Hassan al-Banna, the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, 1928, held Sheikh al-Dwijiri, and Muhammad Abduh in the highest esteem. These men were responsible for unleashing a series of theoretical arguments against the ruling clerics in Egypt at that time. Al-Dwijiri and Abduh claimed that the Egyptian clerics were incompetent in curbing the influence of the West over the Egyptian masses.
Above all Islamic thinkers, the most influential individual in al-Banna’s life was Sheikh Muhibb al-Din Khatib; he directed the Salafiya Library in Syria. Khatib taught al-Banna methods in organizing communities, from the book, Pioneers of Islamic Revival.
As the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, Hassan al-Banna embodied the Sufi spiritual path, and followed the orthodox Islamic scholarship. His charisma provoked interest in his Islamic-centric ideology, and his method of Islamic activism attracted those who believed in fusing social action with Islam. The Muslim Brotherhood did not invent, nor did they build a neo-Islamic movement, they merely revived texts which had lied dormant.
The Sufi influence on the Muslim Brotherhood can be measured, partially, by the thousands of social branches that had branched out as a result of Hassan al-Banna’s work. His constant trips abroad enabled him to develop intimate relationships with hundres of Muslim Brotherhood members, and from this he was able to form a web of Islamic social activists. At one point in the development of the Muslim Brotherhood, the group reached one million members in nearly 1,500 branches in several Arab states, from the book, Islam in Revolution.
The Sufi influence can also be seen in some of the titles assumed by Hassan al-Banna.
His mystical personality was branded with names such as: al Akh al Ruhi (the Spiritual Brother), 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 quest would materialize into a tangible force throughout the Middle East.