Hasan Al Banna
An Egyptian reformer and founder of the society of Muslim Brothers.
Hasan al-Banna knew that Muslims needed Western science and technology, and that they must reform their political and social institutions. But he was also convinced that this must go hand in hand with spiritual reformation. In 1928 he formed the Ikhwan ul Muslimin (Muslim Brotherhood), which sought to reform the political, social and economic life of the Muslims, according to the teachings of the Qur'an. The rapid growth of Ikhwan ul Muslimim that brought the idea to the masses was spectacular - having 2,000 branches in Egypt, Sudan, Iraq, Syria and Palestine by 1948 and about half a million active members.
Hasan al-Banna, besides training the Brothers and Sisters in the prayer and Islamic living, built schools, founded a modern scout movement, ran night schools for workers and tutorial colleges to prepare for the civil service examinations. He founded clinics and hospitals in the rural areas, built factories, where Muslims got better pay, health insurance and holidays than in the state sector, and taught Muslims modern labour laws so that they could defend their rights. Hasan al-Banna tried to set up welfare societies with an Islamic orientation, demonstrating that Islam worked for the people better than the secularist governments.
In 1933, Hasan al-Banna transformed the Ikhwan into a political movement. The armed unit of Ikhwan took part in the Arab revolt in Palestine in 1933 and in the Arab-Israel war of 1948-49. Hasan al-Banna was wooed by the Egyptian government from 1933 to 1941 and thereafter he remained active in underground movement until his assassination. In 1948, Egypt's prime minister, Nugreshi was assassinated by a student alleged to be affiliated with Ikhwan which in turn resulted into the assassination of al-Banna by the secret police of the secularist government of Egypt, in retaliation.
Hasan al-Banna, the young schoolteacher in his early days, took over al-Manan, a scholarly journal founded by Muhammad Rashid Reza. He also authored Mujmuat al Rasail and Mudhakirat al Dawah wa al daiyah.
Hasan al-Banna was born in Mahmudiyah near Alexandria, Egypt and was educated at Darul Ulum, founded by Muhammad Abduh, in Cairo. Hasan al-Banna had firm belief in Allah and His book as revealed to the Prophet, peace be upon him, apart from other four convictions - nation, state, social justice and society. Hasan al-Banna wanted to unify the Islamic nations, raise the standard of living, achieve a higher level of social justice, fight against illiteracy and poverty, and liberate Muslim lands from foreign domination.
Compiled by:M. Nauman Khan / Ghulam Mohiuddin