This thesis engages a comparative study of the political thought and practice of two of the foremost ideologues of political Islam in the twentieth century: Sayyid Qutb and Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. The study explores each man’s revolutionary worldview and the strategies they advanced for the effectuation of change. In particular, the study highlights Qutb’s Milestones and Khomeini’s Lectures on Islamic Government. At the outset, an exploration of each man’s intellectual landscape sets the stage for a closer examination. Throughout, it is argued that their quest for a new order, while influenced by a particular reading of history, was informed above all by the social and political conditions of their day. It is also argued that while Qutb represents a break with Sunni tradition, Khomeini represents an attempt at innovation within the Shi‘i heritage. Ultimately, the thesis aims to highlight some central commonalities and differences in both theory and practice.


School of Humanities and Social Sciences

Degree Name

MA in Middle Eastern Studies

First Advisor

Seikaly, Sherene

Committee Member 1

Reimer, Michael

Committee Member 2

Shahin, Emad

Document Type



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