JAFFA, Israel – Pilgrimage to Sinai’s El Tor Mountain is preferable to making the hajj pilgrimage to Mecca, an Egyptian cleric has said.
Dr Mustafa Rashed, a Sharia and comparative religions scholar at Cairo’s Al Azhar University, stated that, from an Islamic point of view, pilgrimage to El Tor is a more pious act because it is mentioned in the Quran more times than Mecca.
El Tor is the capital of the South Sinai Governornate of Egypt and the location of a mountain where Muslims say Moses received the tablets from God.
“There is an entire Quranic verse dedicated to El Tor, whereas there isn’t one for Mecca,” Rashed said in a televised interview for LBC.
“The Muslim, the Christian, and the Jew should make pilgrimage together to El Tor,” he said. “In addition, adjacent to it is El Tor Wadi, also known as the wadi of requests, where Allah doesn’t turn away anybody who comes to Him bearing a request.
“All the prophets went to El Tor, where Allah revealed himself,” he said to protests from another panelist who accused him of distorting the Quran.
Rashed’s controversial comment didn’t go unnoticed on social media.
“He is one of the Sultan’s sages,” Hsin said, meaning that he represents the interest of the rulers rather than believers.
— Hu Ssi En (@HsinRagh) May 18, 2016
Another tweeted sarcastically:”Apparently hajj was in our own backyard all that time and we didn’t know.”
الحج إلى سيناء أعظم درجة من مكة ..!!
يعني الحج عندنا واحنا نائمين علي ودانا هههههههه https://t.co/2QgMOVnfqG
— وا اسلاماه (@alaahhalaa) May 17, 2016
“I call on our honorable sages to respond to the falsehoods of this lowlife,” Khalid wrote.
“Either he converted to Judaism or this is [President Abdel Fatah] Sisi’s new religion,” Sammy wrote.
“What crazy times we live in, when a pothead is considered a sage,” Saud Alswailem wrote.
“He is a donkey that needs to be saddled.”
مسطول برتبة شيخ أزهري يقول أن الحج إلى سيناء أعظم درجة من الحج إلى مكة
زمن اغبر والله… هذا حمار بس ناقصه بردعةhttps://t.co/oOBUboSRYA
— سعود السويلم (@saud_alsuwailem) May 17, 2016
Another user accused Rashed of “altering Islam, spreading a new religion and distorting the prophet’s legacy.”