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The attack on respected Sheikh Sha'rawi is reviving interest in his teachings

Sheikh Muhammad Metwalli Al-Sha’rawi [Youtube]
Sheikh Muhammad Metwalli Al-Sha’rawi [Youtube]

An Egyptian journalist has sparked a wave of anger among tens of millions of Arabs, not just in Egypt, with his unjustified attack on the "Imam of the Missionaries", the venerable Sheikh Muhammad Metwalli Al-Sha'rawi, who passed away more than a quarter of a century ago. After all of these years, the journalist in question has claimed that the Sheikh is "Daesh" and accused him of extremism and being the catalyst for terrorism in Egypt.

Moreover, it is now claimed that Al-Sha'rawi was anti-women, a poser and many other untrue things. In spouting such hateful lies and falsehoods, and attacking icons and the religious institution of Al-Azhar, the journalist defames the religion of Islam. His insolence has even stretched to questioning the Sunnah (example) of the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, and insulting his Companions, as well as denying the Qur'anic verses regarding the miraculous ascent of the Prophet to the heavens.

I refuse to mention this person's name. He is unworthy of further free publicity.

As soon as this hypocrite made his shameless claims, the rest of the secular choir who call themselves "enlightened" continued his litany of insults of Sheikh Al-Sha'rawi. Their hatred came off their tongues, but what their hearts hid was worse. It looks very much like an organised campaign after creating a lie so that they could express their hatred of Islam by attacking and insulting one of its popular figures.

They claimed that the Egyptian ministry of Culture would produce a play about the Sheikh, telling his life story during the month of Ramadan, but the minister denied this. As a scriptwriter myself, I think it would be very difficult, even impossible, for a three-hour play to capture a figure like Sheikh Al-Sha'rawi and his life from his early days onwards, encompassing his countless accomplishments and the rich legacy he left behind in the hearts of the nation. A stage is limited in space and could not accommodate the many scene changes in the various stages of his life. What's more, plays are not usually an appropriate medium to embody the biographies of such national figures, whether in religion, politics, science or culture. "The Imam of the Missionaries" TV series, though, was produced in 30 episodes telling Al-Sha'rawi's rich life, and was popular across the Arab world.

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The hateful "enlighteners" cannot challenge Islam and the Holy Qur'an openly given the collective conscience of the nation; they are too weak to do so. Hence, they beat about the bush and attack scholars in order to raise doubts about the faith and voice objections about specific Qur'anic verses and rulings in order to mock them. The Almighty will mock them all. Powerful nations have failed to defeat the faith over 1,400 years; how do these weaklings think they will do so?

Do they not realise that the more that Islam is attacked, the stronger and more immune to criticism it becomes? They are tools of the domestic, regional and international parties that hate Islam and seek to distort its image in the hearts of Muslims. For example, the Orthodox Church is disturbed by the growing religious trend and sees it as a threat; and the UAE wants to promote the new Abrahamic religion, and regards Al-Azhar and its symbols as obstacles to its spread. The West, meanwhile, is infected with centuries-old bigotry and intolerance which we now call Islamophobia, which is why such offensive campaigns against Islam are funded through huge media institutions. The US channel Al-Hurra hosts two shows in this respect: one for this hypocritical journalist who began the campaign against Sheikh Al-Sha'rawi; and the other for someone they call "the young enlightened preacher". There are also two UAE-owned channels that broadcast from Egypt; insulting Islam is their raison d'être.

Perhaps this smear campaign is a blessing in disguise, because it has revived interest in Sheikh Al-Sha'rawi's biography and reminded us of his good deeds, accomplishments and influence over millions of Muslims who learned about their religion and its rulings through his interpretation of the Holy Qur'an in his easy and interesting style. Another silver lining in this disreputable campaign that those behind it probably never intended, is that the young people it is addressing are not doing Google searches for information, but are buying his books and audio-visual recordings, which are among the most watched in the region.

So, many thanks, you haters of Islam, the so-called enlightened ones. You have revived the memory of Sheikh Al-Sha'rawi. "They planned, but Allah also planned. And Allah is the best of planners."

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The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.

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