ABSTRACT

This chapter analyses the ideological transformation of Islamism during its politicization over the past century. Islamism or political Islam emerged with the foundation of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood in 1928. Its branches later spread to Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and Kuwait in the Mashreq; from the 1970s, the organization had counterparts in Morocco, Algeria, Libya and especially Tunisia. One of the main results of Islamism's claim to comprehensiveness was the tension between its origin as a piety movement, its political claims and the seeking of power and its option of using violence. The chapter examines the politicization of Islamism and its gradual opening up to political ideas, a discourse of rights, cross-ideological alliances and democracy. New Islamist intellectuals took the doctrine of shumuliyya to its extreme in promoting a total submission to God as the only means of personal liberation in the struggle against authoritarianism.