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Qutbism is a much abused term that refers to the teachings of Sayid Qutb (d. 1966) who is widely regarded as the father of modern violent jihadism, and the idea of an Islamic State under Sharia law. Unlike in his time and the immediate following decades, the term today has a more secular meaning to it as understood by both Qutb's supporters and critics, although some consider Qutb to be the first modern Salafi martyr (shahid).

Following the brief presidency (2012-2013) of Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and their relationship with Hamas, it was actually worthwhile to understand what Said Qutb was in the pantheon of Islamic thought. Sam Harris insists that Islam is inherently violent, but the reality is that Qutb informs more modern Muslim radical ethos than the Prophet. His idea is that Arabs will unite and collapse the despot regimes that embraced secular ethos of the revisionist Baath Party or Nasser-ism. Nobody remembers that Qutb was killed for opposing the Nasser regime, not because he was a Muslim, and understanding this power-relationship is important in understanding the new relationship the West will have with Egypt (For those of you who weren't keeping track, Egyptian relations with Israel are pretty important). Qutb was nice enough to leave behind a concise yet phantasmagorical vision of the future where everyone mass-converts (kinda like Moonies), titled Ma'alim fi al-Tariq' ("Signposts" or "Millstones on the Road") that is just utopian enough to allow any alleged Qutbist party to bring about either a certain kind of economic re-construction not seen since the end of the Roman Empire in regards to the Middle East and the Arabic Peninsula, or, on the contrast, wreak all sorts of untold misery, stupidity, despotism, and paranoia.

Quintan Wiktorowitcz claims modern Salafists "focus on several Qur’anic verses related to God’s right to rule, including Qur’an 5:44,86 and build on Sayyid Qutb’s understanding of tawhid hakamiyya (the right of God alone to rule). Terms related to hakamiyya in the Qur’an are used to mean wisdom, judgment, and reconciliation, rather than authority, but Qutb expanded their meaning to incorporate governance and rule."[1] These ideas have been used to condemn democratic elections, parliamentary democracy, and Islamic rulers who embrace such or make peace accords with Infidel powers.

External links


  1. Anatomy of the Salafi Movement, Quintan Wiktorowitcz, Talylor Francis Group, Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, 29:207–239, 2006. PDF pp. 26-27.