According to the thesis of what Imran Aijaz calls ‘Infidelism,’ some people can reasonably be identified as ‘infidels.’ The Islamic variant of this thesis, Islamic Infidelism, states that some people can reasonably be identified as kafir (an ‘infidel’ or ‘disbeliever’). In this talk, Imran will present a case against Infidelism. Although his case is primarily aimed at Muslims, it can be applied mutatis mutandis to Infidelism as it is advocated in other religions, such as Christianity. The core of his argument rests on two claims: (1) In Islamic theology, the kafir is someone who knowingly rejects religious (Islamic) truth, and (2) We (Muslims) are never in a position to reasonably identify some people as kafir. As part of his talk, Imran will discuss why rejecting Infidelism is important. It is not a causally inert thesis, as some Muslims will act on it. For instance, many Muslims are told not to be friends with infidels, not to marry them, not to imitate them, etc. In more morally problematic situations, some are urged to take up arms against infidels. If his case against Infidelism is sound, one impetus for such actions will be removed.
This is the keynote lecture for the Contemporary Philosophical Debates in the Islamic World Workshop, which has been organized by Fatema Amijee, Department of Philosophy.
Imran Aijaz is an Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Michigan-Dearborn, where he has been a faculty member since 2010. His research focuses primarily on Analytic Philosophy of Religion and Islamic Philosophy. Across these two areas, he is especially interested in the topics of faith and reason, religious epistemology, religious diversity and religious pluralism. He also has an interest in Ancient Philosophy and its reception by Jewish, Christian and Islamic thinkers in the Medieval era. His book Islam: A Contemporary Philosophical Investigation (Routledge 2018) brings reflection on many of these topics to bear on the Philosophy of Religion. He has also published several essays in a variety of academic journals and books.