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Egypt Rises from its Slumber

From Cairo to Alexandria to Suez, what was thought ‘impossible’ has been done by a people who were seen as ‘futile’ and ‘hopeless’. Thousands of Egyptians took to the streets demanding the ousting of Egypt’s despot and coup leader, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. Demonstrators chanted slogans such as “the people demand the fall of the regime”, “leave Sisi,” and “rise up, fear not, Sisi must go.”[1] Protestors gathered in and around Tahrir Square, with unprecedented scenes of the tyrant’s posters ripped up and stomped on.[2]

Those who said that the revolution of the 25th of January was a failure and that the usurping of our respected president Dr. Mohamed Morsi (may Allāh have mercy on him) was inevitable: it is time now to respond. Every successful venture will encounter hard failures and roadblocks before it can succeed, but every one of those failures teaches us something. The Egyptian people have learnt many lessons in their pursuit of freedom. Most importantly, they opened the door to allow themselves the possibility of taking their governance into their own hands.

When the oppressor established his rule, he assumed he was taking control of the same subjugated people as before. But the reality was different. It took six years, a coup, a massacre of pro-democracy protestors, thousands of extra-judicial assassinations, and more than 60,000 political prisoners to wake the Egyptian giant. The people who tasted the sweet tonic of self-governance have loathed returning back to the old ways. This, together with an untenable economic situation and a consistent narrative of imprisonment, torture, and murder, makes sure that the strong-arm dictator is only living on borrowed time.

The spark of the 20th of September has been largely credited to Mohammed Ali, a building contractor and actor who launched a daring video campaign, divulging his first-hand account of the rampant corruption that we had known was taking place. Whilst corruption has always been assumed, the sheer scale and scathing truth revealed by Ali was frightening.

As he mentions in his videos, whilst Sisi was demanding the Egyptian people accept the reality of poverty without complaint – suggesting Egyptians to limit their children to two[3] and repeatedly pleading that “we are extremely poor”[4] – he went on to build an ‘Eid resort’ palace worth more than 250 million Egyptian pounds (more than £12 million). This was just one of the many extravagant displays that Sisi had spent on himself and his friends, adding that his wife, Entissar Amer, unhappy at the décor of their lavish personal residence, requested structural and decorative changes worth more than 25 million Egyptian pounds. [5] [6] [7] All the while, old Egyptian women are eating out of rubbish bins[8] whilst systematic poverty, corruption, and governmental incompetence in the Land of the Nile has forced up to one million of Cairo’s 18 million residents to live in graveyards.[9]

More ridiculous than this rampant corruption, Sisi went on to admit that he had indeed paid these exorbitant sums. Then, childishly and unbelievably, Sisi continued to say that, despite his closest aides “kissing his hands not to reply” to Mohammed Ali, these palaces were built in the national interest.[10]

The reality is that Mohammad Ali is the ‘straw that broke the camel’s back’. If anything, he proved that the only thing that was holding back national widescale resentment of the coup regime and its systematic failures was fear of death or persecution. Anyone who opposed Sisi was killed, disappeared, or incarcerated and accused of being a member of the Muslim Brotherhood. Sisi’s most vocal opponents have been mostly extradited, persecuted, or wanted dead or alive, and have since operated from London to Istanbul with enormous impact.[11] [12] The belief that opposition to the coup is commonplace but subdued by fear was behind the exceptionally successful hashtag “rest assured, you are not alone.”[13] The genius of this initiative not only routinised and united opposition to the tyrant, it also allowed opponents inside Egypt to reveal their sentiments anonymously and inconspicuously through graffiti, flyers, and other creative ways.

Although Sisi nearly won through fear, Mohammad Ali rode on ripe Egyptian sentiments, scrupulously synchronising his call to hit the streets with a football match and on a Friday, where people would already be on the streets. The results were unexpectedly successful, and could very well lead to the removal of the ‘Pharaoh’.

Whichever way it goes, we should glorify and thank Allāh who has instilled in the Muslims renewed resolve. No longer should we agree again to live under perpetual oppression whilst being content with our lack of progress, or even worse, relapse, as Egypt did when it failed President Morsi.

Those who are hitting the streets again know with absolute conviction what opposing this regime means. The despot has consistently demonstrated his brutality in all of his time in office, starting with the August 2013 Rabaa massacre and most recently in the slow murder of the usurped president by cruelly denying him access to medical care.[14] The protestors are under no illusions about how he will react, yet they are choosing to persist, which is the greatest sacrifice.

Those of us who cannot join them physically must attach our hearts to this struggle. We need to see it transcending the borders of Egypt. Egypt is a standalone, mighty state with a substantial past. You need not look beyond the scurried and panicked coverage on Zionist television, flustered by the protests and rattled by the prospect of losing their playmate. Palestine’s future is inseparably tied to Egypt, as is that of Islam in the Middle East. Our physical support will be in the night prayer and consistent begging of Allāh to grant our brothers and sisters in Egypt victory, and to purify both our and their intentions. Let our pursuit be for the Hereafter, and let our struggle in this world be for the sake of the ultimate victory.

The Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) said:

The leader of the martyrs is Hamzah ibn ‘Abd al-Muttalib and a man who stood up before a tyrant and enjoined good and forbade evil, and he killed him.[15]

Source: www.Islam21c.com

Notes:

[1] https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/09/sisi-protests-egypt-190921091738593.html

[2] https://www.alaraby.co.uk/english/news/2019/9/20/egypt-protests-spread-to-prisons-as-sisi-posters-removed

[3] https://www.aljazeera.net/news/arabic/2018/7/29/ جديد-السيسي-أقسم-بالله-لم-نتآمر-وكفاية-طفلين

[4] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7GhqJvL7sQY

[5] https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC3gAvye86mrC9YzNYhQ3gAw

[6] https://www.alaraby.co.uk/english/news/2019/9/20/mohamed-ali-the-businessman-turned-actor-who-called-for-egypt-protests

[7] https://www.aljazeera.net/news/politics/2019/9/13/ مصر-قصر-السيسي

[8] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ORXMe3N5GI

[9] https://www.businessinsider.com/massive-cairo-cemetery-slum-2014-11?r=US&IR=T

[10] https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/egypt-sisi-responds-to-viral-videos-accusing-him-of-squandering-billions

[11] https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvvOTfvYrphLjeE4ciLGP3Q

[12] https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCqlRE8sYdSeijg83yIDpq2w

[13] https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/egyptian-opposition-tv-host-says-family-members-disappeared

[14] https://www.islam21c.com/news-views/mohamed-morsi-the-final-minutes-of-the-unyielding-president/

[15] Authentic Hadith narrated by al-Hakim

About Ahmed Hammuda

Ahmed Hammuda is a regular contributor at Islam21c. His interests lie in Qur'anic Tafsir and the field of Middle East Affairs and how they reflect on Muslims living in the West. He is an Electrical Engineer by trade and has been involved in various Da'wah activities over the course of his education and working life. He has transferred the same analytical approach required in engineering into a careful and measured approach in his views and positions.

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