Sheikh Hassan Ahmed Abdel Rahman Muhammed al-Banna (Arabic: حسن
أحمد عبد الرحمن محمد البنا; 14 October 1906
– 12 February 1949), known as Hassan al-Banna, was an Egyptian
schoolteacher and imam, best known for founding the Muslim
Brotherhood, one of the largest and most influential Islamic
Al-Banna's writings marked a watershed in Islamic intellectual history
by presenting a modern ideology based on Islam. Al-Banna considered
Islam to be a comprehensive system of life, with the
Quran as the only
acceptable constitution. He called for
Islamization of the state,
the economy, and society. He declared that establishing a just
society required development of institutions and progressive taxation,
and elaborated an Islamic fiscal theory where zakat would be reserved
for social expenditure in order to reduce inequality. Al-Banna's
ideology involved criticism of Western materialism, British
imperialism, and the traditionalism of the Egyptian ulema. He
appealed to Egyptian and pan-Arab patriotism but rejected Arab
nationalism and regarded all Muslims as members of a single
Muslim Brotherhood advocated gradualist moral reform and had no
plans for a violent takeover of power. The "
Jihad of the
spirit"―self-initatied productive work aimed at bettering the
conditions of the Islamic community―was a significant part of their
ideology. Under al-Banna's leadership, the organization embarked on
a wide-ranging campaign of social engagement; they especially
emphasized public health improvements. Following the abolition of
the caliphate in 1924, al-Banna called on Muslims to prepare for armed
struggle against colonial rule; he warned Muslims against the
"widespread belief" that "jihad of the heart" was more important than
"jihad of the sword". He allowed the formation of a secret military
wing within the Muslim Brotherhood, which took part in the
Arab-Israeli conflict. Al-Banna generally encouraged Egyptians to
abandon Western customs; he argued that the state should enforce
Islamic public morality through censorship and application of corporal
punishment, called hudud. Nonetheless, his thought was open to
Western ideas and some of his writings quote European authors instead
of Islamic sources.
Al-Banna was assassinated by the Egyptian secret police in 1949.
Said Ramadan emerged as a major leader of the Muslim
Brotherhood in the 1950s.
1.1 Early life
1.3 Muslim Brotherhood
1.4 Political activity
2 Muslim Brothers and the 1936 Palestinian Revolt
2.1 Last days and assassination
5 See also
8 External links
Hassan al-Banna was born on 14 October 1906 in Mahmudiyya, a rural
Nile Delta town in the
Beheira Governorate northwest of Cairo.
Part of a series on:
Islamization (of knowledge)
Islamic Golden Age
List of Islamic political parties
Islamism based in
Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam
Principles of State and Government
Ma'alim fi al-Tariq ("Milestones")
Governance of the Jurist ("Velayat-e faqih")
Heads of state
House of Saud
House of Thani
Jamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī
Qazi Hussain Ahmad
Muhammad Nasiruddin al-Albani
Abul A'la Maududi
Taqi al-Din al-Nabhani
Ata Abu Rashta
Criticism of Islamism
Islam and other religions
His father, Sheikh Ahmad Abd al-Rahman al-Banna al-Sa'ati, was a
Hanbali imam, muezzin and mosque teacher. His father was an
important spiritual influence during al-Banna's early life. Sheikh
Ahmad was known for his work as a
Hanbali scholar, particularly his
classifications of the traditions of
Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal
al-Shaybani. These classifications became known as musnad al-fath
al-rabbani. Through this work, Sheikh Ahmad forged connections with
Islamic scholars that proved useful when his son moved to
In addition to his early exposure to
Hanbali puritanism, Hassan
al-Banna was inspired by Rashid Rida's magazine, Al-Manar. He was also
heavily influenced by
Sufism as a youth in Mahmudiyya. He attended
weekly Hadra and was a member of the al-Hassafiyya Sufi order.
Al-Banna was first exposed to Egyptian nationalist politics during the
Egyptian Revolution of 1919; he was thirteen years old at the time. In
his personal accounts, al-Banna identified with the widespread
activism of the time. Despite of his young age, al-Banna participated
in demonstrations in Damanhur, self-published political pamphlets and
founded youth reform societies.
Although Al-Banna's family were not members of the Egyptian elite,
they were relatively well-respected in Mahmudiyya. Sheikh Ahmad's was
a distinguish imam and the family owned some property. However, during
the 1920s economic crisis, the family had trouble sustaining the
upkeep of their property and moved to
Cairo in 1924.
In Mahmudiyya, al-Banna studied in the village mosque with Sheikh
Zahran. The two developed a close relationship that influenced
al-Banna's early intellectual and religious development. In addition
to the mosque school, al-Banna received private instruction from his
father. He also studied in
Cairo for four years; he attended Dar
al-‘Ulum, an Egyptian institution that educated prospective teachers
in modern subjects. The school was not very traditional and al-Banna
enrolled against his father's wishes, as a break from typical Islamic
conservatism. Building upon his father's scholarly connections,
al-Banna became associated with the Islamic Society for Nobility of
Islamic Morals and the
Young Men's Muslim Association
Young Men's Muslim Association (YMMA). He
published more than fifteen articles in Majallat al-Fath, an
influential Islamic journal associated with the YMMA.
Al-Banna learned of the abolition of the Ottoman
Caliphate in 1924,
while he was still a student. This event influenced him greatly;
although the caliphate had no power, he viewed its end as a
"calamity". He later called the events a "declaration of war against
all shapes of Islam".
After completing his studies at Dar al-‘Ulum in 1927, al-Banna
became a primary school teacher in Ismailia. At that time, Ismailia
was the location of the Egyptian headquarters of the Suez Canal.
Foreign influence was stronger in
Ismailia than in other parts of
Egypt. While living there, al-Banna grew increasingly disillusioned
with British cultural colonialism. He was especially concerned that
hasty attempts to modernize
Egypt often had the negative effect of
compromising Islamic principles. Many Egyptian nationalists were also
Wafd leadership, mainly because of its moderate
stances and insistence on secularism.
According to al-Banna's accounts, six unnamed workers affiliated with
Suez Canal companies approached al-Banna in March 1928 with
complaints about injustices suffered by Arabs and Muslims at the hand
of foreign control. Their complaints resonated with his own concerns;
al-Banna became their leader and the Muslim Brothers was created.
At first, the
Muslim Brotherhood was only one of many small Islamic
associations that existed at the time. Similar to the organizations
that al-Banna had himself joined at a young age, these organizations
aimed to promote personal piety and engaged in pure charitable
activities. By the late 1930s, the
Muslim Brotherhood had established
branches in every Egyptian province.
A decade later, the organization had 500,000 active members and as
many sympathizers in
Egypt alone. Its appeal was not
limited only to Egypt; its popularity had grown in several other
countries. The organization's growth was particularly pronounced after
al-Banna relocated their headquarters to
Cairo in 1932. The most
important factor contributing to this dramatic expansion was the
organizational and ideological leadership provided by
In Ismailia, al-Banna preached not only in the mosque, but also in the
coffee houses; in those times, coffee houses were generally viewed as
a morally suspect novelty. When some of his views on relatively minor
points of Islamic practice led to strong disagreements with the local
religious elite, he adopted the policy of avoiding religious
Al-Banna was appalled by the many conspicuous signs of foreign
military and economic domination in Ismailia: the British military
camps, the public utilities, farms, food supply was owned by foreign
interests by forces, and the luxurious residences of the foreign
employees of the
Suez Canal Company, next to the squalid dwellings of
the Egyptian workers.
Al-Banna endeavored to bring about reforms through
institution-building, relentless activism at the grassroots level and
a reliance on mass communication. He built a complex mass movement
that featured sophisticated governance structures; sections in charge
of furthering the society's values among peasants, workers and
professionals; units entrusted with key functions, including
propagation of the message, liaison with the Islamic world and press
and translation; and specialized committees for finances and legal
Al-Banna relied on pre-existing social networks―in particular those
built around mosques, Islamic welfare associations and neighborhood
groups―to anchor the
Muslim Brotherhood into Egyptian society. This
weaving of traditional ties into a distinctively modern structure was
at the root of his success. Directly attached to the brotherhood, and
feeding its expansion, were numerous businesses, clinics, and schools.
In addition, members were affiliated with the movement through a
series of cells, revealingly called usar ("families").[citation
The material, social and psychological support provided by the Muslim
Brotherhood were instrumental to the movement's ability to generate
enormous loyalty among its members and to attract new recruits. The
movement was built around services and an organizational structure
intended to enable individuals to integrate into a distinctly Islamic
setting that was shaped by the society's own principles.
Rooted in Islam, Al-Banna's message tackled issues including
colonialism, public health, educational policy, natural resources
management, social inequalities, pan-Islamism, nationalism, Arab
nationalism, the weakness of the Islamic world on the international
scene, and the growing conflict in Palestine. By emphasizing
concerns that appealed to a variety of constituencies, al-Banna was
able to recruit from among a cross-section of Egyptian
society—though modern-educated civil servants, office employees, and
professionals remained dominant among the organization's activists and
decision-makers. Al-Banna was also active in resisting British
colonial rule in Egypt.
Al-Banna warned his readers against the "widespread belief among many
Muslims" that jihad of the heart was more important and demanding than
jihad of the sword. He called on Muslims to prepare for jihad
against colonial powers:
Muslims ... are compelled to humble themselves before non-Muslims, and
are ruled by unbelievers. Their lands have been trampled over, and
their honor besmirched. Their adversaries are in charge of their
affairs, and the rites of their religion have fallen into abeyance
with their own domains ... Hence it has become an individual
obligation, which there is no evading, on every Muslim to prepare his
equipment, to make up his mind to engage in jihad, and to get ready
for it until the opportunity is ripe and God decrees
Muslim Brothers and the 1936 Palestinian Revolt
Al-Banna (third from left) with
Aziz Ali al-Misri
Aziz Ali al-Misri (fourth from right)
and Egyptian, Palestinian and Algerian political and religious figures
at a reception in Cairo, 1947
Among the Muslim Brothers' most notable accomplishments during these
early years was its involvement in the 1936–1939 Arab revolt in
Palestine. The Muslim Brothers launched a pro-Palestine campaign which
contributed to making the Palestine issue a widespread Muslim concern.
The Muslim Brothers carried out a fundraising campaign said to have
relied upon donations from the rural and urban working classes, rather
than wealthy Egyptians. In addition to their fundraising efforts, the
Muslim Brothers also organized special prayers for Palestinian
nationalists, held political rallies, and distributed propaganda.
Although the Palestinian Revolt was ultimately suppressed through
repression and military action, the Muslim Brothers' impressive
mobilization efforts helped make the Palestinian question a pan-Arab
concern in the Middle East.
Last days and assassination
Between 1948 and 1949, shortly after the society sent volunteers to
fight against Israel in the 1948 Arab–Israeli War, the conflict
between the monarchy and the organization reached its climax.
Concerned with the increasing assertiveness and popularity of the
Muslim Brotherhood, as well as with rumours that it was plotting a
coup, Prime Minister Mahmoud al-Nukrashi Pasha disbanded the group in
December 1948. The organization's assets were impounded and scores of
its members were sent to jail. Following al-Nukrashi's assassination
by a student member of the Muslim Brotherhood, Al-Banna released a
statement condemning the assassination and stating that terror is not
an acceptable in Islam.
On 12 February 1949, al-Banna and his brother-in-law Abdul Karim
Mansur were scheduled to negotiate with the government's
representative, Minister Zaki Ali Pasha, at the Jama'iyyat al-Shubban
al-Muslimeen headquarters in Cairo―the minister never arrived. By 5
p.m., al-Banna and his brother-in-law had decided to leave. As they
stood waiting for a taxi, they were shot by two men. Al-Banna
eventually died from his wounds. King Farouk and his Iron Guard of
Egypt were accused of being behind the assassination.
Hassan al-Banna was a prolific writer who penned more than 2000
articles and many books, including an autobiographical novel entitled
Mudhakkirât al-da'wa wa al-dâ'iya (Remembrances of Preaching and of
Al-Banna's daughter Wafa al-Banna was married to Said Ramadan, who
became a major leader of the Muslim Brotherhood. Their two sons, Tariq
Ramadan and Hani Ramadan, are Islamic scholars. Hassan al-Banna's
younger brother, Gamal al-Banna, was a more liberal scholar and
proponent of Islamic reform.
History of the
Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt
^ "Hasan al-Banna – Islamic Studies – Oxford Bibliographies –
obo". Retrieved 2017-01-08.
^ a b c d e f g Olivier Carré (tr. Elizabeth Keller, rev. Liv
Tønnessen) (2009). "Bannā, Ḥasan al-". In John L. Esposito. The
Oxford Encyclopedia of the Islamic World. Oxford: Oxford University
Press. (Subscription required (help)).
^ a b c d John L. Esposito, ed. (2014). "Banna, Hasan al-". The Oxford
Dictionary of Islam. Oxford: Oxford University Press. (Subscription
^ a b c d Patrick S. O'Donnell (2010). "al-Banna', Hasan (1906–49)".
In Oliver Leaman. The Biographical Encyclopaedia of Islamic
Philosophy. Continuum. (Subscription required (help)).
^ a b Kadri, Sadakat (2012). Heaven on Earth: A Journey Through
Shari'a Law from the Deserts of Ancient Arabia ... Macmillan.
p. 160. ISBN 9780099523277.
^ "من أعلام الدعوة والحركة الإسلامية
المعاصرة":الشيخ المحدّث أحمد عبد
الرحمن البنا الساعاتي بقية السلف
وزينة الخلف[permanent dead link]، مجلة المجتمع
الكويتية، 20 ديسمبر 2008م
^ Introduction to Princeton Readings in Islamist Thought: Texts and
Contexts from Al-Banna to Bin Laden, pg. 26. Part of the Princeton
Studies in Muslim Politics series. Eds. Roxanne Leslie Euben and
Muhammad Qasim Zaman. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2006.
^ Farmer, Brian R. (2007). Understanding Radical Islam: Medieval
Ideology in the Twenty-first Century. Peter Lang. p. 83.
Retrieved 29 December 2016.
^ a b Mitchell, 7.
^ Lia, 32–35.
^ Mura, 61–85.
^ Kadri, Sadakat (2012). Heaven on Earth: A Journey Through Shari'a
Law from the Deserts of Ancient Arabia ... Macmillan. p. 158.
^ Al-Banna, Hasan, Five Tracts of Hasan Al-Banna, (1906–49): A
Selection from the "Majmu'at Rasa'il al-
Imam al-Shahid Hasan
al-Banna", Translated by Charles Wendell. Berkeley, CA, 1978, pp.150,
^ Biographical Dictionary Of Modern
Egypt (American University in
Cairo Press ISBN 1-55587-229-8)
^ Mitchell, Richard Paul, The Society of the Muslim Brothers, Oxford
University Press, 1993, pp. 68–69
^  suggests that al-Banna favoured assassination and therefore was
assassinated by the government.
^ "The Roots of al-Qaeda". All Things Political Today. Retrieved 26
^ Zeinobia (27 February 2008). "Egyptian Chronicles: Egyptian X-files:
Who Killed Hassan Al Bana ??".
^ Brigitte Maréchal, The Muslim Brothers in Europe: Roots and
Discourse, BRILL (2008), p. 89
^ Caroline Fourest, Brother Tariq: The Doublespeak of Tariq Ramadan,
Encounter Books (2008), p. 7
Wikiquote has quotations related to: Hassan al-Banna
Gensicke, Klaus (2007). Der Mufti von Jerusalem und die
Nationalsozialisten: Eine politische Biographie Amin el-Husseinis (in
German). Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft.
Lia, Brynjar (1998). The Society of the Muslim Brothers in Egypt: The
Rise of an Islamic Mass Movement. Reading, UK: Garnet.
Mallmann, Klaus-Michael & Cüppers, Martin (2006). Halbmond und
Hakenkreuz: Das Dritte Reich, die Araber und Palästina. Darmstadt:
Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft. ISBN 3-534-19729-1.
Mitchell, Richard P. (1993), The Society of the Muslim Brothers,
London: Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0-19-508437-5
Mura, Andrea (2012). "A genealogical inquiry into early Islamism: the
discourse of Hasan al-Banna". Journal of Political Ideologies. 17 (1):
Mura, Andrea (2015). The Symbolic Scenarios of Islamism: A Study in
Islamic Political Thought. London: Routledge.
Soage, Ana B. (2008). "Hasan al-Banna or the politicisation of Islam".
Totalitarian Movements and Political Religions. 9 (1): 21–42.
Wright, Lawrence (2006-08-08). The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the
Road to 9/11. Knopf. p. 480. ISBN 0-375-41486-X.
Hasan Al-Banna at www.youngmuslims.ca
Founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, Al-Banna was one of the century's
most original thinkers
The Ten Principles of Hasan al-Banna
Letter to a Muslim Student
"On Jihad" from Five Tracts of Hasan al-Banna
General Guide of the Muslim Brotherhood
Islamism in North Africa
Brotherhood Without Violence
Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt
Green Algeria Alliance
Islamic Salvation Front
Islamic Renaissance Movement
Justice and Development Front
Movement for Democracy in Algeria
Movement for National Reform
Movement of Society for Peace
Arab Unification Party
Building and Development Party
Change and Development Party
Coalition for the Defense of Sharia
Egyptian Islamic Labour Party
Freedom and Justice Party
Islamic Alliance to Support Egypt
Reform and Renaissance Party
Justice and Construction Party
Party of Reform and Development
National Rally for Reform and Development
Justice and Development Party
National Islamic Front
Popular Congress Party
Algerian Civil War
Egyptian parliamentary election, 2011–12
Egyptian presidential election, 2012
2013 Egyptian coup d'état
August 2013 Rabaa massacre
Part of Islamism
Islamism in MENA region
ISNI: 0000 0001 2099 8400
BNF: cb126712717 (data)