From Political Islam to Militant Islam: The Pursuit of Justice
This chapter explores the centrality of the term “justice” in Islamist intellectual culture and the marginal presence of political “freedom” in its political debates. It looks at how the original sources of the Muslim Brotherhood’s teachings, Rasaail Hassan al-Banna (“Banna’s Letters,” or “Banna’s Collection of Essays”), shaped the evolution of militant Islam from the 1970s to the establishment of al-Qaeda in 1998. Within this discussion, the chapter examines how the first decade of the twenty-first century became the most prolific decade of militant Islamist writing. This burst of jihad treatises makes analytical sense since this specific decade saw the development of al-Qaeda and the rise of the Islamic State. Focusing on the Muslim Brotherhood as an organization and its connection to militant Islamist literature, the chapter examines how both moderate and militant Islamist groups articulate their opposition to the West’s liberal freedom agenda while projecting a strong allegiance to literal justice and the legitimacy of redressing grievances through jihad.