Jihad in the Cause of God

Qutb Sayyid

in Islam in Transition: Muslim Perspectives

Published in print January 2006 | ISBN: 9780195174304
Published online November 2007 |
Jihad in the Cause of God

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Egyptian literary critic, novelist, poet, Islamic activist, and the godfather of modern revolutionary Islamic ideology, he was both a respected intellectual and religious writer. His works included an influential multivolume commentary on the Quran, In the Shade of the Quran, and Milestones, which sets forth Qutb's revolutionary vision. It would be difficult to overestimate the role played by Qutb in the reassertion of militant jihad, from the assassins of Egypt's President Anwar Sadat to Osama Bin Laden and al-Qaeda.

This passage comes from Qutbs best-known work (from 1964), considered to be the intellectual foundation for contemporary violence-prone Islamist groups. Qutb criticizes Muslims who dilute the true meaning of jihad (exerting oneself for the sake of God) by making it defensive in nature. In his view, such a position is taken by Muslims who want to make Islam conform to the preferences of Westerners. Jihad is a positive obligation to struggle in the way of God. To carry out this struggle successfully, preaching will not be enough; also required is movement (harakah), to establish Gods authority. He feels that Qurn 2:256 (there is no compulsion in matters of religion) means that Islam cannot be imposed by force, but that Gods authority must be established and that anyone who resists must be opposed. Qutb does not, however, clarify how the one may be reconciled with the other. In his words, If we insist on calling Islamic Jihad a defensive movement, then we must change the meaning of the word defense and mean by it the defense of man against all those elements which [sic] limit his freedom.

Chapter.  3982 words. 

Subjects: Society and Culture ; Islam

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