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Tuesday , September 27 2022

‘Why citing weak sources?’

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There is a problem with those who believe in what tweets and WhatsApp messages say. The problem becomes bigger and more dangerous when senior officials, leaders, clergymen and teachers fall ‘prey’ to these messages, and include them in their speeches and articles as if they are taken for granted.

The issue reaches the peak of tragedy when it does not require at all to believe any statement, and to cite its narrator, if it means citing the lowest in order to support the biography and position of the one who is higher.

In 1978, Michael Hart published his famous book ‘The 100: A ranking of the most influential people in history’, and chose the personality of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) as the most influential in human history. His choice came, from his point of view, because he was very successful in both the religious and worldly fields, as he laid the foundations of Islam, and began with the early Islamic conquests that united the Arabian Peninsula, and left after him a vast caliphate, and Muslims who follow his Sunnah.

Hart, unlike many other historians, was careful not to set ‘greatness’ as a criterion for choosing the characters of his book, but rather chose the criterion of their impact on the course of human history, positively or negatively on those who came after them, and the evidence for this is that the book included evil characters such as Hitler and others.

The first to get hold of the book and translate it into Arabic, removed the name of its author and attributed it to himself, was the Egyptian writer Anis Mansour.

Mansour changed his title to ‘The Greatest Hundred in History’. This is a deliberate distortion that did not add anything to the great characters of the book, but contributed to the elevation of criminals like Hitler to the rank of greats, and this was a clumsy and shameful act against him and the right of the reader.

Mansour’s deliberate distortion caused many to believe his story, the last of whom was the former Kuwaiti MP and Muslim Brotherhood member, Muhammad Al-Dalal, who wrote an article one Friday recently that included matters that are far from accuracy, relying on his reading, and often on Anis Mansour’s translation of Hart’s book, who deliberately changed its title to promote its sale on a wide scale, far from moral honesty, and thus made his successors into a dangerous pitfall.

In his last sermon the Sheikh of Al-Azhar stated that the British writer and thinker George Bernard Shaw expressed admiration for the personality of the Prophet (PBUH), and called him the savior of humanity, and that if he was destined to lead the world, he would have been able to solve problems and establish peace and happiness.

Al-Dalal and before him the Sheikh of Al-Azha, who described Bernard Shaw as British although he is Irish, hating everything British should know that the latter did not say these words, and did not underestimate the position of the Prophet (PBUH), of course.

Al-Dalal and the Sheikh of Al-Azhar relied on a publication likely from a Muslim from Singapore in 1936, and there is not a single material evidence of the sincerity in it about what was mentioned by Bernard Shaw.

The most important of all is that a Muslim who is sincere in his faith, such as the Sheikh of Al-Azhar and the former deputy Al-Dalal and others, consider the Arab Prophet (PBUH) the greatest personality, and therefore they are in no need to cite a writer, thinker, or philosopher, or what was mentioned in an unknown and forgotten work published 90 years ago. This is evidence of a lack of confidence in what they believe in, as if they needed to cite the sayings of others to increase their confidence in the greatness of the Prophet (PBUH).

I do not know why some of us are keen to cite what the Westerners say, and ignore what, for example, a Somali thinker, or a Ghanaian writer.

e-mail: a.alsarraf@alqabas.com.kw

Ahmad alsarraf