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This chapter analyses the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood’s discourse on the caliphate, the Islamic state and how this is applied in the kingdom’s context. As such, it shows the diversity of Islamist views on this matter and begins to give an idea of the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood’s divisions that partly account for why scholars have drawn such different conclusions with regard to the ‘inclusion-moderation’ thesis.
This chapter deals with Sunni Islamic political thought with regard to the state, political participation and societal rights and freedoms (religious minority rights, women’s rights and civil liberties) from the time of the Prophet Muhammad to the twentieth century. It does so for three reasons: firstly, classical Islamic political thought forms an important source of the Brotherhood’s ideas; secondly, dealing with the classical tradition also shows the continuity and change of Sunni Islamic political thought from the advent of Islam to modern-day Jordan; and thirdly, this chapter introduces many of the basic concepts that will be dealt with in greater detail later on. This chapter concentrates on Islamic political thought until the twentieth century, showing that sharīʿa-centred, umma-centred and balanced approaches to Islamic political thought could already be discerned in classical times with regard to the three themes mentioned above. These serve as the basis for the analysis of the problems that the modern-day Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood has to deal with. Based mostly on secondary sources, this chapter is divided into three main sections: the first concentrates on the state; the second focusses on political participation; and the third deals with societal rights and freedoms.
The Brotherhood-affiliated driver of the slow car mentioned in the Introduction most likely wanted to portray his organisation as law abiding. Although I think he was rather disingenuous about the state of his vehicle, I do believe this book has shown that he was right about the willingness of the Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan to play by the rules. This conclusion summarises my findings on this law-abiding organisation, focussing on the development of Islamic political thought, the Jordanian Brotherhood’s historical and ideological trajectories and its place in the debate on the ‘inclusion-moderation’ thesis. Finally, it answers the question of how and why the Jordanian Brotherhood has moderated its views and positions on the topics of the state, political participation and societal rights and freedoms in the period 1946–2016 and what the wider implications of this are.
This chapter deals with the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood’s views on political participation. It analyses the four different means of political participation distinguished in Chapters 1–2 (commanding right and forbidding wrong; consultation; oath of fealty; and obedience) that act as links between the core concept of ‘ruler’ and the adjacent concept of ‘umma’ (and ‘sharīʿa’). It first deals with them from the point of view of global Islamist scholars who have influenced the Brotherhood in Jordan and then by analysing the divided ways in which the Jordanian organisation has used these itself. As such, it – again – shows the diversity of Islamist ideas on these issues and deepens our understanding of why the divisions within the Jordanian Brotherhood are so important with regard to the ‘inclusion-moderation’ thesis.
This chapter delves into the Jordanian regime’s policies towards the Muslim Brotherhood by dividing the history of the organisation in Jordan into three different periods: 1946–1989, during which relations with the regime were mostly good and characterised by cooperation; 1989–1999, when the regime and the Brotherhood had less need for each other and the latter began to contest the former’s power; and 1999–2016, during which both parties took a more confrontational approach, with the regime eventually subjugating the Brotherhood to its will. Because the next three chapters are dedicated to the Muslim Brotherhood’s ideological moderation or radicalisation in the context of Jordanian politics and society, this chapter will focus on the group’s behaviour and the regime’s inclusion or repression of the organisation.
‘Is there a problem with your car?’ I asked. A member of the Muslim Brotherhood in Amman, whom I had just interviewed, insisted on driving me home, but we were moving so slowly that I could not help but think that his car was not in mint condition anymore. We were certainly not going any faster than 40 kilometres per hour and other cars were passing us left and – this being Amman – right, often loudly sounding their horns. Moreover, the car was producing such an amount of noise that suggested it was being powered by a jet engine, which – given our lack of speed – was clearly not the case. Despite all this, my host answered my question by saying: ‘Oh, the car is fine.
This chapter deals with the variety of thought among the thinkers of the early Muslim Brotherhood about the three subjects of the state, political participation and societal rights and freedoms in the period of the late 1920s to the late 1970s. It indicates what main stances can be discerned about the three issues mentioned among the major thinkers associated with the organisation. This is important because the ideological divisions in the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood still run along the lines of sharīʿa-centred, umma-centred or balanced thinking and, as with classical Islamic political thought, have also been heavily influenced by the early Brotherhood’s beliefs. As such, the ideological outlook of these three different trends has shaped the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood’s overall stance towards the subjects of the state, political participation and societal rights and freedoms dealt with in this chapter.
This chapter deals with the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood’s views on societal rights and freedoms. It starts with an analysis of whether and how Islamic law should be reformed according to global Islamist scholars who have influenced the Jordanian Brotherhood as well as the members of that organisation itself. It then moves on to analyse religious minority rights, women’s rights and civil liberties from the perspective of both global Islamist scholars that Jordanian Brothers cite and the latter themselves. Although this chapter shows the Brotherhood’s relative unity on the issues dealt with, this – conversely – nevertheless furthers our understanding of why the divisions within the organisation are so important with regard to the ‘inclusion-moderation’ thesis.
Since its founding in 1945, the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood has enjoyed decades of almost continuous parliamentary presence and state acceptance in Jordan, participating in elections, organising events and even establishing a hospital. In this detailed account of the Muslim Brotherhood's ideological and behavioural development in Jordan, Joas Wagemakers focusses on the group's long history and complex relationship with the state, its parliament and society. It shows how age-old concepts derived from classical Islam and the writings of global Islamist scholars have been used and reused by modern-day Jordanian Islamists to shape their beliefs in the context of the present-day nation-state. Far from its reputation as a two-faced global conspiracy bent on conquering the West, the Muslim Brotherhood is a deeply divided group that has nevertheless maintained a fascinating internal ideological consistency in its use of similar religious concepts. As such, it is part of, and continues to build on, trends in Muslim thought that go back hundreds of years.