RECOMMENDED READING: ” “Iran And The Muslim Brotherhood: A Comparison”


Asharq Alawsat, a Saudi newspaper based in the U.K., has published an article titled “Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood: A comparison” that examines the similarities between the early days of the Iranian Revolution and the current situation in Egypt. The article begins:

11/06/2012 By Abdullah Al-Otaibi Throughout the centuries, history has been characterized by numerous discrepancies and contradictions, especially with regards to human behavior, whether individuals or groups, or states and empires. This behavior stemmed from instinctive motives that transformed over time into more complicated stimulants, taking on tribal, national, religious or sectarian aspects. Alongside the movements and alterations of history, different means of interpreting and understanding it have come to the fore. These began as elementary approaches designed to maintain a sort of ‘knowledge balance’, and later on developed into independent sciences. These are the major social sciences that we know today, having branched out from philosophy, and they are still in the process of formation and evolution in line with human development. Without trying to generalize too much, modern history indicates that movements of political Islam and their discourses are capable intellectually and organizationally of crossing political and sectarian divides with the aim of fulfilling the ultimate goal of securing power. In the process of preparing for the Islamic revolution in Iran, theorists such as Ali Shariati seemed greatly influenced by some Arab religious reform movements, and we saw a significant degree of interaction between the two currents of political Islam, Sunni and Shiite. Here we can recall the role performed by Navvab Safavi and the influence exchanged between him and the Muslim Brotherhood, according to Ali al-Tantawi’s memoirs. Furthermore, Talib al-Refa’ai, founder of the Iraqi Dawa Party, mediated extensively between the Muslim Brotherhood and the Shiite movements of political Islam, as evidenced in the work published by the researcher Dr. Rashid Al-Khayoun. Ruhollah Khomeini was strongly influenced by Abul Ala Maududi, who was also a great inspiration to Sayyed Qutb, as seen in his book ‘The Islamic Government’. Following the Iranian revolution’s success, Maududi then sought to be more like al-Khomeini as the exchange of influence continued. The revolution against the Shah in Iran comprised a variety of liberals, left-wing parties, nationalists and religious groups. Yet following the success of the revolution, Khomeini managed to drive everyone else away and emerge victorious in all political conflicts, installing himself as the Supreme Guide in possession of all executive, legislative and judicial powers.

Read the rest here.

A post from 2009 recommended an article discussing the relationship between the Muslim Brotherhood and Shiite Islam. From the introduction:

The Muslim Brotherhood (MB) is a transnational movement that shares a common Ikhwani doctrine of Islamic reform and revival that was originally formulated by the movement’s founder, Shaykh Hasan al-Banna. Despite this common doctrine, however, the Brotherhood’s assorted local organizations and affiliated offshoots have interacted with the specific socio-political conditions of their respective arenas. As a consequence of this, the Brotherhood’s branches have pursued a range of strategies for acquiring power and establishing an Islamic state that has, over time and from place to place, helped create a considerable diversity of political agendas and perspectives within the movement as a whole. One area in which this intra-Ikwhani diversity is clearly visible today is in the different Brotherhood perspectives of and positions toward what might be broadly called the “Shiite question.” That question has been at the forefront of Sunni Arab religious and political ideology and debate, and especially in recent years due to the growing power and prestige of the Islamic Republic of Iran throughout the region. This, in turn, has led to Shiism’s increasing influence throughout the Middle East in general, and it has also intensified the ongoing clash between some streams of Sunnism and Shiism. The Sunni world has been deeply divided over how to react to these new regional dynamics caused by Iran’s and Shiism’s political and religious resurgence. Likewise, the Brotherhood movement is internally divided over the Shiite question, with some of them supporting and championing Shiism’s new religious and political influence, and other elements of the movement wary of and even hostile to Shiite power.

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