The Reception of Sayyid Qutb’s Controversial Ideas Among Jordanian Muslim Brothers

The Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood ideologue Sayyid Qutb (1906-1966) is seen by many scholars as an important intellectual source of radical Islamism. His reception among violent Islamist groups and Qutb’s ideological opponents seems to confirm this: both agree that Qutb formulated ideas that justify violence against the state (and perhaps even against society), which causes the former to praise and the latter to vilify him. Yet his reception among the group he was a member of – the Muslim Brotherhood – has received far less attention. This is particularly the case with regard to the Muslim Brotherhood’s branch in Jordan, where several members have written extensively on Qutb’s legacy. This talk focusses on the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood’s reception of Sayyid Qutb’s beliefs and why they have come to different conclusions about Qutb’s legacy than so many others.

Biography: Joas Wagemakers is an associate professor of Islamic and Arabic Studies in the department of Philosophy and Religious Studies at Utrecht University and academic director of the Netherlands Interuniversity School of Islamic Studies (NISIS). His research concentrates on contemporary Islam, especially Salafism and Islamism, with a focus on the ideological sides of these phenomena, on which he has published extensively in academic journals and edited volumes. His books include A Quietist Jihadi: The Ideology and Influence of Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012), Salafism in Jordan: Political Islam in a Quietist Community (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016) and The Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2020). His latest book is The Muslim Brotherhood: Ideology, History, Descendants (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2022).