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Kristeva’sTransubstantiation Concept Versus Deitic Cultures : A Cohabitation

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Kristeva’sTransubstantiation Concept Versus Deitic Cultures : A Cohabitation


Dr.MEGA Afaf

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  1. Kristeva’s Principles of New Humanism


With the humanist approach to life, man no longer relies on religion for knowledge. In fact, reason and life experience shape his morality, hopes and behaviours. As humanism called for the reformation of culture, the twenty first century scholars called for new humanism due to life changes embodied in climate change, terrorism, depletion of natural resources and globalization which mingles peoples and attitudes.

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The philosopher Julia Kristeva is one of the distinguished philosophers who synchronized the time events whether political, religious or cultural. Being a semiotician, a thinker and a literary figure, she formulated her principles of new humanism to convey new lenses of looking to politics, religion, psychoanalysis and culture for the purpose to liberate man from suffering.

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In the first section of this research, there will be an exposition of the ideological and cultural background which triggered Kristeva’s principles of new humanism, then, we will state these principles and an explanation of her concept of transubstantiation is provided. Finally, we see it necessary to discuss these principles in the light of the status quo of a world featured by multicultures.

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In the second section, we aim to expose the position of Islam toward building a human being capable to face challenges through ages. For this, we will discuss  how Islam cares about the soul, the affect, the mind and the instinct in order to construct a balanced individual able to interact safely whether in different cultures or different crises.

Finally, in the last section, we try to discuss a confrontation between the thought of Kristeva and the Islamic thought in order to establish a common ground away from tensions and conflicts.

I.1.Backgound of Kristeva’s Principles

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I.1.1.Kristeva and Islam

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Kristeva’s position toward Islam is conservative. She sees it as a form of repression especially its fatwas. In her view, the European subjectivity is in crisis and Islam has to be ejected in order to save the European civilization. For her Islam is violent and conservative. Islam for her belongs to pre-modern times. Her opposition to Islam is strengthened through her adherence to the French Republican values (Almond, 2007). She considers that if there is a God in the French nationalism, it is the values of the French Revolution, namely, ‘égalité, liberté, fraternité et laicité’ (Sutton, 2013). Ibrahim (2018) states that Laborde (2008) describes Kristeva’s position toward the Muslim scarf as a kind of resentment because it occludes their assimilation in the French laic society. According to her, the scarf would violate the universal values as freedom, women’s freedom and sexual freedom.

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In addition to considering Islam as fundamentalist, Kristeva dismisses this religion because it lacks the divine paternity, neighbour-love, paricide, father-love and Mozart (which symbolizes art). She further accuses Islam as being unable to face and confront the social, political, and ethical problems.  For her, it is an illusion, a bad religion and destructive(Sutton, 2013).

In addition to describing Islam as a source of neurosis, Kristeva also considers it as being not intrinsic that it is just an imitation of Judaism and lacking the God father puts it beyond theoretical investigation (ibid).

Kristeva denies any idea that Islam once contributed in the development of the European civilization. Instead she sees it far from human ethics and freedom(Crockett, 2011).

In comparison to other religions, Kristeva puts Islam in the least position because it lacks this love relation between father and son. Moreover, she contends to prove that the nature of Allah in the Quran is responsible for producing terrorists. She even presupposes that Islam has a fundamentalist version (Ibrahim, 2013). Because Kristeva (2009) qualifies Allah in Islam as omnipotent who enacts obedience and horror, while Aristotle’s divine: “ does not harden into unapproachable theocracy, but engenders a tragic humanism, the wisdom of limits” ( Kristeva, 2009: 65).

Kristeva (2009) is against those who call for a divine authority to regulate the disoriented democracies. She displays a strong opposition to the return of religion. Instead through literature and related to it psychoanalysis where the dichotomy faith/reason and norm/liberty is no longer tenable.

As a conclusion, Almond (2007) states that Kristeva sees that the European subjectivity is in crisis , and in order to save the European union and global civilizing effort, Islam has to be ejected. Kristeva (2009) thinks that this is due to the inability of Islam to confront the issues of men and women in this third millennium.

Kristeva’s hostile position toward Islam is the outcome of the terrorist currents whether Islamist or non-Islamist which had irrational,blind, bloody and cruel acts. Well, if we talk about terrorism, facts have shown that fanaticism is not related to a particular religion, it is a universal phenomenon and a result of an extreme and stray thought.

Scholars like Sutton (2013) argues that Kristeva relies on Freud’s Psychoanalysis in her approach to Islam. According to her, if we address this issue of belief we can confront the fundamentalists.  Kristeva (2009) contends that we can metabolize this belief into a pleasure of thinking, analysing and questioning in order to go through a transference phase and then come up with a new mindset.

I.1.2.Kristeva and Christianity

Kristeva’s (2009) position towards Christianity is more moderate than with Islam. Unlike Islam, she sees Christianity as being able to deal with suffering and death (Sutton, 2013).  Nevertheless, she affirms that she is against those who call for a divine authority to regulate the disoriented democracies. She shows a strong opposition to the return of religion. As alternatives she suggests literature, art and psychoanalysis where the dichotomy faith/reason and norm/liberty is no longer tenable. This is why she calls for a rupture between Christianity and humanism, though she considers that humanism is the child of Christianity (Sutton, 2013).  Because she considers thatChristianity has failed them in the twenty first century (Jasper, 2013). This rupture is achieved through a psychoanalysis of Christianity. In this way, a reformation of Christianity would pave the ground for new humanism(Crockett, 2011).

In adolescence, the believer appears in full force with his ‘Ideal Object’. However this idealization is always accompanied with disappointment. This is where Kristeva claims her rejection of Christianity (Jasper, 2013).

Regardless whether it is Islam or Christianity, Kristeva sees religion as the obstacle to human flourishment (Ibrahim, 2018). Related to this, Helsel (2011) explains how Kristeva advocates psychoanalysis as religion because it allows the complexities of the self to come into awareness and thus, the subject is more ready to engage in political life.

I.1.3.Kristeva and The European Crisis

Almond states Kristeva’s claims that Europe is synonymous with freedom. She goes in line with other scholars like Benslama and Roudinesco who agree on the fact that the modern liberal Western civilization as the ultimate achievement of human kind (Sutton, 2013).

Kristeva sees that the European subjectivity is in crisis(Almond, 2009). For Jasper (2013), Kristeva describes the current time as failing culturally, ideologically and socially which lead to destructive nihilism, issues which the secular society did not address. Therefore, religion, humanism and secularism have failed the human aspirations for freedom and identity.

The modern world, according to Kristeva (2009) lacks values and fixed criteria. For this, she calls for the enactment of the singularity of each one of us (i.e, genius).  In addition, crisis in culture and identity and depression are manifestations and features of a falling world. Thus, as a solution, she suggests: “ .., it seems for me that each subject invents, for himself, his own particular sex, this where his genius, which is his creativity lies” ( p: 40). She extrapolates that this genius is employed in the thinking and the questioning of such issues as: language, time, all identity (sexual, national, ethnic, professional, religious, philosophical,…).

Kristeva (1993) confirms a crisis in the European identity and especially in France. According to her, individuals are fragmented and lost the personal freedom for the advantage of subjective, sexual, nationalist and religious protectionism, the fact that might freeze their evolutionary potentialities, and thus they are reduced to the identification of their originary groups.

In addition, Kristeva (1993) accumulates a particular stand towards the immigrants’ presence in Europe in general and in France in particular. She considers that the religious conflicts have their impact on the civilization and humankind. If we consider France, she states that the French national identity is in crisis because of immigration flow coming from Magreb, black Africa, Asia and central Europe, in one part, and from its competition with European partners.

So particularly in France, the Arabian immigrants are a threat because the French would give up their values of freedom and culture (like the issue of the Muslim scarf).

Considering herselfcosmopolitant, and seeing the world being shaken by national fundamentalism and immigration, and because it is difficult to live with foreigners, Kristeva (1993) calls for a universal and transnational principles of humanity distinct from historical realities of nation and citizenship. Though in France, there is a rejection of the different, she proposes that by giving a place to foreigners under the L’ éspritgénéral  is the optimal version of integration of the nation.

Kristeva (1993) adopts Montesquieux (1689-1755) point of view who protects the rights of man beyond the rights of the citizen, to protect privacy, weakness and shyness, so that homogenous uniform socially would not erase them, giving the right of their existential difference. In Montesquieux view, the particular is respected when it is integrated into another particular of ‘greater magnitude’, but at the same time guaranties the existence of the precious one and lifts it up to respecting new differences. So Kristeva claims that the accomplishment of the rights of man in France is achieved through the absorption of the sacred by the identification of the national with the political.

Finally, by the 1960s, the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe was a pretext for Kristeva (1993) to call for the examination not only the very basis of democratic government, but to think of the 21st century without the fundamentalists, religious illusions and ethnic wars.

I.1.4.Kristeva and Suffering

In Christianity, suffering is sharable between humans and Christ; at the interface of the human and the divine, and finally, among human beings themselves (Kristeva, 2009).

In the Christian tradition, suffering becomes sacred, and in psychoanalysis, sublimating it is maintained through the idea of a consoling Christ who identifies with the suffering of men, mirrors his suffering to them to enable them to project their own. And by dying like a man for men, he removes their sin and evil from the world. And here Christ manifests compassion which Kristeva interprets in two ways. On the one hand, suffering being the unavoidable path to salvation, and here, it is only the feeling of pain which makes one exist “I exist, if and only if, I suffer” (p: 91). On the other hand, the compassion with vulnerable humankind (ibid).

The second version is the suffering to death, a sovereign suffering either physically through flagellation or the putting to death the body; or moral through abandonment by God the father or the loss of spirit. And the last aspect of suffering is its sublimation through psychic and verbal activity (ibid).

For Kristeva, suffering results from many sources and has got many aspects too. For instance, in Islam, the need to believe leads to disappointment which would result into sadomasochism, self-punishment, depression, suicide and anorexia. And this happens when the adolescent’s Love Object is not satisfied either in school, profession or vocation. And here, Kristeva connects the adolescent’s malaise to religious fundamentalism; a relation of causality.  So, Islam, according to her, is unable to address suffering and death. Therefore, since belief is negative, she calls for an answer to this in a way to found for the new humanism which would be compatible with the laicité of France  (Sutton, 2013). Unlike Islam, Christianity has the capacity to refine suffering and turns it into joy and ecstacy (ibid).

In this context, Kristeva (2009) recalls the experience of Teresa of Avila who transforms this pain into a bliss as ‘ecstacy’.

In this context of suffering, Kristeva highly values psychoanalysis in relieving the suffering through orgasmic pleasure (Crockett, 2011). In fact, psychoanalysis is a good means to redress the suffering which comes as a result of repression and the resistance to pleasure and desire (Jasper, 2013). Thus, she suggests to replace religion by psychoanalysis (Ibrahim, 2018).

Finally, Kristeva (2009) admits the role of music, painting and literature in turning the suffering into a kind of serenity ready to bloom with joy.

I.1.6.Kristeva and the Radical Evil

            According to Julia Kristeva (2016), the presence of the Jihadists in France creates a war with the French enlightenment values which try to break with the religious tradition.

She found that this death drive is mostly present within the adolescent Muslims. Her arguments about the main causes behind such bloody behaviour are logically convincing: post-colonialism, the failures of integration and education, the monopoly of economy on the political, family disintegration, social breakdowns which make them easy prey; in addition to the lack of the ‘killing of the father’ in Muslim religion unlike Christianity and Judaism, though she admits the call of the Muslim leaders to impose strict sanctions on those who preach the holy war (ibid).

Kristeva(2016)claims this death drive is the result of the ‘need to believe’ within adolescents and it is a kind of the malady of the soul that needs to be treated. In this context, she relates to Freud who qualified this belief as being ‘oceanic feeling”.

Furthermore, we see how Kristeva tries to elucidate this belief. Being unshakable and assimilated as the ultimate truth, belief becomes the source of destruction and death.

In puberty, the adolescent would research for an ideal beyond the mother, father and society. So, he believes that this ideal  love-object exists and within his reach. However, once  this love-object is not reached out, the adolescent may turn into punishment and self-punishment, depression, suicide, crimes as vandalism, drug addiction, and here, the adolescent doesn’t distinguish between himself and the other, and like this, the death drive triumpths over this belief in the love-object which promises eternal paradise (ibid).

But the death drive is not only limited to religious believers. For Kristeva (2016), it can result also from the clash between the values, or the evil which destroys the distinction between good and evil.

Therefore, since secular morality seems uncapable to deal with ideality disorder, Kristeva advocates the importance of psychoanalysis in refining the potential of this malignity (ibid).

In this context, we seeKristeva (2016)  suggesting practical processes in order to treat radicalizable adolescents in order to end this war. Thus, she potentially believes in psychoanalysis in restructuring the person as a wager. So in the restructuring of the person, Kristeva suggests to put question marks in the place of God and ideals in order to re-evaluate them. In addition to equipping the adolescent from earliest age with qualities of generosity, creativity and engagement in social, educational, cultural and humanitarian vocations.

This is achieved through the collaboration and mutual efforts of educators, professors, psychologists, human resources managers, teachers, life aides…(ibid).

I.2.Kristeva’s Principles of New Humanism

I.2.1.Thers is not a universe, instead there is a multiverse. There is a multiplicity of cultures, religions, tastes and creations. In addition, she calls not to be afraid from being mortal in a multiverse world  (Kristeva, 2011).

I.2.2. A call to create new collective myths not only through interpreting those of the ancients but to rewrite, rethink or revive them in the language of modernity (ibid).

I.2.3.Man cannot be condemned to automation. He has got infinite capacities: there is the writer, the musician, the painter, the thinker,…(ibid).

I.2.4. Renew the capacity of men and women to listen, to learn together to enable the man to continue to pursue his creative destiny for a long time to come (ibid).

I.2.5.Humanism is a feminism: the liberation of desires could only lead to the emancipation of women (ibid).

I.2.6.Legislating through the continuous questioning of our situation, society, history or personal situation (Kristeva, 2013)

I.2.7.Invent new international rules to regulate and control finance and the global economy (ibid).

I.2.8.Create a world authority based on universal ethics and solidarity.

I.2.9.Humanism is in a process of permanent refoundation that develops through the ruptures that are innovations. That is it is time now to question the past moral codes like the Bible, Gospels, the Quran, not weaken them but to interpret them and renew them in the face of the new singularities (ibid).

I.2.10.Humanism teaches us to take care of the desires of men and women. This is manifested in: the loving care for each other, the care of the earth, the young, the sick, the disabled, the elderly dependents. And this would create new approximities and surprising solidarity (ibid).

I.2.11.Because Homo Sapiens is capable of destroying the earth and himself in the name of his beliefs, religions or ideologies, thus, we do not know what type of human beings will succeed us. So the refounding of humanism does not rely on providential dogma, not an intellectual game, it is gamble. For it is no longer a time for suspicion, but a time for gamble. An emphasis on the continuous renewal of capacity of both men and women in listening and learning so that man pursue his creativity for a longer period of time in multiverse surrounded by void (ibid).

In this context, Kristeva highlights two political actors in this multiverse, namely, the adolescents and maternal passion(ibid).

I.2.11.1. Adoslescence: Kristeva claims that the adolescent starts believing in an ideal object the time when he separates from his parents. He develops a passion to a love-object in the form of a faith. Through this faith, the adolescent develops the idea that God and paradise exist. And if this ideality is disappointed, it will cast the adolescent into delinquency. That is if failure syndrome accompanies this idealization in school, profession, or vocation, then the adolescent becomes easily guided by romanticism, enthusiasm and fanaticism. Therefore, Kristeva admits the existence of adolescence crisis and the role of psychoanalysis to innovate when confronted with it, by:

– Sharing understanding with the adolescent’s syndrome of ideality.

– Pointing out the negative aspects of his behaviour.

– Providing a credible transference, and metabolizing the need to believe through the pleasure of thinking, questioning and analysing.

I.2.11.2. Motherhood Today: Kristeva thinks that the discourse on motherhood is absent in the secular discourse unlike Christianity and Judaism. She provides a psychological analysis of maternal passion. From the outset, the maternal passion is filled with negativity because in order to gain the autonomy of her baby, the mother detaches herself from him through expulsion (ibid).

In the life of the woman or the mother, there  exists a love relation to the Other which is featured by instability, this instability would lead to manic exaltation, depression and aggressions which would underly all relations (ibid).

Therefore, Kristeva summarizes the excesses which underlie the maternal passion as follows:

  • Temporality as a kind of detachment in relation to the sole object. For temporality in the case of motherhood, it refers to beginning. Giving birth is a beginning. And here, Kristeva relates beginning to the philosophy of freedom. That is being free means to have the courage to start a new (And this is the philosophy of motherhood).
  • An invitation to the plurality of beings and relations.
  • A source of depassioning and freedom which is ultimately freedom from passion.
  • As it is the prototype of human passion, maternal passion is also a prototype of letting go of passion which allows to distance ourselves from the two tormentors of the human psyche: sexual drives and the object of love (ibid).

In this context, Kristeva talks of the sublimation of the maternal passion. It is sublimated in the mother’s interaction with her child where in the exchange of words  and thoughts, the mother focuses on the child’s reactions. And thus, the mother’s absence is represented. And here the ‘good enough mother’ would be who knows how to leave to make room for pleasure for the child. That is to disappear. So this is a kind of symbolic matricide (ibid).

The maternal passion is a cleft between the mother’s hold over her child and sublimation, a fact which perpetuates the risk of madness (ibid)

From a religious perspective (Christianity and Judaism), the issue of maternal passion by recognizing it, perpetuating it and also balancing it, something which Kristeva admits and regards as positive  (ibid).

However, in the consideration of biological and social aspects of motherhood, as well as sexual freedom and equality, the modern civilization lacks discourse on the complexity of motherhood. For her, it is time to sharpen our understanding of this passion, pregnant with madness and sublimity, a fact which the modern discourse lacks (ibid).

I.3. Discussion of Kristeva’s Principles

Through her new humanist principles, Kristeva has shown to be close and sensitive to the European contemporary reality. Her principles are only a diligence from her part for the purpose to build a new world free of conflicts and crises and to alleviate suffering to make the homo sapiens adapt to the new varieties that their civilization is facing. As a matter of fact, fundamentalism, religious illusions, ethnic wars and suffering constitute the catalysis behind her new principles.

Admitting that at present we are living in a multiverse characterized by diverse cultures, religion is a fact that could not be denied since it occupies a central position in the life of many societies. Nevertheless, we read her call to reject religion and replace it with psychoanalysis. This is manifested in her concept of transubstantiation. In the online dictionary [1] transubstantiation has got two meanings; one general and another theological. The general definition states that transubstantiation is the changing of one substance into another. While the Christian definition states that transubstantiation refers to the changing of the elements of bread and wine, when they are consecrated in the Eucharist, into the body and blood of Christ.

Out of these two definitions, there is a tendency toward a change. As has been mentioned earlier, Kristeva believes that religion is the root behind the human suffering and that psychoanalysis is the key to relieve human suffering.

In the light of this, we are face to a dichotomy of religion versus psychoanalysis. In one side, we could never dismiss the importance of psychoanalysis in treating the maladies of the psyche, but at the same time it could never be an alternative to religion. On the other side, religion is larger and can be seen as a hierarchical system which comes to connect the homo sapiens to their creators and organize their life on earth. Religion does not reject psychoanalysis, on the contrary, there is a call in Islam to keep developing the sciences which aim at the service of the human being improvement.

A word of truth that should be mentioned in this context is that Kristeva’shostitily towards Islam did come out of a vacuum. We all witness the barbarous bloody acts of the fundamentalists under the label of Islam which is a fact that no body could deny. The problem here is not in Islam itself but in the misinterpretation of the Islamic texts, namely, The Quran and the Suna by those fundamentalists. We can also add, historically, the issue of misinterpreting Islam dated back to the early centuries of the spread of Islam. There were wars and invasions under the name of Islam which caused the death of innocents. While in truth, the muslim is forbidden from killing the non muslim only when the latter killed or tried to kill him, then in this case he is called to fight for his religion and life. Those ignorant fundamentalists have disregarded the Quranic verse which states : “ No force in religion” ( Sourate El Bakara, Verse; 256), in addition other numerous Quranic verses which call for peace and no compulsion.

History has recorded peaceful invasions which aimed at the peaceful spread of Islam. The conquerors settled peacefully in the countries that they opened, established their commerce and married and founded families there which led to the peaceful spread of Islam.

Kristeva’s exclusion of religion is an exclusion of deiticcultures, that is an exclusion of the Other’s identity. Like this, it becomes hard to establish a peaceful world based on the exclusion of the Other. We only reap hate, prejudice, conflict and more distancing. It is a tendency toward a colonialist discourse. All religions come with values of freedom, respect, love and tolerance.Religions never contradict human advancement.

Therefore, the creation of a world based on universal ethics is a world which embraces all differences which ensures peaceful coexistence among its individuals.

As an answer to Kristeva’s new humanism, we suggest to exhibit how the religion of Islam cares about the construction of the individual in general throughout history either in time or space.

II- Islam and the Construction of the Individual

Religion is the connection between the divine and man on earth. It comes to give meaning to the existence of man that he is not created for random. For instance, Islam appeared in the seventh century after the birth of Christ, and it is the third and last religion after Judaism and Christianity.

In its part, Islam comes to construct a balanced individual spiritually, cognitively psychologically and mentally. To achieve this purpose, Islam gives tremendous importance to all the aspects of the individual; with regard to his soul, cognition, affection and finally his desires and instincts. Therefore, we will see in the following in the construction of such individual how it enables him to face crises and avoid this radical evil.

II.1.The Soul: The soul is basically related to faith. Once one is a believer in God -which the Muslims name Allah-, he adheres to two wide principles. One is the principle of worship in which man manifests and fulfills his servitude to Allah through five main actions:

The first action is the believe with mind and heart that there is no God except Allah and that Mohamed –Peace be upon Him- is his messenger.

The second is prayer. It is the basic connection between the individual and Allah. Muslims pray five times a day. Through prayer the servitude to Allah is achieved and the bond is ehanced

The third is called Zakat. It is a kind of charity in which the rich muslim annually devotes a particular share from his belongings either money, gold or property to people in need.

The fourth is fast. Muslims fast one month a year. This month is called Ramadan. The fast starts from dawn to dusk. Ramadan is considered as a spiritual school in which the individual learns and strengthens self-discipline with good morals like honesty, repentance, charity and patience.

The last one is Hadj that is pilgrimage. Due to its difficulty, it is recommended only to people who can afford it. In pilgrimage, there is strong achievement of the servitude of Allah. Once accomplished adequately, the individual is cleared from all his sins and accordingly one is rewarded a paradise.

The second principle is the dealing or the treatment among individuals themselves. This principle is considered as the result of the principle of worship. That is in accomplishing worship, the Muslim expands the fruits of his worship to the way how he treats people and lives his life. Therefore, Islam has established rules which aim to protect the individual’s dignity, security, prosperity and his freedom within his society. So Muslims have to apply them. From such morals we can state honesty, charity, solidarity, avoid backbiting and gossip, tolerance, patience, love of  good for others as you love to yourself, inviolabilty of murder and stealing, never do any type of harm to others either to believers or non-believers. In this context, we mention the words of the prophet Mohamed-peace be upon him-: “ But I was sent to perfect the good morals”. So these morals come to raise the value of the individual. For instance, in dealing with non-Muslims, Islam has imposed further principles which Muslims have to obey. These principles are renouncing religious fanaticism, accept the difference, respect the creed, sanctity of money, the self and honor, choosing a language of tolerant speech and finally justice and charity.

To illustrate, in talking about justice and charity, we see that Islam does not only legislate to give protection and liberty to non-Muslims, but also to do good to them whenever they are peaceful. Related to this, Allah says in the Quran: “As for those who have not fought against you for your religion, nor expelled you from your homes, God does not prohibit you from dealing with them kindly and equitably. God loves the equitable” (Quran: The Tested, verse 08. P. 586).

Thus, Islam confirms the human brotherhood away from religious considerations. For example, if a Muslim believer has non-believers parents he is obliged to treat them adequately and do good to them: “ If they –the non-believers parents- strive to have you associate with Me something of which you have no knowledge, do not obey them. But keep them company in this life, in kindness, and follow the path of him who turns to Me. Then to Me is your return; and I will inform you of what you used to do” (Quran: Luqman, verse 15. P. 426).

Visiting the sick non-believer is also recommended by Islam. This is exhibited in the model of our prophet Mohamed -Peace be Upon Him- who had visited his servant who was not believer and was sick in order to comfort and compliment  him (Dr. Ibrahim abdelhamid,

We can also mention other behaviours that muslims can perform with non-muslims like establishing friendships, hospitality at home, exchanging gifts, attending their funerals, give theme charity as our prophet did with some Jews, and finally, the philanthropy to the polytheist neighbour, and hereDr. Al awa reminds us of the words of our prophet –PBUH- about the recommendations of Jibril about the neighbour: “ Jibril still recommended me to the neighbour until I thought he would inherit him”.

II.2. Cognition: Islam is not only limited to the arena of spirituality. It comes to clear the humanity from the darkness of ignorance, and through knowledge man can improve his condition on earth.

El Ghazali (1998)  had stated  four broad meanings to the mind. First, it is what distinguishes the individual from the animal. It is the instinct which enables man to receive theoretical knowledge. Second, it is the sciences that come into being which are based on the permissibility of the permissible and the impossibility of the impossible. In this regard, there is a consideration of logic because through logic man knows that two are more than one or that man can not exist in two places at once for instance.  Third, the mind is the sciences that we benefit from experiences, and finally, the mind is the means through which man can think about the consequences of his unlimited desires and lusts and thus, he acquires control over his acts. And this is what differentiates him from animals.

In the words of Dr. ElAbara (2021), the deployment of the mind enables the individual to differentiate between the good and the bad, the beneficial and the harmful, the right andthe  wrong. So in disactivating it, the mind gets confusion in making such differences.

In fact, we see that the first Quoranic verse that was sent to our prophet -PBUH- through Jibril was Sourate El Alak or The Clot: “ Read in the name of your Lord who created (1) created man from a clot (2) Read your lord is the Most Generous (3) He Who taught by the pen (4) taught man what he never knew…” (Quran; the Clot, Vesres 1,2,3,4. P: 651). Just from these few verses, we understand that God is the creator of man, that he has created him from a clot, that man must know that God is the Most generous, that God taught man things that he didn’t know before through giving him the sight, the hear the mind and the pen to use them to learn and explore the universe.

In his part, our prophet has a lot of speeches which urge for learning, to state but just two examples:

  • “ Seeking knowledge is an obligation over every muslim” ( El Ghazali, 1998.p. 17).
  • “The superiority of the scholar over the worshiper is like the superiority of the moon over all the other planets” (El Ghazali, 1998.p.15).

Related to knowledge is the mind which is its vessel. And Islam gave it a great importance because it is the engine either for good or evil. So nurturing it with good morals protects the individual from leaning to evil deeds. Islam always asks people to use their mind either meditating, observing or thinking in all matters of their life starting from the universe around them and discover its laws, observe and study all the creatures and matters.Therefore, through these actions, man can discover the universe which will lead him to realize who is his creator, develop his life to the better through science and thus inhabit the earth peacefully.

So the mind is the starting point for the advancement of the humanity. El shaaraoui (2004)

highlights the fact that the mind inherits civilizations that is man is the only being who can starts from where his antecedents ended. Unlike the human being, the animal can not transfer the habits he learned to his children or followers. Therefore, without this capability to inherit the civilization, man would have stayed  the same the way as he is primitive. Through this capacity he is able to achieve this huge scientific advancements in all fields.

Indeed, any kind of science that works for the benefit of the human kind is embraced by Islam. For Islam never contradicts science or reason. Because through science, man finds answers and can improve his living conditions.

The appeal to the mind is numerous in the Quran. Sometimes God asks people to use their mind and meditate on the world around them because everything in the universe is a sign of his existence:

“ Do they not look at the camels-how they are created? (17)And at the sky-how it is raised? (18) And at the mountains –how they are installed? (19) And at the earth- how it is spread out? (20) So remind you are only a reminder (21) You have no control over them (22)”(Quran, El Ghashia, verses: p. 644). The verb “look” in this context has got a deeper connotation. It calls for meditation over the creation of the camels, mountains and the sky.

Or in another verse, God appeals to people’s understanding which is achieved only through thinking via the mind:

“ In the creation of heavens and the earth, and in the alternation of night and day, are signs for people of understanding” (Quran: Al Imrane; Verse 199. P. 72).

Other times, God asks people to use their mind to inform people about scientific truths that they must discover and reach, for example:“ Do the disbelivers not see that the heavens and the earth were one mass, and we tore them apart?” (Quran: Al Anbia; Verse; 30.p. 330). At the present time, Western scientists have discovered that the universe was a kind of one mass and through millions of years it gradually through hernia it changed into millions of stars which fill the sky. So the present scientists have discovered a scientific truth that was mentioned about one thousand and four hundred years ago.

Also using the mind is a requirement to understand the regulations of Islam that the Muslims must adhere to, for instance: “And divorced women shall be provided for, equitably-a duty upon the righteous (141) God thus explains His revelations to you, so that you may understand” (Quran: El Bakara; Verses: 241, 242 .p.38).

In these two verses, God informs the believers that when the woman divorces, she has the right to alimony in clothing and eating according to what is available by the husband.

Similar to this verse, through calling people to use their mind, there is in the Quran many verses that teach muslims what is allowable to follow and what is illicit to avoid, information about God and his different names and features and his justice,…etc ( El Djaouzia; Volume 01, 1999).

Statistically, the term mind with its different connotations and functions is mentioned more than 500 times in the Quran. In this, we find such words as heart, sight, forethought, meditation, memory, jurisprudence, kernel among others.

As a conclusion, the right use of the mind is a prerequisite to the right faith. In this regard, the mind would reject every act that is irrational, every act that causes harm to others either mentally or physically:

“From here, it becomes clear that the holy Quran makes the mental sight, deployment of the thought, not to force on a certain opinion among the right basics of faith, and is considered a safe means which lead to it” (Dr.Madani, 2017).

II.3.Affection: Researches confirm that affection is an important part in the life of the individual. Psychologists argue that the emotional fulfilment is a prerequisite for a balanced psyche. So inhibiting it is a crime because it will result into a type of complicated and unbalanced individuals. While at the same time, the drift behind the effervescence of excessive emotions omits the mind and obstructs its view. [2]

Emotions in Islam are noble, humane and pure away from hostility or deviation. These emotions emanate from the love to God. Out of this, the self is refined and cultivated on the love of the good and the beauty, on the hate of oppression, on compassion towards the oppressed, on sharing others in their joys and happiness and on sharing others in their suffering.[3]

This is why Islam recommends love which ramifies into a variety of levels. The highest one is the love of God which results into loving what God loves and hating what He hates. Next, there is the love of His messenger Mohammed-PBUH- whose love is a requirement for true faith. In his speech, the prophet says: “ By God, none of you believes until I am dearer to him than his son and his father and all people”. There is also the love of the other prophets, the pious and the scientists to the love of all what surrounds the muslim in his life like his relatives, friends, neighbours, colleagues, people with whom he has exchanged interests and benefits, nature and animals. This bond of love would protect the society from hate and conflicts. Finally, we can talk of love between the man and the woman which Islam organizes into the institution of marriage.[4]

If we get closer to the morals which Islam recommends like honesty, gratitude, charity, helping others and the good manners, they are all rooted in love. This is why educational scientists consider emotions as being very important in the construction of the individual. Therefore, in order to protect it and keep it in the right path, one has to be aware about those who try to manipulate it and nurture it with toxicity in some way or another which endanger the stability of the individual and the community as well.

II.4. Desires and instincts: The religion of Islam considers man as a combination of spirit and matter. It neither emphasis on spirituality nor on the matter per see. It rather makes a balance between them for the adequate construction of the individual. Man’s desires are various. They can manifest in the love of oneself, love of money, love of women or men and love of notoriety (El Ghazali, 1999). Unlike in some civilizations, man’s instincts and desires are in need to sublimation and refinement as the mind needs to be nurtured with beneficial knowledge (El Ghazali, 1999). Because the ultimate unleash of his desires degrades him at the level of animals and deviates him from his mission on earth for which he is created. But this doesn’t mean that Islam neglects this side of the human, on the contrary it has established for it certain ways according to specific regulations to be fulfilled. Indeed, marriage is the rightful media through which man fulfils his desires. In this regard, our prophet Mohamed-PBUH- has encouraged us on marriage: “ Marriage is my way so the one who eschews it is not from me” ( El Ghazali; Volume: 02, 1998).

Related to our topic, we can state the reasons why Islam encourages the individual to marry. Accordingly, marriage is a means to protect the individual from committing the sin of adultery as it also answers the needs of the body to fulfil his natural desires and like this the psyche of the individual is more stable and balanced. In this regard, the one will not generate unconscious complexes that might affect his behaviours in the future in some way or another.


In this changing world, it is positive to see new ideas which commonly aim to improve the situation of man in this life. Julia Kristeva is among the distinguished philosophers who contributes with her new humanism to alleviate human suffering and to open spaces for the liberty of the individual.

Her new humanism comes as a result of many events that tookplace in the global scene like climate change, terrorism, depletion of natural resources, human suffering, fundamentalism and what she considers the illusion of religions, crisis in the identity of the European subject either ideologically, culturally or socially.

Here call for universal ethics and solidarity is a necessary departure for a peaceful world, a world featured by multicultures, religions and ideologies. Nevertheless, the rejection of other’s provential creed turns the implementation of her principles difficult.

As a matter of fact, the religion of Islam has answers to all the issues raised by Kristeva namely the questions of adolescents, motherhood, the God creator, fundamentalism  and suffering; however, due to time constraints, we have focused only on one side namely how Islam  seeks to construct a balanced individual in harmony with his creator and the universe. Because God does not create man to kill or destroy on earth, on the contrary, man is ordered to inhabit earth, face its challenges and do good in it without excluding the other.

In the confrontation of the two thoughts, we come up with some common positive points that may pave the ground for positive collaboration between the two different thoughts. Such points we can state: the call to love, the renew of the capacity of man to creativity, the recognition of multicultural universe, solidarity and respect of others’ liberty.

Finally, we can say that a mutual acceptance between the two thoughts is a prerequisite for peace. This could be achieved only through opening channels of dialogues in order to better understand the other and alleviate prejudices. When the triumpth of the humanity is the target then the cohabitation is possible.


El Abara. Samir M.A, (2021). Hath El Islam AlaIstimaal El Akle. Accessed in July, 2021, in:


-El djaouziaIbnQuayem.(1999). Madaridj El Salikine. Dar El Kotob El Ilmya. Beirout.Libanon. Volume n: 01.

-El GhazaliAbiHamed (1998).IhyaaOuloum El Dine. First edition. Volume n: 02. Dar El Kotob El Ilmya.Beirout.Libanon.ognition in the Quran. Accessed in July, 2021, in:


-El GhazaliAbiHamed (1998).IhyaaOuloum El Dine. First edition. Volume n:01. Dar El Kotob El Ilmya.Beirout.Libanon.

-El madani Mohamed A, (2017). Mediattions in Quranic Verses.Cognitive Miracles in The Quran. Vesres of C

-Eshaaraoui. M.M.( 2004). Moudjizate El Quran. Dar El Houda. Ain Mlila. Algeria.

-Elgahzali M. (1999). El Djaneb El Atifi Mina El Islm. First Edition. Dar El Kalam. Damascus.

Online References

Jasper Alison ( 2013). Feminism, Religion and This Incredible Need to Believe.WorkigWith Julia Kristeva Again. Researchgate.Visited: October, 2020.

Almond Ian.(2007). Kristeva and Islam.Researchgate.

-Bokova Irina (2010). A New Humanism for the 21rst Century. Accessed in: 03.04.2021, in:

Unesco.org/new/en/media_services/Single_view/news/a_new humanism_forthe_21st_century.

-Crockett Clyton( 2011). This Incredible Need to Believe, ArsDisputandi. Accessd in:

http://doi.org/10.1080/15665399.2011.10820055. Visisted in: October, 2020.

-Helsel Philip Browning (2011). Review of This Incredible Need to Believe by Kristeva.Princeton Theological Seminary.Bleckwell Publishing LTD. Religious Studies.

-Ibrahim. M. Hanan( 2018). Foreigners to Kristeva: Refashining Orientalism and the Limits of Love. Accessed in October, 2020, in:

Journal of Commonwealth Literature.Journal. Sagepub.com/home/sage.

-Importance of Affection In Islam, (2020). Accessed in: 27.08.2021, in:


-Importance of Islamic Affection in Educational Formation, (2020). Accessed in: 27.08.2021, in:


-Kristeva Julia ( 1993).Nations Without Nationalism. Translated by: Leon S. Roudiez.Columbia University Press. New York.

-Kristeva Julia (2016). Interpreting Radical Evil.Translated by: David Maruzzella. Accessed in: 24.04.2021, in:


-Kristeva Julia (2013). Going Beyond the Human Dance. Journal of French and Francophone Philosophy, VolxxI? N: 01. pp:1-12.

-Kyra Sutton (2013). Islam’s Turn on the Couch: The psychoanalytic Theorizing of Muslim Identity in France. Thesis for a degree of Bachelor of Arts.

-Love: the Highest Humanist Emotions, (2014). Accessed in: 27.08.2021, in:


-Humanism. A Positive Approach to Life (2021). Accessed in : 03.04.2021, in:


-Humanism (2021). Accessed in: 03.04.2021, in:


-Some Principles for the Humanism of the twenty-first century (2011). Accessed in: 21.03.2021; in:

Kristeva.fr/assise 2011.html. Basiliques Sainte-Marie-des-Anges.

-gate.ahram.org.eg/News/1761366.aspx. Accessed in July, 2021.

-QURAN ARABIC ENGLISH.Translated by: TalalItani.Arabic Text from Tanzil.net. Clear Quran.

Online Dictionaries

-dictionary.com/browse/transubstantiation. Accessed in : 24.05.2021.






[1] Dictionary.com/browse/transubstantiation. (2021).

[2] -awarenessyemen.com/4777/ (2020).

[3] -montadatarbawy.com/show/124466 (2020).

[4]– alroya.com/26-27/180570 (2014).

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