Did Hassan Al-Banna Not Believe in Ex-Communication and Violence?

By: Hossain Sakhizada

February 12 is the anniversary of the assassination of Hassan alBanna, the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. With a glance at the social networks in Afghanistan, it is clear that this year, as in previous years, many Afghans will write about him and repeat the same clichéd praise and sanctimonious words of the past about his high position. This reflects that despite the dark history of Afghanistan in the past few decades, Hassan alBanna and his likes continued to remain influential among parts of the Afghan society. Afghanistan is one of the countries that has been greatly affected by the ideas of Hasan alBanna and other leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood for a long time. That is, in the last few decades, parties and groups have carried out dangerous activities and operations within Afghanistan. Therefore, it is appropriate to examine and criticize the thoughts and words of Hasan alBanna and his contemporaries from different aspects at every opportunity.

After the fall of Hosni Mubarak‘s regime in Egypt and the capture of power by the Muslim Brotherhood, figures such as Muhammad Abdel Moneim, Abul Fattouh, and Kamal Al Halbawi, the prominent figures in the Muslim Brotherhood had a conflict with the ruling party. This conflict was based on the fundamental difference between Hasan alBana‘s way of thinking and Sayid Qutb‘s way of thinking. The Muslim Brotherhood accused the leaders of this party of deviating from the basic principles of the organization, claiming that they were more faithful followers of Sayyid Qutb than Hasan al-Bana.

Hassan alBanna was the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood organization in Egypt. His supporters exaggeratedly respect him and regard him at the level of angels that they even him Imam (leader). They have never been ready to question his performance. Thus, in exposing the intellectual and practical deviations of the Brotherhoods leaders, his followers have put all the guilt and blame on others, among which Sayyid Qutb was exposed to the most challenges and harsh criticisms. Indeed, the fact is that selfrighteousness, violence, and takfirism are also present in Hasan alBana’s words, writings, and actions. Therefore, one should not think that the seeds of takfir were first planted only by Sayyid Qutb.

Hassan alBanna repeatedly tried to convince the followers of the Muslim Brotherhood that they were the chosen group of God, and therefore the best people on earth, with all the facts and aspects of Islam at their disposal,” said Hasan alBanna, questioning the faith of others because they do not believe in him and do not fight under his banner. He considers the faith of others to be fragile. While the truth of the matter is that judgment about people‘s piety and belief is God‘s responsibility, and no one has the right to judge it.

Hasan alBanna also says,we are working hard to publish this dawah (thoughts of the Muslim Brotherhood) with evidence and facts. If they take the path of oppression and rebellion, we will spread our invitation with swords and weapons. Indeed, power and force are the surest way to implement the right.” One of the tricks that Hassan al-Bana used to convince the audience to accept his claims was resorting to vague generalizations. He wanted to level up Islam and place it next to other ideologies. Therefore, he claimed that Islam could solve the problems related to human life and societies, but until he died, he never bothered to elaborate on his points.

Hassan alBanna sometimes said things that showed that he wanted to find a way into the hearts of ordinary people. In doing so, he valued the attractiveness of his words more than the correctness, reasonableness, and coherency. Hassan alBanna says that the Muslim Brotherhood is a Salafi call, a Sufi truth, a political body, a sports group, and a scientific-cultural association. Yet, the slightest reflection on this saying makes its content contradictory.

One of the criticisms of Hasan alBana‘s leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood organization is that, while he had a charismatic personality and was able to excite his fans, he sometimes showed weakness in managing the organization. After founding the organization, one of Hassan alBanna‘s questionable actions was the creation of a military branch, which allowed Abdurrahman Sandi, the head of the military department and special organization, to dominate and lead the future of the Brotherhood organization to calamities. The special organization of the Muslim Brotherhood was responsible for much violence in the 40s in Egypt, and its performance affected the future of the Muslim Brotherhood forever. Though the establishment of the military branch was done under the supervision of Hassan alBanna, the military organization slowly got out of its authority. Hence, it started doing things that were neither in the interest of the benefit of the organization nor Egypt. Some researchers consider the establishment of jihadi groups in the 80s and 90s by Egyptian and Arab jihadists as a continuation of the same policy of Hasan alBana in resorting to military means to advance political goals.

Although Maududi and Sayyid Qutb made great efforts to emphasize the importance of politics, government, and caliphate in the Islamic worldview and produced influential theoretical works, it cannot be denied that Hassan alBanna traveled this path before them. Contrary to the old tradition that was firmly established among the Sunnis and considered politics and the appointment of the ruler to be a secondary issue, Hassan alBanna and the leaders made efforts to make politics an essential part of Islam and present it as a political belief.

A Greek legend says that there lived a person named Narcissus. He loved himself to the extent that he could not love others. One of her obsessed lovers complained to Nemesis, and Nemesis condemned her to love her own picture. She was so caught up in narcissism that she used to wear makeup and stare at her face in the water. She gazed at her reflection in the water until she died. This collective narcissism has also been mentioned in political sociology. This disease arises from a strong sense of, belonging to, for example, political groups or sports teammates. A group caught in narcissism reacts strongly to criticism and denies and suppresses opposing views. One of the characteristics of collective narcissism is that the leader of that group is sanctified, regarded as an angel, and referred to by nicknames such as Imam or Murshid. According to some, Hassan alBanna had an approving view of European fascist parties and had established relations with them. Thus, his organization was modeled after these parties, and even the word Murshid is the exact translation of the word that the Nazis used for Hitler.