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Why Egypt? ...And The Pharaoh Land Became A Minaret Of Islamic Enlightenment

28 April 2016

By Dr. Khaled M. Batarfi

''I know what you'd say! So let me start by saying: Egypt is the biggest Arab country in term of population (90m). So is Indonesia (200m), but we are not as interested. Ok, I see it coming … you'd say Egypt is an Arab neighbor, sister and all. I can count other Arab countries and good neighbors in need of our attention, too. So why Egypt?'' asked my vocal student.

We should have taught our young more about Egypt. They have missed a lot about the historical journey we had with her. So, I had to explain what schools had not taught them:

''Let me start 14 centuries ago, when our Prophet, peace be upon him, sent a letter to the King of Egypt telling him about his prophecy and inviting him to Islam. The King honored the messenger of the Prophet and his message. He sent valuable gifts, including a doctor and an Egyptian woman, Maria. The Prophet (pbuh) married her and she gave him a son, Ibrahim. Since then, the land of the Two Holy Mosques and the land of the Great Nile, were eternally joined.

''The holy bond became stronger when Caliph Omar ruled Egypt, and the Pharaoh Land became a minaret of Islamic enlightenment. Al-Azhar University (972 AD) has trained millions of scientist and scholars, for over 1,000 years.

''Egyptian teachers were the first to support our education drive, and Egyptian talents helped our development in every phase, area and direction.

They assisted in managing hospitals, factories, construction companies and civil institutions. Our media, art and cultural organizations were built and maintained with their aid. Till today, over a million Egyptian guest workers are playing a pivotal role in our growth.

''Egypt economy might be down in recent years, but it still is the reservoir of human resources. Where, if not in Egypt, would we find Arab talents in every specialty and profession?

''We need Egypt, as much as they need us. Together we are the wings of the Arab nation, without which we cannot fly. United, we could unite our Ummah and face our enemies. We cannot afford to let Egypt go the way of Syria, Iraq, Libya and Yemen.

''Our Arab world is in chaos. Iran is spreading hate, war and destruction.

The US-supported Arab Spring had finished what is left and brought us insecurity and disunity. We cannot afford to lose what is left standing.

Egypt is finally getting out of its maze. The new leadership is bringing the country back to economic viability and Arab solidarity. Now, more than any time before, we need to stand shoulder to shoulder and hand in hand with our Egyptian brethren to bring order, peace and security to our firestorm-stricken region.''

My student was mulling over my long and crowded answer to his question. I appreciated his consideration and went on with my class. A week later, he came back with more questions and comments. This time, he did his homework and researched his subject. Most questions were now about the agreements Saudi and Egyptian governments have signed during King Salman's current visit to Egypt. My answers, it seems, changed his perception.

His next summer holidays, he proudly announced, would be in Egypt.

My last article ''Saudi softpower vs. Zion-Iran media,'' has generated a heated discussion, like the following comments. Your participation, dear readers, is appreciated.

— As an Algerian, I would like to thank you for your appreciation of us during the Saudi Cultural Week in Algeria, 1984. What you saw then is the true good feelings we have towards our Saudi brethren. I can assure you that all of us are standing hand in hand with you in defense of our holy lands. We are with you through good and bad times. We encourage you to conduct more exhibitions about Saudi Arabia in Arab and Muslim countries and the rest of the world. — Dr. Ali Faghmous

— Being a Pakistani, I have an objection. You wrote: When the Imam of Haram Sharif leads the prayer in Bangladesh, India and Indonesia, millions follow him. True, but you failed to mention Pakistan – the No. 1 ally of Saudi Arabia. Pakistanis are ready to go to any extent to serve and defend the holy land. You should never give priority to India over Pakistan. — Mohammad S. Khattak

— You wrote ''…Iran, Israel and Islam's enemies are using all their propaganda tools to win the argument…'' I felt you had an obvious hate towards Iran I am an Iranian drama student and your article raised a serious question for me: Why you think Iranian people are your enemy? Because as an Iranian, I love Arabian culture and civilization. — Davoud Zarif

Dr. Khaled M. Batarfi is a Saudi writer based in Jeddah. He can be reached at kbatarfi@gmail.com. Follow him at Twitter:@kbatarfi

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