Saturday, October 9, 2010

Breaking Down False Idols

Last week was the complete shocks week from Dostor to the Sheikh Hassan’s Fatwa about Egyptian antiquities.

Sheikh Mohamed Hassan is from the most famous Salafi clerics in Egypt and if I may say that he is the most influential among them according to my knowledge , the man has become an icon.

Last week we found out Sheikh Hassan issued a fatwa which says the following “as far as I understand”

If you find an antiquity in your property , you can sell or keep it because it is yours, but if what you find is a statue or  an artifact with a representational painting than it should be destroyed because it is haram.

Dangerous fatwa if we consider the fact many of those who listen to this man are mesmerized with his words and if we analyze it , we find it calling the people to destroy ancient statues and taking over state’s properties to be sold in auctions as long they are gold !!

I am not an expert in fatwas but I believe if the early Muslims who saw and listened Prophet Mohamed “PBUH” live did not destroy or issue a fatwa to destroy the ancient statues and temples in Egypt because who made them were unbelievers , then it is Halal matter for 14 centuries. Of course I do not think that modern day Salafis will welcome the fact that an Egyptian Islamic saint is believed to be from the early Egyptologists in history because that man was a Sufi.

Statues and representational paintings are hated by  radicals not only in Islam but from my readings I found that also radicals in Christianity and also Judaism who are also prohibiting statues and paintings , in fact they prohibit all kinds of arts. 

Archeologists , Egyptologists and intellectuals were shocked and stood against that dangerous fatwa. Of course the Salafi supporters stood behind Hassan attacking those secular archeologists …etc. It was a sad irony that Professor and Dr. Mohamed El-Kahlawy  , the head of Arab archeologists association was attacked viscously because he dared to criticize and debate Hasan ; the irony comes from the fact that this Dr. Mohamed El-Kahlawy JR ,the son of Egyptian famous religious singer Mohamed El-Kahlawy and the brother of famous Egyptian woman Islamic preacher Abla El-Kahlawy aka Mama Abla !! 

Of course I was waiting to hear Zahi Hawas’ opinion in this matter but it seems that Hawas is either busy or does not want to enter a war with someone who is more popular and influential than him in Egypt.

When the matter reached to the general prosecutor , we found the Sheikh denying officially this fatwa despite there is a video proof that he said that fatwa last year. Some people say that the radical Christians are behind this but this does not matter to me because according to news report he said that fatwa on air in 2009 and some believe “some here are not few but rather many” it is 100% correct.

What is dangerous is that his supporters after standing strongly behind his fatwa are now applauding that he denied his fatwa , turning 180 degrees to the level that I think that they will join the friends of Egyptian museum association !!?? 

That 180 degrees change is what made me so interested in this incident as it shows how powerful and influential the Salafi clerics like Hassan are. Hassan himself is turning in to some sort of an idol with my all respect , I read comments that if the state touched him , there would be a revolution !! What kind of talk is that !!?? Dangerous and alarming.

I have been following Hassan and honestly this man is implementing what he learned from mass communication perfectly yes he was graduated from mass communication not from Al Azhar unlike what most people think. I do not and will not comment on his religious views because I do not have the ability or knowledge to debate his religious views , I only comment on his media behavior.

The Salafi power in Egypt can’t be ignored and the Mubarak regime would be an idiot if it thinks that it can control or tame the Salafis in order to conquer the Muslim brotherhood. You can understand the power of the Salafi in the street by witnessing their anti-Orthodox Church protest they hold every Friday. The Mubarak regime thinks that it can control that genie but they are wrong because we are speaking here about thoughts , a way of thinking that has entered many houses in Egypt and will not leave easily , we are speaking about generations raised on the Salafi channels that consider their clerics untouchables and more holier than anyone else , we are speaking of a generation that is raised on the belief that these Sheikhs are only right and the rest of the world is going to hell. The fear is that this growing and popular power or genie can turn in to a violent one , these false idols can’t be brought down easily because already the regime is considered as secular dictatorship one !!

The Salafi term , the real Salafism has been hijacked and is mixed with radical thoughts that are alien to our society , Islam has been in Egypt for 14 centuries and moderate Islam had become part of our culture but unfortunately we are living in a very hard critical time and so it is understandable to witness radicalism in all aspects.

I still have hope and faith in this country which God protects from any evil , simple Egyptians in old good days used to say God protects Egypt because Egypt hosts the shrines of Prophet Mohamed “PBUH” family , the same shrines the Salafis hate how much Egyptians honor and love !!


  1. Good for you for calling out that appalling fatwa, doubly appalling in the country with the most awesome antiquities on the planet. But of course it's not only Salafis. The Shiite museum authorities in Iraq give short shrift to pre-Islamic artifacts. The Taliban blew up the Bamiyan Buddhas. And historically it hasn't been only Muslims. Stone from the Roman Coliseum, bronze from the frieze of the Parthenon, and Aztec gold were re-purposed by Christians a long time ago. Fortunately most of the world is better behaved these days.

  2. A cleric who takes 180 degree turn when confronted by the general prosecutor in my opinion is a coward.
    If his followers adopt violence the Mubarak regime will unleash it's guard dogs and castrate them as they did to the MB.
    Like all fanatics, this man has a character flaw and several skeletons in his closet that the MI is well aware of and will use it when the time is appropriate.

  3. Ancient Egyptian monuments have been experiencing destruction & defacement over the past 3,500 years.
    Destructive incidents occurred whenever a new Pharaoh took power, adopted a new God or wanted to erase the traces previous rulers.
    With the introduction of Christianity to Egypt followed by Islam, ancient monuments experienced further destruction by having their components used for building materials or defaced for religious reasons.
    Various foreign invaders did their share of destroying Egypt's history (eg. The Giza Sphinx was used by Turks for target practice).
    In the past,I have witnessed Egyptians, foreign and Arab tourists inscribe their names/initials on the Giza pyramid stones, to which I protested to no avail.
    It is up to each Egyptian to enforce their existing laws whenever they witness a criminal act taking place to their historical monuments, after all what do you think a French citizen would do if they saw me inscribe my name on the Eiffel Tower?
    The Canadian.


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