"The child’s eye, feelings, emotions, as well as the comments of a grown-up writer present valuable information for students who are interested in the modern history of Egypt as well as those who are interested in the history of Egyptian culture. In addition, the book provides scholars of Qutb’s ideology with the texture of life that produced, and still produces, such an ideology, in which the cry for social and political justice is mixed with a utopian adherence to a divine law."—Nasr Abu-Zayd, author of Rethinking the Qur’an: Towards a Humanistic Hermeneutics
Well known throughout the Islamic world as the foundational thinker for a significant portion of the contemporary Muslim intelligentsia, Sayyid Qutb (1906–1966) was a member of the Muslim Brotherhood and was jailed by Gamal Abdul Nasser’s government in 1954. He became one of the most uncompromising voices of the movement we now call Islamism and is perhaps best known for his book, Ma`lam fi al-tariq.
A Child from the Village was written just prior to Qutb’s conversion to the Islamist cause and reflects his concerns for social justice. Interst in Qutb’s writing has increased in the West since Islamism has emerged as a power on the world scene.
In this memoir, Qutb recalls his childhood in the village of Musha in Upper Egypt. He chronicles the period between 1912 and 1918, a time immensely influential in the creation of modern Egypt. Written with much tenderness toward childhood memories, it has become a classic in modern Arabic autobiography. Qutb offers a clear picture of Egyptian village life in the early twentieth century, its customs and lore, educational system, religious festivals, relations with the central government, and the struggle to modernize and retain its identity. Translators John Calvert and William Shepard capture the beauty and intensity of Qutb’s prose.
John Calvert is professor of history at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska. He is the
author of numerous books, including Sayyid Qutb and the Origins of Radical Islamism.
William Shepard was professor emeritus of religious studies at the University of Canterbury
in Christchurch, New Zealand. He is the author of The Faith of a Modern Muslim Intellectual:
The Religious Aspects and Implications of the Writings of Ahmad Amin and Sayyid Qutb and
Islamic Activism: A Translation and Critical Analysis of "Social Justice in Islam."
6 x 9, 184 pages