By Doaa Imam
In early the stage of the Muslims Brotherhood formation in 1928, its leader Hassan al-Banna was keen on attracting an elite group of intellectuals and religious preachers to his newly-formed group in order to brand it as a community that gather all various cultural opinions.
For example, in 1946, al-Banna wrote an op-ed asking Egyptian historian Ahmad Amin al-Tabah (1886-1956) to join the group. However, the latter refused, slamming the group’s intrusion into politics.
In his book “Events that Made History,” historian of the Muslim Brotherhood Mahmoud Abdel Haleem wrote that al-Banna was keen to praise and revere late poet and writer Mostafa Saadeq Al-Rafe’ie (1880-1937).
The Muslim Brotherhood claimed that a part in an article wrote by Al-Rafe’ie in his book “The Inspiration of the Pen” was “deliberately removed as it was praising the group.” The “removed part” was talking about a group of youth, belonging to the Muslims Brotherhood, ojected a Friday sermon and they preached the sermon on Palestinian-Israeli issue themselves.
In the 1930s, al-Banna kept his eye on young journalist Abdel Moneim Khallaf, who was writing periodical articles in the weekly magazine Al-Rasala Al-Adabiya, to be the mouthpiece of the Brotherhood, particularly after Khallaf had previously gave a speech at the MB Young Men’s Muslim Association.
Brotherhood historian Abdel Haleem claimed that crises experienced by the group had prevented Khallaf’s joining to the group. However, it was reported that Khallaf himself rejected to be a member at the Brotherhood. By looking at the articles written by Khallaf, he called for renewing the religious discourse, anti-racism, and Arab nationalism.
Ismail Hamdy, another preacher in Alexandria, was highly recommended by al-Banna to be one of the group leaders. However, the period of the group’s downfall in the 1950s and 1960s prevented his dream from being realized.