Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Middle Eastern Studies


Samira Haj

Subject Categories

Near Eastern Languages and Societies | Other International and Area Studies


al-Banna, dance, Egypt, Islam, Muslim Brotherhood, social history


In light of Randy Martin's proposal to use dance as an analytic tool for understanding social movements, this article seeks to reconstruct the early mobilization of the Muslim Brotherhood as "bodies in motion." Through a re-examination of both primary and secondary source material, this study highlights the ways in which founder Hasan al-Banna appropriated both Islamic and colonial choreographic logics into the Muslim Brotherhood's pious training regimen, scouting programs, political expression, and social welfare projects. I argue that the Muslim Brotherhood was mobilized through al-Banna's revival of traditional Islamic practices concerning the body, reconfigured for the goal not of otherworldly transcendence, but of the construction of a moral community committed to da`wa and the care of the material needs of others. This reconfiguration of embodied Islamic practices sets al-Banna apart as a unique figure within the political problem space of 1930s and '40s Egypt.