Muhammad Qutb

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Muhammad Qutb, (/ˈkʌtəb/; Arabic: محمد قطب‎;‎ 1919 – April 4, 2014) was an Islamist author, scholar and teacher best known as the younger brother of the Egyptian Islamist thinker Sayyid Qutb. After his brother was executed by the Egyptian government, Muhammad moved to Saudi Arabia where he promoted his older brother's ideas.[1][2]


Muhammad Qutb was the second oldest of five children born in the Upper Egyptian village of Musha near Asyut, several years younger than his elder brother Sayyid. Little is known in English sources about his upbringing and education but it is known that he lived with his famous brother, their two sisters and mother in Helwan near Cairo for several years starting in 1926. He was arrested a few days before Sayyid (on July 29, 1965) for his alleged co-leadership along with his brother in a plot[3] to kill leading political and cultural figures in Egypt and overthrow the government. His brother died on the gallows in 1966, but Muhammad's life was spared[1] and he, along with other members of the Muslim Brotherhood took refuge in Saudi Arabia.

There he edited and published Sayyid's books[2] and taught as a professor of Islamic Studies at (according to different sources) either Mecca's Umm al-Qura University,[1] and/or King Abdulaziz University in Jeddah, and that either Osama bin Laden or Ayman al-Zawahiri (al Qaeda's #2 and leading theorist), was a student. Osama bin Laden recommended "Sheikh Muhammad Qutb's" book, "Concepts that Should be Corrected in a 2004 videotape.[4] According to Lawrence Wright, who interviewed Muhammad Qutb and a close friend in college of bin Laden's, Mohammed Jamal Khalifa, bin Laden "usually attended" Muhammad Qutb's weekly public lectures at King Abdul-Aziz University.[5]

In addition to making available his brother's work, M. Qutb worked to advance his ideas by "smoothing away" differences between his brother's radical supporters and more conservative Muslims, particularly other members of the Brethren. Muhammad took a less literal interpretation of his brother's famous statement that the Muslim world and Muslim governments were jahiliyya (returned to pagan ignorance, and thus no longer Muslim). He denied that the country that had given him refuge (Saudi Arabia) was jahiliyya,[1] and in 1975 came out publicly against Takfir, or judging Muslims as unbelievers.[6][7] He also worked to reconcile the doctrine of the Muslims Brothers with "the salafism that prevailed in his host country".[1]

In 1986, Safar Al-Hawali defended his dissertation under Muhammad Qutb's supervision. "His defense was so impressive" that M. Qutb "declared in public that the student had surpassed his teacher".[1] Al-Hawali went on to become one of the "two main figures of the sahwa" (Islamist awakening), which "mingled radical Wahhabism with Sayyid Qutb's ideas".[1]

Muhammad was an author in his own right and his writings are widespread in the Arab world and nearly as prolific as his brother's. Jahiliyya in the Twentieth Century is perhaps his best-known work,[1] and gained notoriety as an alleged terrorist handbook (along with his brother's Milestones) when the government claimed to find the two in police searches of plotters' homes and environs.[8]

Another very popular work, Islam: the Misunderstood Religion, expands on his brother's ideas, describing the ways in which fundamentalist Islam is superior to the "perverted ... inhuman ... crazy ... savage and backward" Western world.[9] [Note 1]

Muhammad Qutb died at a hospital in Mecca on 4 April 2014 at the age of 95.[15]



  • Shubuhāt Hawla al-Islām (literally "Misconceptions about Islam") (Islam: The Misunderstood Religion) ISBN 0-686-18500-5
  • Islam: the Misunderstood Religion, Markazi Maktabi Islami, Delhi-6, 5th edition (English translation)
  • Dirāsāt fī al-nafs al-insānīyah.[1963?] (Studies in human psychology) BP166.73 .Q8 Arab
  • Hal nahnu Muslimūn (Are we Muslims?) al-Qāhirah : Dār al-Shurūq, 1980, ISBN 977-705-981-7
  • al-Insān bayna al-māddīyah wa-al-Islām. (Man between the Material World and Islam) B825 .Q8 (Orien Arab)
  • al-Sahwah al-Islāmīyah (The Islamic Resurgence)(al-Qāhirah : Maktabat al-Sunnah, 1990)
  • Jahiliyat al-qarn al-`ishrin (Jahiliyya of the Twentieth Century), 292 p.; 23 cm. al-Qahirah : Dar al-Shuruq, ; ISBN 977-733-606-3
  • The Concept of Islam and Our Understanding of It
  • The Future is for Islam
  • Islam and the Crisis of the Modern World 28 p.; published by The Islamic Foundation, 1979. ISBN 0-86037-047-X
  • Waqena Al -moaser, 527 p.; published by Dār al-Shurūq, 1979. ISBN 977-09-0393-0
  • Qabasāt min al-Rasūl
  • Riḥlah ilá al-Ḥijāz
  • al-Taṭawwur wa-al-thabāt fī ḥayāt al-bashrīyah, on religion and science
  • Maḥmūd al-Badawī : ʻāshiq al-qiṣṣah al-qaṣīrah, biographical work on Egyptian writer Mahmud al-Badawi
  • al-Fann wa-al-basāṭah : qirāʼah fi al-qiṣṣah al-qaṣīrah ʻinda Tharwat Abāẓah, study of the works of Egyptian writer Tharwat Abaza
  • Muḥammad Jubrīl wa-ʻālamuhu al-qaṣaṣī, study of the works of Egyptian writer Muhammad Jibril
  • al-Ruʼá wa-al-aḥlām : qirāʼah fī nuṣūṣ riwāʼīyah, literary criticism on Arab novel
  • al-Sard fī muwājahat al-wāqiʻ : fuṣūl min al-qiṣ̣ṣah al-Saʻūdīyah, literary criticism on Saudi literature


  • al-Sayyid alladhī raḥal
  • al-Khurūj ilá al-nabʻ
  • al-Ṭaraf al-ākhar min al-bayt

Short stories[edit]

  • al-Banāt wa-al-qamar
  • Ṣadaʼ al-qulūb


  • Daftar al-alwān


  1. ^ Among other things the book maintains that the teachings of Christian clerics in Europe led to "the torturing of scientists and burning them alive because they [the scientists] said, for instance, that the earth was round";[10] that the science of psychology tells us that a beating of "mild severity" of a wife by her husband is "in certain psychological perversions ... the only effective remedy ... to correct" the wife's "conduct";[11] that "American statistics ... show that 38% of secondary school girls are pregnant";[12] and that prostitution was outlawed in Western countries because "prostitutes had lost all their usefulness, their place having been taken by the common sybaritic society girls".[13][14]

External links[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Kepel, Gilles, The War for Muslim Minds : Islam and the West Belknap Press, 2004, p.174-5
  2. ^ a b Kepel, Gilles, Jihad : the Trail of Political Islam (2002), p.51
  3. ^ Kepel, Gilles, [Muslim] Extremism in Egypt, the Prophet and Pharaoh, University of California, 1985, p.39, 32
  4. ^ January 4, 2004, videotape delivered to al-Jazeera, quoted in Messages to the World: The Statements of Osama bin Laden, Verso, 2005, p.229
  5. ^ Wright, Lawrence, Looming Tower: Al Qaeda and the Road to 9/11, by Lawrence Wright, NY, Knopf, 2006, p.79
  6. ^ Sivan, Emmanuel, Radical Islam : Medieval Theology and Modern Politics, Yale University, 1985, p.111
  7. ^ Kepel, Gilles, Le Prophete et Pharaon, Editions Le Decouverte, 1984, p.61-64
  8. ^ Kepel, Gilles, [Muslim] Extremism in Egypt, the Prophet and Pharaoh, University of California, English translation published in 1986, (Original French edition published in 1984, Le Prophète et Pharaon, Editions Le Decouverte.) p.34
  9. ^ Abou El Fadl, Khaled, The Great Theft: Wrestling Islam from the Extremists, Harper San Francisco, 2005, p.298
  10. ^ Qutb, Islam, 5th ed, p.xiii
  11. ^ Qutb, Islam, 5th ed, p.114
  12. ^ Qutb, Islam, 5th ed, p.146
  13. ^ Qutb, Islam, 5th ed, p.51
  14. ^ "Muhammad Qutb's Islam : the Misunderstood Religion" Elmer Swenson, 27 June 2005
  15. ^ "Muhammad Qutb, brother of Sayyid Qutb, passes away". Madhyamam. April 4, 2014. Archived from the original on January 21, 2015. Retrieved April 4, 2014.