By “closed,” I mean that access to reality has been blocked. I do not mean that the minds of every individual Muslim are closed, or that there are not varieties of Islam in which the Muslim mind is still open. I do mean that a large portion of mainstream Sunni Islam, the majority expression of the faith, has shut the door to reality in a profound way.
Today, this can be seen in the highly dysfunctional character of the Arab world in particular.
The great twentieth-century Muslim scholar, the late Fazlur Rahman, said that, “A people that deprives itself of philosophy necessarily exposes itself to starvation in terms of fresh ideas – in fact, it commits intellectual suicide.”
. . . In his Regensburg address, Benedict XVI said something similar. He spoke of dehellenization – meaning the loss of reason, the gift of the Greeks – as one of the West’s main problems. Less well-known is the dehellenization that has afflicted Islam – its denigration of and divorce from reason. (The pope alluded to this only briefly, though it became a source of major controversy.) The dehellenization of Islam is less well known because it was so thorough and effective that few are aware that there was a process of hellenization preceding it – especially during the ninth and tenth centuries. It was a pivotal period for Islam and the world. It was then, toward the end of this period, that the Muslim world took a decisive turn in the wrong direction.
© 2023 The Catholic Thing. All rights reserved. For reprint rights, write to: [email protected] The Catholic Thing is a forum for intelligent Catholic commentary. Opinions expressed by writers are solely their own.