1. In Egypt: The Society of the Muslim Brothers (in Persian: Ekhwaan al-Muslemin) is an Islamist transnational movement and the largest political opposition organization in many Arab countries. The group is the world’s oldest and largest Islamic political group. It was founded in 1928 in Egypt by the Islamic scholar and Sufi schoolteacher Hassan al-Banna.
The ideological roots of the Muslim Brotherhood trace back to the doctrine of Sayyid Jamal-al-din Asadabadi who was an Iranian political activist and Islamic ideologist in the Muslim world during the late 19th century, particularly in the Middle East, and South Asia. He has been also reported to have some affiliation with British Grand Lodge of Freemasonry.
Hassan al-Banna founded the Muslim Brotherhood in the city of Ismailia in March 1928 along with six workers of the Suez Canal Company. It began as a religious, political, and social movement with the credo, “Allah is our objective; the Quran is our constitution, the Prophet is our leader; Jihad is our way; and death for the sake of Allah is the highest of our aspirations.” Al-Banna called for the return to an original Islam and followed Islamic reformers like Muhammad Abduh and Rashid Rida. According to him, contemporary Islam had lost its social dominance, because most Muslims had been corrupted by Western influences. Sharia law based on the Qur’an and the Sunnah were seen as laws passed down by Allah that should be applied to all parts of life, including the organization of the government and the handling of everyday problems.
The Brotherhood also saw itself as a political and social movement. Al-Banna strived to be a populist. The Muslim Brotherhood claimed to want to protect the workers against the tyranny of foreign and monopolist companies. It founded social institutions such as hospitals, pharmacies, schools, etc. However, in addition to holding conservative views on issues such as women’s rights, it was from the start extremely hostile to independent working-class and popular organizations such as trade unions. This is disputed however by some researchers, who point out that the Muslim Brotherhood became involved with the labor movement early on, and supported efforts to create trades unions and unemployment benefits.
By 1936, it had 800 members, then this number increased greatly to up to 200,000 by 1938. By 1948, the Brotherhood had about half a million members. By the late 1940s the Brotherhood was reckoned to have as many as 2 million members, while its strong Pan-Islamic ideas had gained its supporters in other Arab lands. The Muslim Brotherhood also tried to build up something like an Islamist International, thus founding groups in Lebanon (in 1936), Syria (1937), and Jordan (1946). It also recruited among the foreign students in Cairo. Its headquarters in Cairo became a center and meeting place for representatives from the whole Muslim world.
Read more on the activities of Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt from 1948 until present time here:
A. The official English website of Muslim Brotherhood: http://www.ikhwanweb.com
B. Wikipedia Encyclopedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muslim_Brotherhood
General leaders (GL) of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt
Founder & First GL: (1928–1949) Hassan al Banna
2nd GL: (1949–1972) Hassan al-Hudaybi
3rd GL: (1972–1986) Umar al-Tilmisani
4th GL: (1986–1996) Muhammad Hamid Abu al-Nasr
5th GL: (1996–2002) Mustafa Mashhur
6th GL: (2002–2004) Ma’mun al-Hudaybi
7th GL: (2004–2010) Mohammed Mahdi Akef
8th GL: (16 January 2010 – present) Mohammed Badie
2. In Iran: According to an online article on Wikipedia Encyclopedia, “Although Iran is a predominately Shia country and the Muslim Brotherhood is Sunni in doctrine, Olga Davidson and Mohammad Mahallati claim the Brotherhood has had influence among Shia in Iran. Navab Safavi, who founded Fadayan-e Islam, an Iranian Islamic organization active in Iran in the 1940s and 1950s, was highly impressed by the Muslim Brotherhood. From 1945 to 1951 the Fadayan-e Islam assassinated several high level Iranian personalities and officials who they believed to be un-Islamic. They included anti-clerical writer Ahmad Kasravi, Premier Haj-Ali Razm-Ara, former Premier Abdul-Hussein Hazhir, and Education and Culture Minister Ahmad Zangeneh. At that time Navab Safavi was an associate and ally of Ayatollah Khomeini who went on to become a figure in the Iranian Revolution of 1979. Safavi is thought to have influenced Khomeini with the ideas of the Brotherhood. Khomeini and other religious figures in Iran worked to establish Islamic unity and downplay Shia-Sunni differences”.
Davidson, L. (1998): Islamic Fundamentalism, ed., Greenwood Press, Westport, Conn. USA
Muslim Brotherhood Website (2011): Online Articles and News
Raiin, I. (1979): Freemasonry in Iran, ed., (in Persian), Tehran, Iran
Wikipedia Encyclopedia (2011): Online Articles on “Muslim Brotherhood” and “Sayyid Jamal-al-din Asadabadi” (in English & Persian)
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