Explain the contribution to the development and expression of Islam of Sayyid Qutb
Sayyid Qutb was born in 1906 in Egypt and became a teacher involved in Egypt’s ministry of Education in 1933. He had a strong conviction that Islam was superior to all other systems and was one of the most influential contemporary interpreters of Islam, revered to as a martyr of Islamic revivalism after his execution in 1966. He contributed significantly to the expression and development of Islam through his major works such as Milestones and In the Shade of the Quran, being the editor of the Muslim Brotherhood Newspaper, through his jail time, his social commentary and “fundamentalist” beliefs concerning Islam and the Koran and his martyrdom.
The catalyst for his extremist beliefs eventuated after his return from America where he was deeply dismayed that such prosperity could exist in a society that remained “abysmally primitive in the world of the senses, feeling, and behaviour”. Upon returning to Egypt in 1950, he joined the Muslim brotherhood, a multinational Sunni Islamist movement as the editor of their weekly periodicals. It was a medium for Qutb to discuss his political philosophy that all earthly sovereignty belongs to God alone and to oppose Western domination over Egypt. This has contributed to Islam with many contemporary Muslim’s resenting the power of the West and view it not only as a physical enemy, but also as a philosophical and ideological one. He also discussed topics such as Jahiliyyah (ignorance of God, but Qutb extended the term to mean anyone who doesn’t follow Islam and the Quran) in which he warned that “mankind today is on the brink of a precipice... because humanity is devoid of those vital values for its healthy development and real progress”. This is significant as his editorials impacted on Muslim leaders including Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri by providing them with a foundation for their intense dislike of the West which...
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