Sayyid al-Qimny

Sayyid al-Qimny was one of the most outspoken and courageous commentators on Islam and the Arab world. Taking as his starting point the defeat of Egypt by Israel in 1967 al-Qimny set out in his works to understand the cause of Egyptian and Islamic ‘backwardness’. To do this he researched deep into Islamic and pre-Islamic, history, to understand the elements obstructing progress. His work on the era of the Prophet and on the compilation of the Qur’ān, such as Al-Hizb al-Hāshimī (‘The Hashemite Faction’), Al-Dawla al-Muhammadiyya (‘The Muhammadan State’), and Hurūb Dawlat al-Rasūl (‘The Wars of the Prophet’s State’), which trace the tenets of Islam to political pressures rather than revelation, earned him the respect of scholars and the odium of Islamists, who on several occasions called for him to be silenced. He called for the raising of national consciousness in Egypt over against an Islamic consciousness which he held to be holding citizens back and producing extremism in education. Al-Qimny was engaged on re-arranging the order of suras in the Qur’ān in order to dispel the confusion of nāsikh and mansūkh verses juxtaposed together, which has historically necessitated commentators to clarify the confusions. He wrote extensively on the methodology of reform and the need to detach the legacy of Islamic thought from Arab tribal conventions.