Bizarre election fatwas
Yasser Borhami - YOUM7 (Archive)

CAIRO: A series of fatwas (religious opinions) surrounded the presidential election marathon between former Minister of Defense Abdel Fatah al-Sisi and leftist candidate Hamdeen Sabbahi.

All the mosques in Ashmoun Center in Menoufiya are calling on citizens to cast their ballot on day three of the presidential election after the High Presidential Election Commission extended voting by one more day to end on Wednesday evening, the Ibn Khaldun Center for Development Studies reported Wednesday on its official Facebook account.

Although Egypt’s Dar al-Iftaa has usually taken a neutral stance, it was the first to issue a fatwa urging voters to cast their ballot in the presidential election that comes nearly a year after the ouster of former President Mohamed Morsi, considering it as a “religious duty.”It called on the Egyptian people to choose the coming president on the basis of Egypt’s interests, saying that that boycotting of elections could harm the country and citizens, in a May 5 statement.

‏Leading Salafi preacher Yasser Borhami said during the press conference organized by Al-Nour Party in the camp of Abu Qir that “Sisi is the most capable candidate to manage the country because he does not smoke cigarettes,  is religious and regularly prays.” While the Nour Party attributed its support for Sisi on his “fight against the Shiite thought in Egypt,” according to Al- Mesryoon newspaper.

Not only did official institutions release fatwas on the election, but also religious figures issued a range of fatwas.

The Head of the Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence Department at Al-Azhar University Abdel Halim Mansour announced in a press statement that “we are not allowed to pray Istikhara (the Islamic prayer to help in decision-making) before choosing Sisi because he is the most popular candidate amongst Egyptians,” Al-Balad news website reported on May 10.

Additionally, during the past few days a number of pro-Muslim Brotherhood preachers in mosques urged Egyptians not to vote for Sisi, considering that people who support Sisi are “cooperating in sin and aggression,” while other religious figures urged voters to vote for Sabbahi, considering him as the revolutionary candidate who would be able to restore the “rights of the martyrs.”

More than 200 Muslim scholars issued a fatwa on May 25, a day before the presidential election, during a press conference in Istanbul held by the Coordinating Committee for Fatwas of The Muslim Nation, forbidding participation in the ongoing presidential election in Egypt, Rassd News Network reported.

Sheikh Youssef al-Qaradawi had launched a number of controversial fatwas during the recent months, calling on his supporters to fight against what he described as “the military coup.” He also forbade participation in the coming presidential elections.

“The fatwa is not only misleading and politicized but also contradictory,” Dar al- Iftaa said, describing Qaradawi’s statement as “weird and contradictory to Islamic jurisprudence and the interests of the country.”



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