Comments: 4 Qutb I:1

Bill,

You are mistaken.

You have misinterpreted Qutb's statement. That is unfortunate, but obviously will happen from time to time in dealing with human communication.

What is less understandable is the magical fantasy world of supposition and imagination that you then create based on your misunderstanding.

I don't know if perhaps you are more familiar with Shi'i sources than Sunni ones are if you are just not as familiar with Islamic thought as I had assumed.

No Sunni Muslim, including Sayyid Qutb, removes 'Ali (may Allaah be pleased with him) from the ranks of the rightly guided successors of the Prophet (saw).

When Sayyid Qutb (may Allaah have mercy on him) says that various sectarian and biased views sprung forward after the assasination of 'Uthman (may Allah be pleased with him) it is a great leap to say that this is blaming or accusing 'Ali (ra) himself. In fact it is not. It is well known to anyone who has studied the history of Islamic thought that it was during this period that groups such as the Shi'a and the Khawarij emerged which had particular biases and views contrary to the vast majority of Muslims and who consequently (again, according to the vast majority of Muslims) distorted and or fabricated arguments to justify their views.

No Sunni blames 'Ali for the Shi'a. 'Ali pledged his allegiance to each of the first three successors of the Prophet (may the peace and blessings of God be upon him) and always spoke highly of each. Their families were intermarried with each other.

In short, the fact that these phenomenon occurred during the time of Ali (ra) is well known. We (as Sunnis) do not blame 'Ali for this however.

One time a man came to 'Ali (ra) and raised this criticism, asking How come during the time of Abu Bakr and 'Umar we were united and we were opening up lands to Islam and during your time we have all these conflicts and controversies? 'Ali (ra) told the man, Because when Abu Bakr and 'Umar we're ruling they were ruling over people like me, and I am ruling over people like you"

For Shi'a who believe as you have suggested, that someone like Abu Bakr (ra) unjustly took the reins of leadership over 'Ali (ra) it is true that there will be no congruence with the thought of any Sunni Muslim. For a Shi'a (or anyone else) who believes that the Qur'an has been changed, there is no congruence between that and Islamic belief. By consensus of the Sunni scholars, Abu Bakr and 'Umar were the best human beings ever after the Prophets. There is no congruence between that belief and belief that these people somehow conspired to steal authority from the one the Prophet (saw), whom they had dedicated all their lives and wealth to, had told them to give it.

So you are right, for a Shi'a who believes as you have suggested they are far away from what the vast majority of all Muslims have always believed and their beliefs are unacceptable to a Sunni Muslim. This has nothing to do with Sayyid Qutb, nor with 'Ali ibn Abu Talib (ra).

Posted by Abu Noor al-Irlandee at December 8, 2004 10:05 AM

Abu Noor,

Re-read your comment. It's running in a circle.

It doesn't matter that Sunnis don't blame 'Ali for Shi'a (awfully gracious of them) -- that's not the point. The point is implied in your last two paragraphs, more or less. The Shi'a are just as sincere in their belief that they are the followers of true Islam as the Sunni. In the Qutbian project, which demands a single interpretation of Islam, which seeks to erase history. The Islamic concept "must be free of such pollutants as the legacy of history" -- what is Shi'ism without history; for that matter, what are Sunni beliefes without history?

Please advise.

Posted by Bill at December 8, 2004 10:33 AM

Abu Noor, Im not prone to sectarian discussions online, but consider that this story:

One time a man came to 'Ali (ra) and raised this criticism, asking How come during the time of Abu Bakr and 'Umar we were united and we were opening up lands to Islam and during your time we have all these conflicts and controversies? 'Ali (ra) told the man, Because when Abu Bakr and 'Umar we're ruling they were ruling over people like me, and I am ruling over people like you"

is definitely not immune to this point of Qutb's:

People began to interpret the verses of the Qur'an to suit their own purposes, giving them far-fetched meanings. Moreover, arguments were put forward for and against various sectarian views, each seeking support for its opinions from philosophy and scholastic theology. Most such arguments were biased. Consequently, such sources, biased as they are, cannot be relied upon

To say that I disagree with the contention that Ali AS ever said any such thing would be an understatement.

I'm recusing myself from the debate here - its not my intention to drag Bill into sectarian disputes. I will see if I get a chance to comment at CoB later..

no offense was intended, or taken.

Posted by Aziz at December 8, 2004 12:02 PM

Just reading Qutb leaves me with a large question:

Where do we stop "de-polluting" our legacy of history?

How do we use "most such arguments were biased" to bring about the implication "all such arguments are unreliable" ?

There are several leaps of logic there that I can't follow (even if I desired to have the correct form of Islam).

Posted by steve h at December 8, 2004 01:48 PM

Often people forget the deep influence of Marxism-Leninism on modern-day jihadism.

In many senses, Qutb has a relativistic interpretation of History, some sort of crude Hegellianism close to the one permeating Stalin's late theoretical works (think about his view on national identity and its dialectical relationship with class-consciousness...)

The legacy of History as a polluant of "the fixed text of the Qur'an" is a sentence that would have made uncle Josef proud... and Roger Garaudy as well!

Posted by Juan A. Hervada at December 8, 2004 06:56 PM