Azharite preachers, Sufis and independents Who fills the void of Islamists in Egypt?

After the heyday of the rise of political Islam groups in Egypt, following the January 2011 revolution that toppled President Hosni Mubarak after 30 years in power, most of them retired from the scene; For reasons linked in their entirety to the repercussions of the July 2013 coup, when the elected president, Mohamed Morsi, was overthrown.

Some consider that date heralded the decline of the star of Islamic organizations in Egypt, due to the political, security and military measures taken by the new regime with the aim of deporting them politically, and with it security, media and cultural campaigns, as their symbols and leaders became either in prisons or exile, while the survivors chose to remain silent to avoid A similar fate.

In the aftermath, a new religious scene was formed, led by a number of preachers and clerics, who came from outside the framework of traditional Islamic organizations, and who generally descended from the official religious establishment, Al-Azhar Al-Sharif, and some of the tariqa Sufism.

This raised questions about the extent of their success in filling the void resulting from the absence of these forces after decades of active presence in mosques, and in the spaces of advocacy in general.

Extended vacuum

Despite the presence of the Salafi Nour Party far from this fence, which has been struck on the Islamic movements, it is also experiencing a remarkable decline despite its loyalty to the new authority, due to its inability to stand alone in front of the transformations witnessed by the country and their repercussions on it, which was reinforced by the regional position And the international opposition to political Islam movements and Salafi currents, according to Abdo Ibrahim, a researcher in political science, described by Al-Jazeera Net.

This vacuum, which the Nour Party was unable to take advantage of, expanded in it a number of preachers and preachers hailing from official religious institutions or from outside them, taking into account the prohibitions of the stage and its security sensitivity, either by employing it or for fear of its consequences.

The Al-Azhar Foundation, headed by its Sheikh Ahmed Al-Tayeb, also played a major role in drawing the features of the new religious landscape map, in addition to a number of new advocacy and preaching faces, whether those who wear the mantle of Al-Azhar or affiliated with tariqa Sufism.

What has changed in 10 years?

In this regard, the Egyptian academic, Khairy Omar, says that the Islamic movements before 2013 were of two opposite types, for the Muslim Brotherhood movement, for example, could not provide a public figure at that stage, and everyone who knew of its sheikhs or the preaching bodies working in it was limited in spread and limited To cover the areas of the group.

In his speech to Al-Jazeera Net, Omar continues that, on the contrary, Salafi and other movements were widespread in the mosques, and there were a number of sheikhs or some sheikhs who appeared on satellite channels in a large way, and enjoyed a great following, which gathered around them a large segment of followers; But in their entirety, they revolved within the framework of the state’s general policy and directions.

The Egyptian academic believes that the post-2013 political trends tended to ask other questions related to the future of the public sphere for the Islamists, and therefore the vacuum that resulted after 2013 was not large or different in its composition than it was before it, with a fundamental difference being that the Brotherhood is not allowed By working and being present while making shifts in the Salafi discourse and re-highlighting other personalities.

Establish a new religious scene

It was natural that the desire of some preachers and preachers and their peers to accelerate the vacancy of that space resulting from the absence of Islamists intersected with the new trends of the authority that after 2013 have tended to have independent or different personalities that reframe the religious thought or the jurisprudential convictions of the state, according to Description of Khairy Omar.

Therefore, it was natural for this to result in the emergence of Islamic preachers affiliated with the Azharite religious establishment, and others descended from tariqa Sufism, however, what is striking, reflected in these bold steps, is two important matters.

The first is that they reflected the vitality of the religious societal dimension of different and varied strata of the Egyptian street, and when old Islamic organizational actors were absent from it, the street quickly produced new and gathered around it, which proved that religion still has its influence until this moment, and if other forces are absent, other forces take their place. Societal desire.

The second is that the new preachers who hailed from various schools have succeeded in spreading widely through their employment of political contexts, without colliding with them, by jumping over the old traditional form of appropriating mosques, angles and the like, where the media in their various variations were their paper. The winner in this area.

Orabi Abdel-Hay, a researcher in Islamic groups, explains the need for this post-2013 establishment in the face of political transformations and their consequences on the societal religious situation, and the rise of atheistic and agnostic tidal waves, especially among the youth, in addition to the emergence of the phenomenon of aversion to religion and its rituals.

In his speech to Al-Jazeera Net, Orabi adds that this necessitated a re-reading of the religious scene, and then a recount of new elites and different visions that bring religion back to the fore, but away from the old organizational visions of the Islamists and liberated from them, which encouraged these preachers and preachers to come out and lead the scene Religious.

Has the void been filled?

It is possible to monitor a number of names that have sparked a remarkable presence in recent years, starting with Sheikh Al-Azhari Abdullah Rushdie (an imam and preacher in the Egyptian Ministry of Endowments), who is fighting several battles and major debates with the various secular and liberal forces, whether through televised programs or through social media platforms, And Dr. Ahmed Mahmoud Karima, Professor of Comparative Jurisprudence and Sharia, and both Sheikh Khaled Al-Jundi and Salem Abdul-Jalil (the former Undersecretary of the Ministry of Endowments) and their televised programs, Sheikh Jaber Baghdadi (a Sufi preacher) and many others.

Khairy Omar says that Al-Azhar’s attempts in this regard could be presented as one of the main actors in covering the cultural field and the cultural needs of the masses, meaning that the field of political conflict was only related to the Islamic movement, and that its exit from the general cultural sphere was close together before and after 2013.

He added that these new groups can fill an important part of the cultural, intellectual and spiritual void, provided that they are independent and do not seek to enter into political or other conflicts.

And the political science researcher, Abdo Ibrahim, picked up the same thread, to assure Al-Jazeera Net that the new context, imposed by the political situation after 2013, provided the opportunity for Islamic trends away from politics such as Sufism to attend and appear, and then fill the void, and Abdo expected this period to extend for years. Other.

While the researcher and journalist, Salih Allam, rejected this vision, and considered that trying to fill the void is difficult to judge its success, it is like trying to take refuge in religion by resorting to these personalities, who have become very famous, and perhaps the filling is among young people and young people only.

In her interview with Al-Jazeera, Allam confirms that mature and elderly people have a different opinion, which makes the issue of their success in filling the void a matter of discussion. Because the issue is subject to thought and strategy and not belonging to the Sheikh or the method, according to its description.
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