The opening ceremony of the Rams Road in Egypt topped the concerns of users of social networking sites in Egypt and a number of Arab countries, among those who praised it and those who criticized it, but it also renewed a debate about Islam’s position on statues and monuments, calling many to cite the opinion of Al-Azhar and Dar Al-Ifta, so what is the story?
On Thursday evening, Egypt inaugurated the Rams Road with a major artistic ceremony, in the presence of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, to shed light on the importance of this historic road, which includes more than a thousand statues in the form of a lion’s body and a ram’s head, and links the Karnak and Luxor temples in southern Egypt.
The hashtag #rams_road topped the communication sites in Egypt, as many praised the huge festival and considered it an “honorable image of the ancient Egyptian civilization.”
On the other hand, others considered that the opening ceremony “comes at the expense of the Egyptian citizen who suffers from poverty,” as they said.
Archeology “civilization” or “pagan”?
Aside from the discussion about the ceremony itself, a controversy erupted between Arab and Egyptian singers about Islam’s position on antiquities and statues.
Users were divided between many who see no objection or conflict between Islam and the celebration of the relics of ancient civilizations, and among users who saw in the manifestations of the celebration of antiquities a “return to paganism,” as they put it.
Some have used irony as a way to refute the views of those who see interest in antiquities as “encouraging idolatry.”
On the other hand, after non-Egyptian Arab tweeters, he considered that “paganism has returned to Egypt,” as they put it.
This prompted some Egyptian users to respond, denouncing any suggestion of an ancient or modern existence of “paganism” in Egypt, and defending their country’s “freedom to make its decisions.”
The opinion of Al-Azhar and Dar Al-Ifta
This controversy comes a day after statements by Dr. Mukhtar Mohsen, Secretary of Fatwa at the Egyptian Dar Al Iftaa, reported by the Egyptian Middle East News Agency, that “the fatwas against antiquities came as a result of distorted thought and violent extremism.”
This came during a lecture on “Takfiris’ position on antiquities and considering them as idols, study and criticism.” It is forbidden to have such things in his country, as this reflects extremist trends that reflect ignorance of the Islamic religion.”
He concluded by saying: “The Companions entered Egypt during the Islamic conquest and found Pharaonic and other monuments. They did not issue a fatwa or legal opinion affecting these monuments, which are of great historical value.”
Last month, the Egyptian Dar Al-Iftaa published through its official accounts on the communication sites, noting that “it is not permissible under Islamic law to demolish Pharaonic monuments.”
Al-Azhar’s official Twitter account had published a tweet explaining, “How did Islam protect antiquities and their visitors?”
Also, Imam Ahmed Al-Tayeb, Sheikh of Al-Azhar Al-Sharif, announced in the final statement of the World Conference for Renewal of Islamic Thought, issued on January 27, 2020, Al-Azhar’s opinion on antiquities and the ruling on their circulation and sale.
Point 25 of the statement states that “archeology is a cultural heritage that defines the history of nations and civilizations. If it is found on land owned by persons or organizations, the deterrent penalties must be tightened against selling it or smuggling it outside the country.”
In the same month, the Islamic Research Academy in Al-Azhar issued a book entitled: “Preserving Historical Antiquities in Islam” based on “the issue of historical monuments related to the civilizational heritage of nations.”
Also, Imam Muhammad Abdo said nearly 100 years ago, when he was asked about painting and artifacts: “Painting is silent poetry that is seen and not heard, just as poetry is a drawing that is heard and seen, and preserving monuments with drawings and statues is a preservation of knowledge in truth. creativity in it.
Abdo continued: “Islamic law is far from prohibiting a means of knowledge after realizing that there is no danger in it to religion, neither from the point of view of belief nor from the point of view of work” and that “there is nothing to prevent (Muslims) from combining the belief in monotheism and drawing the image of humans and animals to achieve Scientific meanings and mental image representation.