Falsafat I: Ideofact on Qutb.
Bill Allison's Ideofact
blog is one of those rare blogs that serves as a reference site for others, rather than a mere collection of opinions. Bill has blogged on topics ranging from the middle ages to Bosnia, covering literature and history and supported by a formidable library. One of the most important series of posts that Bill has worked on is his ongoing analysis of "Sayyid" 
Qutb's book, Social Justice in Islam
. This book's influence on the radical
segment of Islam has been profound, to the extent that Qutb has been called "the brains behind Osama bin Laden" (here are a pair
that discuss this influence in detail by Dinesh D'Souza).
What is important about Bill's thorough analysis is that it demonstrates just how far from mainstream Islam that Qutb's ideas and interpretations are - to the extent that even an outsider to the faith can see them (not to impugn Bill - he has deep and personal knowledge of Islam, though he is not muslim himself). I agree completely with him when he says
I've never been convinced that it is Islam in and of itself with which we are at war, but rather with a bunch of lunatics who believe that Islam justifies flying a few airplanes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Beyond that, I tend to think the main problem of the Middle East is tyranny.
Islam shares the concept of the equality of souls before God. It has not found expression in anything like our Declaration, it is not the organizing principle of any predominantly Muslim society, but the concept is there, and is something which perhaps can be built upon.
Following the vein of my previous post, where I discuss how far off base OBL is from Islam
, this post is an attempt to catalouge all of the Ideofact entries on Qutb. Thus we can demonstrate that not only is OBL's ideology flawed, but also the lineage of his ideology as well. Taken together, this could be considered the beginnings of a systematic refutation of the OBL version of Islam. I am regrettably not qualified to "deconstruct" Qutb with Qur'anic references but I know this to be possible, and Bill does an admirable job even without turning to the ultimate authority.
Ideofact Qutb Series
Bill hasnt yet finished the series, so I will update this post as he adds new entries.
So, then, what is the alternative to Qutb? The answer is Ali ibn Talib AS, the chosen sucessor to the Prophet (and the defining figure of Shi'a theology). I will review Ali's AS work, "Peak of Eloquence" (Nahjul Balagha)
, in the next post in this series.
 As far as I can determine, the title of Sayyid was bestowed upon Qutb by himself.
 For the masochistic, you can buy this book from Amazon. Not recommended unless you have the patience of a sage (like Bill).
posted by Shi'a Pundit