Wednesday, March 10, 2010

And The Next Sheikh Will Be !!??

It has been hours since the death of Sheikh Sayyid Tantawy and yet the rumors mills did not stop on who will replace the late sheikh who holds the highest religious position in the Sunni Islamic world. Many Egyptians forget that despite the grand Emam of Al-Azhar Mosque position does not have the same respect it used to have in the past in Egypt , it is still important in the world.

Of course one of the things that made it lose its importance and respect in Egypt is the fact that the Grand Emam is appointed by the regime not elected as in the past. My dear reader one of the worst Nasser’s cons was that cancelling the old election system in Al-Azhar Mosque. The official reason for cancelling this system was that the new system intended to modernize the Mosque and its university !!! The unofficial reason was to control the Mosque which is the highest and oldest organization for Sunni Muslims in Egypt and in the world. Nasser understood and knew very well how Al-Azhar could play a vital role in this country and its quest for justice and democracy like what happened when its Sheikhs supported Mohamed Ali Pasha in early 19th century or like their great historical support to the 1919 revolution. Nasser wanted to use religion in his service as much as he could and changing the elections system was one step towards  fulfilling that target.

Since then the grand Emam of Al-Azhar has become another member of the Egyptian regime with my all due respect to all those who held that position and they were really great clerics and men of knowledge.  Late Sheikh Tantawy had a great opinions especially those that were against extremism but unfortunately he was not heard or rather trusted due to the fact he was regarded as part of suppressive regime that would hunt down anyone with a beard walking in the street and close Mosques after Al-Ash prayer. 

Now the candidates to fill the position of the grand Emam are either : Sheikh Ali Goma’a , the current grand Mufti of Egypt and Sheikh Ahmed El-Tayib , the previous grand Mufti of Egypt and the current head of Al-Azhar university. Already it was not a secret Goma’a wants to hold that position and personally I prefer him over El-Tayib  who is the another version from Ahmed Zaki Badr. Ahmed El-Tayib is a Sheikh with a police general rank !! Of course knowing the mindset of the regime and its fear from the future especially with ElBaradei, the President’s health and the clashes in Jerusalem , we can find El-Tayib appointed as the grand Emam as soon as Mubarak returns safely from Germany.

Here is an interesting list with the names of the grand Imams of Al-Azhar Mosque since the Middle ages till our modern time. Here is also the last  televised interview from the late Emam in MBC. Strangely the National TV did not alert its shows like it did during the 3 mourning days following the death of Mohamed Mubarak JR may Allah bless his soul.

By the way Sheikh Tantawy is third grand Emam of Al Azhar to die in President Mubarak’s era.

In the end I believe Al-Azhar will not restore its position in the world and will not serve Islam and human civilization as it used until Egypt is liberated from dictatorship.

Again May Allah bless the soul of the late Sheikh , I would like to remind all of those who did not respect the death of this man today that he left a legacy not only sons that pray for God to forgive him but also his work that remained after him : His books.


  1. In the list of Azhar heads since middle ages, have you noticed that Sheikh El Azhar in Mubarak era stays for a longer time than before. I am wondering why is that.

  2. I only wish if Mubarak make a curtsy judgment and leave the selection to the coming Egyptian president Dr. ElBaradie. It is an important position that needs to be rejuvenated.

    I am sure Dr. ElBaradie will appreciate the gesture from Mubarak..

    Mohajer Masry

  3. I nominate Hassan Shehata. Seriously.


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