Skip to main content

Inside the Brotherhood

Inside the Brotherhood

Hazem Kandil

ISBN: 978-0-745-68292-1

Oct 2016, Polity

240 pages

In Stock



This is the first in-depth study of the relationship between the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood and its own members. Drawing on years of participant observation, extensive interviews, previously inaccessible organizational documents, and dozens of memoirs and writings, the book provides an intimate portrayal of the recruitment and socialization of Brothers, the evolution of their intricate social networks, and the construction of the peculiar ideology that shapes their everyday practices. Drawing on his original research, Kandil reinterprets the Brotherhood’s slow rise and rapid downfall from power in Egypt, and compares it to the Islamist subsidiaries it created and the varieties it inspired around the world.

This timely book will be of great interest to students and scholars of the politics of the Middle East and to anyone who wants to understand the dramatic events unfolding in Egypt and elsewhere in the wake of the Arab uprisings.

Introduction 1

1 Cultivating the Brother 5

2 Building the Brotherhood 48

3 Forging the Ideology 81

4 The Slow Rise and Rapid Fall from Power 119

5 Islamism in Egypt and Beyond 146

Conclusion: The End of Islamism? 175

Appendix: A Note on Theory and Method 179

Acknowledgements 184

Notes 185

Bibliography 199

Index 210

"Kandil's overall portrait offers an impressive but bleak dissection that debunks the wishful thinking of many liberals who imagined the Brotherhood as a left-wing counterweight to Egypt's generals"
International Affairs

"The overall thrust of the book presents an interesting and plausible account of recent historical events in Egypt. But the real value of the work lies not in its ideological drive but in the richness of its empirical data and the rare glimpse of this well-known but little-understood religio-political movement 'from the inside'."
Middle East Monitor

"A deeply intimate portrait of an organisation rightly known as "the mother of all Islamist movements."
Morning Star

"Hazem Kandil has written a fascinating, highly intimate account of the internal practices of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood. Kandil takes the reader inside the organization to reveal detailed information about everything from recruitment practices to social network formation to construction of an organizational worldview. Inside the Brotherhood is essential reading for anyone who seeks to understand the Muslim Brotherhood's political rise and fall in Egypt."
Lisa Blaydes, Stanford University

Hazem Kandil has written an original and challenging interpretation of the organisation and ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood enriched by unique access to members and functions. The subordination of policy and strategy to piety and proselytization helps to explain the Brotherhood's twists and turns at crucial points in modern Egyptian history, and their rise and fall since 2011, as well as the messianic reaction to their defeat and suppression."
Sami Zubaida, Birkbeck, University of London

By probing what it means to be a Muslim Brother, exploring how the Brotherhood organization is structured, and placing religion at the center of the movement's amorphous ideology, Hazem Kandil offers helpful new interpretations even when going over familiar ground. The resulting picture is not always flattering, but it helps shed light on the group's sometimes puzzling behavior."
Nathan Brown, George Washington University

'Fascinating and lively.'
Foreign Affairs

"Hazem Kandil's Inside the Brotherhood, as its title suggests, contributes remarkably to our understanding of the inner ideological commitments and organisational dynamics of the brotherhood through its examination of MB instructions, dozens of memoirs by MB members and years of observing and participating in its activities and social networks."
LSE Review of Books

"Kandil's book is able to provide an in-depth, elaborate analysis of the contours of the recruitment and socialisation process as well as the re(construction) of networks."
Political Studies Review