Deformations of the Secular: A Rejectionist Conception and Critique of Secularism


Muslim thinkers have long debated the impact of secularism in their societies. This article examines “the rejectionist approach” to the question of secularism as articulated by a renowned Muslim intellectual, Naquib Al-Attas. I develop the argument that Al-Attas offered a unique view of secularism as an ungodly ideology and historical process that grew from the fusion of conflicting world views. Al-Attas’s ideas on secularism were shaped by his polarized view of civilizations. Such a conceptualization sets the stage for his critique of the intellectual deformations that secularism has brought upon Muslim societies in the modern world.