There is so much more to say on the subject, hopefully this will help to draw the contrast.
The “Conservative” Islamist
The objectives of Islamic “Conservatism” can be defined as those purposes which one aims to achieve by believing in and adhering to it. They are many, and some of them are as follows:
- The first objective: sincerity and purity of intention. Allah is the Creator Who has no partner, and the intention and worship must be only to Him alone.
- The second objective: liberation of the mind and intellect from false notions, foolishness and irrationality. Whoever is devoid of this true belief and creed becomes depraved intel‐ lectually and spiritually, becomes a worshipper of material things and physical desires or stumbles along with various misguided, deviant and foolish doctrines and ideologies.
- The third objective: tranquility and peace of heart and mind. Belief dissolves despair, loss of heart and anxiety, be‐ cause by belief one is attached to his Lord, Creator and Cherisher. He accepts His Lord and Sustainer as his Law‐ maker, Legislator, Ruler and Judge and becomes satisfied with Allah’s wise Qadar. His heart opens wide for the relig‐ ion of Islam and doesn’t desire any substitute.
- The fourth objective: A clear consciousness, purity and sin‐ cerity in intention and actions in the worship of Allah, the one true God, and also in all dealings and relationships with people. The fundamental principle of Islam is following the Messengers in purity and sincerity, and in intention and action.
- The fifth objective: seriousness and determination in all affairs. A faithful believer does not miss an opportunity to do a good deed hoping for its reward, and to avoid the temptation towards evil deeds fearing its punishment, be‐ cause from among the fundamental principles of Islam is belief in the Resurrection and the Reckoning for good and evil deeds.
The “Conservative” American
- The first pillar of conservatism is liberty, or freedom. Conservatives believe that individuals possess the right to life, liberty, and property, and freedom from the restrictions of arbitrary force. They exercise these rights through the use of their natural free will. That means the ability to follow your own dreams, to do what you want to (so long as you don’t harm others) and reap the rewards (or face the penalties). Above all, it means freedom from oppression by government—and the protection of government against oppression. It means political liberty, the freedom to speak your mind on matters of public policy. It means religious liberty—to worship as you please, or not to worship at all. It also means economic liberty, the freedom to own property and to allocate your own resources in a free market.
Conservatism is based on the idea that the pursuit of virtue is the purpose of our existence and that liberty is an essential component of the pursuit of virtue. Adherence to virtue is also a necessary condition of the pursuit of freedom. In other words, freedom must be pursued for the common good, and when it is abused for the benefit of one group at the expense of others, such abuse must be checked. Still, confronted with a choice of more security or more liberty, conservatives will usually opt for more liberty.
- The second pillar of conservative philosophy is tradition and order. Conservatism is also about conserving the values that have been established over centuries and that have led to an orderly society. Conservatives believe in human nature; they believe in the ability of man to build a society that respects rights and that has the capacity to repel the forces of evil. Order means a systematic and harmonious arrangement, both within one’s own character and within the commonwealth. It signifies the performance of certain duties and the enjoyment of certain rights within a community.
Order is perhaps more easily understood by looking at its opposite: disorder. A disordered existence is a confused and miserable existence. If a society falls into general disorder, many of its members will cease to exist at all. And if the members of a society are disordered in spirit, the outward order of society cannot long endure. Disorder describes well everything that conservatism is not.
- The third pillar is the rule of law. Conservatism is based on the belief that it is crucial to have a legal system that is predictable, that allows people to know what the rules are and enforce those rules equally for all. This means that both governors and the governed are subject to the law. The rule of law promotes prosperity and protects liberty. Put simply, a government of laws and not of men is the only way to secure justice.
- The fourth pillar is belief in God. Belief in God means adherence to the broad concepts of religious faith—such things as justice, virtue, fairness, charity, community, and duty. These are the concepts on which conservatives base their philosophy.
Conservative belief is tethered to the idea that there is an allegiance to God that transcends politics and that sets a standard for politics. For conservatives, there must be an authority greater than man, greater than any ruler, king, or government: no state can demand our absolute obedience or attempt to control every aspect of our lives. There must be a moral order, conservatives believe, that undergirds political order. This pillar of conservatism does not mean mixing up faith and politics, and it certainly does not mean settling religious disputes politically. It also does not mean that conservatives have a monopoly on faith, or even that all conservatives are necessarily believers.
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