How many members of the Association “Muslim brotherhood”?

“Numbers are important!”

If you ask ten people who were aware of the Association “Muslim brotherhood” in any Arab country about how much, in their opinion, the members of this Association, permanent and non-permanent, many sympathizers to her, then you will get ten completely different numbers.

From the first day of appearance of “Brothers” in Egypt in 1928 with the filing of Hassan al-Banna to the present, they are the victims of inaccurate information and numbers, concerns Arab officials, lack of confidence in them and dialogue with them, as well as exaggerated facts and statistics.

Even if we are talking about their presence in 72 of the Arab, Islamic and non-Islamic States, on six continents (American statistics says about 70 countries of the world), it seems to me that these figures should be checked and updated, if, of course, we are talking not only about presence but also about the organizational capacity of the Association.

If we ask a number of leaders of “Muslim brotherhood” in Egypt the number of members and related figures, we see that currently there is no official census of members of the Association who are under arrest and are involved in a lawsuit on charges of belonging to “Brothers” and subversive activities in several Arab countries. However, according to the study, which was conducted by DIAA rashwan of the center for strategic studies, “al-Ahram”, the number of members of the “Muslim brotherhood” in Egypt is currently between 2 million and 2.5 million people. According to Rashwan, this figure was obtained by comparison between the data available regarding the number of members of the “Brotherhood” in the forties, the population at that time and his strength for the moment.


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Yousef Nida, responsible for international relations of the Association, called pretty much figure put on the number of members of the “Muslim brotherhood” in the world. So, in interview to the newspaper “al-Misri” in 2008, he confirmed that the number of “brothers” in the world has exceeded one hundred million people, according to the latest at that time (2007) statistics available to the Association. The same figure was mentioned earlier in an interview with “al Jazeera” in the program “Without borders”.

With regard to one of the leaders of the “Muslim brotherhood” Abdel Hamid al-Ghazali, in 2009, in an interview with the newspaper “al-Masry al-Yaum” he said that the strength of the Brotherhood in Egypt has reached 15 million people. Of these, 10 million are so-called ordinary members, activists, and the remaining 5 million is their supporters”. He added: “It is not our imagination, it’s statistics. However, if we talk about the number of members of the “Muslim brotherhood” outside of Egypt, the exact figure is unknown to me”.

Abdul Sattar al-Meligy, a former member of the Association in an interview with “al-Masri al-Yaum”, conducted in 2008, expressed his disagreement with the figures announced by Nada and al-Ghazali. According to him, the total number of members of the “Muslim brotherhood” along with all the sympathizers, supporters and fans does not exceed 100 thousand people. Al-Meligy also stressed that the number of activists of the Association does not exceed 5 thousand people, among them 85 members of the Shura Council. He added that there are about ten Egyptian provinces, where the “Brothers” are not present at all. However, there are reasons to doubt the objectivity of his words, because al-Meligi was expelled from the Association.

In an interview to Egyptian television in 2011, the spiritual leader of the “Brothers” Mohammed Badia refused to disclose information regarding the number of members of the “Muslim Brothers”. He promised that it will happen when it will be given a written permission to do so and it is certain that no member of it will not bring any harm, alluding to the fact that the number of “brothers” is much less than 750 thousand people, a figure which was announced by the newspaper “al-Ahram” before the revolution.


The report of the Egyptian newspaper “Al-Shuruk” in 2011, it said, “an Informed source at the Association said that the number of its members reaches 861 thousand people two categories of members”. It was stated that this figure does not include other categories of members, among them those who have the right to vote in internal elections, but is not an activist and not required to pay a monthly membership fee. Also, this figure does not include so-called fans associations, which number in the hundreds of thousands of people. With regard to the total number of members of the “Brothers” of all levels and categories, it can reach two million people.


Lawyer Mukhtar Noah, former leader of the Association, in an interview with the newspaper “al-Mission” stated that the number of members of the “Brotherhood” is estimated at 500 thousand people.

Monitoring report by the Egyptian newspaper “al Ahram” in 2005, which involved about 2000 criterion was that the number of supporters of the Brotherhood reaches 750 thousand people.

At a Symposium at the University of Delaware American Professor of political science and international relations, specialist in Middle East Affairs at the faculty of Economics and political science, University of London Professor Fawaz Gerges (Fawaz Gerges) stated that “it is Most likely that the “Muslim brotherhood”, which currently are a group of moderate Islamists who can win not only on the Egyptian elections, winning at least 25-30% of the votes of Egyptians. Given that the world’s 1.3 billion Muslims, they would have won in any Arab or Islamic country, if it was there in free and fair elections”.

It seems that a similar situation is repeated in Jordan. In the meeting with the participation of many media and all those who have interest in the Affairs of the Islamic movement in Jordan, we reviewed a number of statistical reports. One well-known journalist, in a personal conversation said that the number of members of the “Muslim brotherhood” in Jordan ranges from 5 to 8 thousand people, however, after some time he returned and said that the figure is about 15 thousand people.

Active member of “Brother” confirmed that this figure may reach 20 thousand, while the former leader of the Association said that this number may reach 40 thousand people, and it does not take account of its supporters, followers and family members, numbering nearly a quarter of a million people. This figure seems exaggerated, especially when you consider how many votes they received in the recent elections, and how many people participated in separately organized by the “Brothers” rallies.

A journalist close to the “Muslim brotherhood”, has confirmed that the figure will not exceed five thousand people, considering all branches of the Association. So, she’s 42 branches, and all of them are represented in the Shura Council. Each office, the number of members exceeds 100 people, represented in the Council by one person.

However, the Association has a high degree of discipline and responsibility, and hierarchy and its members do not want to provide data regarding their units, and sometimes even intentionally distort the numbers, increasing them, understating. It all depends on political considerations and security concerns. It’s part of the game in secrecy or lack of accurate data?

There are other questions: why Arab governments exaggerate information about the strength and influence of the Association? Is their purpose to exaggerate posed by the threat and later on use it to defeat them or to exclude them from political life under the pretext of protection of the state, society, country?

The analyst will consider this question under different angles of view, and I stress that to measure the influence of any political party or group is just counting its affiliates, as the impact is not caused by the number of headquarters and institutions, it is due to the number of its followers, supporters, and ideological base and its popularity.

Organizations like the “Muslim brotherhood” are influential in the political and public scene, not only thanks to its members, but thanks to the popularity of promoted their ideas. As a result, the number of members is not so important, because the majority of the votes received by the Islamists in the elections are not votes of the members of the Association they belong to its followers and sympathizers to citizens or those who trust everything that is connected with religion and religiosity.