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Sayyid Qutb: Contributions

• • His Writings (give context! When were they written? What are they about? What was happening in his life at the time?) – Social Justice in Islam – In the Shade of the Qur’an – Milestones or Signposts His position as editor of the Muslim Brotherhood newsletter

Qutb’s Contributions:

• He reintroduced/reinterpreted a number of Islamic concepts • • • Jahiliyyah – pre-Islamic ignorance; people didn’t know what God’s will was until Muhammad brought them the Qur’an. Qutb wrote that Jahiliyyah refers to ANYBODY who is not Muslim (by his own definition), and he also attached the idea that these people were BARBARIC. Salafism – going back to the earliest days of Islam, under the Four Rightly Guided Caliphs. Salafists believe that the earliest Muslims were the most perfect and pious Jihad – “Struggle/strive against evil”. In Islam, the GREATER JIHAD (internal struggle) is the most important, followed by the LESSER JIHAD (physical struggle). Qutb, however, stated that physical action had to take place (as part of his vanguard for an Islamic revolution).

Qutb’s Contributions:

• • • • • • Takfir – Qutb had a very clear definition of “Muslim”. Anybody, even Muslims, who were different to this idea were “excommunicated”. Nizam Islami – true Muslim Nizam Jahi – false Muslim, affected by “Jahiliyyah” Shari’ah – The law of Islam, i.e. God’s will, as determined through Islamic Jurisprudence. Qutb argued that Shari’ah was the ONLY truly Islamic way to govern any society/nation. Qutb argued against secular governments because, he said, they remove the power from God and give it to people.

Tawhid – Qutb’s most central idea, also the central idea in all of Islam. There is ONLY ONE GOD and, so, all things will be at peace if they submit to the One God.

Vanguard – Qutb called for a vanguard to eventually start an Islamic Revolution.

Qutb’s Contributions:

• REMEMBER – DEVELOPMENT = the ideas/theology/growth behind the tradition of Islam – EXPRESSION = the way the tradition of Islam is practiced – IMPACT/EFFECT = what happened to Islam as a result of the contributions? Short & long term?

Qutb’s Impact:

• Qutb had a LIMITED effect on Islam: – Only a small section of Islam was directly effected by Qutb’s ideas: Islamist groups. – The majority of Islam was indirectly effected because Qutb was offering a new interpretation – the rest of Islam would have to reaffirm the more widely accepted understandings of Islam.

Qutb’s Impact:

• Short Term: – He influenced the Muslim Brotherhood to rebel against the West, specifically the Western-backed Nasser Government of Egypt – During his life, Qutb’s contributions had a limited impact, directly on those members of the Muslim Brotherhood who were given new understanding of their Islamic faith through Qutb’s writings. The majority of other Muslims in the world were unaffected, and Islam as a whole tradition did not change significantly.

• Long Term: – Years after Qutb’s death, his writings are still being used by Islamist groups, and his ideas on jihad, jahiliyya, tawhid, etc, are also the focus of many of these groups.

– Islam as a whole tradition, however, has not been impacted in a large way by Qutb’s contributions, however moderate Muslim scholars (ulama) continue to make more sense of the Qur’an and their faith in ways significantly different to Qutb’s interpretations.

Quotes from Qutb’s writings:

• “Mankind today is on the brink of a precipice… because humanity is devoid of those vital values which are necessary not only for its healthy development but for its real progress… It is essential for mankind to have new leadership!” – Qutb says humanity needs new leadership based on God’s will (Shari’ah) – This quote demonstrates his call for an Islamic revolution • “Only Islamic values and morals, teachings and safeguards, are worthy of mankind… Islamic society is truly civilised” – For Qutb, Islam is the only true system to live in peace in the world • “Jahiliyya… takes the form of claiming the right to create values, to legislate rules of collective behaviour, and to choose any way of life that rests with me, without regard to what God has prescribed” – Qutb defines jahiliyya • “How must the Islamic resurrection begin? A vanguard must resolve to set it in motion in the midst of jahiliyyah that now reigns over the entire earth” – A call for a vanguard of Islamic revolutionaries

Sexual Ethics

• Always Remember: – You MUST show an understanding of the Ethical System (i.e. Islamic Jurisprudence) • SUNNI SHI’ITE • • Qur’an Hadith Qur’an Hadith • Ijma’ Ayatollah • Qiyas – All these steps are taken to determine Shari’ah

Sexual Ethics

• • The ultimate purpose in Islam is to submit to the will of the one God (Allah). SO, the ethical teachings determine actions which are: – Halal (permitted by God) •

Fard (obligations)

Mustahab (highly recommended)

Mubah (neutral)

Makrah (highly discouraged)

– Haraam (forbidden by God) Also remember that family is fundamentally important in Islam, so teachings on sexuality are often linked with the concept of family.

Sexual Ethics

• • • Contraception Homosexuality Sex outside of marriage • Are there any differences amongst Muslim variants?


• Describe the Hajj – Step-by-step description of each day – Give specific terminology, e.g.: • Tawaf (circling the Ka’bah) • • Ihram (white clothing/state of mind) Wuquf (Stand before Allah – on the Mount of Mercy) • Umma (worldwide Islamic community) • etc.


• • Principal Beliefs expressed in Hajj Be really specific about the beliefs expressed in Hajj, e.g.: – Tawaf reflects Tawhid – the Umma acts as one in completely submitting to Allah’s will – Wuquf reflects Akhira – Muslims be God for forgiveness in the hope that they may reach Paradise (Janna) when they die


• • Significance to the Individual & Community Once again, give specific examples from the Hajj, e.g.: – Individual: Wuquf is the most significant part of the Hajj for individuals. They experience a “re-birth” or renewal of spirit. Many pilgrims are deeply moved and experience strong emotions – Community: Hajj is significant for the Umma. All men are expected to wear only the Ihram as a sign of complete equality in God’s eyes. So, rich and poor men from any nation are equals on the Hajj. This builds a very strong sense of community amongst groups of pilgrims