National Subsets: Egypt

Moral Contours





Human Rights

Military Strength + Weapons Exports


Sustainable Development

Historical figures

1904 - 1949


Founder of Muslim Brotherhood in 1928 – initially a youth club with strong moral and social priorities, and thereafter with the increasingly more radical political agenda. His aims were formulated in terms of Islamic Jihad against foreign influences on Egypt and other Arab countries. He encouraged the development of an extensive network of secret cells, ready to engage in terrorist activities, including assassinations, in the interests of Islamic regeneration. He took up the Palestinian cause. He himself was assassinated. Contention regarding him is all the more acute since he claimed to occupy the moral high ground, but so do his critics, including some fellow-Muslims.




Hasan al-Banna: founder of the Muslim Brotherhood (2 mins)

1332 - 1460CE / 732 - 808 AH
Tunisia Egypt


Muslim scholar who examined the structure, movements and cyclic rise and fall of societies over time, and the variations between those dwelling in different environments – desert nomads, sedentary farmers and townsfolk. As such he is regarded as both a historian and pioneer sociologist. He was aware of the limited power of religion, except in the impact of prophetic intervention and potential for divine intervention. The value of solidarity tends to deteriorate in those holding power over decades, with negative moral consequences



7th - 6th Century BCE
Israel Egypt

One of series of prophets who feature within the Hebrew Bible/Tenak and Old Testament, who is also revered in Islam.  He lived through the events of the Babylonian invasion, destruction of the Jerusalem temple and exile to Egypt. He was explicitly critical of contemporary sinfulness, and pointed to the emptiness of religious ritual unless matched by moral integrity of the covenant obligations between man and God. One day this would be recognised in the living conscience of every individual.



LURIA,. Isaac
1534 - 1572
Egypt Palestine


Founder of the major Kabbalist mystical tradition of Judaism, he presented the choice of the Jewish people as God’s solution to the problem of evil in the world. By keeping the law they will hasten its final defeat and the coming of Messianic fulfilment.



MAIMONIDES (Moses ben Maimon)
1135 - 1204
Spain, Egypt

Moses ben Maimon (known as Rambam) was the leading figure of Medieval Judaism. Cordova born, the family fled to Morocco when he was 13, before moving to Palestine and then Cairo in 1165 where his medical expertise was put to the service of Saladin. He made a systematic collection of Jewish legal teachings, including the Mishnah which were published in Hebrew. Like most of his subsequent writings, his commentary on the Misnah was known as the Sayings of the Fathers and written in Arabic. To these he added theThirteen Principles of Faith. his Book of Commandments, and his Guide to the Perplexed. He consistently sought to interpret the Jewish faith in terms which were  rationally intelligible, and reconcilable with the thinking of Aristotle. Both his ethical teaching and theologian reflection were highly regarded by many Christians and Muslims as well as fellow Jews – but they were met with contention by many others,



Approx 13th c BCE

A central figure in Jewish, Christian and Muslim traditions. In the books of Torah in the Hebrew Bible (Tenak) and of the Christian Old Testament, he is the leader and lawgiver of early Israel. Born in Egypt, raised at court, defensive against individual oppression of the Jewish people and collective oppression, he leads them out of slavery (the Exodus) and towards the Promised Land. Key experiences include his hearing the call from God from a Burning Bush and his receipt of the 10 Commandments on Mt Sinai. In Jewish tradition he is also regarded as the source of the Oral Law and is the subject of many Haggadic stories. In the gospel stories of the Christian New Testament Jesus is represented as sharing several Mosaic features (childhood threat, teaching on mountain, pointing to a social transformation ahead). Cumulatively, the moral strictures associated with Moses have been enormously influential for both traditions and for wider Western civilisation.

In Islam Moses or Musa is also important – mentioned 502 times in the Qur’an, which is more than any other prophet. He is part of the successive line of prophets, beginning with Abraham and extending through Jesus up to the final prophet Muhammad, whose life story also emulates that of Moses and is elaborated in the subsequent stories of the Lives of the Prophets.

For some in all three traditions the accounts given in Scripture are regarded as literally true descriptions. For others, again in each tradition their truth is still vitally contagious, but in a symbolically indicative sense. Independent archaeologists and historians and generally inclined to be sceptical regarding historicity in the absence of independent corroborative evidence. That said, for Jews, Christians and Muslims Moses remains a formative figure for ethics and moral education.



c25 BCE - c50CE

A leading member of the Jewish community in Alexandria, he sought the mutual reconciliation between Greek and Roman philosophy (especially Plato and the Stoics) and those of Hebrew tradition, including the significance of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob as moral archetypes.

QUTB, Sayyid
1906 - 1966


Leading apologist of Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood. His early beliefs regarding the inadequacies of traditional Muslim education at home were, based on his student years on the US, extended to even stronger beliefs regarding the prevailing materialism and sexualisation of American culture. He advocated a return to what he considered to be the purity of early Islam, where observance of Sharia would guarantee a spirit of fairness. The sharpness of his moral critique of national political leadership led to his extended imprisonment and eventual execution for purported plotting of the death of President Nasser. His years in prison were an opportunity to produce systematic interpretations of the Qur'an and their application to contemporary life. Non-Muslims, and especially Jews, are identified as morally suspect. His standing within Islam is contentious with some Muslim scholars regarding him as a healthy critic of a world gone wrong and others as himself a dangerous and misguided delusionist.



In the Shade of the Qur'an (a multi-volume commentary)

Battle against the Jews

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