Richard P. Mitchell’s book “The Society of Muslim Brothers” is one of first and most authentic book on the formation, Ideology and objectives of Muslim Brotherhood.  Being a study conducted during most crucial period of Egypt, the time of Egypt revolution of 1952 and based on observance of true incidences and interviews of prominent personalities of Egypt (Brothers and non Brothers) it also provides a deep insight into Egyptian politics. “The Society of Muslim Brothers” was one of the first serious attempts to study the “resurgence of Islam” which was the basic principle of the ideology of Muslim Brotherhood. “Richard Mitchell’s book was one of the first serious studies of what it is now customary to call the “resurgence of Islam” and it still remains one of the best”, wrotes Albert Hourani. The book serves well, the interest of social scientist, seeking a detailed case study of a mass movement in the Third World and also of the students of Egyptian politics and history.

The Society of Muslim BrothersMitchell has divided his book into four parts; the first part includes the historical account of formation and decline of Brotherhood and also provides detailed account of Hasan Al Bann’s life. This section provides the history of the movement from its establishment up to its banning and execution and imprisonment of its leaders by Nasser government in 1954. Mitchell’s prime focus here is on the role played by the Muslim Brothers during the tumultuous period when British backed monarchy was replaced by military council.

The second part covers the structural and functional framework of the organization.  The third part discuss the important component of book, the ideology of Brotherhood, this portion discuss the brotherhood’s attitude and thinking about Zionism, Capitalism, West and Communism. Writers here made a candid approach while explaining the Brotherhood’s concern over the class divide in the society and presence of two cultures on the sides of Suez Canal, one representing the western Culture with luxurious life style and other constituted of poor hungry and homeless Egyptians. In fourth chapter author has concluded his work by giving a short account of political actions on political aspect of Egypt.

Mitchell’s work provides a perspective contrary to the established perspective on Muslim Brotherhood which contributed to establish a wrong image of Brotherhood. It also cleared many misconceptions regarding the Brotherhood. He said that Brotherhood wanted to go back to Islamic principles under Sharia not to seventh century. He further said that society want a moderate Sharia which is evident from their readiness and emphasis for Tajdid (renewal) and Ijtihad.

Dr. Ghulam Nabi Naz, Research Fellow, Department of Political Science,Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh

Email. 7417607141



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