Read Sayyid Qutb: The Life and Legacy of a Radical Islamic Intellectual by James Toth Online

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Sayyid Qutb is widely considered the guiding intellectual of radical Islam, with a direct line connecting him to Osama bin Laden. But Qutb has too often been treated maliciously or reductively-"the Philosopher of Islamic Terror," as Paul Berman famously put it in the New York Times Magazine.James Toth offers an even-handed account of Sayyid Qutb and shows him to be a muchSayyid Qutb is widely considered the guiding intellectual of radical Islam, with a direct line connecting him to Osama bin Laden. But Qutb has too often been treated maliciously or reductively-"the Philosopher of Islamic Terror," as Paul Berman famously put it in the New York Times Magazine.James Toth offers an even-handed account of Sayyid Qutb and shows him to be a much more complex figure than the many one-dimensional portraits would have us believe. Qutb first gained notice as a novelist, literary critic, and poet but then turned to religious and political criticism aimed at the Egyptian government and Muslims he deemed insufficiently pious. After a two-year sojourn in the U.S., he returned to Egypt even more radicalized and joined the Muslim Brotherhood, eventually taking charge of its propaganda operation. When Brotherhood members were accused of assassinating Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser, the group was outlawed and Qutb imprisoned. He was executed in 1966, becoming the first martyr to the Islamist cause. Using an analytical approach that investigates without passing judgment, Toth traces the life and thought of Qutb, giving attention not only to his well-known Signposts on the Road, but also to his less-studied works like Social Justice in Islam and his 30-volume Qur'anic commentary, In the Shade of the Qur'an. Toth's aim is to give Qutb's ideas a fair hearing, to measure their impact, and to treat him like other intellectuals who inspire revolutions, however unpopular they may be.In offering a more nuanced account of Qutb, one that moves beyond the cartoonish depictions of him as the evil genius lurking behind today's terrorists, Sayyid Qutb deepens our understanding of a central figure of radical Islam and, indeed, our understanding of radical Islam itself....

Title : Sayyid Qutb: The Life and Legacy of a Radical Islamic Intellectual
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ISBN : 9780199790883
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 382 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Sayyid Qutb: The Life and Legacy of a Radical Islamic Intellectual Reviews

  • James
    2018-12-31 13:09

    A very interesting biography of Qutb and his legacy. The author exhaustively reviewed Qutb's writings and philosophy during his intellectual and political development from matters of literary criticism and education (he worked in the Ministry of Education) to his final role as the ideological father for the Muslim Brotherhood and a vision of a pure Islamic society. Even locked away in prison, he continued to publish and perhaps this only further accelerated his radicalization and his belief that only violent jihad against a corrupt, unjust government was the only path to create a better, more just society based on the Islamic principles and ideals he felt had been corrupted and abused by autocracy. Today, his views on violent jihad are not dominant within the Brotherhood, which has split into different factions (though we shall see how the imprisonment of Morsi will affect the less radical branches). Would his own views have moderated over time - impossible to know since he was executed by Nasser. The book could stand a better editing, to tighten the text the keep things a bit more organized. The author ends with a look at the events in Tahrir square and how events did not progress as Qutb thought they must - in fact most of the acts of violence, according to the author, did not come from Qutbists or the Brotherhood, but rather the Salafists, who are more influenced by the Saudi Wahhabism (and supported). A little like the Orthodox Church in the Soviet Union (and perhaps today in Russia), (only a little as Islam has no similar hierarchy or organization), the Salafists aligned with and supported the ancien regime in Egypt(as in Saudi, they see a strong autocratic regime even with flaws, as better than chaos). A very interesting read if you are curious to know more about the background behind current events and movements in the Middle East. One takeaway from this book, the West's (and the East's) support of autocratic regimes in the Middle East, which used this support to suppress the development of a civil society and used in some cases state-sanctioned mosques as tools of control, have created a very, very difficult problem for these societies as they try to transition away from dictatorship to, well that's the point, they don't know where they are headed as a society. There are very different and conflicting visions - and without the structures of law and civil society, these "debates" may be bloody indeed.

  • James
    2018-12-27 11:30

    Since I read The Looming Tower, Qutb has been a name I've thought of a great deal, and here we have a feature-length presentation of the radical. This is a scholarly, even-handed look at one of the most important figures in recent history. After all, Qutb was Osama Bin Laden's favorite philosopher. In this work, Toth traces the intellectual development and personal history that made Qutb the severe ascetic that he was.It lost a star for being a bit repetitive. I don't know if this book should necessarily be read straightforward as I did, but rather as a reference book. Although it might seem too fair to write so dispassionately about a person that advocates monstrous ideas, Toth seemed to be reacting to a series of biographies that were too blinded by hatred to present a fair look at Qutb.I plan to read Qutb's Milestones soon, and I think this gives me a good background from which to analyze it more authoritatively.