On the occasion of the anniversary of the birth of Imam Abdel Halim Mahmoud.. his biography and his positions with the elderly

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Thursday, May 12, 2022

Books – Ali Shebl:

The late Imam Sheikh Abdel Halim Mahmoud assumed the Sheikh of Al-Azhar in extremely critical circumstances, after more than 10 years from the promulgation of the Al-Azhar law in the year (1381 AH = 1961 AD), which has expanded civil education and its higher institutes, abolished the group of senior scholars and reduced the powers of the Sheikh of Al-Azhar. He tied his hand in managing his affairs and gave it to the Minister of Endowments and Al-Azhar Affairs, which precipitated a violent confrontation. between Mahmoud Shaltout, the Sheikh of Al-Azhar, at whose time the law was enacted, and his student, Dr. Muhammad Al-Bahi, who held the post of Ministry of Endowments.

The most optimistic people did not expect Sheikh Abdel Halim Mahmoud to achieve the success he achieved in managing Al-Azhar, so he would restore the Sheikhdom to its position and prestige, expand the creation of institutes of Al-Azhar in an unprecedented way and would make Al-Azhar an opinion and a statement in every situation and problem, as he helped him to do so with purity of soul. The exhaustion of the spirit, the feeling of the responsibility entrusted to him and a great confidence in God enabled him to overcome the obstacles and to overcome the difficulties.

In the following report, Masrawy monitors the most significant information and situations in the life of the late Imam, according to the book (The Sheikhs of Al-Azhar) by its author: Ashraf Fawzy, and (The Sheikh of Al-Azhar since its creation until now) by Ali Abdel-Azim, and (Al-Azhar in twelve years), published by the Al-Azhar administration.

Sheikh Abdel Halim Mahmoud was born in the village of Abu Ahmed, on the outskirts of Belbeis, in the governorate of Sharkia, on 2 Jumada al-Ula of the year 1328 AH corresponding to this day on May 12, 1910 AD. .

Sheikh Imam Abdel Halim Mahmoud grew up in a noble family famous for righteousness and piety. He memorized the Holy Quran at an early age, which won the admiration of his village and his wallet. His father – may God have mercy on him – was passionate about the religious culture and scientific backgrounds of Al-Azhar, which had the effect of directing his son towards studies in Al-Azhar, so that the sheikh entered Abdel Halim Al-Azhar in 1923 A.D., and remained there for two years, moving between his circles, until the opening of the Zagazig Institute in 1925 A.D. May Sheikh Abdel Halim completed his studies, so the Sheikh took the exam to complete the secondary certificate of Azhar, and he passed it in 1928 A.D. The Sorbonne in Paris at his own expense, and Sheikh Abdel Halim took preferred to study the history of religions, philosophy and sociology, and in each of them he obtained a higher degree, and at the end of the year 1937 AD he joined the Al-Azhar mission studying there, and won the success What he chose from the sciences to do a doctoral study in Islamic mysticism, and his subject was: Al-H walker teacher arith bin Asad Al-Muhasabi, and while preparing the thesis, World War II broke out in September 1939 AD, and many of his colleagues preferred to return, but with strong faith and strong determination, he insisted to complete the thesis and achieved it. His purpose was set for discussion on June 8, 1940 AD, and he received his doctorate with distinction with the first rank of honor, and the university decided to print it in French.

Sheikh Imam began his professional life as a professor of psychology at the Arabic Language College, then transferred as a professor of philosophy to the College of Osoul al-Din in 1951 CE, then dean of the College in 1964 CE, and was appointed as a member of the Islamic Research Academy, then its Secretary General, and began his work by studying the objectives of the Assembly, and trained the technical and administrative staff of Al-Azhar employees of choice and organized it well, and established the library there at the highest level of quality. After that, he persuaded state officials to allocate land in Nasr City to be assigned to the complex to house all of its scientific and administrative apparatus, in addition to spacious meeting rooms. the first to put the blocks of the Islamic research complex and take care of its organization. Sheikh Abdel Halim Mahmoud showed his interest in the complex after his appointment as Undersecretary of Al-Azhar, then Minister of Endowments and Al-Azhar Affairs, then Sheikh of Al-Azhar.

The decision to appoint Sheikh Imam Abdel Halim Mahmoud Sheikh of Al-Azhar was made on March 27, 1973 AD, and he began striving to achieve his lofty scientific goals which he had set himself while he was a professor at the Faculty of Foundations of Religion, then he was Secretary General of the Islamic Research Academy, then he was an agent of Al-Azhar, then he was Minister of Awqaf and Al Affairs – Azhar.

A republican decree was issued by Al-Azhar’s Minister of Affairs, which almost deprived the Sheikh of all authority and stripped him of the rest of his influence. Sheikh Imam Abdel Halim Mahmoud got angry not for himself, but for Al-Azhar, and for his position as a sheikh, which was shaken and shaken by his vibration in the standing of Al-Azhar in Egypt and in the Arab world. Throughout the Islamic world, the imam had no choice but to submit his resignation on July 16, 1974 AD, and then accompanied it with another letter which he submitted to the President of the Republic, explaining his position and that it was not about his person, but rather about Al-Azhar and his spiritual leadership for the entire Islamic world, indicating that the republican decision ex tolerates this leadership and prevents him from carry out his spiritual mission in Egypt and other Arab and Islamic countries, and before that he informed the representative of Al-Azhar of his position to assume his responsibility until another sheikh is appointed.

And the Imam revisited the issue of his resignation, and mediators negotiated with him, so he insisted on it with all insistence; Because the position is not a waiver of his personal rights, but rather a waiver of the rights of Al-Azhar and an understatement of the status of his sheikh.

If the case was related to the rights of Imam Abdul Halim Mahmoud, she would be lenient with them; Because he is an old friend of Al-Azhar’s Minister of Affairs; And because he is by nature ascetic in positions, abstains from appearances, abandons the fleeting enjoyment of life and its false decorations, and believes with all faith that the rest of good deeds are better with your Lord as a reward and better in hope. Al-Azhar’s deputy – at the time – Dr. Muhammad Abdul Rahman Bisar, a letter asking him to direct the affairs of the Sheikh of Al-Azhar until a new Sheikh is appointed.

The resignation had its profound effects in Egypt and other Islamic countries, and many domestic and foreign figures lobbied for the Imam, asking him to remain in his post, but he refused.

A strange incident before the October war

Doctor Ahmed Karima, professor of Islamic Sharia at Al-Azhar University, had recounted, in a previous presentation on the victory of October 6, 1973, when he met journalist Imad Al-Siddiq on the program ” Bil Kalwa”, broadcast on the satellite channel “Al-Hadath Al-Youm”, on Victory Day, about Karama Feu Sheikh of Al-Azhar Abdel Halim Mahmoud in the glorious October war, saying: “Dignity for my master and my sheikh Abdel Halim Mahmoud days before the battle he did not know this and he requested an urgent meeting with President Mohamed Anwar Al-Sadat who loved scholars and revered them and Sadat had a mystical streak and they told him that Sheikh Abdul Halim Mahmoud wanted to meet you, he said they entered him Of course, Sheikh Abdul Halim said: I want you in isolation. Sheikh Abdul Halim?” He said to him, “Are you far from the battle and from the change? He said, “You heard something on the street.” He said, “No.” He, peace be upon him, crosses the Suez Canal with his companions, and they are arrogant. God is the greatest. President Sadat asked him to keep it a secret and not tell anyone.

He added: “President Sadat said, O Sheikh Abdel Halim, if this happens, I have no food, I only have coffee and a pipe, and sometimes I eat boiled. And if this happened in Ramadan, would I be allowed to He said that you and the army broke their fast. The army told them to break their fast, and most of the army crossed while they were fasting, with the Coptic brothers with them, and when Morocco called on the Christians to race to prepare breakfast for their Muslim brothers.

The late imam reviewed his biography in his book (Praise be to God, this is my life), which presented itself as a summary of his ideas and his approach to reform rather than a review of his life’s journey. He expressed his detailed approach to reform in his valuable book (The Method of Islamic Reform in Society).

After the return of Sheikh Imam Abdel Halim Mahmoud from the pilgrimage journey of 16 Dhul-Qa’dah 1398 AH, corresponding to October 17, 1978 AD, he underwent surgery in Cairo, and he died, and the Islamic nation greeted with sadness the news of his death, an intellectual legacy that continues to be republished and reprinted.

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