Monday, June 16, 2014
Will Hassan al-Banna and the Muslim Brotherhood Destroy Islam?
Hassan Ahmed Abdel Rahman Muhammed al-Banna (1906-1949) was the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt in 1928. His organization now has organized adherent organizations in over 60 countries.
He may be held accountable for the destruction of Islam in the future.
How is this possible?
At the age of 22, the young Egyptian is believed to have approached a “Sheik” (respected religious and community leader). The purpose of the approach was to ask for permission and/or advice about forming the Muslim Brotherhood. What happened next is the stuff of legend. One version of the meeting suggests that the Sheik gave his approval. Another version suggests that the Sheikh did not approve of the idea, but told Hassan al-Banna that he was young and would go ahead and try his plan whether he received approval or not.
A third more nuanced version of events suggests that the Sheikh gave his conditional approval to al-Banna, but after al-Banna left the meeting the Sheik told the rest of the gathering that the ideas were dangerous and would destroy Islam as a faith.
At the basis of al-Banna’s ideology lie desperately dangerous concepts. One is that the Muslim Brotherhood and its adherents must return to the faith of their forefathers in an absolute way. In other words, the adherents of the Muslim Brotherhood must return to the social and cultural practices of 6th Century Arabia – complete with women at the bottom of the social scale and stoning/beheading for what would now be perceived as minor offenses. Needless to say, this leads to constant conflicts with modernity and current practices. The clash is often violent with Muslim Brotherhood figures approving of wife beating, the social practice of female genital mutilation and polygamy (among many others).
Furthermore, Hassan al-Banna believed there would be only one form of faith (Islam) and that it could only be practiced one way: that of the salafist and oppressive Muslim Brotherhood. As such, followers and adherents of al-Banna will find themselves in perpetual conflict with most other Muslims and – quite literally – every other faith, belief, political and social structure in the world.
But perhaps the most damning (pun intended) feature of Hassan al-Banna was his insistence on the complete politicization of the faith. To al-Banna and those he has inspired, Islam must be both the only religion and the only political system for everyone. In his mind, there was in fact no difference and his version of reality would have the Muslim Brotherhood version of Islam as the religious/political/social/cultural and financial system for everyone. No exceptions.
To round this out, al-Banna and his adherents have justified the assassination of leadership figures who do not follow their beliefs. A leader must not only be Muslim, he must also follow their version of the faith or he can be assassinated in the name of (their) Islam.
The Muslim Brotherhood’s belief structure has been the well spring of inspiration for a variety of other organizations since then (think al-Qaeda, Jamaat-e-Islami, the Khomeneists to some extent). As such, many of them have taken and then extrapolated the ideas of Hassan al-Banna which lead to perpetual confrontation, conflict and violence.
How this virulent infection in the body of Islam plays itself out if not clear. The body politic of Islam may eventually clear itself of this virus. Alternatively, if the virus is proves capable of taking control of the body, it may lead to a situation where the 6th Century ideas of Hassan al-Banna take root in most of the Arab/Muslim world. If this happens, the virus, by putting the Muslim Brotherhood's version of Islam into conflict with all other Muslims and the rest of the world, may ultimately weaken the body and lead to the destruction of Islam as a coherent faith. An interesting outcome for the bespectacled teacher from Mahmoudiyah, Egypt.