Skip to main content

Debates on Political Islam: Analyzing the Writings of Egyptian Scholars, Hasan al Banna and Sayed Qutb

  • Living reference work entry
  • First Online:
Handbook of Contemporary Islam and Muslim Lives
  • 45 Accesses


The wave of Islamic resurgent politics that emerge during the Al Sahwa Al Islamiyyah (Islamic awakening) in nineteenth and beginning of twentieth century in Egypt and Syria spreads across West Asia and North Africa (WANA) as a new form of religious politics. This new religion-based politics in Arab world came to be known as Islamism, also sometimes referred to as political Islam. Egypt has provided the favorable conditions for the rise of modern Islamic political thoughts especially after the invasion of Napoleon in 1798. Napoleon’s campaign of West Asia paved the way for direct contact with the Western culture and thoughts. Hasan Al Banna and Sayed Qutb are two important Islamist figures whose ideologies inspire contemporary Islamists. While Hasan Al Banna is famous for his religious and political activism as the founder and head of Muslim Brotherhood, Sayed Qutb provided the theoretical basis to extremist and radical actions of Islamists. This chapter tries to analyze the Islamist writings of these two thinkers with contemporary understanding of Islam and its principles and values in depth. It tries to critically look in the development of contemporary Islamist ideology in Egypt from the Al Nahda Al Arabiyyah (Arab Renaissance). The paper also tries to cover the debate on critique of Islamism. It also assesses the role of Islamism in radicalization and Islamization of Egyptian society, especially the efforts of Hasan Al Banna and Sayed Qutb.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this chapter

Institutional subscriptions


  • Al Banna, H. (1965). Majmua’at Rasail al Imam al Shaheed Hasan al Banna. Bairut: Darul Undulus.

    Google Scholar 

  • Al Banna H. (2012). Muzakkarat al Da’awa wa al Dayi’yyah. Kuwait: Maktaba Afaq li al Nashr wa al Tauzia’.

    Google Scholar 

  • Al Tabri, Muhammad bin Jarir. (1994). Tafseer al Tabari. Bairut: Muassasah al Risalah.

    Google Scholar 

  • Al Zamakhshari, Mahmud bin Umar. (2009). Tafseer al Kasshaf. Bairut: Dar al Marefah.

    Google Scholar 

  • Ayoob, M. (2005). The future of Political Islam: The importance of external variables. Int Aff, 81(5), 951–961.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Ayoob, M. (2007). Challenging Hegemony: Political Islam and North-South Divide. International Studies Review, 9(4), 629–647.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Berman, P. (2003, March 23). The Philosopher of Islamic Terror. New York Times Magazine.

    Google Scholar 

  • Butko, T. J. (2004). Revelation or Revolution: A Gramscian Approach to the Rise of Political Islam. British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, 31(1),141–162.

    Google Scholar 

  • Dessouki, A. E. H. (Ed.). (1982). Islamic Resurgence in the Arab World. New York: Praeger Publishers.

    Google Scholar 

  • Fuller, G. E. (2003). The future of Political Islam. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Goldziher, I. (1971). Muslim studies (trans: Barber, C.R., & Stern, S.M.). London: George Allen & Unwin Ltd.

    Google Scholar 

  • Halpern, M. (1963). The Politics of Social Change in the Middle East and North Africa. California: The Rand Corporation.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hitti, P. K. (1970). History of the Arab: From the Earliest Time to the Present. London: Macmillan Education Ltd..

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Huntington, S. P. (1996). The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order. New Delhi: Viking Penguin Books.

    Google Scholar 

  • Kepel, G. (1986). Muslim Extremism in Egypt: The Prophet and Pharaoh. Berkeley: University of California Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Khan, Z. (2018). Anti-hegemonic Discourse on Islam and Democracy. (M. Phil. Dissertation, Jawaharlal Nehru University Library, New Delhi).

    Google Scholar 

  • Khatab, S. (2006). The political thought of Sayed Qutb: The Theory of Jahiliyyah. Oxon: Routledge.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Maududi, A. A. (1966). Khilafat-O- Mulukyyat. New Delhi: Maktaba Jamat-e-Islami.

    Google Scholar 

  • Qadri, M. T. (2012). Al Jihad al Akbar. London: Minhajul Quran Publication.

    Google Scholar 

  • Qutb, S. (1946a). Tifl min al Qariyyyah. Germany: Manshurat al Jamal.

    Google Scholar 

  • Qutb, S. (1993). Ma’alim fi al Tareeq. Cairo: Daar al Shuruq.

    Google Scholar 

  • Roy, O. (1994). The Failure of Political Islam. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Tibi, B. (2012). Islamism and Islam. London: Yale University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Tibi, B. (2013). The Islamist Venture of the Politicization of Islam to an Ideology of Islamism: A Critique of the Dominating Narrative in Western Islamic Studies. Soundings: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 96(4), 431–449.

    Google Scholar 

  • Toth, J. (2013). Sayed Qutb: The life and legacy of a radical Islamic Intellectual. New York: Oxford University Press.

    Book  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

Copyright information

© 2021 Springer Nature Switzerland AG

About this entry

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this entry

Khan, S.R. (2021). Debates on Political Islam: Analyzing the Writings of Egyptian Scholars, Hasan al Banna and Sayed Qutb. In: Lukens-Bull, R., Woodward, M. (eds) Handbook of Contemporary Islam and Muslim Lives. Springer, Cham.

Download citation

  • DOI:

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Publisher Name: Springer, Cham

  • Print ISBN: 978-3-319-73653-2

  • Online ISBN: 978-3-319-73653-2

  • eBook Packages: Springer Reference Religion and PhilosophyReference Module Humanities and Social SciencesReference Module Humanities

Publish with us

Policies and ethics