The Growth Strategy of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt
Setting the foundations for a mass movement
The growth strategy of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt from 1928 to
the 1980s demonstrates that the group sought to implement and
achieve their founding aims, of an Islam formulated from and based on
revelations in the Qur’an and the wisdom of the Prophet in the Sunna,
that is applicable to all times and to all places and is a total system
complete unto itself,1 with a high degree of pragmatism.
According to al-Banna:
“It is the nature of Islam to dominate, not to be dominated, to
impose its law on all nations and to extend its power to the
The ultimate goal of a universal Islamic state could not be achieved
overnight. The strategy has had to shift and react to the changing
The impact of the strategy can be seen by the Muslim Brotherhood’s
exponential growth from 800 members in 1936, to over 2 million in
- It currently is a pervasive international Sunni Islamist movement,
with branches or affiliated groups in over 70 countries. The Muslim
Brotherhood also maintains political parties in many Middle Eastern
and African countries, including Jordan, Bahrain, Tunisia, Algeria,
Jordan, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Yemen and Israel.
As noted in article II of the Charter of Hamas:
“The Islamic Resistance Movement is one of the wings of
Moslem Brotherhood in Palestine. Moslem Brotherhood
Movement is a universal organisation which constitutes the
largest Islamic movement in modern times. It is characterized
by… its complete embrace of all Islamic concepts…the
spreading of Islam… and conversion to Islam.”
A further indicator of the effectiveness of the Muslim Brotherhood’s
growth strategy is that the Muslim Brotherhood has provided the
ideological model for a number of modern Sunni Islamic terrorist
groups, and the leaders of such groups, including Osama bin Laden,
Ayman Zawahiri and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed have been influenced
by the Muslim Brotherhood ideology.
The international spread and influence of the Muslim Brotherhood’s
ideology is considered in detail in Chapter 4 below.
The Muslim Brotherhood’s pragmatic growth strategy is also evident
the ideological rhetoric that has developed, shifted and been re
interpreted over the years to match the shifting political landscape,
although the underlying aims remain the same;
the idea of ‘unity’ that included:
(i) the desire to grow as broad an organisation as
possible, achieved in part through the toleration,
accommodation and, at times the encouragement
of militant and extremist reactionary elements, and
(ii) the development of a social-reform programme
that was regarded as a natural method for
establishing both the philosophy and authoritarian
(c) working the system, despite an anti-system rhetoric, to further
its aims and influence; and
(d) acts of violence for political ends.
Report I: History of the Muslim Brotherhood
The following sections:
(i) Original objectives; (ii) Unity; (iii) Working
the System and (iv) Acts of Violence for Political Ends, demonstrate
that the Muslim Brotherhood’s ideology and growth strategy from
1928 to the 1980s spoke the language of violence, rejected the traditions
and values of the status quo, and accepted violence as a means to
achieving its ends.
The all-encompassing, broadly sketched goals of the Muslim
Brotherhood, expressed through the slogan, ‘Islam is the Solution’,4
have not changed since its inception in 1928. Its principles,
encompassed by its motto, “Allah is our objective, the Qur’an is our
constitution, the Prophet is our leader, jihad is our path and death in
the name of Allah is our goal,” have been stated both by Hasan al
Banna, the movement’s founder, and by Mohammed Morsi in his 13th
May 2012 Presidential campaign speech.
Islam is the Solution
Hassan al-Banna’s founding principles of the Muslim Brotherhood
- an Islam as a total system complete unto itself;
an Islam formulated from and based on its two primary
sources, the revelation in the Qur’an and the wisdom of
the Prophet in the Sunna; and
iii. an Islam applicable to all times and to all places.5
The founding principles were drawn primarily from reformist Islamist
thinkers of the nineteenth century such as Rashid Rida and Jamal al
Din Afghani, who believed that the only way the Islamic world could
meet the challenges posed by Westernisation and modernization was
to return to the ‘uncorrupted’ values of the Islamic past.
Al-Banna’s vision for the purpose of the Muslim Brotherhood is clear
in his farewell message, ‘The Obstacles in Our Path’, written to his
followers in 1943 when al-Banna believed he was about to be exiled by
“My Brothers: you are not a benevolent society, nor are you a
political party, nor a local organisation having limited purposes.
Rather you are a new soul in the heart of this nation to give it
life by the means of the Qur’an; you are a new light which
shines to destroy the darkness of materialism through knowing
Al-Banna recognized that his vision may require the use of violence as
a means to achieve the end when he continued, in ‘The Obstacles in Our
“If you are accused of being revolutionaries, say ‘We are voices
for right and peace in which we dearly believe, and of which we
are proud. If you rise against us or stand in the path of our
message, then we are permitted by God to defend ourselves
against your injustice.’”
Indeed, militancy and martyrdom were considered to be central
virtues in the Muslim Brotherhood’s ethos.
Al-Banna believed in a comprehensive, all-encompassing, totalitarian
doctrine of reform:
“The idea of the Muslim Brothers includes in it all categories of
“The Muslim Brothers believe that when Allah most High
revealed the Qur’an and ordered his worshippers to follow
Muhammad, He placed in this true religion all the necessary
foundations for the renaissance and happiness of nations…”
“Islam established for the world the system through which man
can benefit from the good and avoid dangers and calamities.”
Seeking to impose a total system complete unto itself, al-Banna defined
the movement as:
“a Salafiyya message, a Sunni way, a Sufi truth, a political
organisation, an athletic group, a cultural-educational union, an
economic company, and a social idea.”
“We believe the provisions of Islam and its teachings are all
inclusive, encompassing the affairs of the people in this world
and hereafter…because Islam is a faith and a ritual, a nation
(watan) and a nationality, a religion and a state, spirit and deed
holy text and sword…. The Glorious Qur’an …considers [these
things] to be the core of Islam and its essence….”
The totality of the system was reiterated by Umar al-Tilmisani, the
Third General Guide of the Muslim Brotherhood. Islam he said, is:
“a creed, worship, homeland, citizenship, creation, the physical
culture, law, forgiveness, and power.”
Using the language of violence
The Muslim Brotherhood espoused a reactionary, aggressive and
violent rhetoric at its outset. The six members of the British camp
labour force allegedly spoke of “the road to action’” and of dying in the
service of God, when they asked al-Banna to launch the Muslim
Brotherhood, and they are all said to have taken an oath to God to be
“troops [jund] for the message of Islam”.
At the Fifth Muslim Brotherhood Conference in 1939, al-Banna warned
that “action, not speech, and preparations not slogans, would
guarantee the victory.”17 Al-Banna stated:
“At the time that there will be ready, Oh ye Muslim Brothers,
three hundred battalions, each one equipped spiritually with
faith and belief, intellectually with science and learning, and
physically with training and athletics, at that time you can
demand of me to plunge with you through the turbulent oceans
and to rend the skies with you and to conquer with you every
tyrant. God willing, I will do it.”
In line with this vision of the stage of execution and the requirement of
force, al-Banna specifically included militancy as part of the training of
the members of the Muslim Brotherhood. This is discussed in detail in
the section on the Rover Scouts and Secret Apparatus in Chapter 3 of
Creation of an Anti-systemic movement
The Muslim Brotherhood’s founding purpose was anti-Western, anti
Imperialist and anti-colonial. Its message was one that rejected not
only British rule, but also the traditions, values and methods of their
rule. The Muslim Brotherhood believed the occupation, and
subsequent decay of Islamic values, meant a “slow annihilation and
profound and complete corruption” 19 for Egypt. According to al
“Western civilization has invaded us by force and with
aggression on the level of science and money, of politics and
luxury, of pleasures and negligence, and of various aspects of
life that are comfortable, exciting and seductive.”
Al-Banna taught that “formal political independence” was worthless
unless accompanied by “intellectual, social, and cultural
He, and Hudaybi after him, called for members of the
Muslim Brotherhood to “eject Imperialism from your souls, and it will
leave your lands.” Qutb in turn called for “Holy war” to be declared
against Western civilization.
Al-Banna rejected the imitation of Western thoughts and values:
“We want to think independently, depending on … Islam and
not upon imitation which ties us to the theories and attitudes of
the West in everything. We want to be distinguished by our
own values and the qualities of our life as a great … nation
which has a past”
In the Muslim Brotherhood’s view, western democratic government
had not only failed, but had made the people victim to a corrupt and
abusive political-economic social ‘tyranny’.
Given its rejection of the party system, the Muslim Brotherhood’s
pragmatism is evident in its willingness to put candidates forward for
election. It is also evident in its ability to work with political parties in
order to achieve some of its objectives, and in modern times even to
embrace the party system.
The discourse rejected the economic order, which it considered to be
dominated by ‘the foreigners’ who viewed Egyptians with little
esteem.24 From the outset, the language of the movement was rife with
anger towards the humiliation and lack of Arab and Muslim status,
known as manzila, and dignity, known as karama.
25 The Muslim Brotherhood spoke of purging the nation of its “painful economic oppressions” as a defence to both capitalism and communism.
As the foreigner, described as khawaja, was invariably a Christian or
Jew, the Muslim Brotherhood’s rhetoric that it stood “in defence of
Islam” meant that the foreigner was regarded as a religious and
cultural, as well as a political and economic, enemy.
The Jews also became a metaphor for Western domination and
immorality, and the threat to the integrity of Islam. The highly
influential ideologue, Sayyid Qutb’s essay, “Our struggle with the Jews”,
described the Jews as Islam’s worst enemies, the continuing battle
raging for 1400 years. The essay vilified the Jews, stating that they:
“destroy the moral foundation on which the pure Creed rests, in
order that the Creed should fall into the filth which they spread
so widely on the earth. They mutilate the whole of history and
falsify it […] From such creatures who kill, massacre and
defame prophets one can only expect the spilling of human
blood and dirty means which would further their machinations
According to al-Banna, “[i]t was natural that there should be a clash
between the [Muslim Brotherhood and missionaries] in view of the fact
that one of them defends Islam and the second attacks it.”
Concerns regarding Christian missionaries were the focus of the First
General Conference of the Muslim Brotherhood in May 1933, and a
letter was sent to King Fu’ad urging these activities to be brought
under control.30 During the 1930s and 1940s the Muslim Brotherhood
lobbied ministers and members of parliament for Islam to be taught in
schools, labelled missionary schools as ‘corrupt’ and called for them to
Inevitably, the local Christian or Jew was also identified with the
foreign enemy.32 In 1948, during the war in Palestine, houses in part of
the Jewish quarter in Cairo were attacked and destroyed, Jewish
owned businesses were destroyed or damaged by explosions and anti
foreign rioting occurred.
Al-Banna’s goal of an all encompassing application of Islam was to be
built upon the reform of individual hearts and souls, followed by the
organisation of “society to be fit for the virtuous community which
commands the good and forbids evil-doing, then from the community
will arise the good (i.e. Islamic) state.”
The set of personal rights for all individuals encompassed by Islam
were designed to, “raise the standards of individuals, permit their
participation in activities which would serve the welfare of society,
safeguard human dignity, nurture individual talents, and aid in the
exploitation of their physical and intellectual resources.” Whilst
speaking the language of ‘rights’, therefore, a high degree of control
can be justified.
Control: Adoption of the ‘General Law’ of the Muslim Brotherhood
One of the most important developments that took place during the
early-to-mid 1930s was the adoption by the Muslim Brotherhood of the
General Law at the Third Conference in 1935. This laid the initial
foundations for the organisational administration and control of the
Muslim Brotherhood and codified the rules for: (i) policy and decision
making; (ii) membership status and responsibilities; (iii) funding; and
The General Law stipulated that the fundamental aim of the Muslim
Brotherhood was “to raise a generation of Muslims who would
understand Islam correctly and act according to its teachings”.
The training prescribed by al-Banna was set out in detailed instructions and
distributed to all organs and branches of the Muslim Brotherhood with
the aim to “…produce a class of propagandists…who could spread the
[Muslim Brotherhood]’s ideas, thereby expanding the organisation.”
Al-Banna viewed the Muslim Brotherhood as predominantly a vehicle
to spread and recruit adherents to his vision of Islam. This was
reflected in Article 8 of the General Law which listed, amongst other
rules and obligations, the religious duties to be fulfilled by members of
the Muslim Brotherhood. Article 8 states that the fulfilment of this and
other duties was to be:
“[…] the measure of the member’s faith in the [Muslim
Brotherhood]’s idea. It measures his observance, his devotion
and zealotry for the ideology of the [Muslim Brotherhood].
A revised version of the regulations was adopted by the Shura Council
in 1948 and with the appointment of Hasan al-Hudaybi as the new
General Guide, an additional series of “General Internal Regulations”
were also adopted.Together, these rules (which would continue to
be revised and updated) would constitute the primary sources
establishing the Muslim Brotherhood’s organisational structure and
informing its administrative and technical operations.
Culture of allegiance and obedience
Since its inception, one of the hallmarks of the Muslim Brotherhood
has been the cultivation of a culture of obedience among its members
toward its leadership, in particular the General Guide. Its laws and
regulations cemented the General Guide’s overall authority of and
control over the Muslim Brotherhood and all its bodies, associate (or
affiliated) branches and members. Such was the importance placed on
the duty of obedience that all members, irrespective of societal position
or membership status, are still required to swear an oath of allegiance,
or bay‘a, to the General Guide and the leader of their section,
committee or local branch. In turn there are consequences for
disobedience which might take the form of a fine, demotion,
suspension or, in serious cases, expulsion from the Muslim
Al-Banna had put in place a system to ensure that the allegiance and
obedience of recruits was not arbitrary. He structured the recruitment
process to synchronise with his long-term strategy for indoctrinating
new recruits to carry out the leadership’s orders without hesitation or
question. Regular ‘training’ or ‘educational’ meetings referred to as
“Battalion Assemblies” were held strictly in confidence to entrench this
culture across all ranks of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Beyond the developments in the organisational structure and hierarchy
(discussed in Chapter 3), Al-Banna put his vision into practice,
ensuring that the movement was organised so that members of the
Muslim Brotherhood were engaged in programmes of ‘good works’ at
the same time as encouraging and monitoring each other as regards the
precepts of personal morality laid down in Islamic Law, known as
sharia. This was important as a method of organisation and control,
fulfilled the right to education, which was regarded as a ‘religious
obligation’ and ‘the path to God’ and was a response to the problem of
Western influences were accused of destroying the inherited and
traditional values of Muslim society. The cinema, stage, radio and
popular music, the uncontrolled press and permissibility of wine, the
indiscriminate mixing of the sexes and the immodest behaviour of
women were blamed for corrupting society and breeding immorality.
Al-Banna demanded controls over all media of communication, so that
theatres, films, songs, radio, press and magazines could be used to
promote nobility and virtue.
Al-Banna further sought to control personal morality, calling for strict
surveillance over coffee houses and summer resorts. He called for
heavier punishment for crimes against morality as well as the abolition
of prostitution, and the prosecution of adultery.
There were sporadic but continuous acts of intolerant violence and
interference by some members in the name of Islam and its morality,
inspired by al-Banna’s militant sense of righteous power.44 At one
point, a group led by Ahmed Rifat proposed that all members of the
Muslim Brotherhood should, “carry bottles of ink to throw at those
women who did not wear correct Islamic attire.”
Breadth of the Organisation
The idea of ‘unity’ underlines the growth strategy of the Muslim
Brotherhood between 1928 and the 1980s, through both the breadth of
the organisation and through its all-encompassing social-reform
Al-Banna explained his vision for membership of the Muslim
Brotherhood. He stated:
“I did not want it to enter into competition with the other
orders; and I did not want it to be confined to one group of
Muslims or one aspect of Islamic reform; rather I sought that it
be a general message based on learning, education and jihad”
Al-Banna sought to grow the membership of the Muslim Brotherhood,
and to encourage unity and inclusivity. He is said to have pleaded:
“Let us co-operate in those things on which we can agree and be
lenient in those which we cannot.”
This strategy, to grow as broad an organisation as possible, has been
continued throughout the Muslim Brotherhood’s history and has been
achieved in part through pragmatic mergers, suppression of dissent,
and through the toleration, accommodation and, at times the
encouragement of militant and extremist reactionary elements.
The first example of a pragmatic merger occurred in 1932 when the
Muslim Brotherhood merged with Cairo’s ‘The Society for Islamic
Culture’. This merger assisted the Muslim Brotherhood form firm
foundations in the city, providing both a contact book and an
operational starting point.
The Muslim Brotherhood’s first significant dispute occurred in 1932.
Dissidents, who complained of the dangerousness of the Muslim
Brotherhood and its ‘secret works’ and above all its denial of ‘freedom
of opinion’, were beaten by al-Banna’s supporters.
This demonstrates that the breadth of the organisation and its inclusivity inevitably led to internal disputes and conflict, some of which could be and were suppressed or contained.
From 1932 to 1938, there was increasing resistance and discontent
within the movement. Some members resented the use of some of the
funds raised to support the Arab strike in Palestine to fund the
branches of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. Al-Banna attracted
intense criticism for his willingness to cooperate with authorities,
despite the anti-system and reactionary rhetoric. Some members felt
the moral salvation of Egypt, through Islamification, should be
achieved by force.
Al-Banna sought to accommodate the more militant elements led by
Ahmed Rifat, believing that containment was the most appropriate
solution for the militant currents that had evolved in the movement.
Although he continued to deal with the powers of the day, he also
adopted a more aggressive rhetoric. For example, in May 1938 al
Banna declared that if the authorities failed to implement the Muslim
Brotherhood’s programmes the movement would consider itself:
“at war with every leader, every party and every organisation
that does not work for the victory of Islam!”
Al-Banna accommodated the more militant activists within the Muslim
Brotherhood when he set up the Secret Apparatus, known as the Nizam
al-Khass, in or around 1940,52 in line with his conception of jihad.
However, al-Banna, struggled to contain his creation. By the late
1940s the Secret Apparatus, under Abdel Rahman al-Sanadi, was
responsible for a series of acts of political violence, and had established
a high level of executive autonomy54. The Secret Apparatus, and its
significance throughout the history of the Muslim Brotherhood, is
considered in more depth in Chapter 3.
Although al-Banna’s successor as General Guide, Hasan al-Hudaybi,
publicly condemned the Secret Apparatus’s acts of violence, he was
pressured by senior members of the leadership (many of whom were
either members of or supported the Secret Apparatus) into retracting
his statements. The militant activists had formed a powerful hub
within the leadership echelons of the Muslim Brotherhood, sufficient to
control Hudaybi from behind the scenes as they perceived him to be a
The dissolution of the Muslim Brotherhood by Nasser in January 1954,
and the imprisonment of a large number of members of the Muslim
Brotherhood following the attempt on Nasser’s life in October 1954
caused the near collapse of the movement. However, by 1957 to 1958,
prisoners began to discuss and exchange ideas, a communication
network was built up linking prisoners, and Organisation 1965 was set
up, with Sayyid Qutb, as its spiritual guide.
Organisation 1965 subscribed to Qutb’s idea that they, as the vanguard
of Islamist activism, had to pass through several challenging stages of
study, preaching, and persecution to reach their goal of establishing a
just Islamic society.56 Because Qutb’s ideological development was not
a secret, it can be concluded that al-Hudaybi was aware of the
ideological foundations of Organisation 1965 and that he chose to
tacitly accept, if not support, their activities.
In 1965, when Organisation 1965 was brought to court and accused of
planning to overthrow the state system, the regime carried out a
second wave of arrests and trials. Al-Hudaybi distanced himself from
the group, his criticisms of radical activism later contained in Du’at la
Qudat, translated as “Preachers not Judges”. The 1967 Arab-Israeli war
caused further division within the Muslim Brotherhood and a number
of Qutb’s followers including Mustafa Shukri broke away to establish
the militant Takfir wal Hijra group.
In the 1970s, Sadat released a number of Muslim Brotherhood leaders
and allowed the return of former leaders of the Secret Apparatus to
Egypt. These leaders set about rebuilding the organisation with a
militant focus. This is discussed further in Chapter 3.
Social reform programme
Al-Banna believed that organisations must pass through three phases
of development or organisational perfection: (i) propaganda,
communication and information; (ii) formation, selection and
preparation; and (iii) execution.
The first stage applied to the generality of the membership. The second
phase of development applied to those prepared to carry the burden of
jihad and ‘military action’ without hesitation, question, doubt or
criticism’. The third and final stage referred to a time of jihad and
complete, unqualified acceptance and obedience of any order
Al-Banna’s Islamic nation or caliphate was to be built upon the reform
of individual hearts and souls, followed by the organisation of society
to be fit for the virtuous community which commands the good and
forbids evil-doing, then from the community will arise the good state.
Members of the Muslim Brotherhood were required to make a
commitment to the movement described as, “action, obedience, and
The development of a social-reform programme was
regarded as a natural method for establishing both the philosophy of
the Muslim Brotherhood and authoritarian control of its members.
In line with al-Banna’s first phase of ‘propaganda, communication, and
information’,61 the primary focus for the early years of the movement
was to enlarge its membership, building a broad base of members that
was tightly disciplined, organised and mobilized to generate further
recruits through continual outreach and indoctrination.
Al-Banna sought to do this through direct communication. He and his deputies
spoke with people in mosques, homes, clubs and other meeting places.
New branches were founded, followed by the creation of a wide array
of social welfare projects such as establishing mosques, schools, clubs,
small home industries, health clinics, bringing electricity to villages.
These projects provided a focal point for the population, and had the
effect of developing a parallel state, through which the key ideals of
the Muslim Brotherhood could be disseminated.
Chapter 3 sets out what was to become a highly sophisticated organisational structure.
In its social-reform programme the Muslim Brotherhood placed great
emphasis on education as a method by which to bring about its goals.
“No renaissance of Islamic life can be effected purely by the law
or statute, or by the establishment of a social system on the basis
of the Islamic philosophy [.…] [a]nd the natural method of
establish[ing] that philosophy is by education.”
As the movement became more established, spiritual, mental and physical training, for “Islamic preparation” was organised by the public relations and propaganda unit of the organisation. The section was responsible for supplying branches with lecture programmes, forauthorising publications of a ‘scientific, cultural, and athletic nature’ and for providing a unified schedule of study for missionary schools.
In 1937 the ‘Battalions of the Supporters of God’ were launched. The battalion system was consciously designed to generate total physical, mental, and spiritual absorption in and dedication to the Society, its ideas, and its members.66 The later system of “families” organised the membership in a tight-knit chain of command, and was regarded as the active fulfilment of the meaning of Islam among the Brothers and the most fundamental of its educational’ instruments.
Al-Banna was so successful in establishing grassroots support through the social-reform programme that by the outbreak of the Second World War, the Muslim Brotherhood had “grown into one of the most important political contestants on the Egyptian scene” with a diverse membership, including civil servants, students, urban labourers and peasants.
In 1929 there were 4 branches of the Muslim Brotherhood. In 1931 there were 10 branches. By 1939 there were 300 branches, there were 500 branches by 1940 and 2000 branches by 1949. It is estimated that by 1949 there were 500,000 active members and around an additional 500,000 sympathisers.
Working the System
Despite an anti-system rhetoric, the Muslim Brotherhood has proved to be highly pragmatic in dealing with the authorities from 1928 to the 1980s, in order to further their objectives.
In the 1930s, al-Banna extensively communicated, by letter and in person, with the governments of Egypt about the state of Egyptian society, lobbying for reform.70 In 1935, delegations from the Muslim Brotherhood visited the Minister of Education and the Prime Ministerto push for the teaching of Islam and Islamic history in the schools of Egypt. In 1937, a key training and recruitment unit of the Muslim Brotherhood set up by al-Banna, the Rover Scouts (see Chapter 3), acted as security forces in the coronation of King Faruq, publicly demonstrating their strength and organisation.
In 1942, al-Banna sought to field seventeen candidates for the parliamentary elections. The government asked him to withdraw and to declare his loyalty to the government and the 1936 Anglo-Egyptian Treaty, the legal foundation for the British presence in Egypt. Despite the conflict of these requests with the Muslim Brotherhood’s beliefs, alBanna agreed on the condition that the movement was free to resume full-scale operations, and the government would take action against the sale of alcohol and prostitution. The government complied with his requests and permitted the Muslim Brotherhood to hold meetings and issue some of its publications.
In 1946 and 1947, the Muslim Brotherhood was rewarded for its stand against the Wafd and the Communists, receiving a licence to publish its official newspaper, Jaridat al-Ikhwan al-Muslimin, privileges in the purchase of newsprint, as well as other privileges. A Minister of Education sympathetic to Muslim Brotherhood views was also appointed.
However, this period is characterised by grassroots unrest: labour strikes, nationalist riots, battles between the youth of the Muslim Brotherhood and the Wafd, and political violence, which resulted in the dissolution of the Muslim Brotherhood in 1948.
In 1951, Hasan al-Hudaybi was appointed General Guide, in part because he was well connected to the establishment (the other reason was that he was perceived as a moderate public face but was elected because he was thought to be easy to manipulate by the inner core of militant leaders).
During this period the Muslim Brotherhoodupported the nationalist agitations culminating in Nasser’s revolution; ending the British occupation coincided with their aims. 1952 to 1954 was a period of conciliation between the Muslim Brotherhood and the Free Officers. The regime released all the members of the Muslim Brotherhood who had been imprisoned by the previous regime and opened an official inquiry into the murder of Hasan al-Banna.
In 1953, despite the promulgation of the law banningpolitical acti