The father of the principal founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, Hassan al-Banna, was a graduate of Egypt’s Al-Azhar University, and an Islamic sheikh. At a young age al-Banna was enrolled, by his father, as a member of the Society for Islamic Morality, a body dedicated to following an Abu-Bakr style of strict Muslim behavior.
Already at age 16, Hassan attended Dar-al-Ulum, an Islamic teacher’s training college in Cairo and focused on core Islamic issues, including Tawheed (theology), Fiqh (jurisprudence), Arabic literature, and Kalam (modern Islamic ideology or theosophy). Dar al-Ulum represented the sciences, which Ḥāmid Muḥammad ibn Muḥammad al-Ghazālī (1058–1111) frowned upon.
The Al-Azhar learning institution was established in 1873, and was immediately recognized as Egypt’s primary house for modern higher learning, and religious science. Al-Azhar University became the main apparatus for modern Egyptian education.
The Muslim Brotherhood traces its education to the Sufi school of the Hasafiya Order. This Sufi order adheres to a strict set of principals, which carry carefully observed rituals, and ceremonies. The Benevolent Hasafiyah Society in Egypt became Hassan al-Banna’s immediate cause.
During his 5 years in Cairo, Hassan al-Banna grew progressively hostile towards the decadence he saw in Egypt. Perhaps most unsettling for the young Muslim Brotherhood founder was Kemal Attaturk’s (1881-1938) reforms in abolishing the Caliphate in 1924. Compounding his distaste for Egyptian rule was the 1925 state establishment of several secular Egyptian universities. The abandonment of the Islamic way by his country caused great pain for the young leader, and he quickly became dedicated to set the Muslim world as a whole, back on course.