A photo of a book that appeared next to Al Azhar Sheikh Ahmed Al-Tayeb during his return flight from a European country, renewed on Sunday a debate over the concept of enlightenment among some of his supporters in Egypt.
The debate started when Dr. Khaled Montaser posted on his Twitter account the photo of Al-Tayeb during his return from a medical trip in Germany, with the book “The Decline of the West” by Moroccan thinker Hassan Aourid next to him.
Montaser tweeted that the book that the eminent Imam was reading while on the US jet is about the infidel West, adding in a sarcastic tone that if the Western civilization disappears, “we will not find a medicine tablet or a plane to return home.”
The tweet drew a wave of reactions, which considered that Montaser did not read the book.
Al-Azhar newspaper’s editor-in-chief Ahmed Al-Sawy defended the photo and responded to Montaser without naming him.
He said that The Decline of the West book had provoked the anger of the pretenders of knowledge and enlightenment who saw only their own superficial minds in the picture of Al-Azhar’s sheikh during the trip.
Al-Sawy stressed that important Western writers and thinkers are interested by the subject of this book.
Also, expert in political science and former deputy in the Egyptian Parliament, Dr. Omar Al-Shobaki, explained that the book “is not superficial, and does not deal with the West as infidel.”
He said the book carries a practical critical vision of the negative aspects of the Western civilization and its political system and it is part of the Western vitality to allow self-criticism, and review and correct its own mistakes.
Shobaki stressed that this critical vision should please any person seeking real enlightenment.
He also touched on the “concept of enlightenment” by saying that the required enlightenment calls for religious, political, social and cultural reform.