I recently started reading the book, "Social Justice in Islam." This is a book by Sayyid Qutb, translated into English by John B. Hardie, commissioned by the Near Eastern Translation Program. There's not really any good references to any of these people online outside this book, nor is there any information about what the Near Eastern Translation Program was or what it did. Questions about who ran this program and why aside (though I'm very curious to know), they went to great lengths in their translation to highlight the controversiality of this book.
But they really didn't talk about what in it was controversial, who found it controversial, and why they classify it that way. The foreword to the book reads like someone defensively trying to justify translating this book, ending, for example, with:
It should, of course, be clearly understood that the views expressed in the works translated are the opinions of the writers and not of the American Council of Learned Societies or the Committee on Near Eastern Studies.
This seems like it goes beyond the standard disclaimer of authorial opinion. Especially in context, it's written in a much more personal tone, as if the writer really wants to emphasize this point. The translator's introduction goes on to highlight exactly the same thing:
"There will be many points which the specialist and the non-specialist alike will feel like challenging. So much the better, for this, from a Western point of view, is a provocative book. But the aim of the present work has been neither to comment nor to criticize, but simply to translate, as the author himself would have written it, had he written in English."
This also vaguely hints at some sort of controversy, predicted or past, surrounding this book. It's also the second time this is mentioned, and it occurs no more than one page after the prior quote.
And, to be clear, there's vague historical reason to believe that this book was, indeed, controversial, even in Muslim societies. A more modern book cover has this to say about the author:
"Social Justice in Islam" is perhaps the best known work of Sayyib Qutb, a leading figure in the Muslim Brethen of Egypt who was executed by the regime of 'Abd al-Nasr in 1966. Despite the years that have passed since Sayyid Qutb's death, the imprint of his thought on the contemporary Islamic movements of the Arab world remains profound. [emph. mine]
To me, all of these things seem like loose threads suggesting that some part of this book either was controversial, or was expected to be controversial - both to Muslim cultures and to Western ones. But nobody really seems to want to talk about why.
Was there some sort of controversy surrounding this book, either in Muslim countries, "Western" countries, or both? If so, who took issue with it, and what, exactly, were the issues taken?
Also, if I'm reading this correctly, why, then, do the translators go to such great lengths to highlight how controversial this book is, without explaining anything about what's controversial in it?