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Hassan al-Banna's self-criticism
Hassan al-Banna's self-criticism
I sought to tackle an important aspect in the life of the martyred Hassan al-Banna, a great man, who adhered to the doctrine of Allah in a combination of theory and practice.
Tuesday, February 2,2010 01:06
by Essam Tellima Islamonline

Thorny Issues almost inspired me to write this article is outlined as follows:

 First: Unfortunately, Islamists always place liability on third parties and so it is without doubt that external factors and malicious plans are the main cause of failure. 
Secondly: If we examine the publication of books on the heritage of Islam, we do so in order to devise lessons. We have learnt about the battle of Uhud in detail and comprehend well the invasion devising lessons from all their victories and failures; nevertheless we content ourselves without applying them into reality. In other words, we memorize divine texts, which urges self-accountability of our evil and good deeds and are ready to deliver dozens of speeches and lectures, publish books. However rarely do we turn all that into a tangible reality in terms of thinking and everyday life.
Thirdly: Some Islamist leaders claim that all published self-criticism is just a noise made against the movement specifically designed to impede its substantial progress published only to tarnish its reputation inn addition to not being acceptable
Unfortunately, those who work for Allah's cause sometimes lash out at intellectuals and writers especially at those who highly criticized certain conditions within the Islamists movement. Rather than refute their false claims, we have embarked on launching a series of stinging attacks against the authors. Moreover we commit it in the name of Allah under the pretext that they are keen on preaching Islam as if it has become a monopoly. More importantly the Islamic identity is devoid of any willingness to suppress the freedom of expression.
I sought to tackle an important aspect in the life of the martyred Hassan al-Banna, a great man, who adhered to the doctrine of Allah in a combination of theory and practice.  In one incumbent aspect Islamist and preachers have a major stake in thinking. With plans and religious activities many will not be satisfied after the Book of Allah and His Messenger but the legacy of al-Banna. A pleasure in any case with a man we have accepted as a leader. Let us consider together the reality of missionary activities and the reality of all those around him, then discuss the attitude  towards the  trait of self-criticism in particular and criticism in general.
The Project is divided into four phases. Self-criticism and Hassan al-Banna, Hassan al-Banna's criticism of others, Hassan al-Banna criticized by others. And lastly why we fear criticism and why do some people criticize the movement?
Hassan al-Banna and self-criticism
Hassan al-Banna was a permanent self-critic never satisfied with himself.  He will always be remembered as either exacerbating self-criticism to himself or to his brothers only to discover faults.  What they needed in the next stage and why they failed, what led to it, and how to avoid future failure? He contemplated often on how to make the movement's internal affairs run institutionally not individually?  All of these reviews are clearly prepared to monitor, analyze and examine Hassan al-Banna's profile and all his intellectual, political and missionary activities.
Al-Banna views self-criticism as an institutional activity.
 Al-Banna was not content with preaching and guidance alone, but also urged all to follow suit. Al-Banna initiated educational programs to have a leading priority and respected the mind of the Muslim Brotherhood (the family) by giving advice and constructive criticism of issues that were inherent rights of individuals. He promoted the three pillars of education namely acquaintance, understanding and solidarity. Al-Banna preached  "you must stand firm in the straight Path as you are commanded to do what Allah has commanded and to avoid what He has prohibited and hold yourself accountable  weighing your deeds before they are weighed for you. Give advise whenever it deems necessary, and accept with gratitude and pleasure," Offer advice in the best form possible.  Furthermore, one must not tell his "secret" to anyone else except his leader in case he is unable to discipline his behavior, al-Banna said. The latter must preserve the integrity and appreciation that "Allah might accomplish a matter already enacted".
People to be advised should be free from fanaticism and intransigence and tolerate their brothers because the highest level of love is worship and love is the foundation and essence of godly living. Advice is the cornerstone of this religion 'Verily religion is advice and may Allah protect you from people and keep the Devil away. 
Forms of Al-Banna's self-criticism 
Al-Banna held himself accountable for negligence and questioned his deeds daily urging the movement's members to do so. Not only was he discontent with himself he also added the criticism to worship that was individually performed or daily collective acts of worship.  
Al-Banna often wrote articles and held himself and his group accountable, questioning why do we give? Why we succeed? Why we fail? And what is needed to be done? All of these procedures were to hold a soul accountable for its actions. In his article published by “Al-Nazeer” magazine Al-Banna "How may one hold  himself accountable for his action?" he explained that accountability must be done as a group and as a nation, however they have not yet succeeded in performing the task outlined in the existence of colonial powers in the Muslim world. 
By Muharram {the first month of the Islamic calendar} Al-Banna wrote a year later in Al-taaruf Magazine an article titled "Two years in the Balance... one year ending and another invisible in which he addressed the  supporters of the Brotherhood members, at the end of the Hijri year, demanding them all to hold their soul accountable saying:
(O, Brothers, the first step is the need to reform purify our soul, questioning are we feel reassured? My beloved people "If ye do deeds of righteousness, verily He is Most Forgiving to those who turn to Him again and again in true penitence.
Hold yourself accountable by taking into account those who adhere to the principles of right and power of Islam.
Are you fulfilling obligatory duties of Islam? Are you far from sin?
Do you like the charity? What have you done for yourself or the people? Are you ready to strive for your idea? Are your body, mind and emotions healthy? Have you tried to spread your idea among your neighbors? Can one or more of your friends have faith in your ideas?
Every Muslim with such questions must first hold his soul accountable, to assert where he is by way of the Muslim Brotherhood.
The whole society must be held accountable as it is not your mission alone but the principal task of the Brotherhood's Guidance Office and its administrative bodies and individuals.
What did Brotherhood members do for charity for the people around them? How many people have you convinced with the movement's principles, programs and teachings? How many projects have you succeeded in? With such questions, we want to weigh aspects and means of struggling for the Muslim Brotherhood's bodies.
 The entire order as it is our principal mission and that of every Muslim who believes in Allah and His Messenger, we must constantly ask ourselves about the new changes that have occurred in our daily life either to bring us closer or widen the gap between us and what was ordained by Islam. 
"We need to be cautious for fear that self-satisfaction causes convenience, however the right path is very long and complex, Imam Hassan al-Banna said, adding frustration can lead to feelings of hopelessness and despair despite the fact that the mercy of Allah is near to those who do good. Our duty is always to be inspired by the success for progress and also learn the lessons from failure in order to redouble efforts. This is the yardstick by which I wanted to place between your hands my dear brothers in the New Hijri Year to keep you always on the alert).
Al-Banna criticized weakness in pursuit of knowledge
Al-Banna observed incredibly low levels of knowledge among the Brotherhood's members by the end of the 1940s and as a matter of self-criticism and after receiving many complaints from some Brotherhood leaders, he accelerated the pace to address this imbalance where he established the periodical Al-Shihab Magazine in which he put a methodology and his desire to overcome a lack of knowledge. It was organized in sections, including constant ones for Tafseer (An explanation of the verses of the Quran). Al-Banna began to write an Introduction to the Glorious Qur'an, then an interpretation of Surat Al-Fatiha, and then begins to explain verses of Al-Baqarah followed by a section for "The Traditions of the Prophet Muhammad" has been entrusted to his father Sheikh Ahmad ibn Abdul Rahman al-Bann who wrote in Book of Jihad, followed by "The Methodology of Hadith" and "The Islamic social system". He criticized culture of the Brotherhood members and tackled what he found of weaknesses with regard to Humanities and Islamic law. 
Al-Banna's critique of special organization and unjustified violence
Al-Banna in his last days criticized the conduct of the special organization after the pervasive and widespread pandemic of violence. He told Sheikh Al-Ghazali, "If I have the lead, I will order them to adhere to Ma'thooraat (religious texts) only" meant that he had wished that the  members of the group regularly adopt a spiritual value which should  preceded the  taking up of arms, Al-Banna classified ranks of force where  Islamic activities ran smoothly where he said  with " Firm belief, powerful brotherhood, solid cooperation and sophisticated weapons," as he made strength of the forearm and the armament in the final grade in such a manner that the preceding ranks, immediately led to an imbalance  where problems are foreseen only by God Himself . Sheikh Al-Ghazali ascertained that al-Banna criticized himself and his group over the special organization and excessive use of force. 
"Mr. Mustafa Amin, who owned Akhbar Al-Youm, called me one day in mid-December, 1948 where he arranged a meeting between me and Chairman of the Muslim Brotherhood Sheikh Hassan al-Banna. At seven o'clock the next evening, I met with Sheikh Hassan al-Banna in Mustafa Amin's office at Al-Rawda and was the first time I and Brotherhood's Chairman met together, Thabit said. He continued saying that al-Nuqrashi dissolved the Assembly of the Muslim Brotherhood, its affiliates and seized its funds taking in implementation the measures required by which he launched a new wave of arrests against the group. 
Sheikh Hassan started relaying to me about the injustice measures that made him repeat his complaint. He then went on to say that" deviation of the Muslim Brotherhood members from the path to engage in policy was a big mistake as it was incumbent upon them to avoid, confining only their activities to the benefit of the Islamic call and focusing their efforts in advocating moral purposes and ethics of Islam that which is the main reason for the formation of the movement.
This constructive criticism was narrated by al-Ghazali and Sheikh Karim Thabet and reported by Moheb al-Deen al-Khateeb in his full article. It also contained a diary of Sheikh Abul Al-Hasan, Al-nadawy quoting Al-Banna's words directly. Sheikh Abdel Moez, Abdel Sattar reported that Abdul Halim Abu Shaqqa, author of " The Liberation of Women at the Time of the Prophecy" went and complained to Imam Hassan Al-Banna low-level of knowledge and spiritual values of members of Special Organization as they became merely physical force without the legitimacy nor spiritual strength and that this is cause for serious alarm.
Critical writings about the Muslim Brotherhood
In the era of Imam Al-Banna, he opened the door for an extensive self-criticism of the group where Dr. Abdul Aziz Kamel in charge of Families at that time visited houses of Brotherhood members in most of the Egyptian governorates monitoring educational imbalances and defects and wrote a series of articles reached more than thirty article, entitled "talk to active Brotherhood members" It is a series published in the bi-monthly Journal of the Muslim Brotherhood may Allah send a researchers collected, examine and publish it for its significance.
Dr. Mohamed Fathi Osman wrote critical analysis as he was entrusted by Imam Hassan al-Banna high responsibility of one section of Brotherhood's bi-monthly magazine. He wrote an article criticizing some faults in the Students Section. Dr. Farid Abdul-Khaleq was his boss at that time and wrote article entitled (to students) in which "With your permission Mr. Farid Abdul Khaleq". When Dr. Abdul Aziz Kamel wrote an article praising special organization that they are masterminded people with great importance, while the rest are marginal that mater triggered Mohamed Fathi Osman answer in a lengthy article in the Journal of the Muslim Brotherhood as well.
Finally, Hassan al-Banna's biography, his public and secret sermons as well as his writings in newspapers and magazines are filled with endless self-criticism that driven us to the fact that "self-criticism in the eyes of Hassan al-Banna was an institutional and is officially declared, recognized and welcomed either.
tags: Al-Banna / Self-Criticism / Islamists / Islamic Identity / Islamist leaders
Posted in Profiles , Other Opinions  
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