The Muslim Brotherhood pioneer, Hassan al-Banna, embodied the persona of the Sufi spiritualist, and the Islamic scholar. His charisma provoked interest in his message, and his method of Islamic activism attracted those who believed in infusing social action with an Islamic-centric ideology.
The Muslim Brotherhood did not invent, they merely revived texts which had lied dormant. Al-Banna’s eclectic background was in many ways the core nucleus to the Muslim Brotherhood. He remained a Sufi dedicated to social correction during the early years of the Muslim Brotherhood; he would eventually come to grow apart from his Sufi background as he matured.
The Sufi influence on the Muslim Brotherhood can be measured by the amount of social branches that had budded as a result of al-Banna’s networking. He was able to form a web of Islamic social activists, thanks in part to his constant travels, and intimate relationship with hundreds of members. At one point in its development the Muslim Brotherhood reached one million members in nearly 1,500 branches in several Arab states, these men revered al-Banna.
The Sufi influence can also be seen in some of the titles assumed by al-Banna. His mystical personality was branded with names such as, al Akh al Ruhi (the Spiritual Brother) al Murshid al ‘Am, and other appellations like, Rajul ul sa’a (the Man of the Hour), al Ka’id al Islami (the Islamic Leader), and Mu’min al Kawi (the Strong Believer). These names of endearment, respect, and awe, suggest that the creator of the Muslim Brotherhood was a man whose name would live long after he passed.