farmer’s property. The farmer,seeing the birds he raised forfood being killed, tried to per-suade the hunter to stop. Thehunter refused to acknowledgethe farmer, so the farmer struck the Englishman, killing him. Inrelaliation, British troops razedthe village, causing many deathsand casualties. Today, this townis called Damanhour (FlowingBlood) in commemoration.Al-Banna’s childhood educa-tion consisted of an Islamic el-ementary education and learningwatch repair, his father’s craft.His father, a graduate of Al-Azhar University, was thevillage’s Islamic leader. At theage of 12, Al-Banna was en-rolled in primary school and be-gan his association with Islamicgroups. He also became a mem-ber of the Society for IslamicMorality, whose members wereto adhere to a strict code of Muslim behavior, with fines im-posed on those who cursed,drank, or smoked. This evange-lism expanded to include a mem-bership in the Society for Pre-venting the Forbidden. At 16,Al-Banna attended Dar-al-Ulum, an Islamic teacher’s train-ing college in Cairo where he fo-cused his studies on Tawheed(theology), Fiqh (jurispru-dence), Arabic literature, andKalam
(modern Islamic ideology or theosophy). TheHasafiya Order of Sufism also attracted Al-Bannabecause of its strict observance of scripture, rituals,and ceremonies. He found a sense of cause and im-portance in joining the order, and he became its sec-retary, handling charitable social needs. However, hisactivities were limited to upholding Islamic standardsand imposing them on others.During his 5 years in Cairo, Al-Banna saw Egypt’ssecular culture as immoral, decadent, and atheistic.He was alarmed also by the reforms of KemalAttaturk, who abolished the Caliphate. Al-Bannaworried that the 1925 establishment of secular Egyp-tian universities was the first step toward a Turk-ish-style abandonment of Islam.
Al-Banna, finding like-mindedmen at his school and other uni-versities, came under the influ-ence of Sheikh Al-Dwijiri, whoargued that Al-Azhar clericswere not capable of stemmingthe tide of Western influence.This idea was not new; it re-flected the writings of Mu-hammad Abduh, saying that theAl-Azhar clergy were corruptagents of the government andthat any cleric who helped main-tain colonial rule was to be con-sidered illegitimate. The most in-fluential person in Al-Banna’slife, however, was SheikhMuhibb al-Din Khatib, a Syrianreformer who ran the SalafiyaLibrary and helped found theYoung Muslim Men’s Associa-tion. From Khatib, Al-Bannalearned elements of organizingthe masses and mobilizing disaf-fected youth.
Al-Banna gradu-ated from Dar-al-Ulum in 1927and proceeded to teach at a postin the port city of Ismailiah.
Al-Banna and theMuslim Brotherhood
Ismailiah, a town on theSuez Canal, Al-Banna’s influ-ences caught up with him as hewitnessed the exploitation of Egyptian workers by foreignerswho ran the Suez Canal Com-pany. In response, Al-Banna andhis colleagues founded Al-Ikhwan al-Muslimeen.He declared that Egyptian poverty, powerlessness,and lack of dignity resulted from failing to adhereto Islam and adopting Western values and culture.“Islam hooah al-hal” (Islam is the solution to allEgyptian and mankind’s ills), a buzzword still ut-tered today, represents a frustration with socialism,capitalism, and a democracy manipulated to favorthe ruling party.The first 10 years of Al-Ikhwan activities focusedon recruiting and establishing branches throughoutEgypt. Al-Banna called for a constitution derivedfrom the
, as well as the pre-cedents set forth by the first four rightly-guided Ca-liphs. He wanted the abrogation of secular law and