It’s the standard Asadian rap. Admittedly, it has potential and and encourages the kind of progress we are pushing for. But you know, this approach has its origin in Foucault’s LSD trip, just as the secular identity/religious identity distinction has its origin in the Kantian European Enlightenment.
That is to say, the implicit binary opposition that colonial forces employ to overdetermine Islamic rule (the European identity formed out of a privileging of the secular over the religious) sources itself from a Kantian trip.
Whereas Asad, a Foucaultian post-colonial theorist, has connected the Raw Reality of Foucault’s chemical/biological/psychedelic machine to the historical/geographic/political machine, and ultimately therefore owes his debt to that French Prophet, and the Swiss inspirational Angel of the 20th century, Albert Hofmann. Foucault’s trip is undoubtedly magnificent and powerful — not some teenage raver jumping up and down to repetitive music — his trip was so intense, so powerful, that it persists throughout the upper echelons of the academies, from East to West, that it persists in the penmanship of every post-colonial theorist worth his/her salt.
Yet Sufism has always offered a similar deconstruction of identities through highlighting and complicating implicit dualities — we call this fana. We also prescribe a notion of asecularity within our Shariah, by means of its Holy Irony (as an apparently religious and politically prescriptive form of poetry, it is supremely ironic and supremely sublime in this regard), there is no religion and no political space in the Medina of the Verandah Vanguard. And we also employ a Raw Reality machine — but a much older and more beautiful one, at least in our aesthetics: the Reality Machine of the Arab Unlettered Prophet, the equally psychedelic trip of the Miraj.
This is not a criticism of Asad or Foucault or the piece on asecularity. But as a non-Muslim Sufi (I don’t belong to a religion or to a state) who Loves Qur’an, I have to ask: where is Qur’an in this? Because I want Qur’an near to me in all discussions: not because I think it is morally preferable but just because she’s Hu “I” Love most.
It’s not a criticism — it’s a Love thing, a taste thing, a beauty thing. I want Qur’an in every discussion because I want her constantly in my life.
Qur’an is the prism through which all Reality is refracted, a refraction we call the tresses — and therefore encompasses Foucault, his Raw Reality, his admittedly magnificent trip (that still lives on, streaming out through the pens of countless post-structural PhDs). The Qur’an encompasses all Raw Realities: entangles and complicates them, just as they complicate Europe. The tresses of the Qur’an entangle any French philosopher, any post-colonial theorist, any human being.