1st Edition

The Sayyid Qutb Reader
Selected Writings on Politics, Religion, and Society

Edited By

Albert J. Bergesen

ISBN 9780415954259
Published June 30, 2007 by Routledge
186 Pages

USD $54.95

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Book Description

Anyone who wants to understand what militant Muslims think has to understand what they read—and they read Sayyid Qutb, the intellectual father of Islamic fundamentalism. Qutb, an Egyptian literary critic and philosopher who was appalled by American decadence, gained prominence in the Muslim Brotherhood, was imprisoned by Nasser, and hanged in 1966. Through his death and prolific writings he became a martyr for the cause of political Islam. His work is virtually unknown outside the Muslim world, but Qutb is at the heart of the intellectual rationale for jihad and violence in the name of Islam.

The Sayyid Qutb Reader is the first collection of his selected works available to the general public. As such, this valuable introduction to Qutb’s core intellectual ideas should be read by anyone who wants to understand one of the most important conflicts of our age.

Table of Contents

Part 1: Life, Context, and Core Ideas  1. Qutb in Historical Context  2. Qutb’s Core Ideas  Part 2: Selected Writings  3. Milestones  4. Prologue, from In The Shade of the Qur’an, Volume 7: SURAH 8, Al-Anfal (The Spoils of War)  5. The Basis of Inter-Communal Relations, from In The Shade of the Qur’an, Volume 8, SURAH 9, Al-Tawbah (The Repentance)  6. The Earth’s Suffocating Expanse, from In The Shade of the Qur’an, Volume 8, SURAH 9: Al-Tawbah (The Repentance)  7. Religion and Society in Christianity and in Islam, from Social Justice in Islam  8. Sorrows of the Countryside, from A Child of the Countryside

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Albert Bergesen is Professor of Sociology at the University of Arizona.


"The influence of Sayyid Qutb on contemporary Islamic radicalism has been far-reaching. This timely reader makes the main currents of Qutb's thought available in one volume to the English-speaking reader, a service that should facilitate the study of a figure who, in the West, has been more widely cited than read."

--Noah Feldman, Harvard Law School

"There has been need for a summary volume of Sayyid Qutb's basic writings for some time because of his foundational position within Muslim radicalism. Although many of Qutb's writings have been translated into English, the translations have often been problematic or in substandard English. Bergesen brings together the essential Qutb for the interested reader, and most especially classroom use, and presents it in a coherent and thematic manner. Because Qutb's writings are so voluminous and for the most part repetitive, Bergesen has done a much-needed selection that can give outsiders a sense of the importance and influence of Qutb's thinking without having to read them all. The Sayyid Qutb Reader is a very nicely achieved balance between a summary of Qutb's thought (from a scholarly viewpoint) and the words of the author himself, finally in readable English."

--David Cook, Rice University, Houston