Sayyid Qutb was an Egyptian poet, educator and writer. He was from a remote village in central Egypt. He is of note because he converted to radical Islamism after a two-year stint in the United States. Upon his return to Egypt after publishing several radical texts, he was arrested and convicted of crimes against the state. Ayman al-Zawahiri, the founder of the Al-Qaeda movement of Osama bin Laden fame, was one of Qutb's first students.
Egypt killed Sayyid in 1966, which only strengthened the radical Islamists he was leading. His death is seen as Shahada in extremist circles and his writings (mostly from jail) are now the central texts (guides) outside the Qur'an in Islamism. "A Child From the Village" is a great read on the early life and times of Sayyid, while also covering his conversion to extremism.
With the recent election of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and the strengthening of Hamas despite the Israeli blockade of Gaza, it is actually worthwhile to understand what Qutb was in the pantheon of Islamic thought. Sam Harrison insists that Islam is inherently violent, but the reality is that Qutb informs more modern Muslim radical ethos than the Prophet. In a Western sense, he's a little bit of Che and a whole lot of Lenin; his idea is that Arabs will unite and collapse the despot regimes that embraced secular ethos of the revisionist Baath Party or Nasser-ism. Nobody remembers that Qutb was killed for opposing the Nasser regime, not because he was a Muslim, and understanding this power-relationship is important in understanding the new relationship the West will have with Egypt. (For those of you who weren't keeping track, Egyptian relations with Israel are pretty important.) And just like Marx, Qutb was nice enough to leave behind a concise yet phantasmagorical vision of the future where everyone mass-converts (kinda like Moonies), titled Ma'alim fi al-Tariq' <Signposts on the Road, alt. trans. Milestones> that is just utopian enough to allow any alleged Qutbist Vanguard party to bring about either a certain kind of economic re-construction not seen since the end of the Roman Empire in regards to the Middle East and the Arabic Peninsula, or, on the contrast, wreak all sorts of fucking untold misery, stupidity, despotism, and paranoia. It's kind of like Islamic Leninism, complete with a repudiation of all existing political parties that were of the same opinion of but less extreme. Last time this sort of thing happened in the USSR, the Treaty of Versailles placed a 'Cordon Sanitairre' around Russia and made the damn Reds starve while sending Marines to fight for Jesus in Siberia against the damned Jew Trotsky (seriously, Henry Ford was saying that in his Detroit-based newspaper). This time around, the Morsi regime has no economic aid coming in, the main trade, tourism, is dead, and the Egyptian pound has sunk like a friggin' rock as of 2013. The Iranian Revolution went to hell for us because Jimmy Carter was an idiot to even look twice at the Shah, let alone let him into the US with the big parade in New York that he got, so the West is scoring pretty bad in handing the Eastern revolutions, objectively speaking.