Connect with us

#Current Affairs

The Terminal Hypocrisy Of A Crumbling West And The Dawning Of A New Age for Muslims


West ern hypocrisy

The War that has ensued in the aftermath of October 7th is the defining event of our generation, and a true turning point for all future relations between Islam and the West. We witness, in its unfolding, nothing less than the final dissolution of the post-WWII settlement, and of the ensuing Americentric and Eurocentric world order, whose centerpiece was a self-justificatory moral narrative centered on the liberal, democratic West’s virtuous triumph against ‘the paradigm of pure evil’: Hitler and the Nazis.

The core sacrificial victims symbolizing the liberal-democratic right to moral leadership were the Jews, slaughtered in the Holocaust but subsequently rising up from the ashes to heroically assert their ‘will to survive’ in the construction of a new nation. That the very paradigm, indeed the veritable Platonic Form of embattled, irrationally maligned minorities had been “rescued” from the death camps and culturally rehabilitated by the Western powers, became emblematic of the claim that a liberal, proto-Rawlsian Western relativism alone could safely host different minorities by dissolving them into a neutral humanity governed by an ‘original position’; from which vantage point previously fraught differences would finally be resolved exactly by treating the substantive claims of Jew, Muslim, and Christian as equally meaningless expressions of arbitrary, culturally constructed collective will. Yet the liberal order’s great claim to moral leadership is that they are nonetheless protected cultural artifacts of constructed collective will.

In the successful imprinting of belief in the inherent relativity of all culture and opinion upon the masses, the illusion of bewildering self-expressive and self-identificatory diversity in the ‘melting pot’ of major Western societies has been essential. It provided the backdrop to the 1990s West’s ‘universalist’ self-presentation, as alone capable amongst the world’s civilizations of accommodating such pluralism and diversity, because of its unique trans-partisan ‘tolerance’. In turn, this prevailing impression was able to successfully dress the justification for its unquestionable hegemony in the pious raiment of moral self-evidence and necessity.

The Final Deathblow

Keep supporting MuslimMatters for the sake of Allah

Alhamdulillah, we're at over 850 supporters. Help us get to 900 supporters this month. All it takes is a small gift from a reader like you to keep us going, for just $2 / month.

The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

But following on from a long chain of painful shocks, chief amongst them the War on Terror, the October 7th War constitutes the final deathblow to any vain hope of saving this flagship moral claim of liberalism from ultimate and intrinsic failure. It has, like no event before it, fully exposed liberal secular society’s much-vaunted “diversity” of cultural and intellectual expression, as no more than appearance. Granted, journalistic history is littered with all too great a surplus of opportunistic “turning points”; yet the power of the confluence of factors presented by our present circumstance ensures that ours is quite a different case. The West’s vacant ratification of the most transparent Israeli evil, of arbitrary and unrestrained mass murder, is for Muslims surely the final nail in the coffin of Western moral legitimacy, at a time in which the West is simultaneously devouring itself in culture wars and the frenzied worship of whimsical dysphorias. They no longer heed the wisdom teachings of their own Book: ‘Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand.’

Yes, a ‘person of color’ with an unpronounceable name may be allowed to enter Number 10 or the White House on the unnegotiable condition that he prove an even more intransigent neoliberal than his white mentors; but where are the Sufi Shaykhs or Hindu Pandits in Number 10? It is only that comedic, impossible image that could ever represent the true diversity that liberalism claims. To the contrary, having long forgone the genuine pluralism which the liberal order can no longer rouse itself to affirm even as an ideal, it has at length finally confessed the strict impossibility of its ‘neutral’ position. Populist movements in Europe and America wish to recreate assertive partisanship for a distinctly Western, even ‘Christian’ culture and identity, all the while doggedly refusing to repudiate the ethical and metaphysical arbitrarist voluntarism that itself guaranteed the giddy 20th century ‘melting of all that was solid’ in Western civilization. This ungrounded arbitrarism can only result in the authoritarian imposition of pure will; and the awful truth is that the arbitrarist voluntarism of the Western liberal order is, and always has been, intrinsically authoritarian. And in the sense of impending doom from which the liberal order so clearly suffers, brought on both by the fantasy threat of “Islamism”, and the culture wars, the authorities are finding it increasingly expedient to visibly brandish their latent authoritarian powers.

Now, it is precisely in constituting one of the central pillars of this hidden authoritarian foundation that the importance of Israel lies, as the aggressive emblem and bulwark of the “neutral” liberal order. By “supporting” Israel, the liberal order means to say that the existence of that Nietzschean Nihilistan, that Great Secular Nothing called Israel, is a key article of their creed: created in the heart of the Holy Land in 1948, in the aftermath of the Allies’ precious World War Two, in which they so bravely firebombed Germany into oblivion from thirty thousand feet, while more easily expendable Slavic lives finally overcame the Nazis on the ground. That War which stamped and sealed our entrance into the very anti-ethical world of post-morality that has now culminated in the October 7th War. For it is that secular Nothing in the heart of the “Middle East” that symbolizes the victory of the liberal secular “way of life” of self-interested individualism and arbitrarist hedonism over the illusions of the ‘regrettably-still-backward’; namely, ‘those we tolerated in virtue of our enormous humanitarian sophistication, but can no longer tolerate.’ Of course, Israel is not and never has been a democracy —if it ever had been, the Palestinians would have voted the Zionists out before they ever had a chance to commence their Plan Dalet of ethnic cleansing, their destruction of 530 villages, and their 50 massacres. But, via Berdyczewski and others, the Zionists are fully immunized by their Nietzschean Will-to-Powerism against true and false, or right and wrong. It is indeed an inescapable fact, however ‘uncomfortable’, that the same post-ethical Will-to-Power that animated Nazism, now animates Zionism. As the political theorist Eyal Chowers notes, “Zionism emerged as a singular mixture of Nietzschean and Marxian themes … Zionism — as an all-embracing revolution — required the profanization of history and a generalized secularization in order to truly free the human sense of potency in the world.”

Inconsistencies in The Moral Narrative

In addition to this Nietzschean component, the ‘logic’ and ‘ethics’ of Zionism amount to those of Darwinian survival and Spencerian ‘survival of the fittest’; and in the same manner as their Western intimates, in Islam they can only see a terrifyingly unyielding representation of all that they feel compelled to intransigently deny about reality. Since Israel’s whole constructed existence depends upon a lie, it will fight to the death to defend that lie; and it is an ‘existential’ and hence ‘moral’ exigency for it to annihilate anyone and anything that calls out the lie. And since the United States and Britain have founded their self-definitional moral leadership of the world upon ‘saving’ the Jews from the Nazi death camps, the survival of their own moral narrative also rests upon propping up the lie, at all costs.

Never mind that the United States and Britain had steadfastly turned countless Jewish refugees away at the outset of Nazi persecution, or that in 1940 Britain had interred Jewish refugees as ‘enemy aliens.’ For in the narrative retrospectively, but nonetheless powerfully and indelibly projected back onto events, the ‘tricky moral quandaries’ of the Second World War, the firebombing of Hamburg, and the annihilation of Dresden, are justified as exceptional cases, warranted by the unprecedented genocidal evil of Hitler in destroying six million Jews. Again, never mind the history itself, which assures us that the deliberate targeting of German civilians in Hamburg and Dresden had precisely nothing to do with a ‘fight against the ultimate evil’ of the Nazi genocide of the Jews; no, Sir Arthur ‘Bomber’ Harris’s stated aim in sanctioning those horrific crimes, in which over half a million civilians were crushed or burned alive, was to ‘break the spirit of the Germans’ to resist: simply to win the War at all costs. “The Government, for excellent reasons,” Harris said in 1941, “has preferred the world to think that we still held some scruples and attacked only what the humanitarians are pleased to call “military targets.” I can assure you, gentlemen, that we tolerate no scruples.” Indeed, the first ‘area bombing’ targeting civilians in the Second World War was ordered by Churchill and carried out by the RAF in Mönchengladbach, not by Hitler as legend tells.

These disconcerting inconsistencies in the received moral narrative make far better sense in light of the unpalatable truth that Hitler and the Nazis, and the liberal West and Soviets who opposed him, are all merely so many sides of the same equation. The Holocaust was not an aberration from which ‘true’ Western civilization is innocent, but one of the worst crimes of post-Enlightenment modernity itself. It was committed by the same people, and the same ideas, who firebombed Hamburg and Tokyo, nuked Hiroshima and Nagasaki, who ravaged Vietnam and Iraq, and now serve as funders and steadfast apologists for the Gaza genocide. Yes, it was post-Enlightenment modernity itself that was the perpetrator of the Holocaust; just as it also perpetrated the chattel enslavement of the continent of Africa, the opium outrages in China, the annihilation of the Native Americans, the starvation and ‘economic cleansing’ of India. Far from representing aberrations, these depravities were each inevitable consequences of the spirit of the Age of Exploration and the subsequent Scientific Revolution, namely the Baconian inversion of tripartite soul and society —wherein intellect was subordinated to spiritedness and power — as well as the subsequent, Humean, Enlightenment, Industrial Revolution progression of the inversion, in which intellect was subordinated to desire and the passions. And they are no less the inevitable consequences of Luther’s separation of faith and reason, of the extirpation of formal and final causes, and secondary qualities from nature, of the Cartesian Split, of ‘I had to deny knowledge in order to make room for faith,’ of ‘Render therefore unto Caesar such things which are Caesar’s.’

For a futile moment after October 7th, the Western powers attempted their own moral resuscitation by again invoking the time-honored narrative of their moral saviorhood; only for it to fatally backfire this time, and only serve, instead, to demonstrate their terminal moral illegitimacy. Meanwhile, the invocation of the Holocaust has lost its power, for in surely one of the supreme ironies of history, Israel has themselves supplanted their own Nazi reference point of ‘supreme evil’. Western genocide apologism after October 7th has forever imprinted in our hearts and minds all that makes the declining, flailing post-Enlightenment West so dangerous: its lack of any stable, unnegotiable morality. For anything can be countenanced in that dismal anti-ethics of post-morality, the calculus of survival.


Related reading:

Moving Beyond The Left-Right Culture Wars: A Dilemma For Muslim Communities In The West

Are Western Muslims Becoming Right-Wing? The Emergence Of A Politically Mature Community With Agency

Keep supporting MuslimMatters for the sake of Allah

Alhamdulillah, we're at over 850 supporters. Help us get to 900 supporters this month. All it takes is a small gift from a reader like you to keep us going, for just $2 / month.

The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

Hasan Spiker, a philosopher and comparative scholar of Islamic, Greek, and modern thought, studied the works of Plotinus, Dionysius the Areopagite, Kant, and Hegel at the University of Cambridge, where he received his MPhil in philosophy and is carrying out his doctoral research. He also studied the Islamic sciences, focusing on the school of Ibn ʿArabī and late kalām theology, in the Middle East for several years. His new book, Hierarchy and Freedom: An Examination of Some Classical Metaphysical and Post-Enlightenment Accounts of Human Autonomy, was released in 2023.



  1. Mr Paul Williams

    November 20, 2023 at 6:40 PM

    What an intellectually incisive and beneficial article!

  2. Bint Imam

    November 21, 2023 at 4:27 AM

    An insightful read.

  3. Riaz Syed

    November 24, 2023 at 12:42 PM

    Very brilliant analysis of the corruptness of the so called civilized west. It’s a knockout!!

  4. Wael Abdelgawad

    December 5, 2023 at 2:04 PM

    I guess your central point is that the Western claim to plurality and equality, on which they rest their moral leadership, has been exposed as a lie by the October 7th genocide. I found it difficult to understand more than that, as the article’s is dense with obscure jargon and unrelentingly complex verbiage. It feels like something written for a PhD dissertation, not for the average reader.

  5. Spirituality

    December 8, 2023 at 10:29 AM

    As Salamu Alaikum,

    Much has been said about the West’s moral relativism, and much of it has been rightly negative. Islam in no way condones such philosophies.

    That being said, I’m not sure moral relativism is the ultimate source of what has been going on Gaza today. Its roots go back much farther, with Western incursions into the Holy Land in 1096 AD (first crusade) with the aim of getting it back from the Muslims. It would be difficult to lay the claim of moral relativism at the door of the Catholic Church – especially at that time.

    The long history of well recognized “Islam versus the West” conflicts (and deep seated animosity that fuel these conflicts) have been going on for over 1000 years. Its only moral justifications have changed over the years, to ‘fit with the times.’

    Ultimately, the conflict is not between some sort of “absolute morality” versus “relative morality”. Rather, the conflict is, and always has been, between those who submit to the One God versus those who do not – whatever their justification maybe.

  6. shabeeb

    December 25, 2023 at 11:50 AM

    I agree with brother Wael the average reader would have a tough time reading this article. You have to really read it through to understand his point. The points made are good but unnecessary use of words that are hard to comprehend and make the reading difficult. Good for a PHD thesis if that was your aim.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *