exercises in compound storytelling

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Sayyid Qutb

Sayyid QutbImage via WikipediaThere's a fascinating segment in the September 18 edition of ABC Radio National's podcast RN Shuffle on the Egyptian author Sayyid Qutb:

That being said, I think the content of In the Shade of the Qur'an can be reduced to three basic ideas, the first of which is that sovereignty belongs to God alone, the term that Qutb uses is Al-Hakimiyyah, which we might translate as sovereignty. He believed that sovereignty had been usurped by human beings...

the second major idea in Qutb's work, and that is that there is no true Islamic society in the world, according to Sayyid Qutb, and that's because there is no Islamic society that fully recognises God's sovereignty....

unlike many Muslim reformers, unlike Mohammed Abdu the Egyptian reformer of the late 19th century, he did not believe that reason and revelation were equal, that they complemented one another. Qutb really believed that reason reached its limits when confronted with questions of moral judgment. He believed that philosophical equations rooted in reason were dangerous. No.1 because they diminished the status of the Qur'an as first source, and No.2 they legitimised the entry into Islam of secular western culture. So he was very distrustful of the role of reason in discerning God's will.

That's Alan Saunders, host of Philosopher's Zone, interviewing John Calvert, associate professor of history at Creighton University in Nebraska. I'm not sure where I'd find a similar podcast in the States: the material I hear from Australia dealing with Islam generally is more insightful than what I hear in the States; never mind the fact that the show is publicly funded.

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