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Milestones Paperback – July 31, 2006

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Milestones + Princeton Readings in Islamist Thought: Texts and Contexts from al-Banna to Bin Laden (Princeton Studies in Muslim Politics)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Islamic Book Service (July 31, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 817231244X
  • ISBN-13: 978-8172312442
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.4 x 0.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #283,119 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Author of 24 books, Sayyid Qutb is best known in the Muslim world for his work on what he believed to be the social and political role of Islam in modern times. Some the most widely read books are Social Justice, Ma'alim fi-l-Tariq (Milestones), and Fi -zilal al-qur'an (In the shade of the Qur'an). He is seen by many as one of the founding fathers of the modern Islamist movements. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

He makes no distinction between temporal and spiritual lordship.
K. Parmalee
His exposition of jihad in Islam lies at the base of the entire Muslim Brotherhood which is the largest and most influential Muslim organization in the world today.
Amazon Customer
Little thought is given to obvious contradictions any thinking person would have.
C. J. Hardman

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

137 of 160 people found the following review helpful By C. J. Hardman on June 13, 2006
Format: Paperback
This treatis on political Islam is helpful in understanding the mindset of violent Muslim Jihadists in today's world. You may disagree with the logic--or after close study lack thereof, in this book. I wish this volume included a better introduction of who the historical Sayyid Qutb was, it helps put this volume and what it was/is trying to accomplish in its proper context.

Qutb (1906-1966) was an Egyptian novelist and literature teacher who received a western-style education and even earning his Master's Degree in Education in the United States, where he lived from 1948-1950. At least partially due to Qutb's experience living in the United States, he developed an anti-western anti-modernization attitude. While in The United States, Qutb was horrified to witness such lewd events as Church sock-hops, where a female could look a male in the eye and talk to him without fear of having a male relative automatically assume the worst and cut her throat. He wrote:

"They danced to the tunes of the gramophone, and the dance floor was replete with tapping feet, enticing legs, arms wrapped around waists, lips pressed to lips, and chests pressed to chests. The atmosphere was full of desire..."

Whether this is what he actually saw at a church event in late 40's America (sounds more like Woodstock), whether it means Americans were dirty and immoral, or Qutb's own mind simply had a particularely laschivious bent which he deigned to blame other innocent people for, the reader must decide. The fact is that this "immorality" and events similar to it he witnessed in the West, coupled with injustices he saw and experienced in Egypt before and after his sojurn in the U.S. led Qutb to become heavily involved with the conservative Muslim Brotherhood upon his return to Egypt.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Gogol on May 11, 2007
Format: Paperback
Perhaps the most well known book of modern political Islam in recent year new dimensions have been added to it due to the events of 9/11 and many linking the book to the Al-Qaeda leader Bin Laden. Sadly, much sensationalism has overshadowed any hope of examining the book itself and the man who wrote it.

Qutb in fact had little if any connection with the Wahhabi Saudi movement to which Bin Laden belongs, the books of Qutb are considered 'Bida' (an innovation) by Wahhabis and are by and large banned in the Gulf states. Qutb rather is a 'scholar' of political Islam, a system that ranges from electoral participation to political terrorism to retreating from city life to start a new life and system.

In order to examine why Qutb came to the conclusions in his book you need to look at the wider context in which he lived. The trauma of colonialism, the betrayal of the Nassirsit revolutionaries, the disaster of the Arab-Israeli war, the cold war and the social alienation of traditional societies (which much of Egypt in Qutbs time was) from the modern world.

When Qutb spoke out against corruption of political officials he struck a chord with the Arab youth who had came from the provincial towns and major cities alike and saw for themselves the nepotism that ruled political and social life. When he spoke out against the moral corruption again, for a society used to a more conservative way of life the excess as they saw of the West in particular (It is doubtful they would have had such a wide knowledge of the former Eastern block) When he spoke out against the Mosque and those that preached but did not practice he again caught the ear of the youth who saw themselves as distant from the previous generation who followed the local Sheikh, attended the Mawlid.
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38 of 46 people found the following review helpful By Novice on December 16, 2004
Format: Paperback
"Milestones" is a valuable primary source for the study of Islamic fundamentalism in the 20th century. Qutb's arguments present the flaws and vigor of extremist thinking: his ideal society is poorly delineated, and his desire for "freedom" clashes sharply with his desire to violently silence those who disagree with him. Furthermore, Qutb's notions of the inherent corruption and bankruptcy of man never manage to escape the reality that even in a "divinely ordained" society, the agents and authorities of its execution wil always be human beings.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By K. Parmalee on October 22, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
By now most of you have heard about Sayyid Qutb's influence on Osama bin Laden, and it was that connection which I hoped to investigate by reading Milestones. In short, Qutb preaches - a term that accurately captures the style of the book as it is basically a collection of simple themes repeated often - that because a true (i.e. one that follows sharia) Islamic society no longer exists and cannot exist in the presence of "worldly influences", all those who practice Islam should assist in bringing it about by any means necessary.

Qutb's notion of an ideal Islamic state one might characterize as anarcho-Islam, as he condemns the "rule of men over men", which he believes is in conflict with the first tenet of Islam, "there is no deity except God." He makes no distinction between temporal and spiritual lordship. Beyond that, he doesn't specify the exact form an Islamic society would take, other than its' compliance to Quranic principles. Probably the closest analog with which a Westerner might be familiar is the Millennial Reign disclosed in Revelations, a favorite book of Christian fundamentalists.

And in Milestones we find other fundamentalist parallels. Qutb uses the First Generation as a model for how Muslims should behave, while we in America have similar examples in Christianity (the Pentacostals and early Christian martyrs such as Stephen) and in secular politics (the near-deified "Founding Fathers" or the more politically correct term "Framers"). The method of their lives are similar as well - they began only with faith and little knowledge, revealed to them as God saw fit, a depiction Qutb spends considerable time justifying - contrasted with what he believes is the modern tendency of Muslims to indulge in a superficial piety based on analysis and discussion.
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