Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood a purely civil organization

Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood a purely civil organization

 When Imam al-Banna founder of the Muslim Brotherhood Movement described the Muslim Brotherhood group as a Salafists, Sunni doctrine, Sufi approach, social and political body, sports group, grand economic company, social idea and scientific and cultural association, he intended to bestow upon it a purely civilian peculiarity in all areas of its existence.


Concerning the Muslim Brotherhood’s missionary work, he completely adhered to his ideology in which he described the Brotherhood as Salafists and Sunnis. In this the Sunni adopts the Sufi approach and its fundamental principles by which the devout Muslim who seeks to please Allah and avoid his wrath in the Hereafter acts promptly towards performing the divine obligation in following the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad. 


In the societal field, the movement was given the previous description by Imam al-Banna in which he referred to its full civilian trend. Formerly in politics which is an essential part of a comprehensive understanding of the religion of Islam and in this case I want to distinguish between the political and patrician practices or social work with its economic, scientific and educational components or sports activity and scouts extra-curriculum activities.

 In the mid-thirties Arab and Muslim countries were living under British and French occupation and peaceful and armed resistance groups against occupation developed everywhere. Egypt was full of earnest national forces that resisted the British occupation with arms as there were no national or political powers in Egypt; they contributed to guerrilla resistance to foreign occupation. We all remember the Misr El-Fatah (Young Egypt) Party and “the Wafd Party with the blue and green shirts. As the Muslim Brotherhood was one of Egypt’s largest political powers and has a great presence in political life, it was only natural that they played a leading role in the guerilla action against the occupation and other supporters. Adding salt to the wounds, the gradual immigrations of Jews who raped the Land of Palestine to establish their so-called state of Israel in 1948 which, at the same time, was a great defensive strategy, in which the movement immediately formed a military commando to expel the British occupation and to defend Palestine.



Imam Hassan al-Banna was extremely keen to ensure an extraordinary case distinct from the original Brotherhood in everything to the extent that he called it a “special apparatus”, in reference to that particular exceptional case that is far from the traditional line of the Muslim Brotherhood. The Movement is a civil and, peaceful group in its objectives and constructive in all its institutional and administrative configurations in addition to its culture and mechanisms of action that differ from the culture and mechanisms of clandestine and network-type structure of “the Special (military) Apparatus”. The group is purely civilian.

Imam al-Banna was keen to introduce the message of “teachings” to refer to a limited class of the Brotherhood’s members which was not directed to all members of the movement.

I read the introduction of this message about myself, stating clearly that it is dedicated to a special band and not to all members of the movement as he says “this is my message to the Muslim Brotherhood”, he continues stressing, “the rest must occupy themselves exclusively with attending lessons and lectures, writing books and articles and in administrative work only and to each is a goal to which he turns for, then strive together and unite towards all that is good.”

Historians relay that this “Secret Apparatus” was receiving its training in the Cairo deserts by the national Egyptian army officers who supplied them with weapons in most cases. History records that these “Special” bodies strove and sacrificed themselves defending the land of Palestine and the Suez Canal despite some mistakes committed by its members.

Imam Hassan Al-Hudaybi, who had assumed the movement’s responsibility, was aware that Imam Al-Banna’s desire to the “Secret Apparatus” had been dropped after the defeat of 1948 and the presence of the British occupation in the Middle East had become a matter of few years especially after the defeats of World War II. Some blunders, in fact, took place by the secret network had extremely upset Imam al-Banna and prompting him to phase out of its existence. Al-Hudaybi assimilated well as one of the first decisions taken to transfer from an administrative responsibility from Sindi to Talat as a prelude to the abolition of the device completely leaning on what he personally understood from Al-Banna.

Sadly a direct clash transpired between the Brotherhood members and free officers of the July 23 Revolution which lead to many members of the movement’s arrest and detention in prisons and execution which continued for two decades.

In the early seventies, the group opened a new epoch in its history. Its former experiences except in some exceptions and special cases was dictated by historical circumstances which merged the generations consisting of a unique case of convergence between the old and new needed to take an eternal commitment to fulfill the divine mission and its sublime goals.

The Muslim Brotherhood has not seen in its first composition any form of militancy or willing to embrace any form of violence to achieve their political ambitions and if Al-Banna had initially desired this, he certainly would have achieved so. The overall national situation had permitted it and it would have been justified and nobody could lay blame on him. He was in an occupied country with its eastern borders threatened by a rapist enemy. The history records that this gate is the way to invaders even if Al-Banna had wanted to indicate that the military training was an integral part of the group, definitely he was in a position to say in his attempts to describe them in his writings as Sunnis, jihadists, scientific and political association, etc.

Therefore, it is imperative that it be acknowledged that the Muslim Brotherhood is a civic group investigating goals and objectives of volunteer work and peaceful social change in all areas and is committed to the reformist approach of ahl al-sunnah wa-l-jamaa [ the people of the custom of the Prophet and community] which was approved by senior Muslim scholars starting with Imam Hasan al-Basri and his famous position which he took against the harsh and ruthless tyrant Hajjaj Ibn Yusuf al-Thaqafi and ending with the Martyr Imam Hassan al-Banna. 

Although some rumours were spread that the group adopted the strategies of a secret organization within; special operations leaked to the educational curricula that the Muslim association approves of the secrecy. Therefore, the group- in terms of its intellectual references- seeks to clarify its civilian characteristic of these approaches and mechanisms of action due to the fact that the military mechanisms differ from civil mechanisms and mingling between the two almost always leads to confusion and poor performance.