In 1928 an obscure society was founded in Egypt, called The Society of Muslim Brothers. The Muslim Brotherhood, as it is now known. rekindled the dream and hope of the whole world coming under the sway of Islam. This belief and hope represented the Islamic version of the Christian Great Commission.
There would be few alive in the West who would recognize the name, Hassan al-Banna, an unknown Egyptian school teachers and occasional watch repairer. Yet, having founded the Society of Muslim Brothers in 1928, Banna was a tireless worker for the Islamic Great Commission.
The organization's stated objectives were individual and moral purification and collective political and social regeneration through the establishment of a truly Islamic government in Egypt, as a springboard for universal expansion "until the entire world will chant the name of the Prophet [Muhammad], Allah's prayers and blessings be upon him. [Ephraim Karsh, Islamic Imperialism: A History (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2007), p. 213.]In developing this modern, militant Islamic ideology, Banna and the Brotherhood were reaching right back to the Islam's founding experience and the Prophet's teaching.
They were also acting consistently with the essence of every monotheistic religion: that is, they necessarily believe that all other religions and deities are false and eventually will be defeated and discarded.
(Banna's) message struck a responsive chord among Egyptians. By the late 1940's, the Muslim Brothers had established some two thousand branches throughout the country, boasting about one million members and sympathizers. To this must be added the society's branches in Syria, Jordan, Yemen, Sudan, and Mandatory Palestine, which made the Muslim Brothers the most powerful Islamic movement in the world and a key player in the Egyptian political scene. [Ibid.]Out of this phenomenon grew the movement we now know today as "Islamic Fundamentalism"--the movement which the West, in some quarters, denies its very existence, whilst other Western pontificators condescendingly declare to be "not truly Islamic, but an aberration of that great religion of peace". Queue Barack Obama, truly one of the most dizzying intellects of our age.
When the aircraft ploughed into the Twin Towers on September 11th, 2001 killing 2,996 people and injuring over 6,000 others, the world was appalled. Except in Egypt, the home of the Muslim Brotherhood. The West was shocked to see pictures of patrons in Cairo's coffee bars, ordinary Egyptians, cheering lustily at the sight of Allah's might.
How could they do that, wondered many. What happened to the brotherhood of mankind? "We have not heard of that brotherhood," the patrons might have replied. "But as for the Muslim Brotherhood, that we know, and in that we believe. Death to the infidels!"
The second great teacher within the Muslim Brotherhood was Sayyid Qutb. As we explore his teaching and influence, suddenly great clarity is given to the meaning of the last thirty years of Western struggle against Islamic fundamentalism.