Islam vs West is about Freedom vs Slavery

Muhammad Fakharuddin
11 min readMay 3, 2024


There is a long debate on Islam vs the West, are they compatible and can coexist or are they the antithesis of each other? It's not that other predominant mindsets exist in the world, but this debate has more history and context which fascinates people.

Photo by Etactics Inc on Unsplash

This idea also irks Westerners because Muslims are a little stubborn when absorbing the Western culture and normalizing drinking, gambling, leaving their daily prayers, or when it comes to fasting.

Immigration and refugee crises in Europe have kept Islam vs West debate still hot; and Western countries on this same pretext of preemptive war against Islam, are busy destroying Muslim countries by creating an atmosphere of fear and the necessity of an enemy in line with the idea of a Clash of civilizations.

Muslim Mindset

The discussion that follows in this article is not about Muslims (but of Islam and what it stands for), who claim to be a follower of the religion Islam; because one can claim anything but what one values or adheres to; but in practice could be possibly be following something different.

Most Mulsim today are born into the faith; and do not find the need and have the necessary understanding of what their religion stands for, how it wants societies to be built and justice to be established.

The majority of Muslims are more interested in the outer and individual aspects of religion like how to pray, and what to avoid as obligatory, and might follow the laws when it comes to inheritance, getting married or divorced, and living their life with a fusion of these religious aspects, bundled with their own culture along with the ideas floated by western culture and thoughts.

Not a Debate of Narrative Anymore

West is built on the idea of anti-religion especially in vengeance to Christianity, as a move away from religious sentiment new ideas were generated individualism, liberalism, secularism, and democracy. Also as scientific methods were put to work; we have the Industrial Revolution and numerous breakthroughs and inventions in technologies and health sciences.

Despite the progress, the Western mindset has accounted for countless wars, millions of deaths, erosion of climate and nature, meaningless and depressed individuals, and a heightened form of unequal society, giving rise to the government of techno-feudalist, and more authoritative states.

Islam is still defined by a set of pages within a book; an ideology or way of life at the center of it is monotheism; A Creator, all-powerful and knowing and sustainer of this world.

Islam is not a new religion it continues in line with previous messages over the centuries that Prophets carried which reached its final stage in a set of words thought to Muhammad PBUH. Below is a piece on how this message will leave this world in a better spot.

So why is it not just a debate of narrative anymore? if we can say the Renaissance experiment was a failure; it would not be a far-off statement from the truth, since we cannot continue on the path of progress we are on a finite planet, misusing it to keep serving a capitalistic mindset, destroying families and societies to continue the status quo and creating the next billionaire as people continue to suffer because of hunger.

Something has to give for humanity to survive.

The question is if the Western civilization needs to be revamped or improved what can it learn from Islam or would it continue on this trajectory to take down all of us into a big hole?

War of perspective

Islam and the West can be compared and talked about in multiple ways, they claim that through it lies a better human society and ultimately a more peaceful one, and both promote values of human rights, equality, and justice. But to implement their autonomy they need dominance and provide a holistic worldview, and are unwilling to accept other opinions and counternarratives.

Soul vs Matter — The West is built on a materialistic mindset, where individual opinions are sacred and should be allowed to pursue them, even if they are harmful to them.

Islam opines this world is a temporary stop before moving to eternal life and explains material things to be used and expended rather than something to accumulate. It puts focus on keeping the heart clean where lives the soul.

In a similar vein, the West tries to organize people into groups based on their power structure and wealth and expects them to make sound judgments; Islam wants leaders to be selected who have higher moral character and are closely driven by God's commandments.

Spirit vs Ego — When materially a civilization excels, it looks at other resources owned by different groups (or countries ) as lucrative, and to continue the upward trend of progress those resources are meaningful and necessary.

West needs to continue improving materially to keep control of its resources and see any other group increasing in resources as an enemy or competitor; rather than someone whom alliances can be made.

Islam on the other side is not interested in resources but asks its followers to safeguard their interests they need to improve and build deterrence.

At the same time, it also asks its followers if they see any injustice or oppression to rise to meet the challenge and intervene; and explain If followers of Islam do not fight or stop the evil from spreading eventually corruption will spread and affect them.

Life Hereafter vs Limited Life — The West from a pure material perspective puts more value on this worldly life and promotes ideologies of a selfish gene that needs to get ahead in a competing environment.

Since life is all that a human has, so it should spend all its energy beautifying it, consumerizing it, and making all effort to collect glittery objects.

Islam explains this world as a farming ground for good deeds; and defines it as a test, and the purpose of human existence is to establish a relationship with its creator and through it with the rest of God's creation.

Soul and revelations are the guiding principles in this life; which demands an individual; to look for their actions and intentions constantly.

Capitalism vs Necessity — Linked to the above point, the West encourages every individual to make and accumulate more assets to make life more grandeur and lavish, live above one's means, and collect all ornaments that are available or can be achieved.

Islam promotes living a life of necessity since eventually, one has to be answerable to any asset that belongs to itself. It even encourages its followers to give what is extra, to help its community.

Control vs Chaos or War vs Peace — The ideology of matter puts an onus on an individual and society to be constantly finding ways to improve or extract more resources out of matter; which means new ways of exploring and researching the matter; this mindset often ignore any consideration to preserve the nature or conserve other members who are utilizing or dependant on that matter.

Islam also asks its followers to be creative like God is creating new stars and galaxies, but not as a means to exploit it but to conserve it. Study matter and use it to give it more meaning; use it to not only gain power but through it leave earth back in a better state and use only what is needed, and be mindful of the fact that resources are not snatched or used unduly by others, it does not belong to.

Fear vs Faith — For the West fear is a necessary state, and each person and society are driven by it; to keep ahead of the others; there is a constant threat if some competitive power finds a new way or technology, it will empower them and they will be left behind, this mindset applies at all levels following a western paradigm.

Islam maintains that God is in control and its followers should not fear, but rather make every effort with good intentions and moral standards; they will be judged based on that.

God is always present and helps the faithful in every difficulty; the results of action are not in a person's hand but intention and effort are; so even if results do not go as planned one should put faith and persevere; but cannot leave the moral guideline.

History vs Progress — Islam by giving examples of pious Prophets and past civilizations destroyed by the essence of time and the letting go of Justice; roots its followers to keep learning from them while moving forward and not making the same mistake.

West makes progress its goal and expects old problems to be solved based on new knowledge of matter and keeps telling itself progress will improve things and we are moving in the right direction, why? because we are making progress in a material sense.

Unity vs Separation — For Islam, God is one and all-powerful and knowing and everything is its creation and the one alone is the creator, It asks its practitioner to rhyme with nature and and ascend to acquire God-like attributes of mercy, love, and compassion. There is no duality in Islam, a person is always responsible for their action and deeds; there is no private and public setting since God is always witnessing an individual.

Islam also encourages its followers to be united with like-minded believers and denies any separation based on caste, color, culture, language, or land.

Western mindset is of differing one to the other; being more attractive and unique and being a symbol of beauty in itself so people get attracted to that individualistic ego, though it glorifies individualism, in turn, it makes the person disconnected from society and its welfare and even its blood relationship. This is also one of the main reason for depression and loneliness.

Also, it becomes hard to unite these individuals as their identity takes over to a collective will to make a society a better place.

Community vs Individual — There is a great focus on community in Islam since all human abilities are not equal and not necessarily everyone is born equal in terms of material, so the concept of giving away a certain percentage of one's profit and charity is the cornerstone of Islamic principles; similarly taking care of parents, elderly, orphans are put in high regards. A great deal is put on children's upbringing and gender roles are dictated.

While West promotes a race to the top, as ideal for an individual and attributes any success or failure to the individual and it's not linked to or affected by society's health or needs.

Liberalism vs Discipline — Western society is based on the concept that everyone has their truths and should be allowed to pursue them, and nation-state will govern them with the least intervention; while protecting the geographic boundaries.

What happened was that capitalists ended up controlling this novel idea of playing people to keep their interests of accumulating wealth, and making sure people were divided using media as a tool.

Now people are busy with their entertainment and following their desires, while society elites are free to run the country as they want; and are not liable for people's progress, solving issues of homelessness or hunger.

Islam understands that people have free will and allows humans to choose, and at the same time presents a strong argument for monotheism and judgment days and appeals to human intellect with its sign. Instead of asking each individual to define its truth, it gives them a pathway to truth and guidelines necessary for human and society's progress.

But then as one becomes a follower it applies certain dos and don'ts like setting a framework for an individual and helping it control their desire which will make them unaware of their self and surroundings. For e.g asking to stay away from alcohol, drugs, and gambling (which the modern state has accepted as the norm) essentially putting its followers in a boundary where it allows them to exercise their free will.

Freedom vS Slavery —

The popular thesis that most people hold is that Islam is suppressive, a thing of the past, and wants to take back humans in the Stone Age by subjugating human rights and women's rights.

While, the West is a shining light on the hill and stands for freedom, justice, and peace in the world.

But on contrary,

Islam stands for releasing all chains on a human set forth by materialism, and slavery of another human by informing the individual that there is no difference between them based on material wealth or status as everyone is created by One God; so any material difference or cast color or nation-state are illegitimate forms of differentiating between humans.

This releases all kinds of fear a person holds, as it believes in a creator who is always in control and listening, guiding the individual as well as making it accountable for its duties and obligations.

Essentially transforming its believer from fear to faith, this heightened aware individual is ready to take on any challenge as it considers this life as a testing ground and anything as transitionary.

So that transformed believer is not afraid of losing anything but is more interested in making the connection with its creator and its fellow human being more beautiful.

This personality is ready to give back to nature, restoring it rather than destroying it, and will be in the quest for making society Just, and more equal, and is willing to sacrifice its time and energy in restoring balance.

The Western mind on the other side is obsessed with itself and making life more beautiful by adding more material acquaintances, it will become selfish and follow its desire, this might provide the necessary happiness in the short term, but will not find calmness and will always be uncertain of losing or missing on something.

Similarly, when a group of these Western individual are joined to form a nation, it will be easy to twist them in any direction by utilizing that fear within themselves, they take any other group as a threat to their survival and their possession.

This also allows any Evil forces to utilize these negative thoughts as the basis of acquiring other nations' wealth or possession and justification could be driven by the same selfish ideas that we are more powerful and advance to the other group's civilization and hence more worthy of colonization and treating other as slave.

Way forward

If you want to continue living in fear of losing your material sense and keep assuming you are on the way to truth or better than other people or civilization and are superior then one day the curtain will fall and you will not have much to show off.

How long someone can expect to benefit from this finite planet and let capitalists exploit it, while nature and other fellow human beings suffer?

Societies evolve, progress, learn, and improve toward a more just society; if one does not move toward it eventually one will lose one day, as time is eroding anything in its existence.

You need to decide, and decide it quickly.

The Western culture depraves both heart and vision,
Because the soul of that culture is no longer chaste.

With a corrupted soul, one cannot expect
To have a clean conscience, high thinking, and refined tastes.

- Iqbal