Tariq Ramadan and the Muslim Brotherhood
Below is a Riz Khan Al-Jazeera interview with Muslim scholar Tariq Ramadan and Slavoj Zizek, a Slovenian philosopher from the Birbeck Institute for Humanities. Tariq Ramadan’s grandfather, Hasan al-Banna, founded the Muslim Brotherhood (al-Ikhwan al-Muslimun).
The question discussed is, Egypt’s Revolution: Can the Popular Uprising Lead to Real Political Change?
Don’t Fear Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, (Brookings)
Queen Noor: Don’t Exclude Muslim Brotherhood, (CBS News)
The official English website of Muslim Brotherhood (Ikhwan Web)
Profile: Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, (Al-Jazeera)
Ignoring Egyptians, Iran Continues to Hail ‘Islamic Awakening’, (Los Angeles Times)
White House walks fine line on Muslim Brotherhood, (Washington Post)
Muslim Brotherhood eyes comeback in Egypt, (Washington Post)
Muslim Brotherhood seeks end to Israel treaty, (Washington Times)
Hassan al-Banna, (Wikipeda)
Muslim Brotherhood, (Wikipedia)
G. Delanoue “Al-Ikhwan al-Muslimun” in the Encyclopaedia of Islam. This article gives the following overview of Muslim Brotherhood doctrine,
The essential message of the Muslim Brethren may be summarized thus: they consider Islam to be an “order” (nizam) without equal, because it is revealed by God, which has a vocation to organize all aspects of human life: “Islam is dogma and worship, fatherland and nationality, religion and state, spirituality and action, Kuran and sword” (Hasan al-Banna); furthermore, this order is valid for all men of all time and all countries. The originality of the Muslim Brethren lies not in their doctrine, many elements of which may be found in the preaching of Djamal al-Din al-Afghani, but in the fact that their founder, by simplifying it and making it more strict, made it the ideological basis of a powerful popular movement. The professions of faith of the Brethren, and especially those of H. al-Banna, who was educated in the Hanbali madhhab, are strongly inspired by the idea of a return to the faith of the “devout ancestors” (salaf) of the Community, although they are for the most part formulated on a plane and in terms very different from those of tradition and invoke on occasion the authority of non-Muslim scholars and philosophers in the cause of the struggle against atheism; the believer can know God only through the description which He has given of Himself in the Kuran and through the words of His Prophet; but the faith of the Muslim is also illuminated and nourished by the light thrown into his mind and his heart by the total commitment of his life to the service of Islam. In the same spirit, the Brethren were obliged to perform pious exercises based on the recital of the Kuran with meditation (tadabbur) and to make an assiduous study of hadiths and of the model provided by the history of the beginnings of the Muslim Community. Whatever the differences between them, all the professions of faith of the Brethren show the greatest mistrust of the traditional formulations of kalam, which they consider to be too much impregnated with the Greek spirit, which is foreign to primitive Islam, and whose speculations they accuse of having provoked in the past, and of encouraging at the present time, divisions and a sectarian spirit, which form an obstacle to the necessary unity of all Muslims which is indispensable in their struggle against the foreign imperialists.
The Brethren’s dedication to the service of Islam has as its main objective the struggle against western invasion in all its forms. Abroad first, it is necessary to fight until all the Muslim countries are freed from any foreign domination. Next, within Egypt, the Muslim Brethren planned to re-Islamicize Egyptian life in the very many fields which had been impregnated by western influence, now considered to be waning; these extended from social habits, such as dress, greetings, the use of foreign languages, hours of work and of rest, the calendar, recreation, etc., to the educational, legal and political institutions, not to mention the field of ideas and sentiments. Matters relating to the family and to the position of women were not neglected; in addition there existed a parallel women’s movement, the “Muslim Sisters”. One of the main points of this programme was the abolition of the Egyptian legal codes, based on European codes, and the creation of a legislation based on the sharia; they considered the question of the evolution of fikh to be no longer relevant, since a society which is renewed and really living according to Islam ought to work out for itself a new system of legislation, based on the principles provided by the Revelation, according to the new and unforeseeable problems which it encounters (S. Kutb). The Muslim Brethren strove to work out a whole economic and social doctrine based on canonical ideas, such as the taxes provided for by the revealed Law (zakat) and and the prohibition on making profit from money (riba), and in general reinterpreting and adapting to modern needs the rules concerning economic and social life provided by the Kuran, the Sunna and the edifying episodes in the history of the Community. Sayyid Kutb and Mustafa al-Sibai appear to be the writers who mainly systematized this doctrine; they defined an Islamic socialism (ishtirakiyya islamiyya) which, combining the advantages of capitalism and communism, differs radically from these two systems in both its nature and its aims. Private property is guaranteed as a right, but its possession is a social function delegated to the individual by the community, which holds these possessions from God, the only true owner. The State, acting as representative of the community, has the right and the duty to investigate the origin of the fortunes of individuals, to control its use, and to deduct from it the portion due to the poor. In addition to these principles, on which there was to be based a truly Muslim and social legislation and policy, there are exalted the virtues of disinterestedness, of mutual devotion and of brotherhood, which, according to these writers, existed in the Muslim countries before they were invaded by Western materialism, and which must now be taught again since they are the very ends towards which this Islamic régime is directed.
The second main objective of the Brethren was to create an authentically Muslim state; the ideal, which would be attained after many preparatory stages, was to restore a single State which would embrace all the Muslim peoples and would have at its head a caliph. Until this was achieved, a plurality of states was permissible. The leader of the State is elected by the community and responsible to it; the community acts through qualified representatives elected by it, the ahl al-shura, who elect the leader, have control over his acts, and legislate in collaboration with him. Every person in authority is required to act in consultation (shura) with his subordinates, and it is the duty of every citizen to offer his advice (nasiha) to those in authority. The aim of this Islamic State is, internally, to see that the laws of Islam are properly observed, and, externally, to send out and to support missionaries who will present Islam to other nations, and to fight constantly, and with arms if need be, for justice and the common good of humanity.
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