Sunday, October 22, 2006

Response To The Mufti Of Egypt (Part-4)

In this last segment of the interview with the Grand Mufti of Egypt, he continues his flawed theory using the number 19 to discredit the Baha'i Faith. This issue has been clearly addressed in this previous post.

The rest of the interview is full of confusing statements, misrepresentations and flight of ideas that are neither worthy of analysis nor deserve the time needed to elaborate on them.

It is quite clear from this whole interview that the Grand Mufti has been trying to discredit the Baha'i Faith using baseless theories and convoluted erroneous arguments that have no basis in either logic or fact. He resorts to prove his whole theory on the basis of his flawed interpretation of a number, and has completely neglected to address any of the teachings, principles and impact of the Baha'i Faith on its followers and the world as a whole. It should be obvious to all why he has to resort to that strategy! Since this subject was brought up by the Mufti, it must be clearly stated here that--contrary to the Mufti's claim--Baha'is neither "worship a number," nor "base their religion on a number."

The following is the write-up on the Grand Mufti of Egypt in Wikipedia:

"Shaikh Ali Gomaa (Arabic:علي جمعة) is the Grand Mufti of Egypt succeeding Muhammad Sayyid Tantawy. He is considered to be one of the most respected and qualified traditional Islamic scholars alive. He has mastery in numerous Islamic Sciences but particularly specializes in the science of the foundations of Islamic Law, viz Usul al-fiqh. He follows the Shafi`i school of Islamic juruspudence. He is famous in the Islamic world.

Shaikh Ali Gomaa is also the khateeb (the Orator) of the Sultan Hassan Mosque in Cairo and has authored around two dozen books on various highly specialized and complex subjects of Islam.

He is the Editor of the Encyclopaedia of Hadith, a sub-project of the greater Sunnah Project of the Thesaurus Islamicus Foundation, which aims at documenting and publishing all works related to Prophetic narrations or Hadith."

A description of the duties and functions of the Grand Mufti can be found at this link.


  1. Edo River rising,
    Please tell me what the Mufti's position is, and is this appointed for life. What are his job responsibilities?

  2. Dear Edo River:

    The answer to your question can be found at this LINK.

  3. Edo River here; Thank you Bilo. I am sorry to trouble you, I just don't have the usefulness of Wikipedia in my immediate memory as a reliable source of information.

    Still, I have an unanswered question. How did he get the position. Was it election or appointment by the previous Grand Mufti. The reason I see importance about this, is knowing how he obtained his position, MIGHT help me understand the reasoning for his statements about the Bahais.

    I am guessing that his statements about the Bahais was not something he speaks on the sudden impulse. I think he wouldn't get to be Grand Mufti UNLESS he is very careful and calculating (in the positive sense of the word?). His ideas have seemed almost random, but I really doubt this. People in his position just don't behave this way. There is a pattern hidden in his rather contradictory or ill informed comments. I say this, not to insult your understanding, but because I regard you as a fairly careful thinker too (some major flattery going on here ;-) In any case I think the Grand Mufti is reflecting thoughts that others as well as himself have about Bahais. This is their view of reality, not only the Bahais.

    You have pointed out mistakes, contradictions, but I think his expressions have more of the characteristics passed on to him, and not examined. "Who", I am wondering, "is giving him these arguements?" and what is the key to understanding their way of thinking, SO THAT someone can connect with them to get to their "real objections" about Bahais.

    Let me put this in another context. I was once a door to door salesman. I went to sales training school. On of the cardinal principles of selling is to find the customer's "REAL objection to buying your product". And I guarantee you, 9 times out of 10 if you identify their real objection, you can sell them your product, I don't care what it is, snow to an eskimo, as it were.
    I really suspect the same is true here with the Grand Mufti. If we know the real "objection", well I think "objection" is a little mistake. The mechanism of the rotation of the Mufti's world--unlock this, and you can change the Grand Mufti into a Bahai. I know this sounds outrageous, but I have to say this based on what is evidenced day to day in sales. I saw it and I have even tapped into that "magic". I believe a good Bahai "super-sellers "(this is a special term used for real estate salemen at the highest level) is an awesome modern day disciple of the Bab. Such a person living the principles of the Bahai Faith and using these sales principles can sell the faith to anyone! and vice-versa, in my opinion.

    Of course the trick is getting that person close enough to the Grand Mufti to engage in a reasonable discussion.

  4. Thank you Edo River for your insightful comments and questions. I tend to agree with you in regards to the content of Wikipedia as it has been dependent on--at times--unsubstantiated input. Because of the depth of the issues you have raised, I'll need to spend some time to think this through and do some research on these questions; so hang in there, and thank you again for your input.

  5. Dear Edo River,

    The appointment of the Grand Mufti is made by the President of the Republic, and it is not a lifetime position. Ali Gomaa was appointed by President Mubarak in 2004, succeeding Sheikh Tantawi who is currently the Sheikh of al-Azhar.

    Your observation regarding super salesmen is right on target and quite real. If I dare to guess the motives behind the current rhetoric circulated by such "powerful" people, I would say that it is propelled by their hunger for power and the fear of losing their positions and titles. It appears that the Mufti has probably studied the Baha'i writings in great depth, but unfortunately he remains blinded to the truth because he has not cleansed his heart and detached himself in order to receive the bounties of this revelation.

    In Baha'u'llah's sacred writings, one can glean the prerequisites necessary for such people to receive and comprehend this powerful revelation:

    "O My brother! When a true seeker determineth to take the step of search in the path leading unto the knowledge of the Ancient of Days, he must, before all else, cleanse his heart, which is the seat of the revelation of the inner mysteries of God, from the obscuring dust of all acquired knowledge, and the allusions of the embodiments of satanic fancy. He must purge his breast, which is the sanctuary of the abiding love of the Beloved, of every defilement, and sanctify his soul from all that pertaineth to water and clay, from all shadowy and ephemeral attachments. He must so cleanse his heart that no remnant of either love or hate may linger therein, lest that love blindly incline him to error, or that hate repel him away from the truth...that seeker must, at all times, put his trust in God, must renounce the peoples of the earth, must detach himself from the world of dust, and cleave unto Him Who is the Lord of Lords."

  6. Edo River,

    I forgot to mention that all the disciples of the Bab have found Him independently and on their own because their hearts were pure, detached and longing for their beloved.

  7. You may also find this article on the Grand Mufti position quite informative.

  8. Bilo, Edo River here;
    I enjoyed the article about fatwa's very much. It goes to show how the great religions are struggling to stay relevant in the modern era. When I was a Christian, back in the ancient era, we were struggling to find the same adjustments to the then modern problems.

    I was always impressed when I read of Abdu'l Baha's way of seeing exactly the condition of the questioner's heart and then He would take action to show that He knew. And they were struck by the idea that they knew that He knew ;-)

    Have you read a book of Bahai related poems by Roger White, Another Song, Another Season. (Such a precious book!)
    "Then the Master turned to the people and saif a few words to each so I hung back not wanting to spoil it for Lil. Her face was glowing and she looked so beautiful it took my breath away. And the old gentleman did the strangest thing--took her hand , as he had the others' too , and then reached for mine, drawing me forward. And there we were, him holding our hands in his, all three joined and touching, and he looked at each of us slowly and deeply and he said in English 'Yes'. Just 'Yes'. It was eerie, as though he were answering a question--no, more than that--as though her were blessing us in marriage. I felt as though Lil and me were the only people in the sworld at that moment. And then he smiled a lovely smile and turned away." p46 from the poem-story Graveyards Are Not My Style Thornton Chase 1847-1912


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