Shukri Mustafa was born in 1942 in Abu Khurus, Egypt, but his family moved to nearby Asyut while he was young. He attended an Islamic school and then Assiut University, and in 1965 he was arrested for distributing pamphlets for the Muslim Brotherhood. He was imprisoned until 1971, and Mustafa read Sayyid Qutb's extremist works, inspiring him to form the Takfir wal-Hijra terrorist group on his release. In 1973, he took his group to live in the caves of nearby mountains to live an isolated lifestyle, and he had 2,000 fighters by 1976, with most of them living in the poor neighborhoods of Cairo. He forced members of the group to cut off contact with their family, and in 1976 he led two raids to kill members of the group when they left to join other organizations. On 3 July 1977, former government minister and mainstream cleric Muhammad al-Dhahabi was kidnapped and executed by his group, leading to his arrest. On 19 March 1978, he was executed for his crimes.