The inspiration for the current version of Islamic salafiyah, and particularly for its militant wing,has come mainly from the Egyptian, partly-American-educated polemicist religiously learned man (Arabic: alim), Sayyid Qutub.
Born in an Egyptian village in 1906, Sayyid Qutub got his early education in a primary school in the village and then in a secular school in Cairo, During his twenties and thirties, he wrote a charming memoir on village life and a not very successful novel but gained a reputation as a literary critic in Egyptian periodicals. Then, just before the Second World War, he became a minor official in the Egyptian Ministry of Education. From that post, he received a scholarship to study the American educational system. He spent two years mainly in Colorado and California, but traveled widely throughout the country.
Everywhere he went in America, Qutub was appalled by what he saw. In his eyes, America was a cesspool of wasteful consumption, exaggerated sex and crass materialism. Putting together all he found to detest about America, he placed American civilization in an Arabian context: it was like the pre-Islamic Arabian period of “ignorance [of God’s way],” the Jahaliyah, which was reformed through the actions of God’s Messenger, Muhammad. In this way, he categorized the West, not Islam, as the retrograde society.- See more at: http://hnn.us/article/156214#sthash.ubk8Pu7v.dpuf