Snapshots of Sayyid Qutb’s life

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“I was alone in my study room. Although at this time, it wasn’t a study room anymore but a warehouse for all sorts of things of the house. The time was before the Feast, and the house was preparing to greet it by sweeping, wiping and dust mopping. While all of this was happening, the study room became an immense warehouse of affairs : chairs from the dining room, chairs from the salon, chairs from the corridor, cases, furniture, blankets and loads of shoes… all scattered in a chaotic mess !

I could either leave the house or take a refuge in this warehouse. With the dust stirred up by sweeping and mopping, the waters flowing from washing the tiles and wood, knocking and thudding at every corner of the house, the warehouse appeared as the safest and calmest refuge.

I sat in a deep armchair. I sank inside and relaxed without thinking about anything. Is it possible to collect the wandering pieces of mind in this genius chaos ? As my armchair was against a bookshelf, I carelessly stretched out my hand towards it without intending to any specific book. Any book would do. A loosely bound and disjointed fascicle attracted my attention; maybe I was unconsciously intending to adjust it…

Oh God ! It was your bite marks, Toot ! Oh… My dear dog… What a huge distance have the days put between us ? A sweet and poignant souvenir broke out in my heart.

Toot, my dear and fast dog. Here are your traces in this book. Your little claws and sharp canines. These are the traces that you left in this book which I stumbled upon one day.

 These are your bite marks, but where are you, Toot ? A hot and caustic teardrop rolled out of my eye. It had an acidulous, but delicious taste.  My mind travelled towards the fleeing image of Toot trying to retrieve its pieces with the help of his marks lodged in the book. Suddenly, a question popped out in my mind, overflowing me and halting my tears which in the meantime became abundant : where is Toot now ? Nothing remained of him except of these tiny traces. Will they not resist annihilation ? Will these tiny traces not be overflowed by this great force ? An idea of immortality took my mind back to rest. Immortality ! But isn’t it the straw that a drowning one clutches at? Does not time delete all the traces of the living ones, day by day ? Does not the turning wheel of time grind to dust everything humankind creates on earth ?

The marks of Toot will disappear, as will do the traces of his teeth and claws… Immortality, what a naive trickery for fragile sons of mortality !”

Sayyid Qutb “Immortality” (1947)

In his later writings, Sayyid Qutb provides us with more information on the destiny of his beloved dog, Toot. Taken for a stray dog, Toot was hunted and heartlessly shot down by the police.

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