By Intisar Al-Ma’atouq
The immediate profit made by those who trade in religion has made their numbers grow by leaps and bounds. Who among us has not received a text message on his mobile phone asking to subscribe for the service provided by a cleric under the pretext of making you better understand religion and strengthen your faith? At the end of every religious or economic message, the recipient is asked to reply with 500 fils weekly subscription. I assume all of us watched the advertisement, in good faith, of the Al-Wataniya chicken.
As if these messages are celestial and the clerics are prophets sent by Allah with a new paid religion, and if you do not subscribe, your faith is incomplete and perhaps will not enter Paradise. Such messages and behavioral patterns of some preachers who exploit their name and fame are a clear breach of their credibility. God does not need an agent to proclaim His word. Such preachers sell religion to the ignorant and are not ashamed to put the ‘barcode’ on their beards. They do not miss an opportunity that makes them glamorous and we do not generalize them but we talk about a capitalist religious group.
We pray to God to have mercy on Sheikh Mohammad Metwalli Al-Sha’arawi, who submitted his resignation when the former Egyptian President the late Anwar el- Sadat insulted and verbally a b u s e d S h e i k h Al-Azhar al-Mahlawi in the speech on Sept 5, saying: ‘This man, the preacher of Alexandria who was insulting me and my house is languishing in prison like a dog’. This angered Sheikh Al- Sha’arawi and made him tender his resignation from the Al-Azhar through a cable to president Sadat, saying, ‘Al-Azhar does not produce dogs, but elders, venerable and distinguished scholars’.
Some of those who call for religiousness and stick to preaching are not only materialistic, but they do not have the courage to tell the truth. You find them active on the social networking websites like Hollywood stars, and the public surround them to learn from them intellectual teachings, which if we dig beneath them, will find half of them quotes from international books. Here I do not attack religion or religious people, but turn attention to goods that accumulate in a religious black market and I am afraid these goods leave the customs without being noticed. I cannot trust a preacher who speaks politics, because I believe that politics is like dancing with a new customer every day. I cannot trust a preacher who sells his books for big money because I am convinced that religion does not need sacrifices to understand it.