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Egyptian Grand Mufti caught plagiarizing Sayyid Qutb

The Grand Mufti described any attack on the al-Azhar institution as "undermining Egypt's security" [AFP]

Date of publication: 26 June, 2015

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The government-allied Grand Mufti of Egypt has been accused of plagiarizing Sayyid Qutb a prominent ideological leader of the Muslim Brotherhood.
The Grand Mufti of Egypt, Shawki Allam has been caught plagiarizing Sayyid Qutb, an Islamist intellectual and prominent leader of the Muslim Brotherhood.

On Tueday, Allam published an article about fasting during Ramadan in Youm7 which appeared to be largely spun from Qutb's seminal work “In the Shade of the Qur'an”, a highly influential commentary on Islam's holy book.

Egyptian publications compared various passages from Allam's article and Qutb's book and found only minor alterations. 

Qutb wrote the treatise over a period of fifteen years, most of which he spent in prison.

In 1966 he was executed after being accused of hatching a plot to assassinate Gamal Abdel Nasr, Egyptian President at the time.

The news came in the wake of crackdowns against any books written by alleged Muslim Brotherhood figures.

On Tueday, Egypt's Minister of Endowments, Mohamed Mokhtar, instructed mosques to remove books authored by Hassan el-Banna, the 20th-century founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, and other "radical books," with a ministry under-secretary specifying that this includes books authored by members of the Muslim Brotherhood.

The Ministry of Religious endowments said that books or digital material that disagree with "the leniency of Islam, will be purged and confiscated."

The announcement came after a ministry official said that books written by Qutb and prominent scholar Yusuf al-Qaradawi had been found in some mosque libraries.

In April, an Egyptian school burnt books by alleged Muslim Brotherhood figures, including Qutb's works, although the culture minister of Egypt later criticised the event for including works of moderate Islam written by intellectuals.

It is also not the first time the Grand Mufti has been caught plagiarizing.

According to al-Mesryoon newspaper, a previous article by Allam published in al-Shorouk was taken from “The revival of religious sciences”, by Imam Ghazali, a renowned 11th century Islamic philosopher.

Additionally, an article on the virtue of tolerance in Islam was taken from a book by Dr Abdullah bin Ibrahim al-Tawil.

The position of the Grand Mufti in Egypt is political, as well as spiritual, as the Mufti is generally viewed as the religious representative of the Egyptian government. He is also responsible for reviewing any death sentences issued by courts in the country.

Allam was the first Grand Mufti in Egypt to be elected by al-Azhar university scholars, rather than appointed by the President.  


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