Particularly salient is his comparison between what Qutb espouses, and communism and other systems that brook no constitutional constraint or higher authority:
... there is no deity except God. It is supposed to follow that all political authority belongs only to God. There is no other legitimate authority. ‘No sovereignty except God’s ... no authority of one man over another, as the authority in all respects belongs to God.’ The effect of this doctrine is to render illegitimate every political system that has ever actually existed on Earth*, with the sole exception—Qutb thinks—of the very earliest generations of Muslims ... the affinity of the Islamic fundamentalist movement with totalitarianism, by which I mean a political arrangement in which the state ideology controls all aspects of its subjects’ lives.He's drawing attention to something alien. This is not merely so because we are prone to wilful individualism and sometimes outright disorder (although we are): in Christian lands we have been specifically sanctioned to render unto Caesar, meaning that there can indeed be legitimate spheres of secular, temporal authority. Since at least Cromwell's Commonwealth (if not quite Magna Carta), this has had concrete and practical validity for us.
Ahmed himself would take matters still further: he is an atheist, and doesn't mince words on the system he's explaining for us.
This difference has nothing to do with the materialistic values of the West. What it reflects is the spiritual superiority of the West. In aspiration if not always in fact, each man or woman is a free individual who should be able to choose both what matters to him and how to pursue it. ...When George W. Bush said in his address to Congress that they hate our freedoms, he put his finger on the deepest difference between Western and religious fundamentalist views of life.Not everyone would regard GW as a definitive source on the maintenance of freedoms, but the point is made. As with the ISIS essay, one could imagine those whose beliefs are being summarised would agree with the account: but they may not take kindly to the critique. Perhaps intellectual life in our better universities isn't so craven after all.
* see, for example, this recent piece from the Inde: or search on Muslim and vote