Imam Banna’s Message of Teachings – From Theory to Practice
The message of the teachings is one of the most important messages of Imam Hassan al-Banna, which he dedicated for educating individuals within the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) and unifying their concepts, so that all MB members can have a common understanding of Islam.
Therefore, introducing the Message of Teachings, Imam Banna said: “This is my message to those who strive in the Muslim Brotherhood, who believe in the nobility of their call and the sanctity of their ideology. They have made a firm resolve to live by it and die in its path.”
“Dear truthful brothers: the basic pillars of our covenant are ten; so grasp their meanings and memorize them. They are: understanding), sincerity, action, jihad, sacrifice, obedience, perseverance, resoluteness, brotherhood, and trust.”
This is why every individual in Muslim Brotherhood interacted with these pillars to maintain sincerity for the sake of Allah.
Understanding is one of these educational pillars through which Imam al-Banna wanted every MB member to be certain and educate himself that the MB ideology is purely Islamic. “By understanding we mean that you should be certain that our ideology is purely Islamic.”
One of the educational examples of the MB’s application of this pillar is that the second MB leader Hassan al-Hudaibi used to do his physical exercises in bright-colored training suit in a garden facing the office of prison director. When one of the MB members asked him about this, he told him that he wanted to show jailers his high morale, sending a message that their pursuit to destroy his morale has failed – referring to a Hadith (saying) by Prophet Mohammed where he was praying for Muslims who showed their strength and high morale to Quraish while circling Kaaba during the early days of Islam. And this is the case for the approach of MB prisoners in dealing with their jailers all the time in application of their comprehensive understanding of Islam.
By sincerity, Imam Banna means that “a Muslim brother should dedicate his sayings, work, and Jihad for the sake of Allah and the attainment of His pleasure and good reward without seeking recognition or anticipating any gain, honor, title or advancement in this world.”
One of the educational examples of sincerity is that one of the early MB members, namely, Abdul Aziz Allam, an Indian who used to work as a sewer in the English camp. Once, the wife of a senior officer asked him to do some sewing works outside the camp (at home) and later offered to have sex with him. But, Allam strongly rejected the offer for fear of Allah. She tried to tempt him but it did not work, which led her to threaten to shoot him pointing her gun at his head . He then shouted at her and recited the Shahada so loudly that the gun fell to the ground and she only pushed him out of the house. Allam kept running until he reached the Muslim Brotherhood headquarters.
Imam al-Banna means by action, “the fruit of knowledge and sincerity”. He set some steps for action and asked Muslim brothers to work according to them, including: reforming the self, establishing an Islamic home, guiding society by spreading the call of righteousness, liberation of the homeland from all un-Islamic or foreign control, whether political, economic, or ideological; and reforming the government.
The Muslim sisters have adopted these concepts exactly like Muslim brothers. At the time of tribulation, they have worked to deliver the message of Islamic Dawa even to the Royal Court at the time. They used to form committees to serve the detainees and their families tirelessly. In time of election, they worked hard in supporting the MB candidates, in addition to their significant role of preserving their husbands and children at home.
By jihad, Imam Banna means “the divinely ordained obligation in Islam”. The Brotherhood have raised their clear educational slogan “Jihad is our path” and then they worked to achieve this in themselves in preparation for time of jihad. During the war in Palestine in the 1940s they were completely ready. When the door was opened to fighting in Palestine, they volunteered excessively to defend the Muslim land that Imam Banna insisted on rejecting participation of the too elderly and the too young people. An example for this was Abdul Rahman Banan who bought a military suit for himself, traveled alone and penetrated all checkpoints until he reached the land of Palestine for fighting.
By sacrifice Imam Banna means “giving one’s self, wealth, time, energy, and everything else for the cause of Islam”. No Dawa or group succeeds if its members do not sacrifice for its sake; therefore there are countless examples of the sacrifices of the Muslim Brotherhood for the sake of their ideology and principles.
Imam Al-Banna summed up the educational concept of this pillar when he was asked by a reporter: Are you rich? His answer was: Yes, I am rich with all these loving hearts of believers around me. The reporter said: I mean the material aspect of the word. Al Banna replied: “Yes, I am rich because all the money of the Muslim Brotherhood members is dedicated to the group activities.”
Thus, the Brotherhood continued to raise its members on sacrificing their money, time, and self for the sake of Allah and their ideology.
By Resoluteness Imam Banna means “that you commit yourself to your ideology and abandon all other principles.” The MB educational concepts have been intertwined between obedience, perseverance and resoluteness, bringing out generations capable of purifying their souls and stay resolute for the sake of their religion. An example for this was Omar Telmesani, the 3rd. MB general guide, a descendant of a rich family. Sometimes when he travelled with Imam al-Banna by train, he used to be ashamed and lower his head because they were sitting in economic degree seats. Al-Banna used to smile when he looks at Telmesani and see him bowing his head in shame for this reason. Telmesani says,”With the passing of time and living among the Brotherhood for a long time, I got used to sitting in economic-degree train seats without feeling any shame or embarrassment.”
By trust, Imam al-Banna means “that the soldiers (ordinary individuals) have complete confidence in the competence and sincerity of their commander (leader). This confidence should be the result of love, esteem, respect, and obedience.” Al-Banna concluded this message with brotherhood, enveloped in a sense of trust, gathering hearts on love and trust in MB approach, leaders and principles.
An example for this was Mrs. Naima Khattab, wife of the 2nd. MB General Guide Hassan al-Hodaibi, when she sent a message to King Saud bin Abdel Aziz of Saudi Arabia who had intervened with Abdel Nasser to remove the death sentence of her husband in 1954, saying: "While we thank your Majesty for your generous passion, we emphasize that we are committed to Dawa and jihad,” adding that if Hodaibi was martyred or remained alive, conflict between Truth and Falsehood would continue, even if it cost thousands of martyrs. “That He might justify Truth and prove Falsehood false, distasteful though it be to those in guilt.” (Surat al-Anfal – Verse 8)
These educational concepts have become entrenched in the inner soul of MB individuals; attributes that societies are in urgent need in these difficult days.