Sayyid Qutb (/ˈkuːtəb/ or /ˈkʌtəb/; Egyptian Arabic pronunciation: [ˈsæjjed ˈʔotˤb], Arabic: [ˈsæjjɪd ˈqʊtˤb]; Arabic: سيد قطب Sayyid Quṭb; also spelled Said, Syed, Seyyid, Sayid, Sayed; Koteb, Qutub, Kotb, Kutb; 9 October 1906 – 29 August 1966) was an Egyptian author, educator, Islamic theorist, poet, and the leading member of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood in the 1950s and 1960s. In 1966 he was convicted of plotting the assassination of Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser and was executed by hanging.
Author of 24 books, including novels, literary arts critique and works on education, he is best known in the Muslim world for his work on what he believed to be the social and political role of Islam, particularly in his books Social Justice and Ma’alim fi al-Tariq(Milestones). His magnum opus, Fi Zilal al-Quran (In the Shade of the Qur’an), is a 30-volume commentary on the Quran.
During most of his life, Qutb’s inner circle mainly consisted of influential politicians, intellectuals, poets and literary figures, both of his age and of the preceding generation. By the mid-1940s, many of his writings were officially among the curricula of schools, colleges and universities.
Even though most of his observations and criticism were leveled at the Muslim world, Qutb is also known for his intense disapproval of the society and culture of the United States, which he saw as obsessed with materialism, violence, and sexual pleasures.Views on Qutb vary widely. He has been described by followers as a great thinker and martyr for Islam, while many Western observers see him as a key originator of Islamist ideology. Others in the West believe Qutb is an inspiration for violent groups such as al-Qaeda. Today, his supporters are identified by their opponents as “Qutbists“ or “Qutbi”.