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Islam after Liberalism$
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Faisal Devji and Zaheer Kazmi

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190851279

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190851279.001.0001

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A New Deal Between Mankind and its Gods

A New Deal Between Mankind and its Gods

How to Think in the Post-Religious Era According to Muhammad Iqbal

(p.105) 5 A New Deal Between Mankind and its Gods
Islam after Liberalism

Abdennour Bidar

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses Muhammad Iqbal’s response to the argument of Friedrich Nietzsche about the exit from religion. Instead of considering this event as the death of god, Iqbal considers it as the birth of a new man, and the starting point of a new era in the spiritual history of humanity. Following Iqbal’s line of thought, the chapter points to a de-Westernization of the theory of an exit from religion and, in so doing, offers a critique of Western liberalism. In Iqbal’s view, liberation from the guardianship of God does not mean there is no longer any relationship between God and humanity. Thus, when Iqbal talks about a metaphysical liberalism, he is referring to the intuition of the future, characterized by the next step in our spiritual evolution where the human species is liberated from the vision of a divine form as something different from itself, and has instead liberated itself in this divine form. In this sense, the exit from religion signals the beginning of a dialectical process of integrating God into humanity. Accordingly, Iqbal’s ideas can serve as a tool for understanding liberalism and secularization not only as a political process but as a spiritual re-birth for humankind.

Keywords:   Muhammad Iqbal, Friedrich Nietzsche, Death of god, Spiritual history, Critique of Western liberalism, Metaphysical liberalism, Secularization, Spiritual re-birth

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