Every so often we see calls for an Islamic Enlightenment. This is a strange call. It is also one which bespeaks ignorance both of the Enlightenment and of Islam.
The Enlightenment was anti-religious, period. It was the beginning of Western atheism and secularism. To be sure, its fruits have ripened in the twentieth century and in the present century. Its fruits have been bloodshedding on a vast scale. Consider, for example, the number of innocent children slaughtered in the womb daily throughout the West. This outcome was not hard to predict, given the French Revolution--which was an Enlightenment effort. That Revolution ended in the Reign of Terror--all in the name of Reason.
An "Islamic Enlightenment" would probably present a "version" of Islam which was atheistic, secular, and not Islam at all. It would represent the dismantling of Islam as a religion--in precisely the same way that Enlightenment ideology has "transformed" Christianity by driving it out of society. The philosophes are "open" to retaining references to Christianity, even studying it, but only to consign it to the reliquaries of history. Secularism and Islam do not mix; cannot mix.
On the other hand, this year celebrates the beginning of the Christian Reformation 500 years ago.
The Reformation substantially "reformed" medieval Christianity around the beginnings and roots of Christianity: its fundamentals, it divine authority, and its Gospel of divine grace. The Reformation recovered the Christian worldview. At its heart were the five "solas".
The Five Solas are:
Sola Scriptura (“Scripture alone”): The Bible alone is our highest authority.
Sola Fide (“faith alone”): We are saved through faith alone in Jesus Christ.
Sola Gratia (“grace alone”): We are saved by the grace of God alone.
Solus Christus (“Christ alone”): Jesus Christ alone is our Lord, Savior, and King.
Soli Deo Gloria (“to the glory of God alone”): We live for the glory of God alone.
One gets the idea: the Reformation was about reforming the faith back to its historical purity of life and doctrine.
The Christian Reformation contributed greatly to the doctrines of limited government, representative government, the abolition of slavery in England and the British Empire, deep respect for the Jewish people, the rise of the rule of law, rising literacy and education, and so forth. Remove the Christian faith from Western society and you end up with riots on university campuses opposing the very presence of people like Ayaan Hirsi Ali, let alone her thoughts and speech.
An Islamic Enlightenment would be an oxymoron. An Islamic Reformation would be an abomination.