Monday, December 7, 2009

Sayyid Qutb: In the Shade of the Qur'an

Many things have been said of Sayyid Qutb.

He was a teacher turned writer in tumultous Egypt during Gamal Abdul Nasser's time. Along with Hasan Al Bana [ Prof Tariq Ramadan's grand father...see Tariq Ramadan, under PERSONALITIES ], co-founded Ikhwanul Muslimin or infamously known as the Muslim Brotherhood in the West.

Bush, Blair et al would say Sayyid Qutb, along with Mawdudi, provide the intellectual fuel for Islamic Radicalism in the 21st century.But who are Bush and Blair, who , when examined thoroughly even by rational Western scholars now , are just ignorant, bigoted war mongers at best, who have made our world a more dangerous place to live in .Dr M is most probably right: If this present world regain back it's sanity and 'political correctness', these two clowns should rightfully be paraded in The Hague as pea-brained,megalomanic, genocidal war criminals worse than the likes of Radovan Karavic and Milosevic....

I look at Sayyid Qutb from the perspective of his seminal tafseer work of Juz 30 of the Glorious Qur'an ie In the Shade of the Quran. I have gone through Tafseer Ibnu Katsir [written by Ibnu Katsir who lived in the period just after the Prophet, ie Salafi scholars], and I have gone through Prof Hamka's voluminous Tafsir Al Azhar, his treatment of Juz 30's ayats and surah's.My humble opinion is that Hamka's treatment was better than Ibnu katsir's,but of course I stand corrected here by the 'purists' who will shoot my opinion down by saying that 'how dare you do such thing! Comparing the Salafi and the present...I believe Islam is the Din for all time and I am entitled to my opinion, however 'humble, religious' scholastic background I come from [ "baca Qur'an pun idrh'am tak betul!"...macamana Pak Nik ni!]

Sayyid Qutb's In the Shade of the Quran is in a different class and plane by itself. It is inspirational, beautiful and poetic in any language it is translated and I am very sure in its original Arabic, it could have moved 'mountains'. Even in its beautiful Malay translation by the late Yusoff Zaki[ Pustaka Dian ] of Kelantan,the beauty and power of the original Arabic was maintained.

Just see for yourselves how Sayyid Qutb treated Surah An Nas[ Letter 114 ], and you can have your own opinion of him. Shortly after he completed 'In the Shade of the Quran', which he did while being imprisoned, he was summarily executed by Gamal Abdul Nasser for 'high treason against the State'.

In the sand of time when dictators, politicians, rulers and tyrants were relegated to the dustbin of history, those gifted, commited and selfless individuals with ilm and fought in Allah's way like Sayyid Qutb, live forever! May Allah place his soul amongst those of the blessed!....


Surah # 114
an Nas

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful!

Say: O seek refuge in the Lord of men,
the King of men,
the God of men,
from the mischief of the slinking prompter,
who whispers in the hearts of men,
from among jinn and men.

In the Shade of the Qur'an

In this surah, as can be seen, refuge is sought in the Lord, Sovereign and
God of mankind from the insidious whisperer, jinn or human who prompts evil
ideas into people's minds. The surah presents the relevant attributes of
Allah to keep away this invisible evil which the mind on its own cannot
shut out. For the Lord is He who preserves directs, cherishes and protects
mankind; the Sovereign is He who owns, governs and independently runs the
world; and the Deity is He who supercedes all other beings and absolutely
supervises over all their affairs. The particular mention of mankind here
brings man closer to Allah's protection and care.

Allah, the Merciful, instructs His Messenger and his nation or followers to
recognize the attributes of His and seek His protection against this
sneaking evil which locates itself within their hearts. For they cannot rid
themselves of such an evil which creeps into their hearts surreptitiously
and imperceptibly without the aid of Allah, the Lord, the Sovereign, the

The nature of this evil-importing medium is identified in the text first
as "the slinking prompter. " Its function is outlined as to "whisper in
the hearts of men ". Then its origin is specified as "from among jinn and

The style adopted here is quite significant because it draws one's
attention fully to the identity of this sneaking whisperer after describing
its nature in order to show the process by which that evil is insinuated,
so that one is alerted to watch and confront it. For when one is given the
full picture one knows that this sneaking whisperer operates secretly. One
also realizes that it is jinn as well as human, for human beings are not
exceptions in spreading evil while unseen.

We do not know how the Jinn perform this whispering, but we certainly find
its repercussions in the behaviour of individuals as well as in human life
generally. We know for sure that the battle between Adam (man) and Iblis
(Satan) is a very old one. War between the two was declared by Satan out
of the evil inherent in him, his conceit and his envy and resentment of
man. He was given Divine permission to carry out this battle for some
purpose which Allah alone comprehends. But, significantly, man has not
been left alone, dispossessed of the necessary means of protection. He
has been provided with power of faith or "Iman", (that is, conscious
belief in and knowledge of Allah and His attributes through conviction and
sincere devotion).

Meditation and seeking refuge in Allah are among the most effective
weapons. When man neglects these means of security and defence, he indeed
has only himself to blame.

Ibn Abbas related that the Messenger of Allah had said,

Satan besieges the individual's heart, he subsides whenever one
conscientiously remembers Allah, but insinuates his evil whenever
one is un-thoughtful of Him.

As for humans we know a great deal of their curious ways of whispering and
prompting and some types like the following are more devilish than the

a bad companion who injects evil into his comrade's heart and mind
while he is unaware, as he is thought to be trustworthy,

a ruler's counselor or advisor who "whispers" to him and turns
him into a destructive tyrant,

an unscrupulous slanderer who fabricates and decorates tales and
makes them sound factual and convincing,

a hustler of immoral business and dealings who tries to get through
to people by exploiting their sensual, unhealthy desires,

a hundred other "whisperers" who lay various traps inconspicuously
utilizing people's different weak points which they detect
and look for.

They are more devilish than even the jinn themselves. Faced with evil in
this guise, man is not capable of ensuring his own safety. Allah therefore
points out to him in this surah the means he can employ in this fierce

And there is a very direct significance in identifying the "prompter" as
"slinking". For while this description indicates the secretiveness of this
whisperer on the one hand, it is, on the other hand, an illusion to its
intrinsic feebleness whenever it is discovered or resisted. It subsides
and meekly withdraws when met in the open; or, as the Messenger said in
his accurate illustrations,

He (Satan) subsides whenever one conscientiously remembers Allah, but
insinuates his evil whenever one is un-thoughtful of Him!

This presentation fortifies the believer's heart in face of this timid,
subsiding whisperer.

Nevertheless, the battle is everlasting since this "prompter" is always
watchful for the right moment (when one neglects the remembrance of Allah)
to implant its evils. For the believer to be conscious of Allah once in a
while is not sufficient, as the war is continuous till the end of time;
this the Qur'an vividly states in a lucid picture:

And when We (Allah)said to the angels, 'Fall down prostrate before
Adam ', they fell prostrate except Iblis (Satan) who said, 'Shall I
bow down before him whom You have created of clay? Do you see this
creature whom You have honoured above me? If You give me grace until
the Day of Resurrection, I will certainly destroy his offspring, save
but a few'. 'Be gone!' said He. 'But you and whoever of them follows
you will have Hell for reward. An ample reward it shall be. Rouse with
your voice whomever you are able. Muster against them your horse men
and your fool men. Be their partner in their wealth and in their off
spring. Make them promises. Whatever Satan promises them is only for
deceit. But over My true servants you shall have no power.' Your Lord
is their all Sufficient Guardian. (17:61-5)

This concept of the battle and the source of evil in it, whether provoked
by Satan himself or by his human agent, fully inspires man to feel that he
is not helpless in it; since his Lord, Sovereign and Deity controls all
creations and events. Though He has permitted Satan to attack, He has
supreme power over him and He has also provided guidance for man. Allah
leaves to Satan only those who neglect Him their Lord, Sovereign and Deity,
but those who live in consciousness of Him are safe and protected against
his intimidation's and incitements. Thus, righteousness is supported by the
only true power of the Lord, Sovereign and Deity, whereas evil is backed
by a slinking prompter, a sneaky whisperer, cowardly in the open field,
quick to retreat in war, and easily defeated by one's seeking refuge with

This is the most perfect conception of the battle between good and evil.
It is a conception which protects the being against defeat and provides
him with strength confidence and contentment.

Praise be to Allah at the beginning and at the end. From Him we derive
confidence and success. To Him we turn for unfailing support.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the reminder Doc. I have not touched Fi Zilali Quaran for a very, very, very longggggg time. Buzy with the mundane, as usual (excuse!).

MRSM Kalae Chepo 66/73

Pearls & Gem said...

"Fi Zilalil Quran" translated by the late Dato' Yusoff Zaki,a prolific writer based in Kota Bharu, was in beautiful Malay.

Touching on 'touch' as you brought it up I recall a good advice from a Mekkah preacher some 24 years back during my Haj...He was from Sumatra and given the permission to preach in the Haram by the Saudi Govt..Hj Apakahnamadiadah Al Mendaling.He stress Contact with the Almighty...if even by our daily prayer we fail to feel contact with Him, we ought to get back to the Quran.

And this is precisely what the rest of the world want Muslims to forget..

Just a year ago Hamid Karzai[ he was a Californian Oil Adviser before he was made President ] wanted the UN to impose a global ban on Madrasah education!It was not taken up because even Bush et al probably realise there will a huge ground swell against the idea.

Now we have the Swiss calling for a ban of the Minaret as this would mar the natural lanscape of Switzerland. The French took the que and ask for banning Mosques....Nothing beats the sincerity and directness of the Danish though: Burn The Book!

Only we at home here seem not to care.Our Islamic religious curicullum ,both primary and secondary, paid lip service to the comprehension and understanding of the Quran, by the time our children reach adult life, most of them still do not have a clue of Islam....Perhaps it is easier to govern people this know too much you are ungovernable...from the perspective of governments everywhere..

On the other hand I just met A Norwegian sailor this morning in my clinic. He is 60, a retired sailor, Muslim and lived in Kuantan.In his 40 years of seeing the world , he put Malaysia somewhere "up there". Saudi is way down the scale.

He agrees with ?Iqbal's statement:
"I come from a country with 100% Muslims but no Islam , to this city Paris, with no Muslims but Islam everywhere."

We all have to work harder.Unless we change our "hearts" we will never be able to change our fate....To 'change our hearts' we need to be in contact with Him thru His Book!...Allahualam.

Anonymous said...

Hello Doc, been awhile but still in touch. Some great infos and reminders just what the seeker needs to chew on every once in a while just so his head does not get too tangled up with the day to day hoopla!
I've always had problems dealing with the mischief maker and throughout my life I know there are a few hanging on to me back like parasites that attempts to take over my spirit if not my soul if and when given the slightest chance. Its a silent war this, one that is more covert than the CIA can contemplate but not too many is awaken to this enough to take it seriously these days and age. We are being veilled by the so called larger issue of humanity like the global climate change and the socio-politcal-economic chaos looming on th horizon.
So the scramble to get the bigger share of the pie is ever gearing up so much so the the sales of infants has becomes a lucrative venture. Greed, Hate and Dellusions! The three illnesses not even you have the cure Doc!No priscriptions no amount of surgery can remove this from our human hearts, these three demons are the Hydra threatening to capture our souls and hurl it into the pits of flames. Only our faith in the workings of the AlMighty seen or otherwise stands in the way of our doom and that faith is today being tested to the max in every which way.
I love you man, for all that you have tried to impart and if nothing else for the purpose of reminding the likes of me who despite age and knowledge, experiences and practice, is still groping in the dark to find my way to the Truth.

Pearls & Gem said...

Same things operate here man. As long as man remains man, the tentacles and hydra of greed ,hasad, and too much in love with this world operates. I have to haj countless time, probably 5, since 1983, umrah double digit probably....probably one of the few to have continuously zikr at 100 feet on the sea bed during my heydays as a diver... the 'karat2 jahiliah' is still very thick..We are just mere mortals, never far from pitfalls and temptations.

For the ulama' and the erudite scholars, The Whispering One tempt them in a different way: 'Riyak' and the temtation for 'fame'. Even the best of so-called ulama'can easily fall for these as we can see recently within our national happening!

But unfortunately for the ulama' , and fortunately for us mere mortals, the standard expected by God from them is nothing less than impeccable: You sell My Ayats for a fistful of dollars I promise you guys the bottom- most of the 'heap'.

For mere mortals like all of us God tend to be more lenient. I was reading Surah Al Baqarah on my 'Link' the other day and counter checking the tafsir of ayat 284 to 286 within the 'lonk' on the blog with Tafsir ibnu Katsir.Had a brain wave of sort....

From Hadith Muslim and An Nasai, we were told the Prophet when he 'Mikraj' he to Sidtatul Muntaha, he was given 3 precious gifts for his ummah: The 5 obligatory prayers, Surah Al Fatihah and the last ayat[ verse 286 ] of Surah Al Baqarah.

The 5 obligatory Prayers were the necesary remembrance and celebration of Him, the necessary contact to keep man nearer to Him, away from the Whispering One.

Al Fatihah represent the road-map and the mission statement, repeated at least 17 times a day by the Mukmin.

If one read verse 284 of Al Baqarah and many other ayats in the Quran,one tend to shudder at the immensity of the 'burden' one will have to carry and be answerable at the end of one's time. Verse 286 was a gift from God to his ummah, reassuring him that :

"Allah tasketh not a soul beyond its scope. For it (is only) that which it hath earned, and against it (only) that which it hath deserved. Our Lord! Condemn us not if we forget, or miss the mark! Our Lord! Lay not on us such a burden as thou didst lay on those before us! Our Lord! Impose not on us that which we have not the strength to bear! Pardon us, absolve us and have mercy on us, Thou, our Protector, and give us victory over the disbelieving folk." (286)