Some of the roots of the Muslim Brotherhood can be found in the Hasafiya Order, a strict Sufi order, which held carefully observed mystical rituals, and ceremonies. At a young age, Hassan al-Banna played an instrumental role in the foundation of the Benevolent Hasafiyah Society. He was the Secretary of the Benevolent Hasafiyah Society, and he built charitable social endeavors to help promote this Sufi movement. The Benevolent Hasafiyah Society became Hassan al-Banna’s immediate cause.
Hassan al-Banna grew progressively hostile towards the decadent lifestyles in Egypt. After spending 5 years in Cairo in the 1920s, he grew disgusted with the society he saw around him. In reaction to his discomfort, he pressed his Islamic standards upon others through the Hasafiya Order. Perhaps most unsettling for the young Muslim Brotherhood founder was Turkey’s political reforms under Kemal Attaturk, 1925. These systematic reforms led to the complete abolishment of the Islamic caliphate.
Furthering his distaste for Egyptian rule was the 1925 establishment of secular, Egyptian universities. The abandonment of the Islamic way in Egyptian society caused great pain for the young Sufi Muslim; he was determined to set the Muslim world back on course.
These epiphanies created a need for collective socio-political activism under Islam. The goal of changing the status quo was to be directed by a strict order of Islamic law. Islamic activism, according to the Muslim Brotherhood, was destined to offer the only alternative in the face of the official state Islamic establishment, found in the book, Egypt, Islam and Democracy Egypt’s Islamic establishment was represented by Al-Azhar University (est. 10th century), as well as the Awqaf (Ministry of Religious Endowments), and the Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs.
Juxtaposing Hassan al-Banna’s crawl through volumes of Sufi manuscripts emerged a lasting revelation: Sufism was not an absolute remedy to revive Islam, it was incapable of bringing Egyptian society back into a devout fold.
The longer Hassan al-Banna spent in unwinding the Sufi scroll, the more dissuaded he became toward the role of Sufism in repairing, and rehabilitating the disenfranchised socio-political system in Egypt. The leader of the Muslim Brotherhood eventually determined that the Sufi Way had lost its place of relevance in Islamic society.