Although he is not known to everybody, Sayyid Qutb is considered by some to be the ideological grandfather of Osma Bin Laden. But to others, especially Muslims, Qutb is considered one of the influential men of Islam. His life, philosophies and works have left a legacy that still exists and is followed today.
Sayyid Qutb was born in the village of Musha in Egypt on the 8th of October 1906. He had two sisters and a brother within his immediate family. Qutb also suffered from respiratory problems and seemed a depressed introverted man. His life went from being a secular reformist of the 1930's to a radical Islamist of the 1950's. He was eventually executed on the 29th of August 1966 after he was found guilty of a planned assassination of President Gamal Abdu l-Nasser.
Qutb was educated from a young age in the Qur'an and as a result he had managed to memorise the Qur'an by the age of ten.
He moved to Cairo and received a modern, secular education at Dar al-'Ulum. It was here that Qutb qualified as an Arabic-language teacher and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1939. During his early career, Qutb was an author of literature and a critic. He wrote novels, poems and a book called 'Literary criticism: its principles and methodology'. Due to his modern, secular education Qutb's early writings had a 'Western-tinged' feel.
In the early 1940's, Qutb became more interested social reform and the importance of the Qur'an. In 1948 Qutb went to the USA to study educational curricula at Colorado State College. During his time in America he was shocked at the moral and spiritual degeneracy he observed, stating that 'No one is more distant than the Americans from spiritually and piety.' This period of time is...