“The belief is firm and does not accept reformulation,” these words were followed by Alaa Mubarak, son of the late Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, on a tweet by an Egyptian writer, raising a lot of controversy and questions.
The controversy erupted on August 29, when Egyptian writer Fatima Naoot posted a series of tweets about re-understanding religious belief.
Naoot’s tweets came in response to a call made by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi about two weeks ago.
In a telephone interview on the Sada El-Balad TV channel, Sisi raised the issue of understanding the belief, saying, “We are all born Muslim, and the non-Muslim is not a Muslim by card… But do we realize that we have to reformulate our understanding of the belief that we follow?”
Al-Sisi’s statements at the time sparked controversy among the pioneers of the communication sites. Some of them welcomed it when they saw it as “a call to the realization of reason and renewal,” and some criticized it and considered it “an attempt to change the constants.”
As soon as the discussion about Sisi’s statements ended, it was renewed during the past hours after Alaa Mubarak’s objection to Fatima Naoot’s tweets.
And the writer said in one of her tweets, “We have to reformulate our understanding of what we inherited so that we are believers in the truth of what we believe, and not just follow what we inherited without realizing reason.”
On September 3, Alaa Mubarak responded to Naoot, saying: “Your belief is firm and does not accept distortion, alteration, or reformulation, but specialists must correct misconceptions that affect the fundamentals of religion and its constants…”
The businessman, Ashraf Al-Saad, became involved in the discussion, when he said in response to Alaa Mubarak, “.. you depend in understanding the faith on the understanding of the companions and scholars of Islam, for they depended on their minds, and we have minds like them that do not differ from them…”.
Alaa replied to him with a tweet in which he refused to compare the minds of his companions with the minds of others.
Was absorbed and ridiculed
Alaas response stopped some of the writer’s followers on Twitter, and opened a heated discussion about the mechanisms for renewing religious discourse.
The opinions of the tweeters varied about Alaas responses, which topped the list of frequently discussed topics for a short period.
There are those who praised his position and his “religious culture”, considering that “he defended the principles of faith with boldness and courage that were supposed to be issued by senior clerics.”
On the other hand, there are those who accused Mubarak’s son of trying to appear to win over sympathizers and embarrass the president.
While others enslaved that and called for ignoring what they described as “malicious interpretations”, saying that “Alaa did not intend to embarrass the president, but rather to respond to Naoot’s provocative statements.”
But there are also those who defended Naoot and described Alaas comments as “retro and traditional.”
Supporters of Naoot believe that her comments are consistent with the Egyptian president’s call, which establishes the building of a civil state that recognizes all freedoms, including absolute freedom of belief.
While other tweeters mocked the debate about Naot’s tweets, criticizing the silence of religious bodies, which, in their opinion, allowed non-specialists to engage in religious issues.
A group of commentators view the ongoing debate as a “healthy intellectual dialogue that will contribute to prioritizing the mind over transmission”, but another group describes it as “an empty dialogue dominated by ideological interactions more than cognitive goals.”
Fatima Naoot did not respond to Mubarak and Ashraf Saad’s comments, but she said in a statement to the Masrawy website that “what happened is not a clash as some portrayed it, but it is just a misunderstanding because Alaa did not read the entire article.”
She added that “what was stated in the article is not an opinion so as to be subject to controversy, but rather facts. Indeed, we have inherited our beliefs, and we must complete our Islam by deepening our religion, reflection and contemplation.”