By Dr. Ali Gomaa
Egypt stands at the dawn of a new era, hopeful of a peaceful transition to democratic and elected rule. It is an era borne of the ingenuity, sacrifices and determination of the entire nation. We remember and recognize all those brave men and women who gave their lives in fighting for freedom and change, igniting and galvanizing a well-attained historic moment of reform. The past eighteen days have been a testament to the spirit and integrity of the Egyptian people. It is with great pride that we witnessed the exemplary behavior of Egyptians during nearly three weeks of some of the most intense and anxious moments in the nation’s history.
The past few weeks were indeed difficult times of anxiety, confusion and anticipation. At times, it was unclear what the next day held — whether food shortages would prove debilitating, whether safety of the people will be assured, and whether the situation would spiral out of control.
However, history bears witness that it is in such times of difficulty that the Egyptian spirit of community asserts itself the strongest. The display of national unity over the past period was indeed remarkable — people from all walks of life joined together to anticipate and picture a better future for their country. Religious, social and economic differences were put aside: it was Egypt as a whole that was on display for the world over the past weeks, and it is Egypt that emerged as graceful as ever, as united as ever, and reawakened as never before.
At this juncture it is imperative to acknowledge the crucial role played by the Egyptian armed forces in keeping order and peace throughout the nation, asserting their respect for the people, solidarity with them, over and above, affirming that the welfare of the nation transcends all.
And at such a critical time, we have every confidence that they will continue to place these values at the top of their agenda and live up to their stated commitments.
The new era in which we stand is one of hope, one that is built on wise determination to install democracy and political reform. However, it remains crucial to remind ourselves that ending a past regime is simply the beginning of a new phase of hard work and strong will to foster a truly healthy and vibrant society, where economic and social reform is equally needed.
This requires keeping the current positive spirit and strong faith of all Egyptians and even nurturing it. As the recent events proved, this is not beyond our reach. Now is the time to take advantage of the historic revolution and achieve truly comprehensive and far-reaching reforms and continue the spirit of unity and work towards a better future, putting Egypt above all else.
This is the time to rebuilt and reverberate the spirit of hope, of willpower, and should not mix with negative emotions of hatred and vengeance or be wasted in feeding and satisfying old grudges. Islamic teachings emphasize that we not dwell on the past, and instead work for a better future, active, alive, and focused.
This is an important time to assert Dar al Ifta’s mission and responsibility towards the Egyptian people; offering religious guidance on all matters of life, on the national and international horizons. We have always remained independent of political affiliations and orientations, focusing instead on providing pragmatic guidance to all those who are looking for authoritative guidance, and we will continue to do so.
We support the aspirations of the nation in the coming era, and we call on all Egyptians to safeguard the five overriding objectives of Islamic law — the preservation of life, property, honor, family, reason, and religion — values that are definitely shared by all humanity.
For the past few years, Dar al-Ifta has made great strides in restructuring the organization to enhance accessibility and responsiveness, incorporating new technologies along the way. The circumstances of the past few weeks have inspired us to embark on a set of initiatives to move further along this path, venturing into the world of social networks and new media tools, most popular of which is Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube, among others, opening fresh new channels with youth and media, as well as expanding the translation department, part of Dar al-Ifta media center.
The past eighteen days have deeply affected all segments of Egyptian society. The new era is one on which we embark together as a united nation, filled with hope for a better future, trust in God, and determination to rebuild and serve a prosperous Egypt.
Dr. Ali Gomaa is the Grand Mufti of Egypt