Sayyid Qutb, executed in 1966 by the Egyptian government but still broadly influential today, was deeply convinced that Islam provides an ideal framework for all of human existence -- individual and social, political and economic, intellectual and spiritual. He believed equally that in all these various aspects the religion had been obscured or distorted by an influx of alien influences. In this, one of this most widely read works, he addresses himself to the task of retrieving what he regards as the authentic mode of thought that is distinctive of Islam or even unique to it. This he does through the concise presentation of seven characteristics of Islamic thought, abundantly illustrated with citation of relevant Qur'anic verses. The translation has been edited and introduction by Hamid Algar, who places Sayyid Qutb and his work in his historical and contemporary context, and evaluates the ideas contained in the book.
Wahhabism, a peculiar interpretation of Islamic doctrine and practice that first arose in mid-eighteenth century Arabia, is sometimes regarded as simply an extreme or uncompromising form of Sunni Islam. This is incorrect, for at the very outset the movement was stigmatized as aberrant by the leading Sunni scholars of the day, because it rejected many of the traditional beliefs and practices of Sunni Islam and declared permissible warfare against all Muslims that disputed Wahhabi teachings. Nor can Wahhabism be regarded as a movement of “purification” or “renewal,” as the source of the genuinely revivalist movements that were underway at the time. Not until Saudi oil money was placed at the disposal of its propagandists did Wahhabism find an echo outside the Arabian Peninsula.
All we need to do now is to note briefly that Imam Khomeini’s leadership has also overcome the multitude of internal and external enemies; that the ulama have emerged as the most competent leaders that any post-colonial country has produced; that the western educated ‘liberals’ and communists have been outwitted, outmaneuvered, and defeated; that the people of Iran are more united and mobilized today than at any time before; that the colonial culture and bourgeois capitalist, political, economic and social systems are being replaced; and that Iran has developed a new range of institutions all its own. The Islamic Revolution to which this book is an introduction has ushered the world into an era to which the modern world is unaccustomed. Politics in the world of Islam will never be dull again.
"Social Justice in Islam" is perhaps the best known work of Sayyib Qutb, a leading figure in the Muslim Brethen of Egypt who was executed by the regime of 'Abd al-Nasr in 1966. Despite the years that have passed since Sayyid Qutb's death, the imprint of his thought on the contemporary Islamic movements of the Arab world remains profound. The Arabic original of "Social Justice in Islam" was first published in 1949, but this book in particular retains its relevance in many respects: the persistence of gross socio-economic inequality in most Muslim societies; the need for viewing Islam as a totality, imperatively demanding comprehensive implementation; and the depiction of the West as a neo-Crusading force.
This book is the last work by the author, a leading thinker of Islamic political thought, before his death in 1996. He studies the phenomenon called the 'Islamic Revolution' and insists that, like a scientific process, the Islamic Revolution must be repeatable. Rising above the events in Iran, he considers much of the Shii and Sunni theology to be divisive, and identifies ideas that are already part of an 'intellectual revolution' in the Muslim world. Stages of Islamic Revolution is not only the last book by Dr Kalim Siddiqui but it can be considered the essence of his life's work. Every page is full of insights and ground-breaking ideas. It radiates confidence borne of a certainty that it is based on divine Writ and exemplified by the noble Messenger, upon whom be peace. Those who are genuinely committed to the revolutionary process will find it of immense benefit. An indispensable reading for those who want to understand the Islamic movement and the events in the Muslim world.
I must hasten to say that I did not write about the greatest of all the personalities, Muhammad (pbuh), 'Blessings and Peace be upon him' son of 'Abdullah, with this limited concept in mind. I am a Muslim through knowledge: I know why I believe in Allah (swt) 'The Exalted', (Lord) of the Worlds, and in the prophethood of Muhammad (pbuh), and why I follow the Book he brought to us. Indeed, I know why I call others to believe in all this which has brought tranquility to my heart.
One of the surprising facts about the life of Dr Kalim Siddiqui is how little his writings are known and read. Few of the hundreds of obituaries written after his death earlier this year made more than a passing reference to his intellectual work. Most people highlighted his political activism, his support for the embryonic Islamic Revolution in Iran, his work in the service of the ‘global Islamic movement’, and the major institutions he established—the Muslim Institute for Research and Planning (1973) and the Muslim Parliament of Great Britain (1992). This activism was certainly a major part of his life. Yet at the core of his work lay a unique analysis, understanding and exposition of Muslim history and the contemporary situation facing Muslims which he developed and presented in a series of major writings and speeches over the last 25 years of his life. This intellectual understanding underpinned all the work he did.
Dr Ahmad Ghorab is to be commended for his fine book, Subverting Islam: The Role of Orientalist Centres. His courage and forthright honesty is an inspiration for concerned Muslims in search of the truth. He has succeeded in identifying an important front in the current Euro-American crusade against the Islamic movement: the formation of an anti-Muslim network of institutions and scholars marching under the banner of `Islamic Studies'.
Written more than twenty years ago, this book is one of the most creative and original works of a Muslim thinker in the contemporary Muslim world. The author deals with fundamental problems faced by contemporary Muslims and provides real solutions, beginning with a discussion on ‘The Contemporary Western Christian Background’ in Chapter (I), followed by his analysis of the concepts (which he newly defines) of ‘secular’, ‘secularization’, and ‘secularism’ in Chapter (II). All this is then contrasted in Chapter (IV) of the book entitled ‘Islam: The Concept of Religion and the Foundation of Ethics and Morality’.
The line Shariati draws in the following speeches is between two religions, a "religion of revolution" and a "religion of legitimation." The difference between them is sharply drawn: the first is a religion working to overcome differences in class and economic status, while the second is a religion legitimating and perpetuating such differences. As opposed to some socialists who draw the line between religion, as supporter of class divisions, and non-religion, which overcomes these divisions, he places the dividing-line within religion itself. From his perspective, it is thus not religion itself that needs to be rejected as the "opium of the people," but only one type of religion, the "religion of legitimation," while true religion remains unscathed. The consequences of this impressive analysis are far-reaching. Not for nothing has he been called the ideological leader of Iran's "Islamic Revolution."
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