3 What Role Did The Nasser And Sadat Presidencies Play In Shaping Political Islam In Egypt?

1884 words - 8 pages

Political Islam is playing a major rule now in the current political scene; so it is important to analyze how it rose in Egypt and how it has been shaped over the years. The political Islam is mainly a set of ideologies that holds the belief that Islam can be a political ideology as much as it is a religion. Although Islamic thinkers have always emphasized the enforcement of the Islamic law (Sharia) as the main reference of the state’s political and social ideologies, they never agreed on the exact means and degree of enforcing it. This difference of course dates back to the early times of Islam when different interpretations lead to a schism in the guided Caliphate called the Great Fitna ...view middle of the document...

And so, it can be said that political Islam was awakened by social, political, and economic factors. However, no one can deny that it has been provoked by oppression, controversial policies, being banned from political participation, violence, manipulation of the public opinion and etc.
At first, Abd El Nasser tried to co-opt the Muslim Brotherhood to his side to benefit from their popularity. The relationship has evolved into cooperation in 1954 when Mohamed Naguib called for democratic elections and for the army to return to its bases; Abd El Nasser opposed that and made an agreement with the Muslim Brotherhood in order to get rid of the political parties on the scene and free the atmosphere for both of them only, and the MB agreed and this was a strategic mistake. After that, Mohamed Naguib was put under house arrest and Abd El Nasser became the president; but then at the same year, there was an attempt to assassinate Abd El Nasser, while making a public announcement in El Manshia. Nasser suspected the brotherhood and many of the Islamists and ordered the execution of six of the suspects, and the arrest of several thousand, which included Sayyid Qutb (who was the founder of Islamic Jihad movement ideology) and Ayman al-Zawahiri. Nasser by that had simply announced his opposition to the Islamic groups and made them “the banned groups”. Nasser’s main aim in that was centralizing the power and protecting the revolution from potential opponents, including the Muslim Brothers. Islamists then were becoming more and more anti- Nasser’s state and his regime, even more so after the 1967 defeat; they made us of the Arabs’ defeat in Egypt by referring it to Nasser’s deviation away from God and his “war on Islam” had led to the defeat, and that God was punishing them for that. The Islamists by that were trying to win the public and fuel them against Nasser and his regime, but Nasser was smarter than and declared his resignation in order to divert the attentions so the Islamists’ aims could not be fully achieved.
In his era, Nasser introduced “Arab socialism” from which he made various political, social, and economic reforms. Although Nasser tried to link his view of socialism with the Islamic teachings and many statements about it, Nasser’s ideology was secular at its core and so he made sure there is a separation of religion and politics. His reforms and ideologies were to suppress the influence of the clergy and prevent them from interfering in matters of the state and also to imprison and outlaw the Muslim Brotherhood and the Islamists in general. It is only with the collapse and defeat of secular nationalism in the late 1960s and early 1970s that a space opened for the revival of political Islam. Nasser’s ideology with the Muslim brotherhood converted them from a struggling group against the colonization of Britain to a group which interferes in politics and wants to hold political positions and be in power. Also his oppression to them and the...

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