Qutb's In the Shade of the Qur'an, his major work and a commentary on the Qur'an, attacks modern society for its separation of church and state and its removal of religion from much of daily life. This condition, which he asserts is an outgrowth of limitations and distortions inherent in Judaism and Christianity, threatens Islam from both without and within, and reduces human life to a dark state similar to that before Muhammad received the Qur'an. To restore "true" Islam and revive world civilization Qutb calls for a jihad by a vanguard of Muslims who are willing to suffer martyrdom, as he did when he remained in Nasser's Egypt and attacked its Pan-Arabist secularism (see Pan-Arabism). His other works include Social Justice and Islam (1949, rev. tr. 2000) and Milestones (1964, rev. tr. 1991). Qutb's works have been extremely influential on militant Islamic radicals in the succeeding decades, who have found in them justification for violence against both the West and those Muslim governments they denounce as un-Islamic.
See studies by A. S. Moussalli (1993, 1999) and O. Carré et al. (2003).