Religion and state in Egypt: An intractable problem

Monday 10 December 2012

THERE were three elements that led to the Arab “awakening” only to become a political force embraced by the masses and feared by the rulers. These elements are an issue of religion and state. This was the case of the relationship between the state and the Islamic political organizations spanning more than four decades. Then came the revolutions of the Arab Spring accompanied by major political results that favor these organizations, specifically in Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco. In Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood won the parliamentary and presidential elections. In Tunisia they won a majority in Parliament, and consequently the position of prime minister. The same also occurred in Morocco. The reason behind this is simple and logical: When the revolutions took place, political Islam in these countries gained the support of stronger opposition organizations and thus could enjoy the most popular base.

But strangely and swiftly, the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt — after becoming the ruling party — entered in a political stalemate with the community. There is a similar crisis with the “Alnahdah Group” in Tunisia, but to a lesser extent thus far. The most serious issue that faces these organizations is that by becoming the ruling power, it did not change the political process a great deal. Also, more seriously, the street, which had apparently supported them before the revolution, became divided on this subject after the revolution, especially in Egypt. This is an indication of rapid and sudden retreat of the “awakening movement.” No one imagined that hundreds of thousands would go out to the streets and stage sit-ins in protest at the first indication from President Muhammad Mursi of the acquisition of all the powers of the state. In Egypt in particular, there is a sharp and bitter conflict between the Muslim Brotherhood and their opponents, but it seems that this is nothing more than a scene interface.


1 reply

  1. Every Muslim country is trying to implement Sharia law in their country without understanding the very basic words of Quran. I have noted that they do not understand the meaning of Kafir or Murtadd (apostate).
    They do not understand the difference between Momin (believer) and Muslim (the one who submits to the will of Allah).

    They do not understand the message of peace in Islam. Most Muslims feel that every one who has not recited the kalimah is a Kafir.
    They do not understand that Islam gives complete liberty to every one in the matters of faith.

    Every religion can have some politics. But there cannot be any political religion. Every Muslim leader is busy in politics, trying to capture power. In that way they believe they can lead a more Islamic life, and do more good.

    The world is a global village now. The prophets did not come to impose Shariyat on the people. They came to lead people to bliss and happiness. If every country imposed their own Sharia, there will be chaos.
    Of course Sharia is good for every one but it includes justice. In the Quran, it is clear order to rule by justice (An takhkumu bil Adl). That is Sharia.
    Religion should not interfere with the state matters and states should not interfere in the matters of religion or faith.

Leave a Reply