Its founder, Hassan Al-Banna, was influenced by Islamic modernist reformers Muhammad Abduh and Rashid Rida (who attacked the taqlid of the official `ulama, and he insisted that only the Quran and the best-attested hadiths should be sources of the Sharia), Al-Banna avoided controversies over doctrine.It downplayed doctrinal differences between schools (although takfiring Bahais and Ahmadi Muslims) emphasizing the political importance of worldwide unity of the Muslim Nation (umma).Islamic governments must be based on this system and eventually unified in a Caliphate.

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Outside the Arab world it also has influence, with a former President of Afghanistan Burhanuddin Rabbani having adopted MB ideas during his studies at Al-Azhar University, and many similarities between mujahideen groups in Afghanistan and Arab MBs.

According to scholar Olivier Roy, as of 1994 "an international agency" of the Brotherhood "assures the cooperation of the ensemble" of its national organizations.

If a muntasib "satisfies his monitors", he is promoted to muntazim, or "organizer", before advancing to the final level -- ach 'amal, or "working brother".

Groups were founded in Lebanon (1936), in Syria (1937), and Transjordan (1946).

These parties are staffed by Brotherhood members but they are kept independent from the Muslim Brotherhood to some degree, unlike Hizb ut-Tahrir which is highly centralized.

Potential Brethren start out as Muhib or "lovers", and if approved move up to become a muayyad, or "supporter", then to muntasib or "affiliated", (who are nonvoting members).As Islamic Modernist beliefs were co-opted by secularist rulers and official `ulama, the Brotherhood has become traditionalist and conservative, "being the only available outlet for those whose religious and cultural sensibilities had been outraged by the impact of Westernization".Al-Banna believed the Quran and Sunnah constitute a perfect way of life and social and political organization that God has set out for man." The Muslim Brotherhood position on political participation varied according to the "domestic situation" of each branch, rather than ideology.For many years its stance was "collaborationist" in Kuwait and Jordan; for "pacific opposition" in Egypt; "armed opposition" in Libya and Syria.These three volumes provide an up-to-date, expert account of this complex contest across contemporary Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia and Brunei in a comprehensive form not attempted for decades, including coverage on a range of areas including legal doctrine, substantive laws, judicial decision-making, the administration of religion, intellectual debate and state policy developments. Muslim societies today are torn between radical Islamist reformers calling for Shari'ah law and secular governments using law to contain and co-opt it.