Is There a Conflict Between Islam and American Values?

Freedom of thought is something all people assume they have by default. No one thinks his thoughts are not his own. In reality, the vast majority of people’s thoughts are heavily dictated and outright controlled by larger societal forces. Today’s loud and proud (i.e., obnoxious) “free thinkers” are no exception.

But here is a broader example. What if I were to tell you that there are clear conflicts between Islam and American values?

I am not going to elaborate on this claim because that’s not the point. The point is that even the thought that there is a conflict between being Muslim and being American is considered all but blasphemy to many American Muslims.

Now pause for a second. If you are reading the above and feel annoyance, anger, incredulity, or you’re just thinking about all the ways that that statement is wrong, stop and ask yourself: Why? Why should this simple claim cause you so much discomfort?

It’s not like the claim is actually blasphemous or has anything to do with theology. Also, when you think about the claim in the abstract, it is hardly peculiar or worthy of outrage, even if it turns out to be wrong. To understand this, ask yourself: Does Islam conflict with Vietnamese values? Does Islam conflict with the cultural values of Chile? You probably don’t know, but it’s possible, right? Why couldn’t it be? So why the sensitivity with America in particular?

I noticed this in myself. I noticed that I hesitated in even articulating to myself the claim that Islam and American values could potentially ever be in conflict. I felt a tinge of discomfort and trepidation and that bothered me about myself. It was a clear indication of how my thoughts are deeply influenced by my context in ways that I’m not even aware of.

Now my point is not some relativistic, perspectival, postmodern nonsense about how “We are all biased,” etc. It is possible to transcend these cognitive biases. We do this by bringing our thoughts and inner states in conformity with the Higher Truth. And we do that by following the Sunna. The Messenger of Allah ﷺ is reported to have said, “None of you [truly] believes until his desires are subservient to that which I have brought.”

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5 COMMENTS

  1. We all know ourselves that this is the bitter truth. If we want to be honest, the reason Muslims don’t want to talk about this is out of fear. Fear of the greater implications such as “in a few years from now, will it even be legal to be Muslim in America?” And in all honesty, it doesn’t make sense for Muslims to continue to live in countries like US, Canada, Europe, Australia etc. Certain Ulama have declared it Haram for Muslims to live in majority non Muslim countries. The reasons are pretty clear. Just look at what’s happening in India right now. How can we be so sure that us Muslims in the West wont end up in a similar situation, as our population percentage is far lower in the West. Muslims in Western countries should plan Hijrah to countries that are atleast more sympathetic to practicing Muslims; Turkey, Malaysia, Brunei, Qatar etc. I’m not saying these countries are 100% Islamic, however, the track record shows that practicing Muslims are much safer in these countries. And Allah knows best.

  2. Assalamu Alaykum Wa Rahmatu Allah
    I grew up in a very liberal family and environment.
    Subhana Allah, when I moved to the USA many years ago, I became very interested in learning about Islam. I used to pray on time, fast Ramadan, give Zakat and donations to the needy, and hamdoulilah Allah has guided me to the Hijab since I thought I had only to be beautiful to cover. So I started wearing the veil sometime ago and following that, I sincerely begun not feeling safe in NY streets anymore.
    I never looked at Americans (A lot of New Yorkers are immigrants as well) this way before and never realised that they were so hostile to Muslims because I didn’t look like a Muslim all the past years.
    I feel very lonely and a complete stranger, even if I go to a Mosque (I used to go to NYU Masjid) I don’t recognise the sisters with their skinny jeans, tight pullovers and loud laughters inside the prayer room….I feel very Ghariba…and eventually sad.
    The sad truth is: Muslims DO NOT belong in the West. Period.

    • May Allah make it easy for you sis. Even in the majority Muslim country I live in, people who are actually adhering to the quran amd sunnah feel like strangers in this land. L

    • Wa alaikumussalam wa rahmatullah,
      May Allah make it easy for you. There are many like-minded Muslims in the West alhamdulillah. It might take some time to find them, but they are there.

  3. Of course there’s a difference.

    America claims to be “one nation under God” while having a kufr man-made taghut law, whereas Islam is ACTUALLY SUBMISSION TO ALLAH.

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