Egypt’s peaceful Muslims are being denied religious freedoms as the influence of conservative Salafism grows
Whenever religious freedom is discussed in Egypt, the topic inevitably turns to the status of the Christian Copts. Thousands of articles have been written about Egypt’s Copts and how they are denied their religious freedoms, but it almost never occurs to anyone that even Sunni Muslims are being deprived of their basic rights to religious freedom and worship.
I remember years ago reading a story on how the Muslim Brotherhood was influencing the peole of Cairo by giving the poor food and medical assistance. This is after the MB leaders had exiled themselves to Saudi Arabia and joined forces with the Wahabis there. They returned with renewed vigor to capture the minds and hearts of the Egyptian populace with this sort of bribery. And who can blame the people? The corrupt government of Egypt was not doing anything for them and no other help was in sight. So not only did they get food and medicine from the Wahabis but also they got a way of thinking about Islam that was intolerant, devoid of the beauty and heart of true islam, and unable to become part of the multicultural world.
Added to that was the powerful influence of the Saudis because of their money. They were able to build schools and institutions in Egypt and elsewhere that were used to spread their brand of Islam. And the power to back it up by the influence of their money.
And now Egypt has once again kow towed to this influence with a ban on dhikr ceremonies. This is totally unacceptable and, as the author of the article points out, makes no sense at all. There are countless times in the Qur’an where Allah (swt) asks us to remember him often. Even to remember him with his beautiful names. And Rasul Allah (saw) recommended that we do this to better our understanding and polish our hearts so they become clear mirrors of the light of guidance from God. I submit that these are authentic practices of the earliest Muslims. It is not these practices that is Bida it is the banning of them which is Bida. I submit that there is more Bida in Wahabism than in any other sect.
The dhikr is one thing that fills our heart with peace and the remembrance of Allah (swt). Even in the most active, Jelali, dhikr there is peace at the central core. Remembrance of our divine inheritance can only lead to the understanding of the one-ness of God’s creation. And we are told over and over that Allah (swt) remembers is and we should remember him.
Read the article by clicking on the link below, and remember this can happen anywhere. I hope, insha’allah that our Sufi brothers and sisters there will find a way, with help of Allah (swt), to persevere and preserve the ceremonies so that when more intelligent and brave leadership comes back to Egypt the Sufis will be able to return to them.