2. The new preacher and the way of imitation

Article summary: 

It was said that Sheikh Amr Khalid used the scientific method and a free mature way of thinking in explaining the Qur’an and Sunna. However the author provides many examples of how Khalid imitates the ways used by preachers for many centuries. He proves that he is very far from using the scientific method and that his interpretations of some Qur’anic verses are wrong.

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They said, "a new preacher appeared." They attributed to him many characteristics that lifted him up to where the clouds are. They praised his way of preaching and wrote that he caused women to cry and the streets to be blocked off. Here are some of the headlines that were written about him.

"Amr Khalid made Saturday a feast that the residents of Agouza and Dokki waited for" and "Amr Khalid surpasses Al-Sha’arawi, Omar Abdel-Rahman and Omar Abdel-Kafi."

The thing that made me listening to his preaching was that he was said to "use the scientific method and a free mature way of thinking in explaining the Qur’an and the Sunna [The sayings and actions of the Prophet, later to be established as legally binding precedents in addition to the law established by the Qur’an], without resorting to the inherited, over repeated clichés."

As we advocate using such a method to explain the Qur’an, I hastened to buy one of his tapes. The tape was titled "Remembrance." The tape starts with a recitation of the Qur’anic verse "I created the jinn and humankind only that they might worship Me" [56:51]. Khalid’s interpretation of the meaning of worship indicates that he is very far from using "the scientific method." Rather than this he imitates the same way of preaching we have heard for many centuries and decades.

Khalid, like many other preachers, thought that the "worshipping" God created the jinn and humankind for only praying, fasting, giving alms and going on pilgrimage. However, a true understanding of the text would lead to a completely different interpretation.

In his book "Towards a new Fiqh," Gamal Al-Banna wrote, "The Qur’an does not mean devoting one’s life to praying and fasting by saying ’only that they might worship Me.’ Life can never be authentic if its only aim is praying and fasting. It cannot be authentic if other activities such as manufacturing, trading and cultivation are neglected. Such activities are vital for men’s lives and for the strength of societies. Worshipping in this Qur’anic verse means to walk in the way of God." I believe this interpretation, which has been criticized by many traditional preachers, to be the true interpretation of the text.

In the same tape Khalid commented on the invocation said before traveling. He said "Someone traveling to Marina [a famous resort on the Northern Coast of Egypt where rich people go in the summer] to attend a party, has before him/her two choices, either to say the invocation and turn back or to say ’By God, I will not say it.’" [not say the invocation and go to the party]

Here we have the sheikh using the same discourse of the sheikhs who say that singing is haram, music is haram, the voice of a woman is shameful and ...and...to the end of these extremist ideas.

I believe that enjoying one’s self is allowed or at worst it is one of the secondary errors that God forgives.

[Translator’s note: the author provides many other examples showing Amr Khalid’s wrong interpretation of the Qur’an and the Sunna. Only two examples are cited in this summary.]

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