Is “Philosophy” a rational investigation of the truths?
Immanuel Kant writes in his Preface to the second edition of the Critique of Pure Reason(1787) that “I have therefore found it necessary to deny knowledge in order to make room for faith”, Kant was one of the last major philosopher of the “Enlightenment” age who was decorated as one of the greatest and most influential thinkers of modern Europe. As a leading influential philosopher of the history of Europe, Kant proposes an idea that separates sciences from religion, which is antithesis to the fundamentals of Islam, thus marking the most significant cornerstone of contradiction with fundamentals of Islam. The foundation of doctrinal ideas in any monotheistic religion that is in its original form, is deeply rooted in knowledge and intellection, whereas the great European Philosophers have viewed faith as independent in itself. Hence it would be worthwhile to examine the justification and the anticipated benefits behind the separation of knowledge and intellection from religious doctrines and faith. It is also important to focus on the dangerous repercussions that surfaced in the world as result of imparting unaccountable man-made values and principles without the inclusion of the divine principles.
The inherent nature of human being has always compelled the man to seek a path that leads to his eternal preservation and perfection, and in the pursuit of these fundamental objectives man was compelled to acknowledge the need of an authoritative source that is superior to him which can guide him to that fundamental goal. Hence the term deen/religion is considered as one of the primitive terms in the history of mankind, the term religion implies a set of profound ideas & principles to conduct life, which leads to eternal preservation and perfection of human being. For example the meaning of the term religion in the Aramaic language implies judgment or decree, or in the language of Zoroastrians the term religion implies the path to reality, in the Greek Philosophy the idea of religion implies emulating the deities and in the pre-Islamic era the term religion implied as custom or rituals. Irrelevant of what idea the term religion represented man has always rallied in masses towards religion, considering religion as the means to his salvation through preservation & perfection of his being. The idea of religion and its principles evolved as human being progressed, but man has always upheld certain principles under the banner of a formal religious denomination or otherwise, that has convinced him that his principles is the truth. This sincere attitude of man towards a set of formal principles (in the name of religion or otherwise) was viewed as an instrument to tactically navigate human being to subjugation. Thus men appeared in the garb of priests and raised their temple of false ideologies that sanctified the ruler and paved the path to a future of no resistance from his subjects. The kings fostered philosophers in their courthouses to intoxicate the subjects of the kingdom with their wine of corrupted philosophies by glamorizing the rulers as gods. In the list of victims the most prominent were the monotheistic divine religions that were hijacked fraudulently and were exploited for the benefit of the rulers, and among them the religion of Christianity stands out as the biggest victim that suffered betrayal and corruption, ending up as a slave to the rulers of time. The religion of Christianity was victimized when a single man by the name of St. Paul (Saul in Greek), who worked for the Roman temple establishment, embezzled the doctrines of Christianity and then introduced it to the Romans. The Christianity of the Romans was corrupted at its inception and when Constantine (The Roman emperor) declared Christianity as the official religion of the Roman Empire, this corruption began to spread wide. The extreme and corrupted interpretation of Christianity that Constantine adopted to rule the Roman kingdom was eventually adopted by barbaric kingdoms of the middle ages in Europe. Edward Gibbons said in his book The History of the Decline and fall of the Roman Empire “the Dark Ages of Europe were a result of the corruption of a counterfeit Christianity”. Thus an extremist regime of the Catholic Church in Europe became the apparatus to establish and protect the kingdom and rule people on tyrannical terms. The king through the medium of church indirectly opposed freedom of thought and viewed thinkers, scientists and academics as threat to the stability of the kingdom, such constant efforts eventually resulted in imperialism, militarism and totalitarian regimes.
When the instrument of religion became obsolete and ineffective, then the human being exploited science as a new instrument to validate their illicit authority and dominance on weaker societies and to enslave other human beings. They quickly embraced Darwin’s theory of ‘struggle for survival’ and the ‘Race theory’ in which he purported that some races evolved more than others or some races are still like apes, some are very advance than others – alluding to the difference between man and animal and their rights. He further declared that ‘there has always been a fierce conflict and bloody struggle which pervaded the natural world and the struggle against the weak and only thus ensure development‘, and such non-empirical and non-scientific theory paved the path to unjust ideologies of the tyrant rulers. The separation of science and scientific investigation from the realm of religion that remained for 900 years from the dark ages, followed by the endorsement of certain scientific theories that ignited racism, class system, and illegal dominance over other societies. The seeds of corruption turned into a poisonous tree that produced bitter fruits in the form of ideas and movements that later became recipes for the catastrophic wars in the Europe. The fascist movements likes Nazism, Marxist socialism, Maoism and etc were all inspired by the race theory of Darwinism. Thus all these ideas were introduced and exercised without any moral boundaries to achieve the fundamental goal of preserving and perfecting one’s race, society or nation, only to learn later that spreading bloodshed in the world with brutality and injustice will eventually bring bloodshed to the doorstep of the perpetrator, because there is no peace without truth and there is no truth without justice!
When the effects of these movements was translated into a war that took more than 50 million lives, then human being learned about the dangerous results of false ideologies, yet again with the same shattered idol of fascism that was made by the clay of Darwinism, human being began to shape a new idol from the same clay and gave the name of capitalism, as some scholars noted it “the application of economics to biology” where the idea of ‘struggle for survival’ was applied to “extreme individualism” where it is considered natural and justified for human being to exploit other people, other companies or other nations that are deemed weak. There are no guidelines of morality, there are no human values, and there is no sympathy for the plight of the exploited, the hungry and the destitute. The progress and advancement in last five decades have led the idea of ‘exploitation’ to stream down from the despot leaders to individuals, in this age of progress every individual is aspiring to be rich, famous and powerful. The boundless economic freedom of today has led to a struggle among individuals and enterprises to profit from each other. In his work ‘critique of Marxist philosophy’ martyred Baqar al-Sadr says ‘Unlimited economic freedom permits a handful of capitalists to dominate the majority of people and to usurp their freedoms and rights’, he argues that higher human values like love, mercy, self-denial perishes in this society, cut-throat business attitude eliminates morality and consideration for common man.
The laws of capitalism dictates the stronger nations to design campaigns to lure the people into the trap of self-love, strip women of her dignity and define new values of success, beauty and honor. The string of capitalism controls the human mind and enslaves the human body in the prison of materialism. The parable of a human being in a capitalistic society is of a hamster that is imprisoned in a cage is running on a tread wheel, unaware that his struggle is unending and the benefit is a mirage. The system of capitalism has trained human being to see, hear, learn and feel whatever the propaganda machines has puts forth. The definition of right and wrong, truth and falsehood, injustice and justice, mutates to justify the actions of the capitalistic regimes, sometimes the oppressive regimes are labeled as righteous is there is economical benefit, and sometimes the righteous nations are labeled as evil theocratic regime if no economical benefit can be sought. The dictates of capitalism orders the capitalistic nations to sell weapons to totalitarian regimes knowing that it will result into killings of the innocent people from the same weapons, but as long as there is benefit, then it is “natural” and “justifiable” to compromise morality, and such audacity is due to the lack of the idea of accountability on the day of reckoning.
It is a fact that the world has ignored the reality behind the idea of eternal preservation and perfection, and there is no other religion or man-made philosophy that guides man to his ultimate goal then the religion of Islam. The wisdom/Al-Hikmah of Islam that guides humanity to the path of eternal preservation and perfection is the decisive knowledge which is divinely granted and cannot be refuted by any man-made idea, as Imam Sadiq (as) said “Wisdom is the light of knowledge, and the weighing scale of piety, and the fruit of truth… and Allah did not send any prophet nor any apostle till (his) understanding was perfected and his wisdom was superior to all the wisdom of his people”. The one who is granted the divine wisdom is considered as someone who is blessed with the abundant good as Qur’an says: He grants wisdom to whom He pleases, and whoever is granted wisdom, he indeed is given a great good and none but men of understanding mind [2:269], in the exegesis of this verse S.V. Ahmed Ali explicates precisely the nature of wisdom, he says “Hikmah, not only means intellectual power and ability to apply reason but also implies spiritual perception and command over divine guidance, particularly bestowed by the grace of Allah, to make right use of knowledge on all occasions… The highest form of hikmah is revelation revealed to the divinely chosen and the thoroughly purified by the almighty all-wise”
Thus the basis of absolute truth is free from conjunction, prepositions, suppositions, prognosis or the hearsay of men, rather the source of absolute truth is the divine wisdom – it is the knowledge & understanding that is confirmed and precise, and cannot be challenged by anyone, and this attribute is an evidence in itself. The means to divine wisdom is the human intellect and the messenger (the bearer of the divine revelation), as the infallible Imam of the Ahlul Bayt (as) said: “The decisive evidence (of absolute truth) between the creation and the Creator is the intellect, and the decisive evidence (of absolute truth) between the Creator and the creation is the messenger (bearer of the divine message)”. The intellect is the source of reason & reflection through which knowledge is tested and verified, as the infallible (as) said, “Through the faculty of intellect truth is recognized and ratified, and through the faculty of intellect falsehood is recognized and denounced”. The one who is the bearer of the divine revelation is the source of reality and his knowledge is confirmed and precise and it is based on truth and justice, as Qur’an says: The Knower of the Unseen, So He does not reveal His secrets to any, Except to him whom He chooses from among His apostles [72:26/27]. The divine messenger is given the wisdom where all the ideologies of the world are bound to fail. The decisive evidence to the path of eternal felicity is bestowed to human being in the form of his own intellect as well as in the form of the wisdom of the messenger. He guides the mankind to truth, frees man from the slavery of falsehood, exemplify ethics and human morality and promotes the idea of the day of accountability and the day of reward and retribution.
It is not too late for the human being to change the course of his attention from the slavery of capitalism and turn towards a path that guarantees eternal success. If human being is not convinced then recall the past and witness the present and observe the tyranny, violence, exploitation, hunger, diseases, and natural disasters that are confronting mankind, and search for the reasons behind the plight of the desperate man and conclude whether the future holds any possibility of peace and tranquility, if there is no possibility then acknowledge the flaws in the ideology of the modern man and seek the wisdom of the Most Merciful!