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MAHMUD, MUSTAFA (25 December 1921 – 31 October 2009), leading Egyptian Islamist philosopher, author, and scientist. Many scholars argue that Islamism in the Middle East is, among other things, a reaction against Marxism and that ex-Marxists have turned increasingly to Islam as an antimodernist ideology. Egypt’s Mustafa Mahmud, a widely known and generally respected figure, might appear to represent just such a trend. Mahmud has indeed rejected Marxism and has distinguished himself as an Islamist; but he is far from an antimodernist. Trained as a physician, Mahmfid has gained prominence as an Islamic entrepreneur: scientist, television personality, author of more than sixty books, cardiologist, and founder of a successful charitable organization. One of his early books, God and Man, was censored by the regime of President Gamal Abdel Nasser for its overemphasis on “materialism.”

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Raised and educated in Tanta in the Egyptian Delta, Mahmfid attended medical school at Cairo University. After graduation, he practiced medicine from 1952 to 1966. He also began to write. Turning to Islam after years of adhering to belief in Western values (especially secularism and materialism) and leftist modes of thought, he wrote his autobiography, Rihlati min alshakk ila al-‘imdn (My journey from Doubt to Faith), which became a national bestseller in Egypt in the 1970s. He also initiated a television program—-Al-`ilm wa al-imdn (Science and Faith)–dedicated to the precept that Islam and science are completely compatible and self-supportive. He founded the Mustafa Mahmud Society much in compliance with this theory-in the name of Islam, to promote the general welfare, and to maintain his extensive health center.

This Islamic organization, founded in 1975, contains an aquarium, library (for the study of Islam), observatory (to mark the precise dates for the beginning and ending of holy days), geological museum, seminar hall, health center (polyclinic) and hospital. The society also conducts tours to Islamic monuments, presents lectures and films, and sends relief aid abroad, for example, clothes and medicine to Afghan refugees; thousands of dollars to the Red Crescent in Sudan for victims of floods. In 1979, the society’s Office of Social Services began providing sociomedical services. By the early 1990s, approximately eight thousand families annually were receiving financial aid-monthly stipends, medical services (related to kidney, chest, cancer, cardiac, and leper illnesses), aid to poor students and to blind and disabled individuals.

Located on the main street of the upper-middle class district of Muhandisin, the Mustafa Mahmud Society links a mosque with a hospital, the former raising funds through zakat (wealth tax, alms), the latter providing health services. Beyond local contributions, Mahmud’s activities receive special assistance from his personal friends from Gulf Arab states, providing his society with hundreds of thousands of dollars annually. The health services these funds help to provide run the gamut from physical exams, blood testing, urinalysis, and diagnoses to kidney dialysis, appendectomies, CT-scans, and heart treatment. Dental and psychological services are also provided. In the late 1980s, a high-rise apartment building in Muhandisin was donated by a friend of Mahmud and is the society’s hospital.

The hospital has sixty beds, half of which are for charitable and low-price services. The medical staff consists of more than ninety physicians-perhaps the largest group among the thousands of Islamic societies throughout Egypt. Doctors and physicians receive anywhere from 20 to 50 percent of the value of their treatment.

This capitalist enterprise founded in the name of Islam is hardly representative of the vast number of Islamic societies in Egypt, but it is a model of achievement with financial benefits accruing to the staff and low-cost health care for thousands of patients. Through these achievements, Mahmud has provided tangible evidence for his theories linking Islam with scientific and socioeconomic advancement.


Ayubi, Nazih N. Political Islam: Religion and Politics in the Arab World. London and New York, 1991. Compares Mustafa Mahmud Mosque/Society to Islamic banks, companies, and other providers of social services. Also discusses Mustafa Mahmud along with other popular Islamists, such as Shaykhs Kishk and Sha’rawi.

Hammady, Iman Roushdy. “Religious Medical Centers in Egypt.” Ph.D. diss., American University in Cairo, 1990. Compares and contrasts Mustafa Mahmud Medical Center with other Islamic and Coptic facilities in Egypt.

Mahmud, Mustafa. “Islam vs. Marxism and Capitalism.” In Islam in Transition: Muslim Perspectives, edited by John J. Donohue and John L. Esposito, pp. 155-159. New York, 1982. Proposes Islam as an alternative to communism and capitalism, Islam being the nonmaterialist, spiritual, and humanist solution to the problems besetting developing nations. This article is based on his AlMarksiyah wa-al-Islam (Marxism and Islam) (Cairo, 1975).

Sullivan, Denis J. Private Voluntary Organizations in Egypt: Islamic Development, Private Initiative, and State Control. Gainesville, Fla., 1994. Presents the Mustafa Mahmud Society as a successful model of Islamic entrepreneurialism and charity in comparison with scores of other nongovernmental organizations promoting development and providing services the government has failed to support.



He was discovered unconscious on 1 November 2009, despite medics trying to resuscitate him he was already dead. He died at the approximate age of 88

His thoughts

On his website,Mustafa Mahmud gives the following opinions about various things:

In the usual course of things, he does not care for malice, envy and enmity, or wasting time arguing against them. He prefers keeping away from these abhorrent qualities and their owners to avoid wasting his power superfluously. The greatest triumph he has achieved in his life according to him was himself. It was as a result of the help of God, the strength with which He aided him, the Insight, the Light guiding his life and the virtuous model he had in his father, and his mother beside the righteous family he was brought up within.

The defeat of 1967 and the economic and moral collapse were the actual afflictions, which are still the most important ones, to be afraid of in his country Egypt. The victory of 1973 eased that feeling. Even though, the destructive influence of the communist system was ready to exist in his Egyptian country up till now.

He believes that the Egyptians have to go out from this communist environment, and from the remnants of the common economy brought into being by Abdel Nasser i.e., public sector, aimless free of charge educational system, the equality of workers and farmers in the number of voters, the oppression of a land owner by the tenant of the land whereby the tenant does not have any use of, but sublets it to others, leaving the countryside for cities and towns, agricultural collapse, the spirit of idleness, mutual dependence, envy, malice, alienation, and passive behaviors of which communism rooted in every field in the society.

The Egyptians have to cleanse our society from the fruitless and destructive methods of Abdel Nasser, because new buildings cannot be structured on a decayed foundation, taking into consideration that the building is not to be raised on a ruin. Unfortunately, the Egyptian set of laws is still suffering from Marxian failure, nevertheless the total change in our economic system. The very first problem, the Egyptians have to deal with is education i.e., its system and methods. These are to be completely changed. The very first concern is the focus on the high moral standards of work.

Merging of knowledge and performance is the only way for the economy to prosper, and for the population to change to bless. This is so clear by comparing the population of Japan or India, finding out that the Egyptians are less developed. As a result to working of most of them, India has covered its needs of corn. On the other hand, due to the high employment level, Japan overcame American products. South Korea, Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong have been able to be in the fore-front.

Work is a Kind of worship, blessing and belief. As long as education is exercised at home, in the mosque, in the factories, in the schools, and in the media, the Egyptians would be able to advance all the way. In Singapore, for example, the total number of its population is only three million; the total production exported abroad is about seventy billion dollars. This is tremendous as there is no petroleum, natural gas, iron, copper nor ore deposits. They even used to buy water from their neighbors. Hong Kong is one of the cities that produces and exports a larger amount of products estimated by doubles more than what Egypt, whose population is more than sixty million, exports; this is because of the incredibly high employment rate.

He is wondering, when will the Egyptians emerge from the field of malice, laziness, and the psychological ruin of which our authoritarian governments imbued in them, and become a productive working nation.

At which time are we to return to the normal innate nature, and fresh minds of which the true Muslim is characterized.

He hopes to be “himself” no more, and to introduce to the whole world the best he has to offer, and to go on working until his last breath, close to God, asking Him to be pleased with him. Finally, he hopes God allows him to leave this world as good as he can.

Azhar Niaz Article's Source: http://islamicus.org/mahmud-mustafa/

  • writerPosted On: July 30, 2014
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