What is Secularism?
Secularism is an ideology and a relatively new concept that pushes for the separation of religion from formulating the laws of the country. It underscores the belief that religious ideologies should have limited influence in the public sphere, confining them primarily to the individual's personal life. This ideology has been implemented in various countries such as France, Belgium, and Germany.
The core principle of Secularism encourages the individualistic world view in which existence of god has no place. Secularism believes that religions no longer hold any influence in society and old tradition have no place in modern society. Secularism aims to restrict the practice of religion in society and aims to control religion to eventually lead to its extermination and creation of an atheist society.
Islamic views on secularism:
Due to secularism, a person sometimes ends up criticizing the deen of Islam and its rulings, abandoning the Shariah and making up their own rules for their desires and worldly benefits. And the one who allows forbidden matters of Islam such as adultery, alcohol, music, and interest ends up rejecting the commands of Quran, as Allah says in the Quran:
“Then do you believe in a part of the Scripture and reject the rest? Then what is the recompense of those who do so among you, except disgrace in the life of this world.”
Whoever accepts whatever suits his desires of the religion, such as laws on personal and family maatters, and some acts of worship, and rejects whatever does not suit his desires, is included in this verse.
Underneath the heading of secularism also comes the banning of the capital punishments of Islam consisting of executing the assassin, stoning or flogging the adulterer and the drinker of alcohol, or slicing off the limbs of the thief or bandit, and the belief that carrying out these punishments are inhumane and barbaric.
How secularism restricts religion:
Secularism claims to protect society from religious dominations by restricting religion to the home. They claim that secularism unites the people under a common ground.
Secularism claims that theocratic society that is dominated by religion imposes the religion on others, whereas secularism imposes their own religion and morals upon others, as shown in the following examples:
-The France government has banned abayas in schools, because it violated their interpretation of secularism. Despite secularism's claim to promote freedom of religion, but what they have truly done is restrict all practice of religions.
-Secularism leads to liberalism which in turn highlights the following of your own desires and completely ditching the religion thereby lacking spiritual guidance.
-7 countries have enforced the stunning of animals and banned slaughter of animals in an Islamic way, making all meat produced haram.
-They make laws to impose certain beliefs due to current situation, but then change it according to their desires, where homosexuality was banned originally due to them believing it to be immoral, whereas now it is legal because they now believe it to be morally acceptable.
-In 2016 Switzerland imposed a fine for not shaking the hands of the opposite gender, once again restricting religious laws.
History of secularism:
Secularism was first constitunally enshrined by France in 1905. The France government declared that citizens were not allowed to manifest their religion by signs of clothing and by conversion. The government also asserted that in public areas people have the right of freedom of belief but they do not have the right to express their beliefs. They do not tolerate any intolerance from religion.
In Turkey, secularism or laicism was first introduced with the 1928 amendment of the Constitution of 1924, which removed the provision declaring that the "Religion of the State is Islam", and with the later reforms of Turkey's first president Mustafa Kamel Ataturk.
In conclusion, secularism, as a concept advocates for the separation of religion from state laws and has already been accepted by many countries, including France, Belgium, and Germany. The core principle of secularism promotes an individualistic worldview, minimizing the influence of religious ideologies in the public sphere. However, it faces criticism, especially from Islamic perspectives, which argue that secularism undermines religious principles and can lead to the creation of an atheist society.
Secularism, in practice, often restricts the public expression of religion, as seen in examples like France banning certain religious attire in schools. Despite claiming to support freedom of religion, secularism has done more to restrict religious practices, such as the prohibition of specific Islamic methods of animal slaughter in certain countries.
The historical development of secularism, enshrined in France's constitution in 1905, reflects a commitment to keeping religious influence out of public life. Turkey also adopted secularism in the 1920s, as part of the reforms led by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. While secularism aims to create a common ground for diverse societies, its limitations and impact on religious freedoms are lethal to the Islamic lifestyle and way of thinking. May Allah allow us to be steadfast on his deen and protect us from such trials. Amin