Mohammad Arkoun is described by his followers as the liberator of Islamic heritage, despite his expansive critical views that managed to create significant attacks against him from most Islamic scholars and defenders.
The fact that he went in depth into critical analysis to Islamic concepts has been unpreceded and hence unique. Such critical analysis and depth requires deep understanding and believes in the meaning of Islam beyond regular analysis and ideas. It requires as well, and mostly, couragous and persistent attempts, which will undoubtedly be attacked.
Arkoun was fighting in his research and studies all patriarchal inheritances, that blocked the real meaning of Islam, and wrapped it with generations and decades of patriarchal culture.
Managing to go deeper beyond our understandings of religion that we inherited decade after the other, under different notions of patriarchal tyranny and interests, seems until this moment as striking on sensitive nerves.
In his studies, Arkoun, directly affected by certain French Schools of ideologies, which determined his challenge to hit the Islamic heritage icon for the rest of his life, as most of his fellow thinkers, can be easily accused of atheism. He firmly believed that being opened to other ideologies and cultures, daring to explore different beliefs and heritage, will only help us understand our religion in depth. He managed to understand Islamic enlightenment only when he managed to search into older Christian and Jewish heritages.
Arkoun humanistic philosophical perspective shed light on the in-depth meaning of Islam as a religion for humanity.In times, Moslems busied themselves in setting rules and blocking thinking to Muslim nations along decades of darkness.
When discussing tolerance and reconciliation, Arkoun argues in his study the fact that understanding doesn’t exist in Islamic teachings, that adopts ancient Christian teachings, that doesn’t really believe in tolerance. He adds his argument to what he calls our Orthodoxies minds, which blocks us from accepting any other.
While reading the Articles, I couldn’t but remind myself of the endless direct and indirect arguments about religious tolerance that took place in our classrooms, and long before occurred in every setting of our lives, and yet; we always claim that we are the most tolerant of all.
We perceive our alleged tolerance as ALLOWING the OTHERS of living under the big nation of Islam, as a fellow, second class citizens, claiming to give them equality.
Until this moment, and hundreds of years after the fall of Islam, Moslems still claim tolerance that doesn’t exist, and proclaim equality and justice towards the OTHERS that is based on arrogance and up to bottom given virtue from the influential to the weaker, despite the fall of Islamic regimes. However, Islam remains to be a great religion, with an excellent teaching that inspired the world and changed the map of the world.
As much as Mohammad (PBUH) masterminded Islam in the most rational, genius way, Islam continued to produce people that were inspired by the beauty of those teaching, despite the continuous monopoly of patriarchal ideologies on the teaching and the practice. Arkoun as a humanist, philosophical, Islamic thinker, managed, with others that preceded him such as Ibn Sina, Ibn Rushd, Ahmed Amin and others to break the blocking nerves of intolerant orthodoxy thinkings that trapped our minds.