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Hassan al-Banna
Arabic: 'ash-shaykh hassan 'all-bannā

Hassan al-Banna

Hassan al-Banna in the 1940's.

Hassan al-Banna

Hassan al-Banna in younger years.

(1905-1949) Egyptian Islamist leader, and founder of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Hassan al-Banna was a man of modest background from the Nile Delta region in northern Egypt, and educated as a teacher from Cairo Teachers College and from the famous Al-Azhar University.
The main inspiration for his religious involvement was from the magazine Al Manar which published the writings of Muhammad Rashid Rida. The organization he started when he was 22 was initially a moderate one in its intent, but changes in the political climate and reorientations in its ideology, made the Brotherhood active in violent operations from the late 1940's.
The first Brotherhood was a youth club stressing moral and social reform, promoting this through education and propaganda.
Banna was an active writer. He wrote memoirs, as well as numerous articles and speeches. Among his most important books is Letter To A Muslim Student, in which he explains the principles of his movement.
Banna's legacy is still active, and his movement has spread to many other Muslim countries. His ideas were developed further, especially by Sayyid Qutb to become the cornerstone of anti-Western, anti-Caucasian attitudes in the Muslim world.

1906 October: Born in Mohammediya in northern Egypt as the oldest son of a watch repairman. Banna's family was very religious.
1923: Banna finishes his teacher education as the best from in class.
— He is admitted to the famous Al-Azhar University, despite his young age.
1927: Banna starts working as a teacher in a state school in the city of Ismailiya near the Suez Canal.
1928 March: Establishes the Muslim Brotherhood together with his brother and 5 others.
1933: Moves the headquarters to the capital, Cairo.
1942-45: Travels many times to Jordan, where he sets up Brotherhood branches in many towns over the entire country.
1948: Banna declares that the Egyptian government is responsible for the Arab weakness in the First Palestinian War against newly formed Israel.
1949 February 12: Banna is shot dead in Cairo by secret service agents.

By Tore Kjeilen