- May 14, 2008
Brotherhood MP Criticizes Al-Azhar Imam’s Statements on Strikes
Ali Laban (member of Muslim Brotherhood parliamentary bloc) has strenuously criticized the statements made by Sheikh Mohamed Tantawi, Grand Imam of al-Azhar, to Saudi newspaper Ukaz deeming strikes religiously forbidden.
Laban considered such statements as individual opinions of Tantawi, not those of Al-Azhar scholars or Islamic Research Compound (IRC).
In his statement to the bloc’s official website, Laban said that Tantawi’s opinion is against both law and religion. Legally, his words violate Article 15 of law 103 for 1961 that defines the IRC is the only entity in Egypt entitled to cast Islamic opinions relating to new social or doctrinal issues. Moreover, Islamic history is replete with strikes that were staged to protest injustice and oppression.
“The Sheikh of Al-Azhar has trespassed the IRC and ignored many facts in Islamic history,” Laban said. He warned Tantawi against voicing individual opinions that contradict with religious consensus (embodied in the IRC) that should be the basis of any fatwa.
Tantawi has declared his rejection of strikes organized by parties and organizations in Egypt. The Saudi Ukaz newspaper quoted him as saying that strikes are not lawful, because they impede Muslims’ transactions and business, which is against all heavenly religions including Islam.
“The government is responsible for combating price hikes and indeed it does its best to relieve the suffering of the people, so why should there be strikes?” Tantawi said answering a question about price hikes.
Tantawi pointed out that strikes should be organized under the permission of the concerned authorities who are most responsible for maintaining public order.
“I have personally gone to my work on the strike day, and so did all our employees. I advise everyone to go to his work instead of yielding to such harmful calls for strike,” Tantawi added.