The Muslim Brotherhood

“Allah is our goal, the Prophet is our leader, the Quran is our law, Jihad is our way. Dying for Allah is our greatest hope.” This is the creed of the Muslim Brotherhood, which was founded in 1928 in Ismailia, Egypt.

History of the movement

Hassan al-Banna (Hassan al-Banna, founder of the Muslim Brotherhood), a teacher, was the founder of the movement. Together with 6 others he founded the religious, social and political movement. He wanted to return to the original Islam. According to him, contemporary Islam had been corrupted by Western influences. Sharia, Islamic law, and Sunna were to be applied to all areas of life, from government to daily life. The group established schools, hospitals and mosques, provided aid to the poor.

The brotherhood grew at a rapid pace. By the end of the 1940s, the group had grown to two million members and pan-Islamic ideas had spread beyond Egypt. Cairo was the center of the movement and foreign members were also recruited here .

Ban the Muslim Brotherhood

In 1948, police arrested some of the organization’s members with documents from the ‘secret apparatus’ containing the names of the movement’s leaders. As a result, 32 leaders were arrested and offices were searched. A month later, the Brotherhood was banned by Egyptian President Nokrashi. A member of the brotherhood, the student Abdel Maguid, proceeded to murder Nokrashi. A month later, Al-Banna was assassinated in Cairo by supporters of the president.

From this moment on, the Muslim Brotherhood was alternately banned completely or turned a blind eye. Muslim Brothers carried out a failed assassination attempt on President Abdel Nasser, leading to a total ban . The Brotherhood, however, denied involvement in the attack. Nasser’s successor, Anwar al-Sadat, vowed to implement Sharia law and released all imprisoned Muslim brothers. The Muslim brothers lost their trust in him when he made peace with Israel. In 1981, Sadat was murdered by extremists, who did not belong to the Brotherhood. Even under Mubarak, the Muslim Brothers continued to be seen in a bad light, members were arrested or intimidated just before elections

Muslim Brothers in the rest of the world

The Muslim Brotherhood now has branches all over the world, but is especially popular in the Middle East.

A country where the brotherhood played an important role is Syria. Muslim brothers were active here from an early age . When the secular Baath Party came to power, they opposed this, especially as the party increasingly fell into Alawite hands, making the conflict more religious in nature. This led to an uprising in Hama in 1982, which was brutally suppressed. Muslim brothers are still active in the country. The group has renounced violence but the death penalty remains in effect for membership in the movement.

In Jordan, the Muslim Brotherhood was never banned and for a long time it was the only political group allowed. The Islamic Action Front, the political party of the Jordanian Brotherhood, is now the largest party in the Jordanian parliament.

The brotherhood was also active early in Palestine. From this movement grew Hamas, a wing of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Ideas and ideals

The Muslim Brotherhood’s ultimate goal is to return to the times of the Caliphate, with a government based on the Quran and Sunna. Ideally, this empire should extend from Indonesia to Spain. Islam strives for social equality, the elimination of poverty and political freedom (provided that this freedom does not contradict Islam). People fiercely opposed colonialism and Western influences.

The brotherhood is based on Sunni Islam. The movement has grown so much over the years that it is difficult to put a clear label on its members, some are quite liberal, others very conservative , a few extremist. The movement is seen as the first within the Islamic movement.