09 March 2020

ABU DHABI, 9th March, 2020 (WAM) -- As part of its series on political Islamist movements, TRENDS Research & Advisory has published a new study: Muslim Brotherhood: Circumstances Surrounding its Emergence and Foundation, which explains the various dimensions of the group’s origin and approach to ideology.

The study analyzes the circumstances that governed the emergence of the group in Egypt, its intellectual origins – both traditional and modern – and the personal traits of its most prominent leaders.

The study has been released in Arabic, and the English version will be published soon.

The study is part of a publication series about political Islamist movements, which the Centre intends to publish to shed light on their various local, regional and international dimensions. It is an attempt to analyze the intellectual, ideological and organisational framework of these movements as well as their modus operandi and the prospects considering regional developments since the so-called Arab Spring.

The first chapter of the study deals with the various approaches adopted by political Islamist movements in general and the Muslim Brotherhood in particular. The research presents a thorough analysis of the emergence of the group from a sociological, historical, social and cultural perspectives.

Another chapter – Social and Economic Environment Surrounding the Emergence of Muslim Brotherhood – deals with the situation in Egypt during the first three decades of the 20th century and analyzes its various dimensions and developments at political, economic, social and cultural levels.

The chapter – Intellectual Origins of Muslim Brotherhood – deals with the origins of the group’s ideological frame of reference, which are divided into old references represented in the Sunni orthodoxy and the Kharijite thought, and relatively recent references, which primarily focus on the pioneers of the Islamic renaissance such as Jamalud-deen Al-Afghani, Muhammad Abdu and Rasheed Ridha, as well as Abul A’la Al-Maududi and the role of his ideas.

Maududi is the most influential contemporary writer who shaped the Group’s ideas and their way of thinking.

The chapter entitled The Founders: Hassan Al-Banna and Sayyid Qutb, discusses the ideas of the group’s founder and Sayyid Qutb and their role in the group’s journey toward armed violence and the making of a structural component of its discourse, intellectual and epistemological frameworks, and its general behavior.

The chapter on the group’s intellectual foundations deals with the most important basis of the group’s thought. It examines the fundamental concepts and terms adopted by the group, which are characteristically general and vague, while it claims their originality from the Islamic legal and jurisprudential environment.

The study concludes that Muslim Brotherhood, and political Islamist groups in general, exploit any opportune situation, be it social, economic, political or cultural, to expand their footprint in the society. "Such groups manipulate these situations to serve their political interests, which is aimed at reaching the seat of power even at the expense of the nation-state and the destruction of its main constituents," according to the study.

It went on to say that perhaps the group’s position on the so-called Arab Spring is irrefutable evidence of this approach. "The Brotherhood tried to use the demands raised by the protesters in many Arab countries to incite against governments and called for their overthrow without having any alternative system or a vision to safeguard the state and prevent its collapse."

"As a result, the group’s experience in power in Egypt not only exposed its political opportunism but also its lack of belief in democracy. Once in power, it excluded most of the forces that stood by it and imposed its views on society. This led to its epic failure, the revolt in June 2013 in Egypt and its increased isolation and decline in the rest of the Arab countries," the study noted.