This site is maintained by Zackery M. Heern, professor of Middle East studies at Murray State University. Most of the content of the blog is related to the courses I teach, including Modern Iraq and Iran, Modern Middle East, Islam in the Modern World, and Islamic Middle East. Please feel free to follow the blog by entering your email below. You can also follow @zackeryheern on twitter.
Brotherhood is an Islamic group that is labeled as a terrorist group. It is
centered in Egypt, but has influence throughout the Islamic World. Having its
origins as a secret society it is now a worldly known group and has even
brought their movement to the cyberworld of the internet.
Foundation of the Muslim
Brotherhood And the Early Years
Muslim Brotherhood was founded in Egypt March 1928 by Hassan al-Banna and was
originally a religious social organization. Most of the original members were
Egyptian laborers from the city if Isma’iliya. The
Muslim Brotherhood grew at a rapid rate to the point that al-Banna saw that for
the Muslim Brotherhood to further grow and have some influence that it needed
to be moved to Cairo. The Muslim Brotherhood gained a foot hold in Cairo in
1932 after absorbing a group headed my al-Banna’s brother. Shortly after being
established in Cairo the Muslim Brotherhood began to publish a weekly
newsletter. It was estimated that by 1938 there was an estimated three hundred
branches of the Muslim Brotherhood and a membership count of 50,000 to 150,000
In the early years of the Muslim Brotherhood they focused
mostly on recruitment and forming a group based around religious reform and
mutual aid to society. The Muslim Brotherhood did not truly take a political
interest till the late 1930s. The political interest was brought upon by an
Arab strike in Palestine. The strike
itself acted like a catalyst and began to bring the Brotherhoods focus on the
unfair British rule that was currently active in Egypt. The Muslim Brotherhood
began to openly voice out their dislike of the British rule. During the 1941 Parliamentary election the
Muslim Brotherhood entered members as a candidates and held rallies openly, calling
out for social reform and for the British to leave Egypt. The British government saw the Muslim
Brotherhood as a threat and sent the military to remove al-Banna from Cairo in
May 1941, he was later arrested in October along with other members of the
Muslim Brotherhood. Shortly after the British banned the Muslim Brotherhood
During World War II, with the government distracted by
the war, the Muslim Brotherhood us that as a time to meet once again and plan
ways to get rid of the British government completely from Egypt. The Muslim
Brotherhood saw that the only way they were going to get rid of the British was
to start doing more than protesting and putting members up for elections. With a membership of 300,000 to 600,000
members the Brotherhood was able to cause a lot of turmoil in Egypt. The
Brotherhood has started to resort to violence and explosions to make their
point. Many members were arrested for hiding large caches of weapons or
explosives, but it seemed that nothing was going to stop them.
President Gama 'Abd al-Nasser
Nothing was really done about the Brotherhood till after
a Brotherhood member tried to assassinate Egyptian President Gama ‘Abd al-
Nasser on October 27, 1954. After the assassination attempt on al-Nesser there
was a large round up of Muslim Brotherhood members. Members were imprisoned and tortured while
six of the Muslim Brotherhood leaders were executed. Ones would think this
would put an end to the Muslim Brotherhood, but it did not.
Beliefs of the Muslim Brotherhood
The credo of the Muslim
Brotherhood was “God is our objective; the Quran is our constitution, the
prophet is our leader; Jihad is our way; and death for the sake of God is the
highest of our aspirations”. The Muslim Brotherhood fallows the teaching of the
Hanbali School of Islamic thought (Munson). As it is clear in the history of
the Muslim Brotherhood stated above, a main focus of the group is the fact that
the Egyptian government is being ruled by the British government. The Muslim
Brotherhood also fallows the belief that every Islamic individual has the
divine responsibility to stand with them to get rid of the British government
and also fight against all Western influence. Their leader Hassasn Al-Banna believed that
there was an Islamic Manifest destiny that gave all Muslim the divine right to
push the Western influence completely out of the area that stretched from Spain
The Muslim Brotherhood also attacked the lifestyles of
all Muslims that were not involved with the Muslim Brotherhood. They said that
other Muslims had fallen away from the right life and needed to come back
before being completely lost.
Organization of the Muslim
The Muslim Brotherhood is essentially split into three
groups. The groups are the general Organizational Conference, the Shura Council
and the General Masul. The General Organization Conference is the general
population of the Brotherhood. They are the average member of the group and
make up the largest part of the Muslim brotherhood. The Shura Council is a
group of leaders that have the duty of planning events, creating the general
polices and making the programs that will help the group obtain the goals. In a
sense the Shura Council could be seen as the tractions of the Muslim Brotherhood.
The General Masul, meaning General Guide, are the leaders and members that
fallow up and guide the activities of the general organization. In a sense each
group of the Muslim Brotherhood builds of one another and do not work well
without the others. The organization of the Muslim Brotherhood is well balanced
and allows it to be a well-balanced and well working machine.
The Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt
The Muslim Brotherhood
is based in Egypt and has a strong effect in Egypt since its reemergence after
is banning. The Muslim Brotherhood reemerged in the 1970s.
The Muslim Brotherhood no longer held back from using violence and formally
declared Jihad on the Western Society. The Muslim Brotherhood continued to us
violence but seemed to slow down after a 2005 Parliamentary election where
Muslim Brotherhood members won 88 seats of Parliament. The 88 seats accounted
for 20% of Parliament.
Since gaining the seats in Parliament the Muslim
Brotherhood has switched to a more administrative role for Egypt. The Muslim
Brotherhood even after the successful removal of the British rule continues to
try and enforce a pure Islamic government and still says that many citizens of
Egypt have fallen from the way of Islam and need to return to the ways or get
Brotherhood went from a soft spoken origination to an organization that used
force to get their point across. They were banned from the country they loved,
but they did not let that stop them from trying to free their country of
British rule. They can be seen as a key figure for Egypt’s Modern history. They
are a group that has some governmental power and a group that will not easily
go away or give up.
Aly, Abd Al-Said, and
Manfred W. Wenner. "Modern Islamic Reform Movements: The Muslim
Brotherhood in Contemporary Egypt." Middle East Journal 36.5
(1982): 336+. JStore. Web. 26 Apr. 2012.
Leiken, Robert S., and
Steven Brooke. "The Moderate Muslim Brotherhood." Foreign
Affairs 86.2 (2007): 107+. JStore. Web. 26 Apr. 2012.
Munson, Ziad. "Islamic
Mobilization: Social Movement Theory and the Egyptian Muslim
Brotherhood." The Sociological Quarterly 42.4 (2001):
487-510. JStore. Web. 26 Apr. 2012.
Shehata, Samer, and
Joshua Stacher. "The Brotherhood Goes to Parliament." Middle
East Report 240 (2006): 32-39. JStore. Web. 26 Apr. 2012.
Zahid, Mohammed, and
Michael Medley. "Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt & Sudan." Review
of African Political Economy 33.110 (2006): 693+. JStore.
Web. 26 Apr. 2012
Ziad Munson “Islamic Mobilization: Social Movement Theory and the
Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood”
and Michael Melody “Muslim Brotherhood & Sudan”
and Joshua Stacher “The Brotherhood goes to Parliament”