Again I call upon our Egypt to open its scientific, research and cultural institutions for Arab scientists, researchers and intellectuals of the Arab countries hit by our present time savage Tatar invasion… and for president Sisi to take this move to be remembered in history for what he did for his country and whole nation… I have already written about how history events sometimes repeat themselves and I gave an example of the Tatars’ invasion to Persia, Iraq and the Levant… today, I continue tackling another point that gives us the impression we do live in past times.
Before going further, I’d like to mention two things; the first is that all attempts to ruin the Egyptian-Saudi relations do not and seems that they will not cease to stop… as it was proved for everyone that Egypt’s resilience in our current hardship and our efforts to overcome it is based on the will of its people, army and leadership… it’s also based on the clear role played by our Arab brothers in Saudi Arabia and Emirates.
That’s why those who aim at nailing Egypt want to break its people’s will through siege, rumors, terrorism and others… they want to undermine the Egyptian-Arabian relations, especially with Saudi Arabia and Emirates… not only this, but its international relations as well like what happened with Russia and later Italy.
The second is I’d like to pay tribute to Ambassador Ahmed El-Qattan, ambassador of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, its permanent representative in the Arab league and dean of Arab diplomats, who is never tired of strengthening the mutual relations between the two countries and standing against all attempts – which are many indeed – to ruin those relations.
The man’s activities are not limited to mass media only in those two perspectives… but he practically works to conduct broad responsible serious dialogue with Egyptian intellectuals belonging to different thought ideologies and political schools without constraints… and I can say that the man is never bored of any objective criticism whatever it was and is only bored, like any normal person, of what is unreal or biased.
The history events’ repetition I talk about here has to do with the Egyptian-Saudi relations after those who love to fish in troubled waters have thought that what happened in Chechnya will ruin the mutual relations and do what other hardships didn’t do in the past.
They said that the Grand Imam of al-Azhar has denied that “Wahhabism” and “Salafism” belong to the balanced ideology of Islam… and in doing so, he meant to question other people’s faith… to the rest of nonsense talk they said… as if the nation had come back to long-time-in-history past eras which we are supposed to have overcome centuries ago… the right question here in this regard: does Islam need – after 15 centuries since the start of Dawaa – to have a group of people who grant “indulgences” or decide the true meaning of faith?
Are we about to repeat what other non-Islamic religious institutions have been through when they were separated by dispute and fighting for long centuries and so they had to hold ecumenical councils?
Let us revise the history of those ecumenical councils in the history of the international church as eight eastern councils in addition to 13 western ones were held.
First, the council is a meeting including the Pope and bishops to discuss matters of the faith, respond to heresies and take a stance towards atheists… such councils date back to the time of prophets as the first one was held in Jerusalem in 49 A D regarding bringing atheists to faith… a second one was held in 175 A D… afterwards, came the first eastern council; the First Council of Nicaea in 325 A D to discuss the teachings of Arius and take a stance towards it… followed that the First Council of the Constantinople in 381 A D to discuss the issue of Holy Spirit… after this came The First Council of Ephesus in 431 A D, then the Second Council of Ephesus in 449…etc.
I’m not about to discuss those councils; what happened, resulted and came out of them… rather, I’m about to discuss whether Muslims need similar councils like those old ones these days… I wish they look like the good ones of them which led to the unity of faith and worship, but actually they led to disband and mutual distrust in faith.
We are working hard to prove the reality that we actually live in the 15th A D century and not the Hijri one… and sometimes we strive desperately to prove that we still live at the beginning and middle of the Middle Ages when religious conflicts thrived, atheist groups came to light and fight between secular power represented by the emperor and religious one represented by the Pope arose… each one of them along with their aides standing behind worked hard to prove he was the one worthy of jurisdiction over society… to the extent that – I wrote about this long time ago in the same space here – one of the Popes; Boniface VIII has issued a papal edict that - since he is the one sitting on the chair of Saint Peter - he is the only and most eligible one to be at the head of the state.
In that conference of Chechnya, some talked about the balanced ideology of Islam and its true teachings… while some gave examples of some doctrines and Fiqh schools as models of those concepts… and I don’t think that it would have occurred for a knowledgeable and cultured man like the Grand Imam of al-Azhar that he is the one possessing “faith indulgences” and “certificates of Islam”.
When he said that people of Hadith are models of those concepts, he didn’t deny anyone’s faith… and even if it happened and he accidentally forgot, it’s not more that a seminar holding a dialogue… and not an ecumenical council issuing decisions that later turn into faith doctrines completing what came in the Holy Bible.
The Grand Imam of al-Azhar is just like anyone of those sitting at the top of Islamic religious institutions in Saudi Arabia and other places… they are all not exempted of wrong and definitely they are not sacred… actually, they do right and they make mistakes as well… their words are not sacred… and so are those conferences of meetings; they are nothing but gatherings to discuss common issues and problems and find ways for the nation to go out of it… nothing more.
Finally, what lies between Egypt and the kingdom exceeds any religious dispute here or there… what’s between them is not based on the unity of faith alone but rather historical, cultural, economic and strategic relations that have to do with the composition of both countries’ peoples lie… so those who love to fish in troubled waters shall look for other places to fish.
Translated into English by: Dalia Elnaggar
Translated into English by: Dalia Elnaggar
This article was published in Al Ahram newspaper on September 8, 2016.
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