Posted by: Abu Husaini | October 20, 2012

Sayyid Qutb – The America I have Seen

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  • Author : Sayyid Qutb
  • Title : The America I have Seen
  • Publish : 1951
  • Genre : Social Critic

He was critical of many things he had observed in the United States: its materialism, individual freedoms, economic system, racism, brutal boxing matches, “poor” haircuts, superficiality in conversations and friendships, restrictions on divorce, enthusiasm for sports, lack of artistic feeling, “animal-like” mixing of the sexes (which “went on even in churches”), and strong support for the new Israeli state. Hisham Sabrin, noted that:

As a brown person in Greeley, Colorado in the latSayyid-Qutbe 40s, studying English he came across much prejudice. He also felt quite appalled by what he perceived as loose sexual openness of American men and women (a far cry by any measure, from Musha, Asyut where he grew up). But, in fact this American experience was not truly a crisis for Qutb, but rather a moment of choice and fine-tuning of his already Islamic identity. He himself tells us on his boat trip over “Should I travel to America, and become flimsy, and ordinary, like those who are satisfied with idle talk and sleep. Or should I distinguish myself with values and spirit. Is there other than Islam that I should be steadfast to in its character and hold on to its instructions, in this life amidst deviant chaos, and the endless means of satisfying animalistic desires, pleasures, and awful sins? I wanted to be the latter man.”.

Qutb noted with disapproval the sexuality of American women:

the American girl is well acquainted with her body’s seductive capacity. She knows it lies in the face, and in expressive eyes, and thirsty lips. She knows seductiveness lies in the round breasts, the full buttocks, and in the shapely thighs, sleek legs—and she shows all this and does not hide it.

He also commented on the American taste in arts:

The American is primitive in his artistic taste, both in what he enjoys as art and in his own artistic works. “Jazz” music is his music of choice. This is that music that the Negroes invented to satisfy their primitive inclinations, as well as their desire to be noisy on the one hand and to excite bestial tendencies on the other. The American’s intoxication in “jazz” music does not reach its full completion until the music is accompanied by singing that is just as coarse and obnoxious as the music itself. Meanwhile, the noise of the instruments and the voices mounts, and it rings in the ears to an unbearable degree… The agitation of the multitude[2] increases, and the voices of approval mount, and their palms ring out in vehement, continuous applause that all but deafens the ears.

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