Freemasonry in Egypt provided an outlet for political and social organization in the era of British colonization, and Masons played a role in the ‘Urabi revolution.
Anti-colonialist organizers such as the Islamic thinker Brother Jamal al-Din al-Afghani, Brother Muhammad ‘Abduh, and the noted writer Brother Ya’qub Sannu’ (of Abu Naddara fame) were prominent members of various Egyptian Masonic lodges.
Al-Afghani actively sought out Freemasonry because of its political dimension as a liberation movement:
“As the Freemason society does not interfere in cosmic politics, while it includes every free builder, and as the building tools it has are not used for demolishing the old buildings to erect the monuments of liberty, brotherhood, and equality, and as it does not raze the edifices of injustice, arrogance and oppression, then may the hands of the free never carry a hammer and may their building never rise…The first thing that enticed me to work in the building of the free was a solemn, impressive slogan: Liberty, Equality, Fraternity – whose objective seemed to be the good of mankind, the demolition of the edifices and the erection of the monuments of absolute justice. Hence I took Freemasonry to mean a drive for work, self-respect and disdain for life in the cause of fighting injustice.”
Sayyid Jamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī, a political activist and Islamic ideologist in the Muslim world during the late 19th century.