The organization grew and became popular among the youths that were keen to follow the writings of Sayyid Qutb (notably Signposts on the Road). This leading Islamic thinker, jailed in 1954, claimed that Egypt had fallen into a “jahili” (ignorant) condition, resembling the period prior to Islam. Nasser was the enemy but the organization was divided on the question “how should we take power?” Qutb wrote about the limits of the Islamic education program in an era of persecution. He and his young followers were for violence because peaceful change was not possible. Qutb was released at the end of 1964, shortening his fifteen years sentence, after the president of Iraq interceded on his behalf. Once out of prison, he assumed the intellectual leadership of the movement.
The state of ignorance (the lack of moral integrity), “jahiliya”, was denounced by the predicator, even if numerous members of the government were practising Muslims and received the approval of numerous Muslim organisations.