El-Sisi meets Sufi delegation, vows to defend Islam

Ahram Online, Sunday 4 May 2014

Former army chief Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi meets with Sufi leaders in Cairo as part of his election campaign

Sisi with Sufi delegation
Presidential candidate meeting with the Sufi delegation (Photo: snapshot from the video posted on the candidate`s official campaign)

Presidential candidate Abdel Fattah El-Sisi has met with Sufi representatives and vowed to protect all Egyptians and Islam if he is elected.

El-Sisi acknowledged Egypt was currently going through hard times, but promised to tackle the crisis of children living on the streets.  

He said he could not remain silent when he witnessed the fears induced by Muslim Brotherhood rule.

The delegation showed its support for El-Sisi at the end of the meeting.

It also expressed awareness of the economic and the political issues facing Egypt.   

El-Sisi resigned from his post as head of the military and defence minister to compete with leftist politician Hamdeen Sabahi for the presidency. Sabahi finished third in the 2012 presidential race.

In Egypt, there are around 74 Sufi orders or turuq. The best known of the Cairo turuq are the Al-Rifa’ya and the Al-Hamdiya Al-Shazliya. The most popular in Alexandria is the Al-Naqshabandiya.

There is no official information about the number of Sufis in Egypt, however, reports have said that they range between 10 and 15 million.

Sufism in Egypt can trace its origins to the third or fourth Hegira centuries (ninth and tenth in the Gregorian calendar).

Each order or tariqa has its own sheikh, who is the supreme guide, its own rites or initiation, and its own code of conduct. Every tariqa has a path of evolution drawn for its disciples to follow, and every path is made up of maqamat (stations) and ahwal (conditions).

In last year`s presidential election, Sufis supported Ahmed Shafiq over Islamist candidate Mohamed Morsi.   

In January 2014, Sufi orders launched a campaign to support the newly drafted constitution that passed with a majority 'Yes' vote.

This year's presidential election will take place on 26-27 May.    

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