Answering the Call: Popular Islamic Activism in Sadat’s Egypt


Answering the Call examines the means by which the Muslim Brotherhood was reconstituted during Anwar al-Sadat’s presidency. Through analysis of structural, ideological, and social developments during this period of the Islamic movement, a more accurate picture of the so-called “Islamic resurgence” develops – one representing rebirth of an old idea in a new setting. A key factor in The Muslim Brotherhood’s success in rebuilding its organization was attracting a new generation of Islamic activists that had transformed Egypt’s colleges and universities into a hub for religious contention against the state. Led by groups such as al-Gama’ah al-Islamiyyah (The Islamic Society), the student movement exhibited a dynamic and vibrant culture of activism, finding inspiration in many intellectual and organizational sources, of which the Muslim Brotherhood was only one. By the close of the 1970s, however, internal divisions over ideology and strategy led to rising factionalism. Many student leaders opted to expand the scope of their activist mission by joining the Muslim Brotherhood, thus rejuvenating the organization and launching a new phase in its history. This original study of the history of this dynamic period of modern Egyptian history gives readers a fresh understanding of one of Egypt’s most pivotal eras.

Abdullah Al-Arian