Sayyid Qutb

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Sayyid Qutb (1906-1966) was an influential theorist influencing modern radical Islam. Born in a slum, he still managed both Western and Islamic education. While in the U.S., he developed a hatred for the West, although Richard Bernstein wrote that he did not specifically call for terrorism.[1]

In his analysis, he went farther than the usual interpretation of jahiliyya as the ignorance of Allah. To him, accepting secular government was a refusal to accept the ultimate authority of God. [2] He regarded secularism as the heresy of Al-wala’ wa’l-bara’.

He wrote extensively, and was editor of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood newspaper. Egyptian authorities executed him, by hanging, in 1966, for revolutionary activities, the culmination of which they had seen in his book, Milestones. That book has been described as the first of a new series on revolutionary Salafism; it was not his first.

Qutb was a great influence on Ayman al-Zawahiri, who joined with Osama bin Laden to form al-Qaeda.