accuracy. This information is useful to people. These are certainly achieved through reason and experiments. But all this does not prove that one day will be reached to absolute real information through reason and experiment. Because the life of the world and the universe is not infinite. It will be ended one day. Therefore, the mind will not be able to maintain this function in an infinite time. Stephen Hawking says about the scientific discoveries the followings:
“We are not sure that the results we found today are completely accurate. Tomorrow, no one can guarantee that this information is not wrong. ”
However, in order for the human to fully understand the universe and the phenomena within the universe, the human and the abstract phenomena in human beings, some information is needed which can not be comprehended by reason and experiment alone. This information is obtained through faith. These are the information that Allah has revealed to people through His messengers. For example, Science is trying to understand the creation of the universe with a big explosion. But their efforts always bring lack and objections together. However, the information obtained through faith is different. It is not possible to think of this information directly through reason. This issue is discussed in our article “Big Bang and Sufism”.
Western philosophers characterize the knowledge obtained by faith as dogma. According to them, this information dulls human thought. But the truth is not at all. Because human thought develops further with this belief and can comprehend the truth better. Otherwise, Science will have wasted its life with its contradictory and incomplete interpretations and models. Since Western philosophers do not fully study Islamic religion, they also identify it with the bad understanding of the religion in Middle Ages. Therefore, they exclude information from faith. Without this belief, it is impossible to fully perceive the universe, life and death. This faith information is the information in the Qur'an verses, in the hadiths of Prophet and in the discoveries of Islamic Sufis. However, it is necessary to distinguish between true faith information and false information. Therefore, one has to learn Islam very well. For this learning, one has to use his / her mind well.
“In the creation of the heavens and the earth;in the alternation of night and day; in the ships that sail the ocean bearing cargoes beneficial to man; in the water which God sends down from the sky and with which He revives the earth after its death, scattering over it all kinds of animals; in the courses of the winds, and in the clouds pressed into service between earth and sky, there are indeed signs for people who use their reason.” ( Surat al-Baqara, verse 164)
“Thus God makes His commandments clear to you, so that you may understand.” (Surat al-Baqara, verse 242)
Philosophers say that freedom is necessary for the Enlightenment. Kant mentions in his article “What is Enlightenment?” that the freedom is to use the mind clearly in front of the mass in every aspect and in every respect. There is no reason for a person to hesitate to think the truth. However, is it a righteous movement and the necessity of freedom for every thinker to speak openly without knowing what he / she is thinking for what purpose? People reason to deceive each other and say such things that people can be fooled. Now will we understand them as freedom? For public order, the restriction of certain things is a natural thing. Otherwise it is not freedom.
Many scientists use their knowledge for the production of weapons of mass destruction. Is this freedom? There are also scientists who produce nuclear bombs and thermonuclear weapons. If we perceive what they do as the free use of reason, we will cut off the branch we are sitting on. Western philosophers look at one side of the locket. On the other side of the locket there are egos, enthusiasm and interests although they are philosopher. Being a scientist cannot prevent them from this idea of benefit and interest. When he sees money and interests, he goes and uses his knowledge to produce weapons and chemicals that kill people.
So it is not just happiness to use the mind freely. Besides, some things are needed. Islamic religion rules this. He warns people about it. It is warned that in the Hereafter, one will be held responsible for what he has done in the world. If Kant says that this warning is dogma, don't worry about it, the crimes which will not be punished in the world, would be easy for people and they help people do all kinds of evil. Most of the Western philosophers do not draw attention to these contradictions. But the Islamic religion they call dogma draws attention to this. If a person does not believe that what he has done in the world will be taken into account in the Hereafter tomorrow, he may tend to do all kinds of evil in the world. As a matter of fact, it is a behavior in this context that scientists assist in the production of weapons of mass destruction and gain wealth. A hadith said about this is as follows:
“Do not be afraid of the people who fear of Allah; Afraid of the people who don’t fear of Allah.”
What is free thinking? Man has the ability to think. He does it with reason. Thinking is necessary for man to understand himself and his environment. However, no person can achieve results without thinking beforehand. Because it doesn't make sense to go back to the beginning. In addition, the issues that we want to think about have some limitations. So you're not completely free to think about something. What you think limits you in every way. You want to reach a result information within these limits. Therefore, your thinking does not follow a completely free process. There is only reasoning to obtain new knowledge from the previous knowledge. This is the same in all scientific studies. Therefore, people are not completely free in thinking.
Mevlana says in his book Fîhi Mâfih:
“Thought cannot be criticized. Inside of human is the realm of freedom; thoughts are latent, they cannot be ruled. “We judge what appears, God knows the secrets.” (Hadith) was noticed. These thoughts are brought to you by the Almighty God, and you cannot take them away with a hundred thousand efforts. Thoughts are like birds in the air and wild gazelles. It is not permissible to sell them before they catch them and put them in a cage…. Thoughts do not have names, fames and symbols. Therefore, neither their infidelity nor their belief can be judged. After they become the phrase, sentence and word, its good and evil will be decided.”
What is freedom? How can a person feel free himself, if he is in need of water, air and nutrition? The universe is in perfect harmony for human life. Therefore, it is an empty dream for the people to feel completely free. They say if you're free, go and live on the moon, and so on. Therefore, in the physical world one cannot be free; in other words, he cannot do whatever he wants. Those who eat excessive food and drink alcohol, one day lose their health. To live healthy you need to apply a certain life order.
If one does what he wants as free action, there will be chaos in society. What should limit people? These limits should be the thing that will benefit for himself. Islamic religion commands this. People are warned not to endanger themselves with their own hands. When one believes in Allah, it is in his best interest. When it is obeyed to the commandments and prohibitions of Allah, it is for the benefit of this person.
“Whatever misfortune befalls you is of your own doing; God forgives much.” (Surat al-Shura, verse 30)
“Corruption has appeared on land and sea because of the evil which men’s hands have done, and so He will make them taste the fruit of some of their doings, so that they may turn back from evil.” (Surat al- Rum, verse 41)
Man is not an isolated entity, he lives in a society. If his wrong actions are allowed as freedom, they are cared for by others and they make the same mistake. No one can claim that actions such as drinking, gambling and adultery today bring benefits. It is meaningless and harmful for people to do so under the name of freedom. If other people do the same, they will suffer damage as a society. For this reason, Islam has banned them. Such freedom in societies governed by Shari'ah, that is, Islamic rules.
According to rational philosophers, if the mind has achieved its freedom in the mind, it will discover wisdom. The wisdom they will discover is limited and is not the same as the wisdom obtained in Sufism. Because reason is limited, so the wisdom he discovers will be limited. The wisdom of the hidden side is reached only by the wisdom of Sufism. This wisdom is also closed to rationalists.
According to Sufism, the free man is the one who removes everything about the world from his heart. Because what worldly thing is put in the heart of man is addicted to him, so he is not free. The person who puts money in his heart is addicted to money and cannot be free. A person who does not have anything in his heart about the world is independent and free from the world. If such a person puts God alone in his heart, he becomes completely free. This is because in this way man can reach his Lord and the Creator. That's the real freedom.
Western philosophers claim to be progressing in science by abandoning religion. This is not the right word. Because the West simply opposed superstition and misguided Christianity. The church at that time forced all kinds of oppression and superstition to obtain authority and sovereignty over the people. They do not represent true religion. Even today, however, people continue to see these superstitions as religion, and they are becoming more and more faraway of true religion because of their nonsense. The mistake of the West is that they have only dealt with this perverted Christianity under the name of religion. However, if they had studied Islam, they would have found that true religion was not at all against science. The same mistake is made by Western people even today.
According to the Enlightenment philosophers, one purpose of world life is to make people happy. The Enlightenment philosophy believes that this will be achieved by emphasizing reason and freedom. But unfortunately, three centuries have passed since this philosophy, but not all people have attained happiness. Because the wars and exploitation schemes that emerged for three centuries left people in poverty and deprivation. But a minority of people live in comfort and wealth. Therefore, the purpose of the Enlightenment is not the happiness of all people, but the happiness of the powerful people.
According to the Enlightenment philosophy, it is egoism, the instinct for survival, the effort of happiness and hedonism that mobilize all living things and human beings. According to them, the selfishness of the individual, the instinct for survival and the struggle for his own happiness will also ensure the happiness of the society. How wrong this thought is. Selfishness has no end. When man is always enslaved of his self and desires, nothing satisfies him and becomes a slave of his self. Such a person does not think of society. First of all, it is his own interest. This fact shows why the Enlightenment is supported by the people who are in power. Since the rulings are mostly working for the interests of a certain group, they find themselves a ground of justification with this philosophy. With the same idea, exploitation and deceit of weak people is a natural thing. For them, the weak has no right to live, because there is no chance of survival.
With these insights, it is easier to understand how people during three centuries have put the world into chaos and terror. Western societies, on the one hand, say we are humanistic and peaceful, on the other hand they applaud the powerful and condone the destruction of the powerless. This point is one of the most important contradictions of today's Enlightenment philosophy. This contradiction, though, has continued for three centuries. In this case, wars, extinctions and disasters are what is expected to occur. But the Islamic religion strongly rejects it. No one can exploit another person. Exploitation is never considered permissible. For this reason, the salvation and happiness of all people will be possible only through the application of the rules of the Islamic religion. Therefore, the people of happiness are the winners of the Hereafter. This fact is a good explanation for the West's declaration of Islam as an enemy. But the result will not be what they expect. Because this religion has an owner and He will protect it. We sincerely believe that Islam will rise again and bring peace and happiness to the world. For this, we do our best to do our part.
Let's not fool ourselves. Even if we have good intentions, we cannot make people happy with pure reason. Because life is very parameterized and not everything is intelligence. It is regrettable that the enlightened people and scientists have ignored this fact for three centuries. In fact what they have taught and guided the Enlightenment philosophy for three centuries is actually a kind of dogma, and the consequences are bad.
Enlightenment philosophy recommends secular life to people to be happy. Secular life means that society abandons its religious beliefs and focuses on world life. The word secular refers to what is worldly or age-appropriate, and means taking into account the objective state of the world. A person's secular life means that he directs his life for purely worldly needs and pleasures, not within the framework of religious rules. They identify the people with mere material satisfaction. However, human beings need spirituality as well as matter. Eating, drinking, having fun, being sexually satisfied cannot be the purpose of life. Human being has a feature that distinguishes him from other living beings. It is his spiritual side and responsibility. A person who neglects his spiritual side and responsibility falls to the degree of animals and plants. But human beings were created differently from them.
Those who think they will be happy only by pursuing worldly pleasures and gratifications are deceiving themselves. Because these people are not happy with worldly pleasures, however they are expecting that they will be happy. But the result is not what they want. We see many examples of this in society. A rich person can be devastated by a relentless disease. Those who seek happiness in liquor, gambling and adultery pay it with the blackening of their lives. Because their health and family lives are ruined. Excessive food also causes obesity and other diseases. Are these happiness? Islam says that world life is just a game and entertainment.
“World life is nothing but fun and play. The Land of the Hereafter is better for those who fear Allah. Don't you use your mind? ”(Surat al-An'am, verse 32)
Therefore, amusing only with world life will make you lose a lot in the Hereafter. There is a purpose for the creation of human beings and their sending to the world. It is to be tested of people. To win this test, one must live in a balanced way both for the world and the Hereafter. For this reason, secular life is contrary to Islam.
Today, medical authorities are submitting the truth. People with religious beliefs, prayers and worshipers are happier, are able to overcome illnesses more easily, and the risk of suffering from psychological problems such as depression is reduced. Despite this scientific determination, what can we say to those who still want to live enlightenment and live the secular world life? It is a contradiction that the Enlighteners will claim to be scientific and will not accept the above scientific data. We advise them to return from these mistakes. It will be very useful for them to examine the Islamic religion thoroughly and confront the truth. Moving away from what they did and leading a proper life for Islam will bring them happiness both in the world and the hereafter.
Illumination of Islamic religion
What is real about this is the data of the Islamic religion. People should regulate their individual and social lives under the light and illumination of the Islamic religion. This is the formula for their happiness both in the world and in the hereafter. This thought is not dogma. Islam does not seek to win something by deceiving people. Medieval Western clergy and Islamic scholars are not in the same category. People should use their minds to understand the religion of Islam. Otherwise, every word should not be stuck. Every word and behavior spoken in the name of Islam should be reciprocated in verses and hadiths of the Qur'an. This is what is desired and this is the highest degree of reasoning.
The Islamic religion has raised its unique idea of enlightenment to peak between the 8th and 12th centuries. In this period, the people living in Islamic geography lived really comfortable and happy. The scientific knowledge produced was later taught in the West for centuries. In this period, the science of secrets developed in addition to science and complemented each other, a very advanced scientific culture environment emerged. There are many Sufis who deal with science. They explained how the two sciences are in harmony with each other in their works. Tûsî and Ýbnî Sina are examples of these scholars.
However, this situation could not be continued after the 12th century. There are two reasons for this: First, because the level of knowledge reached is in a dazzling state, it has caused the relaxation of Muslim scientists. A society saturated with scientific research and progress was formed. The society, under the influence of this high scientific summit, did not continue to pursue research as tightly as before. Secondly, since the 12th century, Muslim countries have been subjected to Mongol invasion, causing them to dissolve politically and economically and to lose power. This disruption of order and the loss of power has also led to a slowdown in the scientific activities of Muslims.
Today, it is hoped that Muslims will return to their dazzling days. What is necessary for this is to create societies that implement all the rules and content of the Islamic religion. The necessary potential exists at the core of the Islamic religion. Our aim is to try to uncover this potential.
The return of the Muslims to their old days is a salvation for all the people in the world. Because the fertility of Islam is enough for the whole world. As long as we try to live Islam again in our lives. There is no other purpose for a Muslim on earth. Therefore, peace and happiness in the world is possible only through the full implementation of Islam.
The philosophy of enlightenment emerged in the West in the 18th century and had its effects in the West for 3 centuries. This philosophy formed a cultural understanding in the West. Today's Western man is the child of this philosophy and shares his legacy. But at the same time, he suffers from living in a world that is inaccessible because of the sins of the Enlightenment.
Enlightenment philosophy has completed its historical mission. The Enlightenment has exhausted its critics just like himself. Because, no matter how much the Enlightenment is abstracted from class and ideological contents, the so-called liberal democracy, which proclaims that the free realization of the hidden powers of the human body and thought, is guaranteed legally and institutionally, now forms an important part of the discourse of the powerful. With the development of capitalism, there is no radical attempt to eradicate social, economic and cultural poverty, which has become the second nature of some people regardless of social formations and geographies. Moreover, the ideologues of the status quo try to impose this poverty as it is.
We can give some numerical examples. If 40 years ago, the richest 5 percent of the world's income was 30 times higher than the poorest 5 percent, it was 60 times higher than 15 years ago, and in 2002 it had increased 114 times. Half of the world trade and more than half of the global investment is for 22 countries that host only 14 percent of the world's population. The 49 poorest countries, where 11 percent of the world's population live, receive only 0.5 percent of world production within themselves; the value of this production is about the sum of the income of the world's three richest men. In addition, 90 percent of the world's wealth is in the hands of only 1 percent of the world's inhabitants. Tanzania earns 2.2 billion dollars a year and distributes it to 25 million people. The Goldman Sachs bank earns $ 2.6 billion and shares it among 161 shareholders.
For this reason, it is clear that the Enlightenment philosophy is not the guarantee of a humanity free from tutelage. Western philosophers should not be relied on enlightenment. They do not know the ways of “righteousness” and “righteous thinking”. Their minds are also completely confused. Therefore, the Westerners are not competent to guide us in contemplation and righteousness. Apart from science, the West did not create a high culture in the field of philosophy (contemplation) and the principles of correct living. The West has no superiority in these matters and cannot guide us firmly. Because Western philosophy, especially modern philosophy, is full of obvious mistakes.
The Enlightenment that our intellectuals blindly sanctified, just because Western philosophers believe and glorify it, is no different from a superstition. There are many more superstitions like this that invade our lives of thought. Concepts such as contemporary, secular, civilized and democratic are superstitions whose contents and consistency are not fully known. In order to remove these concepts from superstition, it is necessary to re-examine the content and definitions of these concepts under the light of the principles of Islamic religion. This determination will benefit both Muslims and all the people in the world. The fact that Muslims perceive this as a duty and work in this direction is a real jihad act.
“Age of Enlightenment”, Norman Hampson, Dogan Kitap, Istanbul, 2000
“Enlightenment Thought”, Ahmet Çiðdem, Ýletiþim Yayýncýlýk, Ýstanbul, 2015
“Aydýnlanma Üzerine Bir Derkenar”, Fehmi Baykan, Kaknüs Publications, Istanbul, 2000
“Fîhi Mâfih”, Mevlana, State Books, Istanbul, 1974
“French Enlightenment Philosophy”, Oskar Ewald, East West Publications, Ankara, 2013
“Fütûhât-ý Mekkiyye”, Ibn Arabi, Litera Publishing, Istanbul, 2008
"Capital", Thomas Piketty, Turkey Isbank Cultural Publications, Istanbul, 2014
“Modernity, Capitalism, Socialism”, Zygmunt Bauman, Say Publications, Istanbul, 2014
“ A Shorter History of Time”, Stephen Hawking, Dogan Kitap, Istanbul, 2010
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Sufism and Enlightenment
Publication Date: 28.10.2019