Role of Religion in Public Affairs of Egypt
Islamic countries such as Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Iran, Egypt, just to mention a few, have been in the never ending debate of what part religion should play in their public affairs. In our case study involving Egypt, several revolutions and elections have put the country in confusion as to which religion can be used in public affairs. Leaders such as Nasser and Anwar Sadat tried to answer that dilemma but have failed. Even the Ulama, renowned Islamic scholars, are still frustrated by the quagmire.
Since time immemorial Egyptians were happy with their identity as an Arabic, Islamic nation, residing peacefully and unaffected by race, culture, or language barriers. The Nasser and Mubarak eras confused their ideologies, beliefs, and political positions. A nation that was founded on intelligent and moral dialogues was silenced in the Mubarak years. No one had a stand on whatever the country gets involved in whether socially, politically, or economically.
In the Mubarak period, after the taking away of the rights of the Egyptian people, which influenced the country’s shape both directly and indirectly, the Islamic secular division has followed. This involved two main movements, which were the religious reform movement and the secular liberal movement. The liberal movement tried to mobilize crowds to move against the Mubarak amendments but was faced with difficulties since leaders and clergymen did not want to go against their religious, doctoral principles. This divided the country, especially on the liberal sides, which made people form extra movements. This freedom made the Egyptians drift even further from their main reasons for forming the revolution in the first place. Furthermore, the liberal and religious struggles excluded the people even more, making the notion of peaceful coexistence unconceivable. The grouping of the revolution also divided the country as liberal parties involved the rich and middle class while the religious reform movement involved the poor and lower middle class.
The revolution did not happen by chance, like the flipping of a coin, but was brought up by political dormancy, which involved one political party ruling unopposed for the length of the leaders’ life. The major downside of this was the stagnation of the country in terms of development and diversity of the Islamic belief. The oppression and exclusion of the people proved unbearable and led to the revolution. Some say the end of the Mubarak era was the beginning of the focal point of Egypt’s development and revolution for a better Egypt. The revolution happened in very many forms, but the major ones were political, symbolic, and tactical. The tactical approach involved mobilizing the crowds in mosques and protesting against the Egyptian regime. The symbolic approach was best seen when Al-Azhar used the “fitna” symbol justifying that it is forbidden by God and His Messenger. The political form was more effective after the end of the Mubarak regime that involved the use of The Brotherhood and The Salafists as their major characters.
The Islamic condition of Egypt is still a major debate point; it is very important how the role of religion influences the public affairs of the nation. The major events that occurred after the end of the Mubarak era are the greatest focal point in the country’s development towards a civilized and peaceful society. The end of the brotherhood, the formation of many movements and parties, the instillation of political openness and fluidity, and the intellectual ideological confrontation of traditional religious forms are the right steps to give back Egypt’s true identity in the world as a superior civilization founded on great moral and cultural standards.