Rise of the Arab Spring.



It is Evident that Arab Spring was a major activity and historical phenomenon in Middle East and North African Countries that jolts their politics forever. It also changes the policies of these countries domestically and internationally. But first we will see the Arab Spring with a bird view eye. The Arab Spring was an uprising against the governments of Middle Eastern and African countries. The first victim country of Arab Spring was Tunisia in 2010. The Tunisian guy Mohammad Bouazizi was the one who sparked this spring when he set himself on the fire. According to some opinionates and scholars islamisists groups were those who have taken the most of political benefit out of this situation. They also got some public support and people wanted them as an alternate to their secular governments.

During the Arab Spring Some democratic Islamic parties and Islamist groups were the risen factor and the main focus of debate I am also going to discuss today regarding this. If we look back into the history we will come to know that Islamist Parties participated mostly in Arab spring for example in Tunisia the “Ennahda Movement” participated in the protests and after the departure of Ben Ali Government they also present one representative in the parliament. Even in Egypt we can see a rapid rise of Islamic Brotherhood group party who is in Egyptian politics from the beginning. It was the Arab Spring reaction that Mr. Mohammad Morsi from Islamix Brotherhood took charge as a President of Egypt. If we go further and see Morocco we can see that here also Islamic group was in a leading role. The Party of Justice and Development has formed the government after winning two recent elections also in Kuwait and Jordan the parliaments have form the Muslim Brotherhood Members. In Kuwait the name of the movement is “Hadas” which is Muslim Brotherhood Arm in Kuwait. And in Jordan they are the Islamic action Front which is also correlate to Muslim Brotherhood.

The ideology of religion specifically Islam has influence in Arab world. Arab spring also showed that there is huge support of Islamic ideology in public mind set or we can also say that either it is influence of Islamic ideology or hatred against the Secular mind set. But there is a difference of being an Islamist and supporter of Islamic group. This can be observe in the elections whether these elections are presidential or Parliamentary. Mohammad Morsi from Egypt got 13 million Votes from all over the Egypt but we cannot say that those 13 million people are from Islamic Brotherhood yes we can say that they were endorsing their opinions and policies or we can say that these were the sympathizers with the Islamist mentality. This same thing is applicable on all those countries who witnessed Arab Spring.

Historical Background

In the Arab Political world Islamic movements are not a new phenomenon. It has a long history. There is a consensus of opinion amon the historians in the area of contemporary Islamic movements to the intellectual and reform efforts of Jamal ul Din Afghani and his disciple Mohammad Abdo (1849 to 1905) and Sheikh Mohammed Rashid Rida (1865 to1935) are evident of the Islamic movement and its impact on advancement and on the same time rejection.

There is a great influence of Jamal ul Din Afghani on Muslim generations.it can be seen widely on the magazine “Al-Urwah Al-Wuthqa” issued by his student Mohammed Abdo in Paris in 1884. Both the men announced the establishment of the global Islamic organization in the magazine but it was a wish more than a reality. This kind of specific thought can be observe in the Magazine Al Manar by Mr. Mohammad Rashid Rida. There is no doubt that the general concept and school of thought was surrounding around Nationalism, Colonism, establishment of Islamic law and politics along with some reform in the government.

The Afghani was much focused to express his intellectual and political thoughts on other intellectual and political thoughts especially from the west. He was keen to be accepted by the other political bodies in the region. He was also keen to dominate its political thought on those who were sought to abandon some Islamic teachings or to adapt them for advancement. He violently attacked the school of Modernism in Islam which was promoted by Ahmad Khan from British India. He also criticized the policy of Egypt and attacked the Shah of Iran Nasruddin to give concessions to British companies, but incited to kill him. He tried his best to cancel all reforms in religion and make it into the original and pure source. These kind of thoughts and the directions followed by his disciples Abdu and Reza are among the most influential movements that was the cause of birth and orientation of modern Islamic movements. The Self-understanding of these leaders in Islamic world confirmed the theory of Continuity. Imam Hasan al-Banna was linked to Sheikh Mohammed Rashid Rida and couldn’t hide his influence on him. But these signs of Theory of continuity should not let us overlook the facts and paradox in the movement own and created by Hassan al-Banna in Ismailia in 1928. This movement and Mohammed Rashid Rida created a living neighborhood, and the factors that led to its establishment were direct factors, initiating from a certain vision of the crisis, Existing Islamic institutions, including Al-Manar and its school, are no longer able to deal with this crisis. Al-Banna, as he mentioned, saw what he saw in the post-World War I period in Egypt as a sweeping current for the intellectual, cultural, behavioral and moral influence of the West, and made him feel the danger of mobilizing scholars and religious institutions to counter this tide of corruption and dissolution. But the fact is that their reaction was disappointing and unexpected prompting him to take personal and individual initiatives to highlight the problem, it was notable in the practice of religious preaching in cafes and public roads. In Ismailia he was soon offended, resisted and confronted with a problem that was a reaction of his own behavior, and about what he did to those who responded to his call. The answer also came immediately, ranging from responding to the demand of some workers there to help them learn about religion and practice. Then it was spread from one person to other and so on and soon it reached to thousands of members.

One of the Largest Islamic Movement is The Muslim Brotherhood Movement.the largest contemporary Islamic movement in Egypt, began as a youth movement founded by Sheikh Hassan al-Banna in 1928. It had achieved a title of practice and political organization in 1944 and then it was expanded its branches and reached to other Arab countries such as Syria, Palestine , Jordan, Sudan, Algeria, Yamen and even south Asia Pakistan and Bangladesh.

The main fundamental vision of this movement was to call all the regimes to apply Islamic law and to aware them about the decline they are facing is due to the lack of application and following Islamic thought and principles. These principles have emerged in the intellectual production of the Brotherhood and the writings of the group’s scholars who influenced their path like Sayyid Qutb and Abdelkaderaouda and others like Molana Modudi.Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, Fathi Yakan, Mohammad Ahmad Al-Rashed and Faisal Mawlawi.

The war of Palestine in 1948 was participated by the Muslim Brotherhood. They also supported the July 1952 movement and then collided with it. The Muslim brotherhood was expanded in different countries and due to confrontation is different regions the path in other regions were changed such as Hama Events in Syria. The Muslim Brotherhood and some of those who were influenced by the ideology of Muslim Brotherhood have a prominent presence and massive support in the Arab political scene in a number of countries such as Egypt, Morocco, Jordan and others. Recently, the Brotherhood in Syria has known a state of mobility within the opposition line to change the regime in Syria.

The dictators and monarchies in the second half of the 20th Century have accepted the ideology and activity of the Islamists in their land. Saudi Arabia and Jordan were those monarchies who were influenced by this ideology purposely or due to any compulsion. Though they had combated some psalmists in recent years but that was of principle of famous Chinese general “Enemy of my Enemy is my friend” the monarchies accepted the Islamic movements and the example of these Islamic movements are Muslim Brotherhood. In Jordan the Muslim Brotherhood were in one side with King Hussein bin Talal against the Baathist and generally the left wing. In Saudi Arabia, the books and studies of the Muslim Brotherhood were printed at the time of King Saud and King Faisal, and the Muslim Brotherhood along with the Kings were fighting Jamal Abdul Nasser’s nationalism secular thoughts. In Pakistan, Bangladesh they were known as Jamat e Islami.

Current Situation

          The current scenario of the Islamists is different from country by country. If we ll observe last decade we will see that the fall of dictators over the Middle East and North Africa amid the Middle Easterner Spring challenges in 2011 prepared for Islamist gatherings to join governments over the Middle East and North Africa. There are chances of these movements to up rise again in Tunisia, Egypt and Morocco.

In most of cities the gathering was limited but In Egypt, Sitting president of Islamic Brotherhood Mr. Mohammed Morsi was trailed by a notorious and merciless crackdown on the Muslim Fraternity. In Tunisia the Islamist Ennahda party lost the uprising but there is still massive support we cannot deny it.

While speaking to the world post Dr. Mohammed Fahmi talked about the condition of political Islam today. Fahmi is also Brookings Foundation Individual and the writer of Allurements of Energy, a book on Islamist developments.

After the Arab spring and due to its consequences Islamists ideology and parties related to this ideology gained control in some of nations in Middle East and North Africa. with a couple of exemptions, that power has disseminated. What happened to those gatherings?

The Islamic phenomenon and ideology has been opposed and confronted since its uprising from the inside and outside by many means, and has become increasingly targeted by many political and international organizations and regimes after having inherited the political presence that preceded it, and its ever spreading branches to the cultural space in the region as a whole. In order to make an attempt to oppose, resist and confront these Islamic ideology, the West has carved the term “political Islam” to isolate these elements of the specific ideology and phenomenon and its pioneers from their popular and cultural virtues. These tactic of movements and phenomenon into moderates, extremists and traditionalists.

Moderates or liberal were integrated and injected into Arab political systems through a codified participation to provide the political legitimacy and balance in the region. An international and regional campaign was organized to overcome and resist this ideology and extremists, while traditionalists were credited with supporting the regimes of political tyranny in the region.

In The meantime we can see that the Arab regimes have used the Islamic extremist’s phenomenon as a scarecrow to intimidate and warn the Western states from the Islamists. In the same vein, the objective was of these regimes to demonize and distort their cultural and political thought to isolate them from their regions. Despite the activities and policies taken to fight with the spread of Islamic Extremist ideology, the Islamists also advanced at a great pace and successful to finally occupied the cultural space in the region. It was the consequence of Arab spring that people start to raise voices against the regime openly and choose to take the power in most of the countries of this region.

The existence and survival of Islamists is after the Arab spring is due to their leading faction in resisting the occupation in all Arab squares. It was not only the religion but also hatred against the dictators and monarchs which help these movements to get success not hundred percent but in a great number. Secondly they were the front forces that have seen Arab tyranny and prisons. Thirdly, The nationalism.

Futuristic Expectations

The Islamists struggle to reach the government has not yet finished. It has aborted the power of military coup in Egypt and can be witnessed in counterrevolution in Tunisia. If we look back into history and try to learn something from it we will see that history experience is that those who take power from the government with military guns and bloodshed despite the strength of their political existence in the society got reaction and return again with the greater forces because the naked force and violent attitude in the field of politics cannot provide the legitimacy of the survival of the intellectual at any cost.

By learning and observing from the past, at present we can say that the islamists will remain a huge force in the politics of the region even some of them were removed from the government as we can see Mohammad Morsi government in Egypt but still there is massive chances of uprising in these countries because of ever unstable political bodies. The masses are still supporting these Groups not just because of the Islamic ideology but due to the harsh, monarch and dictatorship behavior of the regimes. In few countries this huge giant is sleeping but it will wake soon with more power, aggression and force than before. It will happen unless the political system of these countries will not get settled or they will not acquire the democratic system of government. This will be a cat mouse game where monarch and Islamists group will try to dodge each other time and again with the help of people or sometimes with non-state actors and external forces.

If we talk about Egypt specifically which is a perfect example of what we are talking about in Egypt they introduced a leading model in the government and in the opposition. Mohammad Morsi rule didn’t violate and crossed the human rights line he didn’t banned any media from freedom He has given an example of transparency by not getting paid from the government but he is facing a harsh full eradication campaign which is very unfortunate for the political stability and future of politics in the country. According to the course of history the cycle of revolution always in moving state. If the masses and public is currently lost due to the effects of propaganda campaign of any internal or external force they will definitely wake up one day to be more civilized, knowledgeable and then the uprising will be more result oriented. This is how history repeats itself. This cycle of revolution will never end until a pure democratic system replace the current political mess.

This is undeniable that Political Islam has not a pleasant experience for the world and has received some painful blows. According to some analysts it was the end of political Islam in the Arab and some thinks that it is just the beginning. Some of them remind about the revolution of July 1952 in Egypt, the attempt to eradicate the Muslim Brotherhood, and the bloody coup of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in 1987 in Tunisia followed in the same direction, in addition to the coup against the trial of the regime. In turkey Necmettin Erbakan leader of the Welfare Party aborted the rescue experience in Algeria All these four past events do not end the political Islam in the region.

Now there are three possible scenario which we can expect in future prospective. The first scenario is to build a reform approach just like Turkey experience which can give us idea and experience of both the Justice and Development and the experience of the Renaissance movement as well. In case of continuously adopting the logic of political actions and adopting the reforms with in state institutions and bodies. Second scenario is to launch reviews and views within the Islamic movements from Islamic brotherhood experience. And even in Renaissance movement. But this will only happen if the historical leadership plays a vital role in bridging the gap between them and the administrative leaders. This scenario will witness the same fate of these movements just like before. The rising of the Turkish party AK is part of the Welfare party under the umbrella of new administrative body and political system that reevaluate everything related to politics, its nature, components and weights along with its nature of interaction.

 The third and final scenario is the opposite of the second scenario where in Egypt the national alliance built and support Islamist Brotherhood party by reforming constitutional changes and implementing democracy The Brotherhood’s experience is best known. It will market its revolutionary model in the Arab region, and it is a model that is opposed to the Turkish model, in opposition to the makers of its experience, who used to call it the deep state components.


Even though the widespread promotion of the Islamists failure to rule and govern the issue with this thesis is that it lacks the credibility in several ways

First, because those who work as an opponent and repeat it are those who are opponents to Islamists.  They came into existence with the framework of the political conflict between them and other political forces that oppose them in transitional period followed by the revolutionary uprisings of the Arab spring.

Secondly, because the Islamists Movements were not successfully achieved what they were expecting to achieve while remain in the government. And also they have been subjected to a complex network of traps by the deep state whose diligence has thwarted the Islamists with disappointment and after this experience all the political forces opposing them at home and abroad.

Thirdly, because of the huge stake and influence of the west with this region. They accepted Islamists as a de facto imposition even they were against and by true means they were not in support to prolong the Islamist regime. The last phase was only a moment of absorption for them and a trap for their failure to remove them from power of states under the pretext of failure.

In the nutshell we can say that the counter-revolution to regain the initiative especially in the Egypt is not only the fault of the Islamists. But was the greatest responsibility of all those forces who were stake holders in that scenario and political arena.it will be quit unjust to declare Islamists the responsible for failure. If the Islamists have made a mistake, their mistakes fall into the wrong of means and diligence, while the mistakes of others are related to method and purpose, because a large number of these anti-Islamist forces led a systematic campaign to thwart their experience, and alliance with non-state actors and external elements.

In the past it was said, “He is not equal to asking for the truth, but he did not realize it, with those who wanted falsehood, so he followed it.” The difference is vast between error of ijtihad and error of passion and stubbornness.

The most important mistakes of Islamists were that they use the method of mobilization instead of building a strong relationship and partnership with other forces in the arena. That mistake increased the polarization in the society. It also created a huge gap between all the stake holders to engage in joint work it was the cause of inability to adopt a national discourse inclusive. The political overlap in the political discourse of the Islamists which arouse the anger of opponents and blew the fears of the western powers watching the Arab in the state of destabilization. It was the inability to differ between the requirements of the revolution and the requirements of the state to manage the stage of revolution with the tools of the state.

I personally think that the Islamists are going to survive these difficult time and days of disappointments. They are being attacked furiously by some of the Gulf States and northern African states. It is just a matter of time for them to rise again. Their existence cannot be deny because they are in huge number in Arab and other counties. There are success stories as well just like in Turkey. Recently people of turkey failed the attempt of coup over the government of Tayyab Erdigon who is from the Right wing political party of Turkey.


  • Maryam Jamshidi, “A Short History of the Arab World and the Arab Spring,” The Future of the Arab Spring, 2014.
  • Mohammed Jawad, “After the Arab spring: how the Islamists hijacked the Middle East revolts,” Choice Reviews Online 50, no. 02 (2012). 11
  • Marion Boulby, “Muslim Brotherhood,” Oxford Bibliographies Online Datasets. 2012. 5
  • Mohamed Daadaoui, “Of Monarchs and Islamists: The ‘Refo-lutionary’ Promise of the PJD Islamists and Regime Control in Morocco,” Middle East Critique 26, no. 4 (2017). 360
  • Yahya Birt, “Preachers, Patriots and Islamists,” Oxford Scholarship Online, 2017. 7
  • Soumia Bardhan, “Egypt, Islamists, and the Internet: The Case of the Muslim Brotherhood and Its Rhetoric of Dialectics in Ikhwanweb,” Digest of Middle East Studies 23, no. 2 (2014). 243
  • Yahya Boshnaq, “Future of Islamic Movements: Post Arab Spring,” Middle East in the 21st Century 23, no. 2 (2015). 17
  • Abir Hamdar, Islamism and Cultural Expression in the Arab World, 3rd ed. (Abingdon, United Kingdom: Routledge, 2015). pg 77


Sajjad Hussain