RELIGST 3C03 Lecture Notes - Lecture 4: Sunnah, Ijtihad, Islamic Culture

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January 26, 2015
The Muslim brotherhood (Ikhwan al-Muslimin)
-Ikhwan literally means Muslim brother
-founded in 1928 by Hasan Al-Banna (died 1949)
-Ikhwan grew out of concern for western secularism and its impact on Islamic society
-had a following in many countries- Egypt, Iran, Syria
-based on 3 principles – Islam is comprehensive (covers each and every aspect of your life),
evolving principle
-2nd principle: emanates from Quran and Sunnah (we shouldn’t have to go outside of Islam to
solve problems, no need for imported solutions. It’s within Quran and Sunnah.
-3rd principle: applicable to all times and places
-these are the basic ideologies that Ikhwan came from.
-sub groups within the movement: 4 groups
-those of radical extremes, those who were politically active, socially actives, and popular
-West tries to simplify things by grouping everyone and everything together. Turns everything
into a monolithic movement.
-5 aims of Ikhwan:
-1st aim: revive Islamic personality (stop slavish imitation)
-2nd: reformulate thought- ijtihad (but only within the boundaries of Quran and Sunnah) (kind of
confined ijtihad)
-3rd: reassert political will: Muslims should control their own fate. Talking about a political or
Islamic state. Basically, Shari’a should be implemented.
-4th: social justice: programmed to benefit masses. This is what made Ikhwan popular. They
established hospitals, schools, etc.
-5th: Unity of Muslims: nationally and internationally. This also made them quite popular.
-different periods of the movement.
-1928-1936: formative stage. Preaching in mosques, and recruiting people. Their message was
simple: we need to go back to Islam. Raise standards of living of people.
-In this first decade, social and moral reforms were stressed. We need to be better Muslims,
social reforms in terms of health and welfare.
-they were popular due to supporting education, health and welfare projects. They catered to the
needs of the people.
-they ran hospitals, mosques and schools.
-they also founded schools of various grades, organized courses of religious instruction, taught
the illiterate.
-they set up hospitals and dispensaries, undertook various enterprises to raise the standard of
living in villages.
-built mosques and even launched industrial and commercial enterprises.
-1936 things changed. Although Jewish state (Israel) not established yet, Jews were streaming
into Israel.
-1936-1939: open conflict between Arabs and Zionists.
-Hence, Ikhwan became politically active.
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