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Scheidell 1

Stephen Scheidell
Dr. Yamamoto
HIST 105
15 April 2009
SAYYID QUTB
Humankind is on the brink because humanity is devoid of those vital values for its
healthy and real progress (5), and Islam alone can restore these values (6), but Islam
cannot fulfill its restoration apart from manifesting in a nation (7). The world is steeped
in jahiliyyah – rebellion against Allah by transferring sovereignty to humankind, resulting
in the oppression of humankind. This has manifested in two ways in the West: Capitalism
and Communism. The former exploits the common person, while the latter humiliates her
by denying her spiritual needs (8). Human dignity can only be restored under proper
submission to Allah. This we can offer the word: restoration of human dignity (9).
Social justice comes only when all affairs are submitted to the order of Allah (23).
A social or political movement would not address the moral issues at hand, so Allah laid
down a proper morality based in proper faith (24). In social order, morals, and life itself,
humankind becomes uplifted by the truth that there is no god except Allah. From this
flows all legislation (28) into every aspect of human existence (93). Not as a theory or a
theology, but as din – a religion or way of life – can Divine guidance lead (33). As
mentioned before, jahiliyyah leads to oppression, rule of person over fellow person (38).
Our din preaches and persuades to alter ideas and beliefs while using physical force to
liberate humankind from oppressive jahili institutions (45), a proclamation of freedom for
all humankind to serve Allah (48). We liberate by speech and force (51).
Again, there is no god except Allah. From this first article of faith come all

Likewise. 75). or compromised with jahili paradigms (112). the natural ordering of authority espoused thus far – Shari'ah law – applies not to a particular place and time. Allah did not say this for jihad . national. Because Allah created the universe. Therefore. filial. we must always remember that Islam constitutes all of life. then. For knowledge not based in the Qur'an is not knowledge (99). but scientists will flourish in the practice of meeting the practical needs of the community (93). When one moves from such lower modes of life to a higher one. human relations are now truly understood under Allah (101). it cannot be mixed with. "do not be dejected nor grieve. for example.Scheidell 2 remaining articles and the pillars of our faith. for we seek Divine guidance where human reason cannot tread (94). A truly Muslim society has all its affairs aligned by. As you preach and move against jahiliyyah. while under Shari'ah law a woman liberates herself from economic worries to care for her child. but will be agreeable to the human psyche (117). Which woman. a comprehensive paradigm. and racial ties comes as secondary and are broken except through mutual freedom to worship Allah (107). diluted by. Shari'ah law even defines true civilization: none shall master and none be enslaved (80). Only under Islamic values will humankind be civilized (85). You shall be uppermost if you are believers" (Qur'an 3:139). As such. In Western civilization. We relate first as submitters to our Creator (103). If art reflects the worldview of the artist. How we use science must be realigned. far reaching impact follows. would you call free and civilized? Art and the sciences too fall under Shari'ah guidance. Muslim art will reflect Shari'ah (92). and solely based on worship of Allah (63). Speculation into philosophic realms will be ignored. This must be kept in mind as we invite others to worship of Allah (111). a woman sells her body for profit. but universally (73.

freedom to exercise the freedom to choose. but every gain comes by faith (131). he insists that religion cannot be coerced. For obvious reasons. achievements and disappointments. In fact. but such a reading of Qutb foregoes his anthropological ideas. She seems to treat Qutb's freedom as a selfcontradiction. the love of the All-Merciful (132) and life from Allah (133) in Paradise. throughout Milestones. Life's pains and pleasures. "Islam means freedom from jahiliyya. Euben brought out to light Qutb's "paradoxical" notion of freedom in contradistinction from Western categories of positive and negative freedom. therefore. of course" (Euben. It is. freedom from the enslavement of one individual to another. human nature as created being naturally flourishes as subjugated to the Creator. though very insightful in illuminating prior understandings of jahiliyyah. Your rewards will be contentment of heart. But Qutb may ever argue for a further added nuance to his account of freedom. undoubtedly in humankind's best interests to assume that role rather that struggle and strive attempting its own failed institutions. 44). He seems to suggest that the recognition of Islam's first article of faith – "there is no god except Allah" – cannot be forced. . carry no weight in determining gain or loss. Islam claims the right of liberator. So Qutb might elaborate his freedom in the following way: Islam (by force) eradicates jahili institutions and establishes Shari'ah law. But freedom to choose what? Islam.Scheidell 3 alone. therefore. standard. seemed sadly superficial when discussing what I found to be Qutb's most interesting idea – his view of human liberty. but for every condition. but only under submission to Allah. as soon as one forces another to make such a confession. and situation (121). the confession is null and meaningless. For Qutb. We always know that our way of life surpasses any jahili mindset or philosophy. Euben's article.

but his arguments strike as thoroughly thought out and carefully articulated. comes as very attractive. of course our fallen minds are not designed to claim certainty on holy ground. all leading thinkers in the field recognize that human reason reaches only so far. Therefore. Even on philosophical terms. Islam liberates the Christians and Jews from capitalistic or communist oppression (negative freedom) and puts them in a position to easily and freely choose to become worshippers of Allah. Theologically. to coexist in a Muslim society under Shari'ah law. but is a mere logical contradiction to force their minds to change. His epistemology. In this way. Instead.Scheidell 4 Christians and Jews are welcome. that activity loses much motivation and meaning. He allows his faith to radically transform how he views everything in the world. likewise. I find his critiques of capitalism and communism brilliant. Qutb may have been an extremist ideologically. . While as a Christian. His critical mind does not seek to "prove" or defend Islamic principles. he cannot think critically by their guidance. he perfectly exemplifies the far reaching impact he so ardently advocates. I have obvious theological disagreements with Qutb (which hardly require elaboration here). by Qutb's account. Very few religious persons will disagree when Qutb argues that distancing spirit from fleshly activity.