By Gudrun Kraemer
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Additional resources for Hasan al-Banna
Don’t you believe God will hold you accountable? Some of those present were moved to tears. Out of this came the journal al-Fath and, later, the Society of the Muslim Brothers. The anecdote could be read as the “framing” of his youthful enthusiasm as kalimat haqq, “speaking truth in the face of the mighty,” confirming al-Banna in his role as counsellor and earnest “warner”–telling, not as a statement of fact, but as an instance of self-projection and quite possibly self-perception as well. Al-Fath was combative and polemical, committed to the defence of Islam and what it considered Islamic morality; it also fought many of the socio-cultural “ills” al-Banna and the Muslim Brothers were later to attack – but it was not al-Banna’s creation.
As a historian, one ought to try to counter this tendency. Some technical remarks are called for. To illustrate al-Banna’s thought, or discourse, I have quoted amply from his writings, notably his Memoirs, tracts and talks published in the Muslim Brothers’ press. Unfortunately, these texts have been repeatedly reissued, sometimes without indicating the publisher and the year of publication. A number of al-Banna’s tracts are available in English translation. Whenever possible, I have referred to Charles Wendell’s Five Tracts of Hasan Al-Banna’ in addition to the original Arabic, taken from the collection of tracts Majmu‘at rasa’il, of which there exist several editions with different selections.
105–7). Al-Banna’s friends were sceptical when they first discussed the idea but willing to give it a try. So during Ramadan they went from one coffeehouse to the other, altogether some twenty establishments in one single night, where al-Banna gave short “sermons” (khutba) of five or ten minutes each, which were well received. By his own account, coffeehouse preaching had been his idea and initiative. When the conflict with Ahmad al-Sukkari erupted in the late 1940s, the latter’s friends credited al-Sukkari with the idea and claimed that it was originally linked to the Hasafiyya Brotherhood.