Hassan al-Banna, founder of the Muslim Brotherhood
The Muslim Brotherhood (al-Ikhwan al-Muslimun)
was founded as an Islamic revivalist movement in the Egyptian town of Isma'iliyaa in March 1928 by school teacher,
Hassan al-Banna (1906-1949).(2)
The Brotherhood's goal has been to promote the implementation of Shari'ah (Islamic law
derived from the Quran and the Sunnah).(3)
Early in its history, the Brotherhood focused on education and charity. It
soon became heavily involved in politics and remains a major player on the Egyptian political scene, although it is an
illegal organization. The movement has grown exponentially, from 800 members in 1936, to over 2 million in 1948, to its
current position as a pervasive international Sunni Islamist movement, with covert and overt branches in over 70 countries.
Al-Banna once said, “I did not want to enter into competition with the other orders, and I did not want it to be confined to
one group of Muslims or one aspect of Islamic reform; rather I sought that it be a general message based on learning,
education, and jihad.”(4)
“It is the nature of Islam to dominate, not to be dominated, to impose its law on all nations
and to extend its power to the entire planet.”(5)
That helps explain the Muslim Brotherhood's motto: “God is our goal,
the Quran is our Constitution, the Prophet is our leader, struggle [jihad] is our way, and death in the service of God is the
loftiest of our wishes. God is great. God is great.”(6)
Since its founding, the Muslim Brotherhood has openly sought to reassert Islam through the establishment of Sunni Islamic
governments that will rule according to the strict and specific tenets of Shari'ah. To the brotherhood, this is the correct
primary endeavor of human civilization with the ultimate goal being the unification of these regimes under the banner of the
Caliphate, or universal Islamic State.
According to al-Banna, the Caliphate must govern all lands that were at one time under the control of Muslims. Once that is
accomplished, the Caliphate is to be expanded to cover the entire globe, erasing national boundaries under the flag of Islam.
He stated: “We want the Islamic flag to be hoisted again on high, fluttering in the wind, in all those lands that have had
the good fortune to harbor Islam for a certain period of time and where the muzzein's call sounded in the takbirs and the
tahlis. Then fate decreed that the light of Islam be extinguished in these lands that returned to unbelief. Thus Andalusia,
Sicily, the Balkans, the Italian coast, as well as the islands of the Mediterranean, are all of them Muslim Mediterranean Sea
and the Red Sea must again become Muslim seas, as they once were.”(7)
The Muslim Brotherhood seeks to restore the historical Caliphate and then expand its authority over the entire world,
dismantling non-Islamic governments. The Brotherhood aims to accomplish this through a combination of warfare, violent and
The Muslim Brotherhood has provided the ideological model for almost all of modern Sunni Islamic terrorist groups. The
Brotherhood was formulated by its two main luminaries: its founder, Hassan al-Banna - who was assassinated by agents of the
Egyptian government in 1949 - and Sayyid Qutb, who was hanged by the Egyptian government in 1966.
The leadership of Al Qaeda, from Osama bin Ladin to his deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri and 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed,
were influenced by the Muslim Brotherhood ideology.(8)
While many Muslim Brotherhood branches around the world claim to have embraced democracy, the philosophies developed by
Hassan al-Banna and Sayyid Qutb still carry great influence within the organization. The Brotherhood continues to be driven
by al-Banna's belief that Islam is destined to eventually dominate the world. The Brotherhood's declared principles remain
steadfast even today.