Qutb is often accused of being the font of all things militant done by jihadi-takfiris, an accusation that is thoroughly problematized and critiqued in Prof. John Calvert's new excellent study of Qutb's (entire) life, Sayyid Qutb and the Origins of Radical Islamism. See in particular the epilogue, "The Trajectory of 'Qutbism'," in which Calvert analyzes how groups such as Al-Qa'ida Central (AQC; Qaeda, Qaida) have in fact deviated from Qutb's thought.
Born 'Isam Muhammad Taher al-Barqawi, al-Maqdisi is a Palestinian by birth (he was born in 1958 in the city of Nablus in the northern part of the occupied Palestinian West Bank) and holds Jordanian citizenship. His family moved to Kuwait and he later studied at the University of Mosul in northern Iraq. Al-Maqdisi also traveled to Saudi Arabia and then to Pakistan and Afghanistan before returning to Jordan in 1992. There, he settled in the industrial city of al-Zarqa near the capital city of 'Amman and was jailed numerous times because he criticized the Hashemite monarchy.
While in prison during the 1990s, he met a number of other prominent Jordanian jihadi-takfiri ideologues, including the founder of Al-Qa'ida in the Land of the Two Rivers/Iraq (AQI), Abu Mus'ab al-Zarqawi. Al-Maqdisi also developed relationships with the influential Palestinian-Jordanian shaykh Abu Qatada (currently imprisoned in Britain) and Abu Anas al-Shami, the religious guide to al-Zarqawi's original Iraq-based insurgent group, Jama'at al-Tawhid wa'l Jihad (Group of Absolute Monotheism & Struggle).
Al-Maqdisi earned the ire of some jihadi-takfiris for his public criticisms of al-Zarqawi, particularly the latter's campaign of violence against Iraqi Twelver Shi'is.
What is your opinion on the writings of Sayyid Qutb ?
Author: Abu Muhammad Al-Maqdese
In the name of Allah, the Compassionate the Merciful.
Praise be to Allah, Prayers and Peace be upon the Prophet of Allah.
Esteemed Mujahid Sheikh,
Peace and the blessings and mercy of Allah be upon you, we beseech Allah to release the Monotheist Mujahideen preachers everywhere.
Our esteemed sheikh, my question pertains to Sayyid Qutb, may Allah have mercy on him. In truth, I have tried strenuously to find your opinion on Sayyid Qutb but could not find it. Perhaps you have said something on this matter but I couldn’t find it. It is well known that Salafist preachers - especially - have launched violent attacks on this man. Most of their attacks are spurious and embellished, burdening his words in ways that are not bearable and explaining his words with ill intention. Undoubtedly Sayyid Qutb is human who sometimes hits the mark and sometimes errs. Much of what he wrote, he wrote by virtue of his being a man of literature. This may constitute the reason for some misunderstandings of him or charging his words (with meaning) he did not intend.
My question is this: I wish your opinion on this man, because I trust you.
May Allah reward you.
In the name of Allah, praise be to Allah, blessings and peace be upon the Messenger of Allah and upon his House and his Companions, and those who are loyal to him.
Dear brother (…) May Allah protect him and make him among the supporters of His Religion.
Peace be upon you, and the blessings and mercy of Allah.
With regards to the Mujahid Sheikh and the esteemed writer, our great teacher Sayyid Qutb, may Allah Almighty have mercy on him:
It is one of the wonders of this time of endless wonders that one would ask about this exemplary sayyid and speak to either injure or set right. He is the one who separated himself from this (worldly) abode, mastering its trivialities, vanities and crumbs which most of mankind craves and immortalizes and which the Tawagheet offer to their submissive, obedient people. He, may Allah have mercy on him, refused to write with the fingers that penned “In the Shade of the Qur’an”, and Tawheed words that would save his neck from death, by using them to obscure truth with falsehood or acknowledge the rule of the Taghout.
In a time when many of his contemporaries brought themselves and their newspapers into disrepute, including many old men who spoke slanderously of him, there was nothing baser than those words which he deemed beneath himself, may Allah have mercy on him. They subjugated their religion day and night to the tyrants and sold it for a trifling price without even being coerced or threatened with death and execution. Indeed, they hastened to do that as if (they were) hurrying towards an idol, slaughtering Tawheed on their altars and sacrificing their religion as an offering to them and a sacrificial lamb to the vanities of their material world.
By Allah, if it were not that truth-saying and counsel according to the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of His Messenger are an obligation and a duty, I would not write a word on the Sayyid. For there are few men like him in our age. Of all who walked in this path, the Sayyid has precedence – willy-nilly, admitted or denied. No sayyid after him has been praised like he has or has been condemned like he has.
Of him and of those like him, the following words are true:
How the courteous Sayyid was reviled ~ By one who is not equal to even a stitch on the sole of his shoe?
The corpses of the desert rose over the sea ~ And its achievement buried in its deepest recesses.
The corpses of the desert rose over the sea ~ And its achievement buried in its deepest recesses.
With all of the above – the Sayyid was a man like most men and he both hits the mark and makes mistakes and his writings contain a number of known errors. It is clear to one who followed his writings and distinguishes the old from the new that they are things in them of which one must be cautious and had promised to be corrected and amended. It is necessary for the sincere people who are near him – and at the head of whom is Mohammed Qutb – to complete this for him, and not to insist on leaving them as they are. For they remain a breach and a pretense for the sheep, the sickly and the degenerate who are food for the lion and the sultan to take as a pretext to challenge Sayyid and accuse him of innovation and accuse him of things of which he might be innocent, or things of which he is fundamentally innocent but on which the pen of this man of literature slipped and said what its owner did not mean and could not have imagined.
An example of this is the speech attributed to him about the unity of existence: Sayyid absolutely – in everything he writes – differentiates between the Creator and the created. He magnifies the Creator and recognizes Him as One and declares as an infidel anyone who claims characteristics of divinity for himself or for others, aside from He who made all of existence. He is the first and the only One.
Anyone who claims differently in this does not know Sayyid and does not know his books. What he wrote in some passages of al-Zilal are literary words. This difference is necessarily omitted by those jealous of the Sayyid based on his books, especially since they know and affirm that Sayyid does not mean the truth of these words and that he clarified this and other things in his other books like “Characteristics of Islamic Conduct”, which is one of the last of his books – may Allah have mercy on him.
In any case, people have written about Sayyid with a mixture of negligence and exaggeration. Some people malign him and other people adore him. We – praise be to Allah - do count ourselves among the one or the other. But rather, we go where truth takes us. We do not think that infallibility rests with a person who came after the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him.
We reserve for Sayyid and those like him among the supporters of the Deen their right and we do not diminish what they have given. We love them for their steadfastness in following the right and their support for the Deen and its laws and their innocence from the Taghout and their shirk.
We do not say this arbitrarily or out of partisanship or ignorance, for we, among those who read most of his writings at the very beginning, and knew him – praise be to Allah – and knew his Manhaj and his positions from close up, have heard his dissertations supported with high chains of narration from among those closest to him.
By that I mean Sheikh Sayyid Yusif Ayd, who is one of those individuals, the number of which can be vaunted on one hand, who was commended by Sayyid, may Allah have mercy on him for their understanding of his dissertations and their absorption of his writings in words he wrote before his execution published under the title: “Why They are Executing Me”.
One the other hand, some sheikhs have written remarks and warnings about some things that slipped from the pen of the Sayyid, and that is an affair for the people of knowledge. Upholding the truth is dearer to them than all people. Among them is Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdullah Al Darweesh – may Allah Almighty have mercy on him who wrote the book: “The mistaken source of errors in al-Zilal”, he was on the mark in some things and was not successful in others. I read this book the year the first edition was published. At that time, I wrote for him an assessment in a letter that I called: “A Balance of Moderation in Assessing the book the Source of Errors”, I supported some of the things he wrote and I said others were errors and I pointed out some things that were omitted. I sent a copy of it to the Professor Mohammed Qutb and another to Sheikh Darweesh – may Allah have mercy on him – and he wrote some comments on it before he died. I still have the copy of it in his handwriting. Maybe we will distribute it soon with his commentary – Allah willing. This is what I have, to answer your question
May Allah make us among those who follow His word, and follow what is good to Him. Peace.
Your brother Abu Muhammad.
Translated from the Minbar of Tawhed and Jihad Website