Palestinian Cause: Al-Azhar’s Stance

By: Asmaa Muhammad Yusuf, Eng. Unit, AOCE

  • | Tuesday, 30 January, 2024
Palestinian Cause: Al-Azhar’s Stance

     Amid the ongoing information war, whether explicit or not, it is a humane duty to propagate the truth to every corner of the globe. Dissemination of truth transcends nationalities, ethnicities, and religions. The Zionist entity has no qualms about doing anything to ensure the survival of their disinforming narrative around the world. The Palestinian crisis began in 1917 when British colonial interests made common cause with the Zionist movement to swallow Palestine up. This was when and where a history of sacrilege, persecution, displacement, and oppression engulfed the Palestine and its natives, the Palestinians; marking an incessant process until today.

The quest to end the brutal and heart-breaking indiscriminate atrocities perpetrated in Palestine, particularly the Ziocide (the genocide perpetrated by Zionists against the Palestinians and neighboring peoples), entails several approaches: demystifying the history of the cause and its consequences, world governments’ positions, stances of international organization, public opinion, and even the so-called Humanitarian International Law. Al-Azhar’s stance on the Palestinian cause serves as a logical start.


Muhammad Mustafa Al-Maraghi, former Grand Imam (1945-1928)

In 1929, Al-Azhar Grand Imam, Muhammad Mustafa Al-Maraghi, warned Great Britain against supporting the Zionist acts in Palestine, including heated Zionist immigration to Palestine and the transfer of Arab lands to Zionists. Al-Azhar Al-Sharif vehemently condemned the British agenda. In Cairo, many demonstrations broke out from the heart of Al-Azhar Al-Sharif in support of the Palestinian cause. Al-Maraghi did not only ask Muhammad Mahmoud Pasha, the then prime minister of Egypt, to intervene on behalf of Egypt to support Palestine, but also addressed the Arab-Islamic Parliamentary Conference, October 1938, to support the Palestinian issue. In 1939, Al-Azhar Al-Sharif protested against the resettling of a British police force in Al-Aqsa Mosque, demanding that this force be withdrawn.


Muhammad Ma’mon Ash-Shinawi, former Grand Imam  (1950- 1948)

In 1948, Al-Azhar Grand Imam, Muhammad Ma’mon Ash-Shinawi, called for Jihad in Palestine, dismissing the UN decree of partitioning Palestine and declaring Israel a state. Al-Azhar scholars donated a sizeable portion of their salaries to support the Palestinian people. Further, Al-Azhar Al-Sharif and Egypt’s Dar Al-Ifta released a joint statement stating that Jihad is obligatory to liberate Jerusalem and all Palestinian territories. In addition, the statement prohibited selling any Palestinian land to Zionists.


Mahmoud Shaltut (1958-1963) and Abdul-Haleem Mahmoud (1978-1973), former Grand Imams

Al-Azhar Grand Imam Mahmoud Shaltut called for a conference in 1958 on Palestine. In a fatwa of his, Al-Azhar Grand Imam Abdul-Haleem Mahmoud stated, “The Arabs of Palestine were forcibly displaced from their homes, abused, and tortured; it is the duty of all Muslim countries to rescue them and work towards the return of Arab Palestine.”


Jad Al-Haq, Al-Azhar Grand Imam (1996- 1982)

Al-Azhar Grand Imam Jad Al-Haq issued an strongly worded statement, condemning the ongoing Zionist aggression against Jerusalem and the US Congress decree to relocate the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. According to the statement, this move hindered the peace process, supported the aggressors, and undermined UN resolutions. Further, he rejected the policy of normalization with the Zionist entity as long as the latter seizes Arab land. In addition, he declared support to the blessed Palestinian Intifada and refuted the Zionist fallacies about historical rights and claims to the Nile water through the Salam (Peace) Canal Project, affirming that “It is easier for Israel to possess the moon than the Nile water.” The rightfully resolute Imam issued a fatwa, demanding Muslims not to go to Jerusalem until it is purified from the filth of the Zionist usurpers and to do their best to liberate Jerusalem and its captive mosque. It is worth noting that Pope Shenouda III, the 117th Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of the See of St. Mark, followed suit, calling on Christians not to visit Jerusalem at that time.


Ahmad At-Tayyeb, Al-Azhar Grand Imam (2010- till now)

In 2011, Al-Azhar Grand Imam Ahmad At-Tayyeb issued “Al-Azhar Statement on Al-Quds al-Shareef (Jerusalem),” reiterating the Arabic identity of Jerusalem that runs deep into its history of over sixty centuries. In 2018, Al-Azhar Grand Imam held the “Al-Azhar International Conference in Support of Jerusalem”, which was attended by the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, calling 2018 the Year of Jerusalem. “Al-Azhar Declaration in Support of Jerusalem” stated decisive rejection of the American Administration’s recent decisions, which all Arabs and Muslims, along with all free people everywhere, see as nothing but dead letters on paper. The Declaration further highlighted the importance of directing all official and public potentials, whether Arabic or international (Muslim, Christian, and Jewish), to end the usurping Zionist occupation of the Arab land of Palestine.

Imam At-Tayyeb denounced the bloody terrorist acts perpetrated by the Zionist entity against the Palestinians and sacred places. Al-Azhar constantly calls on the Arab and Muslim governments to take a serious and unified stance in the face of this inhumane Western circumvention in support of the Zionist violation of all the rights of innocent Palestinians and to conduct an international investigation into the war crimes committed by the Zionist entity against children, women, and the elderly in the besieged and isolated Gaza Strip. Al-Azhar also demands the international community to bring the terrorist Zionist entity to justice for its crimes against civilians and civilian objects in Palestine.

Al-Azhar Observatory for Combating Extremism (AOCE), inaugurated in 2015 under the auspices of Al-Azhar Grand Imam At-Tayyeb, reiterates that Palestine is a humanitarian cause; it is not limited to firmly established Arab, Muslim, and Christian claims; it is equally of legal and humane significance. It reminds the international community that humanity speaks out loud to demonstrate deep concern for our fellow human beings in Palestine. In this regard, the AOCE highlights the Palestinian cause through a series of visual issues, including “A glimpse of the atrocities perpetrated against Gaza,” “Palestine belongs only to her own people, the Palestinians,” “Palestinian Children: A Threat!”, “Save the Remaining Children in Gaza,” etc.

It is the firm belief of Al-Azhar as much as it is a historical fact that every occupation shall come to a disgraceful end, sooner or later. On this hope, boosted by due and legally enshrined right to resistance, billions of peace-loving peoples live.

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