Al-‘Allaamah Saalih ibn Muhammad ibn al-‘Uthaymeen on Sayyid Qutb (May Allah Pardon him)

SHAIKH MUHAMMAD IBN SAALIH AL-‘UTHAIMEEN – Rahimahullaah – said: “My study of the book of Sayyid Qutb has only been scant, and I do not know about his condition; however the scholars have written about his book in tafseer ‘Fee Zilaalil Qur’aan’ – they have written critical comments about it:
such as what Shaikh ‘Abdullaah ad-Duwaysh – Rahimahullaah – wrote, and our brother
Shaikh Rabee’ al-Madkhalee wrote some points of criticism upon him – upon Sayyid Qutb with regards to his tafseer and other things. So whoever wishes to refer to that then let him do so.” *

Source: [A lecture entitled ‘Liqaa ma-‘ash – Shaikhain: Muhammad ibn ‘Uthaimain & Rabee’ al-Madkhalee’ in Jeddah, on 20/11/1413H]

Question: “What is your saying concerning a man who advises the Sunni youth to read the books of Sayyid Qutb, especially ‘Fee Dhilaal il-Qur’aan’ and ‘Ma’aalim Fit-Taareeq’, without warning about any of the errors and deviations present in these books?”

Answer: “My statement – may Allaah bless you – is that whoever gives sincerity of purpose to Allaah, His Messenger, and his brother Muslims, that he should encourage the people to read the books of those who have preceded us from the books of tafsir and other than tafsir. These books contain more blessings, are more beneficial and are much better than the books of the later ones. As for the tafsir of Sayyid Qutb – may Allaah have mercy upon him – then it contains great calamities, however we hope that Allaah pardons him. In it are great calamities, such as his tafsir of Istiwaa and his tafsir of “Qul Huwallaahu Ahad”, and similarly, his description of one of the Messengers with something unbefitting.”

Source: From the Cassette: Aqwaal ul-Ulamaa Fee Ibtaal Qawaa’id wa Maqaalaat Adnaan Ar’oor, and checked by Shaikh Ibn Uthaimeen himself on 24/4/1421H, with one slight revision who changed the phrase “Anaa Ra’yee…” to “Anaa Qawlee…”.

Muftee of the Ummah Al-‘Allaamah Abdul Azeez Ibn Abdullah bin Baaz on Sayyid Qutb

We begin with the Name of Allaah

Shaikh ‘Abdul-Azeez Ibn Baaz [Rahimahullaah]
Some parts of the book of Sayyid Qutb ‘at-Tasweer al-Fannee fil-Qur’aan’ were read to him such as his speech about Moosaa – ‘alaihis-Salaam – upon whom he said: “Let us take Moosaa – as the example of the leader of excitable nature – and this excitable impulse quickly passes away and he regains his composure, as is the case with the excitable folk.” Then he said with regard to the Saying of Allah – the Most High – “Fa as-ba-hu fil madinati kha bi fan…” :- “This is the description of a well known state: the restlessness or fear of one expecting evil at every turn – and this is the characteristic of the excitable folk.” [‘at-Tasweer al-Fannee fil-Qur’aan’: p.200,201,203. 13th ….]

So the Shaikh replied to this: Mockery of the Prophets is apostasy in its own.”[*]

And is was said to him that Shaikh Rabee’ al-Madhkhalee has written a refutation of Sayyid Qutb, so the Shaikh said: “Rebuttal of him is good.”

[*] And unfortunately the Qutubi movement clothing itself as Salafiyyah, has not only gone to the extremes in Takfir but has also fallen into the extremes of Irjaa’ in that it seeks to defend, nay even promote, the books and writings of their leaders and mentors which contain statements of disbelief and apostasy (examples will be given in Part 2, inshaa’allaah). Shaikh Rabee’ bin Haadee said, commenting upon Imaam al-Albani’s description of the Qutubiyyah as “The Khawarij of the Era”, that “it is more befitting that they be called Murji’ah of the Era before they are called Khawarij of the Era”. Refer to al-Asalah (Vol. 24)

Source: During a lesson of Shaikh ‘Abdul – ‘Azeez ibn Baaz – hafizahullaah – in his house in Riyaadh 1413H, ‘Minhaajus-Sunnah tapes of ar-Riyaadh

A section of the book “Kutub wa Shakhsiyaat” (p.242) was read out to the Shaikh and in which Sayyid Qutb accuses of Mu’awiyah and Amr Ibn al-Aas of lying (kadhib), deception (ghish), treachery or trickery (khadee’ah), hypocrisy (nifaaq), and taking bribes (rishwah).

So he replied: “These are repugnant words!! These are repugnant words. Revilement of Mu’awiyah and of Amr Ibn al-Aas. All of this is repugnant and evil words. Mu’awiyah and Amr and whoever was with them made ijtihaad and erred[*], and those who perform ijtihaad and erred then may Allaah pardon us and them.

[*] Shaikh Salih al-Fawzaan in checking through this made the comment, “Being resolved that they erred is not clearly apparent, but if it was said, “They were mujtahidoon, if they were correct they have two rewards and if they erred they have one reward, yet their error is forgiven”, it would have been much better and more just.”

The questioner then said, “What about his statement that there is hypocrisy (nifaq) in them both, is that not takfir of them?”

Shaikh Ibn Baaz replied, “This is an error and a mistake which is not disbelief. For his revilement of some of the Companions or just one of them is evil (munkar) and sinfulness (fisq) and he deserves to be given exemplary punishment for it – we ask Allaah to pardon him – however, if he reviled most of them and declared them sinners then he would become an apostate, because they are the Carriers of the Revelation. When he reviles them then this means that he is reviling the legislation.”

The questioner then said, “Should not these books in which these statements exist be forbidden?”

Shaikh Ibn Baaz replied, “It is necessary for them to be torn to pieces”.

Then the Shaikh said, “Is this in a newspaper?”

The questioner said, “In a book, may Allaah be benevolent to you.”

The Shaikh asked, “Whose book?”

The questioner said, “Sayyid Qutb…”.

The Shaikh said, “These are repugnant words”.

The questioner, continuing, “… in ‘Kutub wa Shakhsiyaat’”

Source: The cassette ‘Sharh Riyaad us-Saaliheen’ dated 18/7/1418H.

Summary: Shaikh ul-Islaam Ibn Baaz (rahimahullaah) was asked, “The one who praises Ahl ul-Bid’ah, is he to be counted amongst them?” So he replied, “Yes, there is no doubt about this, the one who praises them is one who actually calls to them”.

Cassette: Aqwaal ul-Ulamaa Fee Sayyid Qutb

The Danger of ‘Fee Dhilaalil-Qur’aan (In the Shade of the Quran) of Sayyid Qutb

We begin with the Name of Allaah

The Inflexible Ruling Concerning Reading the Writings of Sayyid Qutb
By the Destroyer of Innovation, The Late Scholar of Yemen
Al-’Allaamah Muqbil Ibn Haadee al-Waadi’ee

Bismillaah, wal-hamdulillaah, was-salaatu was-salaamu ‘alaa rasoolillaah, wa ba’d,

[Question]: ‘What is your statement concerning the student of knowledge requesting the beginners to read Fee Dhilaalil-Qur‘aan, and to place it in their houses? So when the student excuses himself as being a beginner who is incapable of distinguishing between the fat and the thin from whatever the writer possesses of wahdatul-wujood (oneness of existence between Allaah and His creation), they seek as evidence the fact that the book Fathul-Baaree, Sharhul-Muslim and Riyaadus-Saaliheen contain errors as well. So how can you read those books, yet you do not read this particular book? So he answers their statement by stating that Sayyid Qutb had wahdatul-wujood. So he answers, ‘What else is there?’ It is as if he does not even see that as a point of censure. So is it correct to perform the following actions: [i] requesting the students to read that book; [ii] placing Sayyid Qutb amongst the ranks of the Imaams such as an-Nawawee (d.676H) and Ibn Hajar in terms of his errors in creed and his rank in knowledge?’

[Answer]: “As for the book adh-Dhilaal and the writings of Sayyid Qutb – rahimahullaah – then we advise that they not be read at all, because some people from Jamaa’atut-Takfeer and some of the youth who were conceived by Jamaa’atut-Takfeer were a direct result of the writings of Sayyid Qutb (rahimahullaah). [2] And Sayyid Qutb was merely called a writer, he was not called a mufassir (explainer of the Qur‘aan). So his tafseer is the tafseer of someone who lived in apostasy for eleven years, as he himself admitted. So how can that be a tafseer?! However, these issues were there before the Ikhwaanul-Mufliseen (the Bankrupt Brotherhood) came along. So they were the ones who raised the individual, even though he was not at the level where he could be referred to as ‘Dr.’ He was an activist, not a Dr. So when we were in the Islaamic University, if you were prominent in knowledge and it was said to you, ‘Have you read the books: Allaah, ar-Rasool and al-Islaam by Sa’eed Hawwaa?’ So if you said that you had not read them, they would say, ‘You do not possess anything of knowledge.’ So I praise Allaah that I accepted the search for knowledge upon beneficial knowledge. I ask Allaah the Magnificent to preserve our brother, Rabee’ Ibn Haadee, since he has clarified the beliefs of Sayyid Qutb and what he possesses of deviations. Likewise, may Allaah bestow mercy upon our brother, ’Abdullaah Ibn Muhammad ad-Duwaysh – the muhaddith (Scholar of hadeeth) and haafidh (hadeeth memorizer). I have not seen anyone with these two eyes of mine one who was similar to him in memorization. So he has recorded many of the errors of Sayyid Qutb in his book al-Mawridul-’Adhabiz-Zalaal fee Bayaan Akhtaa‘idh-Dhilaal. So Sayyid Qutb is not to be referred to as one of the mufassireen, nor is he from amongst the elite. Rather, he is a person who has zeal for Islaam, without any insight.

So we advise the brothers to return back to Tafseer Ibn Katheer, about whom ash-Shawkaanee (d.1250H) said that his tafseer is from amongst the most beautiful tafaaseer, having no equal. And as-Suyootee (d.911H) stated in Tabaqaatul-Huffaadh that Tafseer Ibn Katheer is from amongst the most beautful of tafaaseer. So Tafseer Ibn Katheer is a tafseer of the Qur‘aan by the Qur‘aan and by the Prophetic ahaadeeth and by separating the authentic Sunnah from its weak, and its defective narrations from its sound ones, and by falsifying the Israa‘eeliyyah stories. And likewise, I advise that the tafaaseer of our Salaf be read, such as Tafseer Ibn Jareer, Tafseerul-Baghawee and whatever is present from Tafseer Ibn Abee Haatim and Tafseer Ibn Mardawayh, since there is abundant goodness in them. So we are not in need of adh-Dhilaal, since we fear that we will fall into ad-Dalaal. So if it is absolutely necessary that you read adh-Dhilaal, then I advise him to read what the brother, ’Abdullaah Ibn Muhammad ad-Duwaysh and what Shaykh Rabee’ Ibn Haadee – hafidhahullaah – wrote.”

[Question]: ‘So is it correct to place Imaam an-Nawawee and Ibn Hajar upon the same level as the author of this book that contains erroneous creed, whilst knowing that there those who distribute the books of Hasan al-Bannaa, ’Abdullaah ’Azzaam, Fathee Yakin and the fataawaa of al-Ghazzaalee? So if we accept this book, then we must also accept these books, because even Imaam an-Nawawee and al-Haafidh Ibn Hajar have errors, as has been widespread amongst us in Bahrain and in the Emirates in the cassette of Shaykh al-Albaanee: Justice Concerning Sayyid Qutb?’

[Answer]: “The Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, “If you feel no shame, then do as you wish.” [3] So I did not used to think that it was insolence for a person to place Sayyid Qutb upon the same level as al-Haafidh Ibn Hajar who served the Sunnah with a service that was never seen before him. And his book Fathul-Baaree is referred to a treasure of knowledge and a small library by itself. So the people had been deceived, then these deceptions were unveiled. So we say to them: Look after yourselves, since you were deceived by the Qaadiyaaniyyah, the Teejaaniyyah, the Shee’ah, the Soofiyyah, the Baatiniyyah, the Jahmiyyah and the Mu’tazilah. Then their deceptions were unveiled for you whilst you were alive. So comparison between Sayyid Qutb and al-Haafidh Ibn Hajar and an-Nawawee is as it was said,

‘So where is the ground and where is the plateau,

And where is Mu’aawiyah from ’Alee?’


[1] Fadaa‘ih wa Nasaa‘ih (p. 63-67) of Aboo ’Abdur-Rahmaan Muqbil Ibn Haadee al-Waadi’ee

[2] Translator’s Note: An example of the statements of such youth who were nurtured upon the books of Sayyid Qutb can be seen in what was stated by the Grand Muftee of Qutubiyyah Muhammad Ibn Saalih al-Munajjid, “Reading the books of those who passed before us has created a strong attachment in our souls for this Religion, because they write from a position of strength and superiority. And for this reason, we also encourage the people to read the modern books, those which were written by the Muslim with the spirit of superiority; such as the books of Sayyid Qutb. May Allaah bestow mercy upon him,” from the audio cassette, Kayfa taqra‘a Kitaab. He also stated in an-Naseehah li Islaahil-Buyoot (p. 23), “And here my brother reader, are some suggestions in this regard: In TafseerFee Dhilaalil-Qur‘aan of Sayyid Qutb.” And he later continued (p. 24), “Just as there are a number of good books on a variety of different issues, amongst them the books of the teacher, Sayyid Qutb – rahimahullaahal-Mustaqbal li Haadhad-Deen, Haadhad-Deen, Ma’aalim fit-Tareeq, Khasaa‘isut-Tasawwuril-Islaamee…”

Stated Muhammad Ibn Sa’eed al-Qahtaanee, “And some of the Noble Scholars from the Scholars of the Muslims have written on this subject with that which is healing and sufficient,” and then he adds the following footnote to this statement, “I shall make mention of some of them, Shaykhul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah, al-’Allaamah Ibnul-Qayyim, Shaykh Muhammad Ibn ’Abdul-Wahhaab and his students, and from the contemporaries, Abul-A’laa Mawdoodee and Sayyid Qutb.” This is found in the book al-Walaa‘ wal-Baraa‘ (p. 215), which has been translated into english, published by al-Firdous Ltd. and it has become widely distributed in the West due to booksellers who are either deviant or utterly ignorant. Rather, al-Qahtaanee’s praise of Sayyid and Muhammad Qutb does not end there – nor does the ignorance or deviance of those who sell the english translation of his book – but it continues, as he states on (p. 237), “And there are some noble writers who have brought about benefit, from them the teachers: Dr. Muhammad al-Bahlee, the teacher Sayyid Qutb, the teacher Muhammad Qutb and the teacher al-Mawdoodee.” And on (p. 347) he says, “The Rabbaanee Scholar, Sayyid Qutb.”

The Inflexible Ruling Concerning Reading the Writings of Sayyid Qutb
By the Destroyer of Innovation, The Late Scholar of Yemen
Al-’Allaamah Muqbil Ibn Haadee al-Waadi’ee (Troid)

A Brief Sketch of the Life of Sayyid Qutb

We begin with the Name of Allaah


Sayyid Qutb, despite an early Islamic upbringing spent around 15 or so years influenced by Marxist Socialism. He was a member of the secular Hizb ul-Wafd party for 15 years during which time he was in great confusion, even doubting about about the existence of Allaah. He had also studied Western philosophy and European and American culture, and he himself admits to all of these details, as well as his friends who wrote biographies for him – as indicated by Shaykh Rabee’ bin Haadee. Refer to the book of Salaah al-Khaalidee “Min al-Meelaad ilaa al-Istish.haad” a biography of Qutb (p.213-245). Prior to his Islamist days, Qutb was a member of the liberal western-oriented Egyptian intellectual elite, who later worked for the Ministry of Education of Egypt.

He was sent by the Egyptian government to the United States to learn Western styles and methods of education. He spent approximately two years in America 1948-1950), and he spent college life in Washington DC (Wilson Teacher’s College), Colorado, and California, as well as remaining in Denver, Colorado, Greely and other places. He also joined some church clubs and attended their services frequently, as he notes himself in his account of his experiences in America, in “al-Islaam wa Mushkilaat al-Hadaarah”. During his visit to America he was repulsed somewhat by the degradation in the society, and this was amongst the factors that made him proceed upon an Islamist course upon his return to Egypt.

After spending some time in Europe for about a year, he returned to Egypt, and then began writing as a journalist, turning down promotion in the Ministry of Education. He joined the Muslim Brotherhood at a time when they were working with “the Free Officers” to plot an overthrow against King Farooq and his monarchy. The Free Officers were top army officials, and included colonel Jamaal Abd an-Nasser, and colonel Anwar Sadat (both were also friends of Hassan al-Bannaa who was assassinated in 1949). Anwar Sadat, in his own account, explained that Sayyid Qutb was the main theoretician behind the Free Officers revolution against the monarchy, and had the coup failed Qutb would have been killed. Nasser also attended some of Qutb’s lectures, and Qutb served as an ideologist, and there was consultation between Qutb and the Free Officers.

When Nasser took power in an overthrow during these years – with the help of the Muslim Brotherhood, he proceeded along a national socialist line and within two years took full control of the state. The Brotherhood and Qutb had wanted to proceed along pan-Islamist lines (continuing in the tradition of Jamaal ad-Deen al-Afghaanee, Mohammad Abduh and Rasheed Ridaa). This saw the fallout in 1954 between the Free Officers (amongst them Jamaal Abd an-Nasser and Anwar Sadat) who had seized power from the monarchy, and the Brotherhood and Sayyid Qutb, because neither party was willing to share power with each other. Thus, the split occurred and Nasser being in power saw Qutb and the Brotherhood to be a threat. This saw the subsequent clamping down on the Brotherhood, and imprisonment of Qutb. Many attempts were made upon Nasser’s life during these turbulent years, and he too repressed and oppressed the Brotherhood, causing many of its members to flee to other lands in the 60s, often after failed assassination attempts on Nasser.

This was also the period in which the ideology of Sayyid Qutb emerged and developed, that of jaahiliyyah, takfeer and haakimiyyah, and calls for revolutions and rebellions. This was embodied in the book Milestones, which was written after Qutb was released from prison in 1964, after a decade of imprisonment. This led to his re-arrest and subsequent assassination by public hanging in 1966. Qutb borrowed his ideas from Leninist Marxism, and his terminology in his reformtive discourse was identical to that found in the Leninist discourse. Qutb was very well versed in the Marxist and Fascist criticisms of capitalism and democracy, and this influenced the formulation of his own ideologies.

Ladan and Roya Boroumand observe, “Like Mawdudi and various Western totalitarians, he [Qutb] identified his own society (in his case, contemporary Muslim polities) as among the enemies that a virtuous, ideologically self-conscious, vanguard minority would have to fight by any means necessary, including violent revolution, so that a new and perfectly just society might arise. His ideal society was a classless one where the “selfish individual” of liberal democracies would be banished and the “exploitation of man by man” would be abolished. God alone would govern it through the implementation of Islamic law (shari’a). This was Leninism in Islamist dress.” (“Terror, Islam, and Democracy”).

The ideology of Qutb was nothing unique in his time, with Martin Heidegger (German Philosopher), JP Sartre (French Philosopher), Franz Fanon (Algerian Revolutionary), Ali Shariati (Iranian Philosopher Activist) and the Dog, al-Khomeini, all sharing in the violent revolutionary resolve propounded by Qutb.

How Marx Turned [A Qutbi] Muslim

John Gray, writing for the Independent observes, “In A Fury for God, Malise Ruthven shows that Sayyid Qutb, an Egyptian executed after imprisonment in 1966 and arguably the most influential ideologue of radical Islam, incorporated many elements derived from European ideology into his thinking. For example, the idea of a revolutionary vanguard of militant believers does not have an Islamic pedigree. It is “a concept imported from Europe, through a lineage that stretches back to the Jacobins, through the Bolsheviks and latter-day Marxist guerrillas such as the Baader-Meinhof gang”. In a brilliantly illuminating and arrestingly readable analysis, Ruthven demonstrates the close affinities between radical Islamist thought and the vanguard of modernist and postmodern thinking in the West. The inspiration for Qutb’s thought is not so much the Koran, but the current of western philosophy embodied in thinkers such as Nietzsche, Kierkegaard and Heidegger. Qutb’s thought – the blueprint for all subsequent radical Islamist political theology – is as much a response to 20th-century Europe’s experience of “the death of God” as to anything in the Islamic tradition. Qutbism is in no way traditional. Like all fundamentalist ideology, it is unmistakeably modern. Political Islam emerged partly from an encounter with western thought, but also from revulsion against the regimes founded in Egypt and elsewhere in the aftermath of European colonialism.” (“How Marx Turned Muslim: Not ancient, but modern: Islamist militants have Western roots”, The Independent [a British daily], July 27, 2002)

Shaykh Al-Albaani – Confirming The Case That Qutbism is Derived From Leninist-Marxism and Other 19-20th Century Philosophies of the Disbelievers That Gave Rise to Socialist-Revolutionary Movements

Shaykh al-Albaani was asked, “What is called in the current times as a military overthrow (coup) against the ruler, is this from the religion or is it an innovation?” The Shaykh replied, “These actions have no basis in Islaam, and it is in opposition to the Islamic manhaj in laying down the foundations of the da’wah, and bringing about a righteous land for it. For this is one of the innovations of the disbelievers by which some of the Muslims have been affected by, and this is what I mentioned in commenting and explaining al-Aqeedah at-Tahaawiyyah” (al-Asaalah vol. 10, 1414H).


Part 1 : Alexis Carrel: French Medical Doctor, Christian Social Philosopher

In his PhD Thesis, “Man, Society, And Knowledge In The Islamist Discourse Of Sayyid Qutb” by Ahmed Bouzid (Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, April 1998), Bouzid states the following:


A sustained target of his criticism in this “modern jaahiliyyah”, and, in Qutb’s eyes, one of its most articulate and intelligent spokesperson, is the French scientist and philosopher, Alexis Carrel (1873-1944) (p.70-71)


To make the same point, Qutb often quotes, and at great length, the French scientist Alexis Carrel. (p.219)

Added to and reinforcing the concept of Jaahiliyyah (rooted in Carrel’s barbarism) would be Mawdudi’s concepts of “jaahiliyyah” and “hukoomut ilaahiyyah” (divine government). This would direct Qutb towards his own understanding of “haakimiyyah”. Again all of this being in the absence of any knowledge or understanding of the Book and the Sunnah. This would also unleash a more aggressive ideology of takfeer, centred this time, around notions of government (in addition to notions of social barbarism). The ideology of takfeer based around haakimiyyah grew out of the historical separation, disagreement and mutual opposition between Qutb and Nasser (Qutb’s former friend and partner in the military coup in 1954). Nasser became the great despot indirectly hinted at in Qutb’s writings, and Qutb’s ideology of Haakimiyyah, essentially grew around Nasserite Egypt, then extended to other Muslim societies.


For example, the author Qutb quotes most extensively is the French Alexis Carrel, with whose ideas and observations Qutb seems to have been greatly impressed. (p.240)


[Youssef] Choueiri also explicates one of those seemingly minor points that actually is very revealing (pp. 142-49). This is the extent to which Sayyid Qutb was influenced by Alexis Carrel (1873-1944). Carrel, a medical doctor, received the Nobel Prize in 1912, but his importance here was his later book, Man, the Unknown(a best-seller in the 1930s and 1940s) and his easily fitting as an official in the government of Vichy France. Carrel put himself forward as a social philosopher (if not, indeed, a prophet) deploring the presumed dehumanizing impact of modern Western materialism (especially capitalism). A social Darwinist elitist, he went all the way into advocating eugenics and euthanasia to breed the best and weed out the unfit. Qutb, Choueri argues, adapted Carrel’s ideas (not, in fairness, eugenics and euthanasia) to come up with “a Third World version of fascism.” Choueiri shrewdly suggests that what Carrel called modern Western “barbarism” could be transposed into Qutb’s jahiliyya. An excellent insight, which also demonstrates that even Islamists most intent on rejecting the “other” in favor of a postulated cultural authenticity often rely on theories and ideologies advanced by outsiders.

Ibrahim Abu Rabi’ (a professor of Islamic Studies at Hartford Seminary – not that this makes him upon the Salafee aqeedah or Manhaj, but the Qutbiyyah might mind the quotation of non-Muslim authors, hence quoting a Muslim author to support the points being made), also said, in an interview that took place with Religioscope on 8th November 2001, when asked, “Qutb was also an avid reader as you observed. It seems however that you think the influence of other authors was not as strong as a number of scholars claim. You consider that the main influences upon him were his reading of the Quran and the historic situation in Egypt”, replied:


Yes. After the 1940s. But before that he had been influenced by a great number of authors. Even after the 1940s, this French medical doctor, Alexis Carrel, influenced him.

Comments: The roots of Qutb’s concept of “Jaahiliyyah” lies in the influence of Carrel’s parallel concept of “barbarism”. Alexis Carrel was a Christian and a social philosopher who wrote on the subject of the decline in the socials and morals of Christian society and offered solutions to the prevailing trends he saw. Qutb concurred with many of Carrel’s ideas, observations and reflections. This heavy exposure to Carrel, pre-1940s, would set the stage for Qutb’s later ideological development, when he would visit the United States for a Masters degree in education, as then Minister of Education for the Egyptian government, where he would witness for himself the nature of American permissive society. This pushed him in the direction of developing his theme of “Jaahiliyyah”. The influence of the revolutionary philosophy of Mawdudi would also play a role in the evolution of Qutb’s manhaj, as we shall see later (inshaa’allaah). However, the point to note here is that the origins of Qutb’s later doctrines lie in his earlier pre-Islamist days, before the late 1940s. The origins of his doctrines DO NOT lie in an authentic understanding of the Book and the Sunnah, since Qutb’s pre-Islamist days were secularist in nature. Rather, the literary influences upon Sayyid Qutb, combined with his experiences, are the primary origins of his doctrines, rendering him to be amongst Ahl ul-Kalaam and Ahl ur-Ra’i.

Qutb’s analysis of the Muslim world drew out of the influence of Carrel’s analysis of Western society, and this determined the nature of the ideology of Sayyid Qutb, later in his life. The themes of barbarism (i.e. Jaahiliyyah) are touched upon often by Carrel. Some references are included below:


Alexis Carrel, “We are unhappy. We degenerate morally and mentally. The groups and the nations in which industrial civilisation has attained its highest development are precisely those which are becoming weaker, and whose return to barbarism is the most rapid.” (Man, the Unknown, p. 27 and 28)


Alexis Carrel, “It is to these vices that the great nations partly owe their decline. In the years before the war they were the greatest consumers of alcoholic drink in the world. Alcoholism, nicotine poisoning, sexual excesses, the drug habit, mental dissipation and low morals all constitute extremely dangerous breaches of the law of self-preservation. These vices weaken the individual and mark him with a special stamp. The young Frenchman of the defeat: rude, slovenly, unshaven, slouching about with his hands in his pockets and a cigarette in the corner of his mouth, was all too representative of the anemic barbarism on which the France of those years prided herself.” (Reflections On Life, p.103)


Alexis Carrel, “Civilization is first and foremost a discipline; a discipline which is physiological, moral and scientific. Barbarism, on the contrary, is essentially undisciplined. But whereas primitive barbarism was subject to the harsh authority of nature, our anemic modern barbarism is completely unrestrained.” (Reflections On Life, p.195)

Qutb has many statements that are similar in nature, and his reaction to Western influence in the Muslim lands takes a similar course.


Sayyid Qutb, “Today we are in Jaahiliyyah, like that which was prevalent at the dawn of Islaam, in fact more oppressive (i.e. severe). Everything around us is Jaahiliyyah…” (Milestones p.210)

Being ignorant, and speaking about Islam from his opinion and intellect, and being influenced by his own experiences, he continued down the line of ignorance and excess, by making takfeer of all contemporary Muslim societies, based upon this “barbarism”:


Sayyid Qutb, “Entering into the realm of the Society of Ignorance (al-Mujtama’ al-Jaahiliyy) are all those societies which claim that they are Muslim societies… ” (Milestones p.103)


Sayyid Qutb, “The position of Islaam towards all these societies of Jaahiliyyah can be defined in a single expression: It rejects any acknowledgement of the Islaam of all of these societies.” (Milestones p.103).



Stated Sayyid Qutb, “Indeed this Jaahili Society that we live in is not a Muslim Society” (Dhilaal 4/2009)