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We Say the Following about the Debate about Quranists between the Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi and the Head-Sheikh of Al-Azhar

 

We Say the Following about the Debate about Quranists between the Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi and the Head-Sheikh of Al-Azhar

 

 

Published in November 20, 2018

Translated by: Ahmed Fathy

 

 

 

 

Firstly: about the head of Al-Azhar:

1- In his speech today, the current head of Al-Azhar, Dr. Ahmad Al-Tayyib, attacked the trend of Quranists; he delivered his speech from a piece of paper written for him; he never talked about anything new.

2- The head of Al-Azhar, in his speech, ascribed the Quranist trend to Indian scholars! This means that he deliberately did not mention the fact that Al-Azhar itself was the pioneer in religious reform in Egypt through the intellectual endeavors of its former head the imam Mohamed Abdou (who died in 1905) whose Azharite disciples (e.g., Taha Hussein, Ali Abdel-Razik, Mustapha Abdel-Razik, and sheikh Al-Maraghy) were never up to his level of courage and reformist ideas. The head of Al-Azhar will never dare to mention our intellectual endeavors since the 1970s when we were an assistant professor at Al-Azhar University; we have built on the legacy of M. Abdou and we have suffered many types of persecution, along with many of our fellow Quranists. With our bare hands and modest means, we strive, within our website, for the sake of pleasing the Lord God and for the sake of reminding people of His Word: the Holy Quran. We never care for those who persecute us or verbally abuse and insult us in their videos and writings. As a Quranist thinker, we never impose ourselves and our ideas on anyone; we never seek rewards from anyone; as much as we can, we forgive those who insult our person. 

3- The head of Al-Azhar, in his speech, quoted the silly, fake hadith about Muhammad (supposedly) predicting that men will sit and talk about his 'hadiths' to undermine them using the Quran, while forgetting that Muhammad is a 'legislator' within Islam like God Himself! This blasphemous, untrue hadith is never uttered by Muhammad; in fact, this hadith has been fabricated by Sunnite scholars/imams during the Abbasid Era to face the minority of Quranists at the time who rejected all Sunna hadiths and insisted that the Quran is the Only Source of Islam. This silly hadith reflects the debate between Sunnites and Quranists during the Abbasid Era. Before the fabrication of this hadith, there was a similar debate between the Sunnite author Al-Shafei and the Quranists who were the disciples of the Quranist thinker Abou Hanifa. This indicates clearly that the Quranist trend in the intellectual history of 'Muslims' began with the imam Abou Hanifa; this Quranist trend had many followers (who remained a minority in all eras) who debated with Sunnites. 

4- This is a most important fact: Prophet Muhammad is the very first Quranist; i.e., he believed in no books alongside with the Quran; the Lord God has commanded him to follow and adhere only to the Quran: "So adhere to what is revealed to you. You are upon a Straight Path." (43:43); "Say, "I do not say to you that I possess the treasuries of God, nor do I know the future, nor do I say to you that I am an angel. I only follow what is inspired to me."..." (6:50); "...Say, "I only follow what is inspired to me from my Lord." These are insights from your Lord, and guidance, and mercy, for a people who believe." (7:203); "Say, "I am not different from the other messengers; and I do not know what will be done with me, or with you. I only follow what is inspired in me, and I am only a clear warner."" (46:9).

5- When the head of Al-Azhar quoted a false, fabricated hadith, this proves that he believes in the myth that Muhammad predicted the future. Hence, the head of Al-Azhar rejects and disbelieves in the Quran which asserts that Muhammad never knew the future events (in this world and in the Hereafter) and he never talked about them: "Say, "I am not different from the other messengers; and I do not know what will be done with me, or with you..." (46:9); "Say, "I do not say to you that I possess the treasuries of God, nor do I know the future..." (6:50); "Say, "I have no control over any benefit or harm to myself, except as God wills. Had I known the future, I would have acquired much good, and no harm would have touched me. I am only a warner, and a herald of good news to a people who believe."" (7:188).

6- The head of Al-Azhar believes in fake discourses/narratives/hadiths instead of the Divine Discourse of the Lord God in the Quran.

6/1: The head of Al-Azhar, who is an old, senile man and about to die, sticks to myths and rejects the Quran; he rejects the Quranic warning expressed here: "Have they not observed the government of the heavens and the earth, and all the things that God created, and that their time may have drawn near? Which discourse, besides this, will they believe in?" (7:185). This Quranic verse shows clearly that the Only Discourse in which monotheistic Muslims believe is the Holy Quran: the Lord God's Word. 

6/2: Those who believe in other discourses/narratives/hadiths alongside with the Quran are undermining, denying, and rejecting God's Divine Discourse: the Quran. We infer this fact from these Quranic verses: "Woe on that Day to the rejecters. In which discourse, beyond this, will they believe?" (77:49-50).

6/3: The monotheistic belief within Islam is all about the belief in One God, Allah, and in One Discourse: the Quran which is God's Word: "These are God's Verses which We recite to you in truth. In which discourse, after God and His Verses, will they believe?" (45:6); it is noteworthy that directly after this verse, the Lord God warns sinful liars who reject and disbelieve in the Quran because of their belief in devilish hadiths/narratives/discourses; He warns them severely against Hell-torment: "Woe to every sinful liar. Who hears God's Verses being read to him, yet he persists arrogantly, as though he did not hear them. Announce to him a painful torment." (45:7-8).

7- The head of Al-Azhar is among those who believe in distracting tales and false discourses/hadiths instead of the Quran.

7/1: There is the Best Discourse of Truth; God's Word: the Quran itself: "...And who speaks more truly than God?" (4:87); "...And who is more truthful in speech than God?" (4:122); "God has sent down the Best Discourse..." (39:23).

7/2: There is distracting tales and false discourses adhered to by the head of Al-Azhar who is misguiding others by such devilish discourses/hadiths. The Lord God says the following about the likes of the head of Al-Azhar: "Among the people is he who trades in distracting tales; intending, without knowledge, to lead away from God's Way, and to make a mockery of it. These will have a humiliating torment. And when Our Verses are recited to him, he turns away in pride, as though he did not hear them, as though there is deafness in his ears. So inform him of a painful torment." (31:6-7). The Quranic expression (Among the people) in the verse 31:6 indicates the fact that there will be the likes of these deniers of the Quran in all eras. The verses 31:6-7 miraculously apply to the head of Al-Azhar because of his words and deeds (and his reluctance to show the Quranic Truth which contradict hadiths) that show his rejection of the Quran and his belief in distracting tales/narratives/hadiths which have nothing to do with Islam and which he uses to misguide others.

8- The head of Al-Azhar, in the speech he delivered from a piece of paper written to him by others, repeats that same centuries-old blasphemous accusations against the Quran; he said that it is incomplete and vague and it needs discourses/hadiths/narratives of human beings to 'explain', 'interpret', 'complete', and 'detail' it! The head of Al-Azhar said that the Quran is lacking as it does not contain details of how to perform the daily prayers. We have refuted such a false claim by asserting and proving in our writings and subtitled-into-English YouTube videos that acts of worship such as prayers, pilgrimage, and fasting are inherited in Arabia as traditions from the monotheistic religion of Abraham; when distortions occurred to these acts of worship by polytheists, the Quran descended to reform and correct them and to command believers to follow the monotheistic religion of Abraham. The Quranic methodology in reforming the distortions that occurred to the religion of Abraham is NOT to mention or change what is correct; this includes the times of the five daily prayers and the number of their Raqas; the Quran only tackles how to correct distortions; we infer this from these verses: "O you who believe! When the call is made for prayer on Congregation Day, hasten to the remembrance of God, and drop all business. That is better for you, if you only knew. Then, when the prayer is concluded, disperse through the land, and seek God's bounty, and remember God much, so that you may prosper. Yet whenever they come across some business, or some entertainment, they scramble towards it, and leave you standing. Say, "What is with God is better than entertainment and business; and God is the Best of providers."" (62:9-11). Within new legislations, the Quran gives details explaining them; e.g., the prayers performed in times of fright. More details about this topic are found in our two-part book about prayers published on our Quranism website.

9- The head of Al-Azhar in his speech attempted to show that the Quran is incomplete and lacking; he made himself among those who seek to undermine, refute, and ridicule God's Verses; the Lord God says the following in the Quran about such sinful disbelievers: "But those who strive against Our Verses - these are the dwellers of Hell." (22:51); "As for those who strive against Our Verses, seeking to undermine them - for them is a torment of a painful plague." (34:5); "But those who work against Our Verses, seeking to undermine them - those will be summoned to the torment." (34:38).

10- The head of Al-Azhar imposes on Egyptians backward, contradictory hadiths; we have proven in our writings the contradiction and discrepancy in the so-called hadiths; many hadiths urge committing heinous acts of terrorism, aggression, bloodshed, and other atrocities. Thus, the head of Al-Azhar repels people away from the Lord God's Path (i.e., the Quran) which is the Book descended and given to Muhammad as a source of mercy to the humankind: "We did not send you except as a mercy to the humankind." (21:107). The misguided head of Al-Azhar is abusing his temporal power and authority to distract others away from the Lord God's Path, the Quran, and to crook the Way/Religion of the Lord God in order to misguide others. The Lord God has warned such type of sinful people against Hell so that they would repent before they die: "And the dwellers of Paradise will call out to the dwellers of the Fire, "We found what our Lord promised us to be true; did you find what your Lord promised you to be true?" They will say, "Yes." Thereupon a caller will announce in their midst, "The curse of God is upon the unjust ones." "Those who hinder from the Path of God, and seek to distort it, and who deny the Hereafter."" (7:44-45); "Those who hinder others from the Path of God, and seek to make it crooked; and regarding the Hereafter, they are in denial." (11:19); "Allah - to whom belongs what is in the heavens and the earth. And woe to the disbelievers from a severe torment. Those who prefer the present life to the Hereafter, and repel from the path of God, and seek to make it crooked - these are far astray." (14:2-3).

11- Those misguided and misguiding ones who seek to mislead others will never be guided even if Muhammad himself would call them to repent and seek guidance: "Even though you may be concerned about their guidance, God does not guide those who misguide..." (16:37). An old man, a sheikh, who has spent most of his life in misguiding others and this brought him stature and wealth will never repent, right? We have posed this question within one article of ours titled: "Is It Possible that the Head of Al-Azhar Would Declare his Repentance in Public".

12- What is mentioned by the head of Al-Azhar about Isnad (i.e., series of narrators of hadiths) while quoting the words of orientalists, shows clearly that he is an ignoramus; in our book about Isnad, published on our website and in print in Cairo in 1998, we prove that Isnad contradicts both the Quran and the basics of research methodology.

 

Secondly: a comment on the speech delivered by President Al-Sisi:

1- The current Egyptian President differs from his predecessors; he is an avid reader and a cultured man. Al-Sisi has realized the vital importance of introducing religious reform in Egypt; yet, he tactfully and within a 'politically correct' stance renamed this religious reform within this label (the reform of religious discourse in Egypt). Al-Sisi has requested from the head of Al-Azhar, and other Azharite sheikhs under him, to undertake the mission of reforming the religious discourse; they did nothing at all; this is because they are the source of the problem and can never be part of its solution. The head of Al-Azhar has aborted all reform endeavors initiated by Al-Sisi. The head of Al-Azhar feels powerful because he relies on the Saudi influence in Egypt and in Al-Azhar. Even when the Saudi Crown-Prince, M. Ibn Salman, has decided to introduce reform which includes disregarding Wahabism (to which the head of Al-Azhar adhere), the head of Al-Azhar fell silent and never commented on this reform which is much talked of inside Saudi Arabia. The speeches of Al-Sisi and the head of Al-Azhar within the Sunnite celebration of the birth of Prophet Muhammad (whose birth-date is unknown; this celebration or feast is rejected by Quranists) show the struggle between the Egyptian President and the head of Al-Azhar regarding religious reform. We advise Al-Sisi to readily fire the head of Al-Azhar and the sheikhs under him from their posts in order to get rid of them; they have no influence at in Egypt in terms of popularity and in terms of political life.  

2- In 1998, during our work at the Ibn Khaldoun Center, we have introduced our project/initiative to reform Egyptian education, especially the religious curricula, to make students and pupils more tolerant with the non-Muslim (e.g., Coptic Christian) Egyptian citizens; we have written a screenplay/scenario of a documentary movie produced by the Ibn Khaldoun Center about tolerance within the Egyptian nation; we have written another one (also produced by the Ibn Khaldoun Center) based on a true story in history about Egyptian tolerance towards Copts during the Abbasid Era. As a result, Al-Azhar and the other deep-state apparatuses in Egypt launched a war against our person and against the Ibn Khaldoun Center, which was closed down and its owner, Dr. Saad-Eddine Ibrahim, was imprisoned; other Quranists were imprisoned at the time, whereas we managed to flee to the USA in Oct. 2001 where we sought and obtained political asylum. We have read recently about the project of the Egyptian Minister of Education to make the religious curricula consists of unified books for both Muslim and Christian students and pupils, focusing on moralistic aspects. This has been suggested in our project/initiative 20 years ago which incurred the wrath of the Mubarak regime. In fact, the destructive influence of Wahabism, with its extremists and fanatics, has made Egypt suffer many losses and has caused the stagnation of Al-Azhar for decades. Until when the Egyptians have to wait for the religious reform imposed by the State? What are the more losses the Egyptians have to suffer if the State remains hesitant regarding introducing immediate religious reform?!     

3- The much-needed religious reform is based on the following Islamic principles inferred from the Quran.

3/1: Islam in terms of behavior is peace; all citizens who adhere to peaceful demeanor are Muslims regardless of their religious affiliations. Peace is the basis of full citizenship among citizens who should be equal to one another in Egypt. In contrast, those armed aggressors who terrorize innocent, peaceful people and practice coercion/compulsion in religion are disbelievers/polytheists because of their violent behavior and they act against the Lord God and deserve to be punished severely in case they do not repent and adhere to peace: "The punishment for those who fight God and His Messenger, and strive to spread corruption on earth, is that they be killed, or crucified, or have their hands and feet cut off on opposite sides, or be banished from the land. That is to disgrace them in this life; and in the Hereafter they will have a terrible torment. Except for those who repent before you apprehend them. So know that God is Forgiving and Merciful." (5:33-34).

3/2: Islam in terms of faith inside hearts is monotheism of (There is no God but Allah) and to submit to God's Word, the Quran, without deifying things/items and mortals (prophets and/or non-prophets). The Lord God is the one to judge all humanity on the Last Day regarding their faiths; hence, it is NOT the mission of the State to 'guide' citizens to make them enter into Paradise; in fact, guidance is an individual responsibility: "Whoever is guided - is guided for his own good. And whoever goes astray - goes astray to his detriment..." (17:15); "And to read the Quran to them. "Whoever is guided - is guided to his own advantage. And whoever goes astray, then say, "I am one of the warners."" (27:92).

3/3: The following points are the result of the above ones.

3/3/1: The mission of the State is to be confined to maintaining security, justice, social solidarity to the poor and the needy, and religious, political, and economic freedom of all citizens.  

3/3/2: There should not be in Egypt any official institution that controls religion; no clergymen have the right to assume that they represent God as His deputies on earth to 'guide' people; many Quranic verses assert that Muhammad was never a guardian over anyone, because guidance is an individual responsibility: "Say, "O people, the truth has come to you from your Lord. Whoever accepts guidance is guided for his own soul; and whoever strays only strays to its detriment. I am not a guardian over you."" (10:108); "We sent down upon you the Book for mankind in truth. He who follows guidance does so for the good of his soul. And he who strays in error does so to its detriment. You are not their guardian." (39:41); ""Insights have come to you from your Lord. Whoever sees, it is to the benefit of his soul; and whoever remains blind, it is to its detriment. I am not a guardian over you."" (6:104). If this is the case of Muhammad, let alone other people (i.e., non-prophets).

3/3/3: Al-Azhar must return to its original status from its inauguration in 972 A.D. to about 1920 A.D.; i.e., a mere mosque or a house of worship, with no political or religious role or influence, maintained by donations and supervised by the government. Al-Azhar University must be turned into a civil, secular one annexed to Cairo University and Ain Shams University (both universities are located in Cairo, the Egyptian capital), after closing down Azharite faculties, colleges, and institutes that teach the Sunnite religion. Azharite secondary preparatory, and primary schools must be turned into State or public schools without religious education. All of the Cairo-based institutions or bodies linked to Al-Azhar must be closed down (e.g. the Fatwas Center and 'Islamic' Research Center). The State must supervise al mosques and make sermons focus on teaching moralistic aspects only without tackling any political aspects. This will make the Egyptian State save billions of LE (i.e., Egyptian pounds) and help remove the burden of protecting the Wahabi Sunnite religion which has caused terrorism and bloodshed spread in Egypt and worldwide and which still poses as a veritable danger threatening the very existence of Egypt.      

3/3/4: The absolute religious freedom must be available for all Egyptian citizens; this includes freedom of religious thought/belief, the freedom of practicing any acts of worship and rituals, the freedom to build houses of worship, and the freedom to proselytize and preach any religion without compulsion in religion and without resorting to violence linked to the myths/hadiths of changing 'vice' by force and putting 'apostates' or 'heretics' to death.   

4- Introducing religious reform is directly linked to introducing legislative reform which will lead to democratic transition in Egypt within a process which will take several generations. The much-needed legislative reform must aim at removing all restrictions regarding freedom of thought and religion and regarding creativity/arts. This must include abrogating/annulling laws which cripple and imprison the innocent people, especially laws of detention inside police stations. Of course, religious reform is also directly linked to fighting corruption in all governmental sectors especially within the judicial authority and economical and social aspects dominated by the police officers and the army officers and generals.     

5- These types of reform must be initiated immediately; the Middle-East region is experiencing radical changes now. President Al-Sisi will have glorious, bright lines in Egyptian history if he undertakes this mission of introducing reform on all levels in Egypt. Of course, the democratic transition in Europe took centuries until the people of the West learned the culture of democracy. In Egypt, this democratic transition might take few decades; this will make the Egyptian President win the hearts of millions of Egyptians who elected him as President twice in 2014 and 2018 because they hate the terrorist MB group members very much. Al-Sisi must return the favor to the Egyptian citizens by releasing from prisons all political prisoners and to offer them compensations and by introducing religious and legislative reforms so that Egyptian citizens will live in peace and security. We sincerely hope that one day, there will be in Egypt ex-presidents living in peace, walking in the streets and consuming food without fear. Of course, the terrorism introduced by the high-rank governmental officials makes them live in fear of retaliation; they cannot trust anyone and their lives are filled with nightmares. It is high time that everyone should feel relief resulting from introducing peaceful reform within all levels.              

 

Lastly:

  The Best Discourse is the Holy Quran: "You will remember what I am telling you, so I commit my case to God. God is Observant of the servants."" (40:44). As always, the Lord God says nothing but the Absolute Truth. 


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