Sayyid Qutb [1906-1966]

From the most influential political activist of the Muslim Brotherhood Movement, he was raised in a household of superstitions and innovations. His father would supposedly gift his recitation of Surah Faatihah every night to the spirits of the dead. During his childhood, he was always seen reading the Sufi Poem of al-Burdah, Du’a at the Half Point of Sha’ban and other books of innovations. He would also learn from some of the books that were on the practice of magic which he took from the library of his father. This is something which Sayyid Qutb attested to himself in some of his own treatises.

When Sayyid Qutb moved to Cairo, he enrolled to the same institute which Hassan al-Banna studied from. It was an institute that was known to be busy with social politics and not cultivating the students upon the correct teachings of Islam. In fact, there was a time in its history that they were training the students for combat and war.

At this stage, Sayyid Qutb began to author a number of books addressing his complaints concerning the society he was residing in. Not little after that except he was found among the supporters for the Egyptian revolution of the Egyptian King at that time. Sayyid Qutb was sponsored to travel to America and was enrolled into a college there. Sayyid Qutb remained in America for a period of two years and on his return to Egypt he decided to make a stopover in England. And upon returning to Egypt Sayyid Qutb returned more radical and joined the Muslim Brotherhood Movement by being their main editor for the weekly journals published by them.

During this timeframe, Sayyid Qutb authored his well-known book titled ‘In the Shade of the Quran’ wherein he took a new approach in explaining the Quran from a social and political standpoint via rhetoric and through western methods of writing. He would use his vast knowledge of the Arabic language to stretch the meanings of the Quran to substantiate to his political agendas. As a result of this, he even attributed the belief of pantheism to Islam as found in his explanation of Surah Al-Ikhaas.

Sayyid Qutb’s works became a big drive for the terrorist organization al-Qaeda. An Adherent supporter of Sayyid Qutb and his works is Ayman Zawahiri. It is even said he was a student of Muhammad Qutb who was the brother of Sayyid Qutb. It is not surprising that Ayman came out from such a schooling to becoming the mentor of Osama bin Laden. The works of Sayyid Qutb became a big reference point for modern day revolutionists.

Compiled by

AbdulFattaah Bin Uthman
Abu Fajr