2- Establishment of the Muslim Brotherhood
|Sunday, June 10,2007 12:01|
The civilizational defeat of Arabs and Muslims, especially after the collapse of the Ottoman Caliphate, had a deep effect on the spirits of many Muslim preachers and reformers, like Gamal el-Deen el-Afghani and Muhammad Abdu, who were preoccupied with examining the reasons for the civilizational downfall of Muslims. Then came Hassan al-Banna who benefited from those who preceded him and added to their action. He, together with six Muslim Brothers, set up the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) in March 1928.
The first activity of the MB was the establishment of the “Tahdheeb” (moral refinement) School, for which imam al-Banna was keen on setting a curricula for the group that he used to meet at that school. He was interested in having Islam’s moral and civilized manners mark the conduct of the graduates of that school. This had actually happened and its graduates were praised for their moral high standard in many situations. This may explain the interest of imam al-Banna in making the Islamic attachment of its students produce a moral effect. This was illustrated in several concrete attitudes, including (a) workers who showed more vigor in performing their jobs and increasing production, and (b) salient personal traits that were developed among Muslim Brothers, including honesty, altruism, continence and other qualities.
First Statute of MB
In 1930, the first Statute of the MB was issued and approved by the General Assembly at its third session, convened on the 1st of Jumada 1349 (24 Sept. 1930), only a couple of years after the founding of the MB.
It was followed by the adoption in 1932 of the amended Brotherhood regulation which modified certain provisions of the Statute. The Regulation contained rules for the formation of the general assembly, regulations governing the Board of Directors, the Administrative Controller, committees, finances of the Brotherhood, of branches and local offices, and general provisions. The MB opened nine new local offices, including in Suez, Abu Soweir and al-Mahmoudiya.
Religious missionary work in Cairo:
Imam al-Banna moved to Cairo in October 1932. The method used for communication was the exchange of letters but Muslim Brothers became convinced that letters were not enough to convey the message and decided to issue a weekly magazine called The Muslim Brothers’ Journal. That magazine contained constant sections, including sections dealing with religious, historical, literary and women affairs.
The most important objectives of the magazine included the following:
§ To propagate general culture and to acquaint non-Muslim Brothers with the latter’s message and methods;
§ To help wake up the feelings of Islamic attachment and to strengthen the spirit of modern Islamic revival; and
§ To use the magazine as the MB’s courier to all Muslim countries, honestly speaking for them with all transparency.
Starting from the ninth issue of the magazine, Muslim Brothers published their newspaper in a print shop of their own, out of their belief that those who own the necessary means to produce printed material can influence thoughts and ideas. The magazine continued to speak for the MB and expressed their views for a five-year period.
There were many activities carried out by Muslim Brothers during that period, including a meeting for their Consultative Council at which branches were invited to participate; the establishment of the first Consultative Council of the MB, composed of members of the Guidance Bureau in addition to deputies and representatives of local offices. The consultative Council submitted a petition to Egypt’s king at the time, another petition to the Council of Ministers and a third one to the Grand Sheikh of al-Azahr, requesting them to combat Christian missionary activity amidst Muslims, through the following:
§ Abstaining from helping missionary associations, either by granting them plots of land or money; and
§ Withdrawing the licenses of places which were used for missionary purposes.
Imam al-Banna visited local offices and neighboring areas. In so doing, he was prompted by his concern to reinforce the bonds of brotherhood among all Muslim Brothers. As a result of those visits, many new local offices were established in Cairo and various governorates (the main administrative units into which Egypt is divided). Activities carried out at Brotherhood local offices during that period were diversified and included, among other things, elaboration of regulations and rules and establishing libraries.
In Muharram 1352 H. (1934), an Islamic division was opened for Muslim sisters called “Muslim Sisters Group”, the most important objective of which was to stick to Islamic manners and to promote virtue, continence and modesty, as well as to explain the harmful effects of superstitions and rumors among female Muslims. That group was headed by the general guide (the top leader) of the MB and it held weekly meetings.
Comprehensive Understanding of Islam:
It was surprising at the time that a religious organization took interest in building factories, because it was a general tendency among people to separate religion from worldly affairs. The MB, however, surprised everyone with its correct understanding of Islam as a comprehensive system that encompasses all aspects of life.
Muslim Brothers concerned themselves very much with acquiring knowledge, particularly educating the children of Muslims in all districts. They were keen at every local office to establish a school. Ismailia (a city situated midway on the Suez Canal) had the lead in that respect. It was followed by Abu Soweir, a neighboring town, where a school was opened in 1934.