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Egypt, the Quiver

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Egypt, the Quiver, is divinely saved and protected

As, in the Wise Remembrance, Guaranteed

t may transiently slip, But soon it stands up

As a strong bulwark of Islam

And a safe shelter for the noble Arabs

Seekers of its peace are granted

Yet, for war mongers its men challenged

Free from aggression and Humility

Here true manhood has the construction

Only Two ends are there with no Third

Absolute victory or martyrdom shared

Ask the history about her Heroes

To understand why the Prophet mentioned her hosts

The best of hosts are those of Egypt, so give

Egypt its due merit and Value

Sinai in the Glorious Qur‘ān

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The Noble Qur‘ān speaks about Sinai in a way that calls for reflection. It stresses its importance and religious and historical position and makes us think times and times about the necessity of devoting considerable efforts to Sinai development and promote investment in Sinai resources and tourist attractions for religious, natural and medical tourism. Allah, the Almighty, swears in His Book by mount Sinai in His saying, “By the mount. And [by] a Book inscribed. In parchment spread open. And [by] the frequented House. And [by] the heaven raised high. And [by] the sea filled [with fire]” (the Qur‘ān, 52: 1-6). In this surah, Allah first swears by mount Sinai, giving it precedence over the other objects of oath in the same surah even though they have a high standing and holiness. Moreover, Allah named the whole surah: “the Surah of the Mount.” In a more explicit and specific oath, Allah swears by Mount Sinai in the surah of al-Tin as Allah, the Almighty, says, “By the fig and the olive. And [by] Mount Sinai. And [by] this secure city [Makkah], We have certainly created man in the best of stature.” (The Qur‘ān, 95: 1-4). Again, Mount Sinai is given precedence over the secure city that enjoys a high standing and holiness. In addition, the Qur‘ān refers to some of the blessings of Sinai in the saying of Allah, the Almighty, “And [We brought forth] a tree issuing from Mount Sinai which produces oil and food for those who eat” (the Qur‘ān, 23: 20). Prophet Muhammad (may Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him) said about this blessed tree, “Eat of its oil and use it, for indeed it is from a blessed tree.” (Reported by al-Tirmidhi in his Sunan). Sinai hosts the blessed spot mentioned in the Qur‘ān in the story of Prophet Moses (may Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him) , “But when he came to it, he was called from the right side of the valley in a blessed spot – from the tree, O Moses, indeed I am Allah, Lord of the worlds” (the Qur‘ān, 28: 30) and the sacred valley of Tuwa mentioned in the divine address to Moses (may Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him), “And when he came to it, he was called, O Moses, Indeed, I am your Lord, so remove your sandals. Indeed, you are in the sacred valley of Tuwā” (the Qur‘ān, 20: 11-12). This high standing that Allah, the Almighty, confers upon Sinai encourages us all to put it in our hearts and to protect it and to ransom it with everything we have. No doubt, our armed forces shoulder this responsibility with exceptional bravery; they pay the ultimate sacrifices of for the sake of the homeland in general and for the sake of protecting Sinai and freeing it from terrorist and criminal elements in particular, the matter which deserves appreciation on one hand as well as siding with the armed forces and providing them with all the necessary support, be it financial or moral support, on the other hand. In an attempt to shed light on the religious, tourist, natural, cultural and historical attractions in North and South Sinai, we, in the Egyptian Ministry of Awqaf, decided to hold the International Competition of the Holy Qur‘ān in the city of Sharm al-Sheikh in collaboration with the Ministry of Youth and Sports, South Sinai Governorate and al-Gomhuria Newspaper, which is one of the most important partners in the competition. Moreover, tours will be organized to visit the religious, tourist, natural and cultural attractions in Sinai as the guests of Egypt from all over the world will visit the city of al-Tur, ‘Uyun Musa, Saint Catherine and other attractions and will be briefed about the religious and historical significance of these places. The Qur‘ān competition includes this year two new levels: the memorization of the Qur‘ān for young children less than twelve years old and the memorization of three Juz’ of the Qur‘ān at least for those with special needs. Sinai was chosen to host this competition on affirmation of our belief that Sinai is the city of peace and shall remain so, God willing. It affirms that Sinai occupies an important position in the heart and mind of all faithful Egyptians. Futile attempts perpetuated by enemies of humanity shall never dissuade us from building, developing and protecting Sinai. In addition, the competition stresses that the Egyptian people are strong and, that, hardships only increase their strength, stamina, determination and insistence on protecting their land and honor with unrivalled desire to confront and uproot terrorism. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Imams who submitted numerous requests to move their work to Sinai in order to confront the forces of extremism. I would like also to thank those who are in charge of the Da‘wah convoys including the internal convoys by the scholars and Imams of the North and South Sinai governorates and the semi-periodic public convoys sent by the Ministry to Sinai.

Egypt’s Great Ethics and Civilization

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It is no doubt that Egypt is a great nation graced with great leaders, scholars, men, women, young men and women, history and civilization. Also, Egypt has a leading intellectual, scientific, cultural, military, civilizational and humanitarian role in the region. What matters most indeed is Egypt’s open horizons and viability of pardon and tolerance. It is graciously capable of avoiding low and mean matters following the logic expressed in the following statement: The fool face me with filthy stuffs Yet, I feel repugnant to reply The worse his absurdities grow, The greater forbearance I show Like agarwood increasingly burned Only for sweet-smelling to be turned However, there is a distinctive difference between the strong forbearance and the weakness and humility. Egypt is forbearing and not weak. Like an elder brother who yearns for the familial solid union and does his duty to the utmost of his ability to prevent family disintegration and disunity, Egypt is keen to keep the Arab union and will never disgrace wrongful brothers at times of urgency. Following the example of an elder brother in his family, the leading Egypt never overlooks the Arab issues. Meanwhile, it is further above all fake attempts to tempt Egypt to conflicts, imposed or ordained by other parties who, contrary to the Egyptian political prudence and wisdom, lack the necessary prudence and evaluation of consequences. Over a long and morally rich history of Egypt, the Egyptians were not known for dishonesty, betrayal, violation or aggression, unless it be for a just cause. At all times, Egypt powerfully stood by their sister and friendly states. Again, over history, Egypt is famous for good neighborhood and the Egyptians are noted for their tolerance, affability, gentle treatment and tender hearts. Extremism and fanaticism never had a place in Egypt. Temporary and accidental violence rarely occurred at some eras, which signified odd phenomena exogenous to the Egyptian community endowed with pure nature and substance. Like a summer cloud, such transient violence soon faded away. The Egyptian civilization assimilated many aspects of other civilizations and availed itself of what is useful and beneficial to the exclusion of what is harmful and evil. Over more than thousand years, AlAzhar’s noted tolerance and balanced moderation acted as the main guaranty of the Egyptian tolerance and moderation inside and outside Egypt in the Arab world, the Muslim World and the world as a whole. I versified some lines in celebration of this meaning saying, Egypt, the Quiver, is divinely saved and protected As, in the Wise Remembrance, Guaranteed t may transiently slip, But soon it stands up As a strong bulwark of Islam And a safe shelter for the noble Arabs Seekers of its peace are granted Yet, for war mongers its men challenged Free from aggression and Humility Here true manhood has the construction Only Two ends are there with no Third Absolute victory or martyrdom shared Ask the history about her Heroes To understand why the Prophet mentioned her hosts The best of hosts are those of Egypt, so give Egypt its due merit and Value Behold Al-Azhar, filled with ritual and scholarly moves Preserving and keeping sciences through centuries Teaching people of all corners of the world As tolerance is the title of our faith Send prayers to the Chosen Ahmad The Best and leader of all humankind

The Concept of National Security

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There is no doubt that the stability of any country is closely associated with protecting the national security and the extent to which each citizen is concerned about the level of security and protection, especially of those close to the circles of decision-making in issues related to international relationships and their mechanisms.

If the national security of an independent and a sovereign country is a red line that cannot be crossed or whose crossing cannot be tolerated, the preservation of this line requires an ongoing, scholarly and methodical awareness, culture and education about the concept of national security. I can say that holding intensive courses about this concept for persons expected to occupy leading positions has become an urgent necessity, because the technical, technological and administrative skills may not be sufficient in forming a comprehensive vision that leads to the correct direction and course as long as persons have no farsighted and comprehensive vision of the effect of any decision they take on the national security.

It may not occur to some people that the decisions or the actions that they take or the relationships that they establish may have a negative effect on the national security. This might not be intentional, but it might be the result of lack of knowledge or insufficient knowledge of national security. However, the current stage and the circumstances that the country, the region and the whole world undergo necessitate that ordinary citizens, let alone those in charge or the decision-makers, be thoroughly familiar with the national security of their country whether in taking the decisions or in establishing relations or in concluding agreements and protocols.

If the level of awareness of the importance and danger of everything related to national security varies from one person to another for many considerations including: culture, keenness on the national interests, showing concern for the homeland and giving the national interests priority above any other considerations, then the following procedures are necessary:

  • More education and awareness of the concept of national security through holding intensive courses for all those who are going to occupy leading positions.
  • Raising awareness of the concept of national security and the necessity of preserving it on the part of politicians, thinkers, writers, intellectuals and the media, especially those who have a penetrating vision and mature awareness of the concept of national security. This should be considered one of the most important elements of the country’s stability.
  • The necessity of advance coordination with the concerned bodies before concluding any agreements or protocols with any foreign institutions to avoid any penetration or negative effects on our national interests even if not on purpose.

Before any important decision, the concept of national security requires familiarity with the internal and foreign political conditions as well as the regional and international political conditions along with the consideration of our Arab and African depth and Muslim world dimensions. The positive and negative effects of important and vital decisions on each of these relations as well as the priorities, the significance positions and the margins of movement in all directions must be studied.

There is no doubt that the political, military, economic, cultural, technical and media relations affect one another because it is no longer possible to separate them completely so that each institution can act as if it lives in a world that is specific to it. However, each institution should take into consideration the effect of their procedures on other national institutions. There is no doubt that this consideration requires a deep national sense and a considerable practice and experience. It also requires that we all work as a team. All people in charge must shoulder full responsibility for the tasks assigned to them with a high level of understanding and awareness of the work of their team and the requirements of taking decisions in the institutions to which they belong.

It is a truism that nations cannot achieve stability only with good intentions without awareness, planning and watchfulness in a world where the strong devour the weak. The Second Caliph, Umar Ibn al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him) used to say, “I am not to deceive, nor do I allow someone to deceive me!”

Al-Mughira Ibn Shu‘ba said, “Were it not for Islam, I would use cunning that the Arabian Peninsula would not tolerate.” There must be good work with good intentions. Allah, the Almighty, says, “Say, [O Muhammad], Shall we [believers] inform you of the greatest losers as to [their] deeds? [They are] those whose effort is lost in worldly life, while they think that they are doing well in work” (the Quran, 18: 103-104). That is why the Quran stresses the conditions of trustworthiness and competence, because none of them alone is sufficient. Allah says at the tongue of the daughter of Prophet Shu‘ayb, “O my father, hire him. Indeed, the best one you can hire is the strong and the trustworthy” (the Quran, 28: 26). Allah also says at the tongue of Prophet Yūsuf (Joseph) (peace be upon him), “Appoint me over the storehouses of the land. Indeed, I will be a knowing guardian” (the Quran, 12: 55).