Hassan al-Banna, and the Muslim Brotherhood influenced regional enclaves throughout the Middle East. The ripple effect of the Muslim Brotherhood was most notable in Syria, where Abu Ghudda established the first Islamic youth association in Aleppo, 1935. Calls for Muslim unity were heard throughout the region, and local branches began to emerge, from Hanna Batatu’s article, Syria’s Muslim Brethren.
The principal task behind these Islamic movements was to rally supporters through messages from the Qur’an. The Muslim audiences were encouraged to purify their souls by removing foreign elements. According to al-Banna, the crisis that plagued Egypt was led by the capitulations of Arab leadership towards Western power. Much of the Islamic world was under the spell of agents opposed to Islam and the Qur’an.
“The indices of Islamic reawakening in personal life are many: increased attention to religious observances (mosque attendance, prayer, fasting), proliferation of religious programming and publications, more emphasis on Islamic dress and values, the revitalization of Sufism (mysticism). This broader-based renewal has also been accompanied by Islam’s reassertion in public life: an increase in Islamically oriented governments, organizations, laws, banks, social welfare services, and educational institutions,” from the book The Islamic Threat: Myth or Reality?
The dire conditions of Islamic society required dhikr (spiritual training) that would then lead to a love of theshahada (self sacrifice) and jihad (struggle through holy war). Spiritual conditioning was only a means to an end; confining oneself in personal devotion, the guiding light of Sufism, would not liberate Muslim society. The Sufi establishment did not have what it took to create the Islamic renaissance that Egypt needed.
Hassan al-Banna and the idea of Islamic revival, led Egypt into the 21st century. It is because of Hassan al-Banna that the Muslim Brotherhood has remained relevant in Egyptian politics for 85 years. The January 25 Revolution in Egypt proved that the Muslim Brotherhood had always been a powerful force below the surface.