Preachers for the times

Nesmahar Sayed , Tuesday 12 Dec 2023

Female preachers are being trained on how to deal with the media, reports Nesmahar Sayed

Preachers for the times

 

A two-week course is helping women preachers in Egypt learn how to deal with social media communications.

The course, taught at the Radio and Television Training Institute, is aimed at enabling female preachers to create media content, manage social media pages, and apply neuro-linguistic programming on radio and television, according to Khaled Fathallah, director of the Radio and Television Training Institute. The skills taught in the course included how to sit in front of a camera and use a microphone, in addition to learning TV production and using debating skills, Nirvana Sarhan, a volunteer preacher at the Ministry of Endowments and Islamic Affairs told Al-Ahram Weekly.

Thirty trainees from Al-Azhar, the Ministry of Endowments, and the Egyptian Fatwa House took part in the course. Thirty topics were discussed throughout the training, including art, civilisation and artificial intelligence, in addition to human development, to deal with “destructive thoughts” and atheism, link Quranic verses to progress, enhance mental health, link the Quran to reality, and delve into the human soul, said Shaima Adli, a member of the Fatwa Committee and who is also a member of the Islamic Research Academy since 2016.

Adli said the aim of the course, open to both male and female preachers, was to renew religious thought, strengthen the Islamic faith, care for the family, and highlight the value of work and of learning, in addition to encouraging human solidarity.

“Because people are thirsty for a correct understanding of religion and knowledge of the interpretation of the Quran, and with the legalisation of female preachers in mosques under state supervision, then interaction with the media has become an urgent necessity to keep pace with the times,” Sarhan said.

Preachers are selected based on their charismatic character, communication skills, public acceptance, and conveying information in a sound manner, noting that there is a centre in the Egyptian Fatwa House to train fatwa clerics on public interaction and dialogue, Ali Fakhr, head of the Sharia sector in the Egyptian Fatwa House, said.

“The need to train fatwa clerics on everything new by specialists is necessary because any person has the right to inquire about what is troubling him or her from a legal standpoint, and fatwa clerics must answer in a legally approved manner that addresses the reality we live in,” Fakhr told the Weekly.

There is a need for continued cooperation between Al-Azhar, the Endowments Ministry, and Dar Al-Ifta to manage misconceptions, the biggest problem facing society now. “Correcting misconceptions and confronting distorted ideas is the most important role for preachers,” Assistant Secretary for Daawa and Religious Media at Al-Azhar Mahmoud Al-Hawari, said.

Referring to the course, Sarhan, the volunteer preacher, highlighted the Quranic verse: “And who is better in speech than he who invites to God and does righteousness and says, ‘Indeed, I am of the Muslims’” [Fussilat: 33].

“Understanding the meaning of the verse is the primary goal of the training,” said Sarhan who took many courses and created some of her own before being chosen a mosque preacher.


* A version of this article appears in print in the 14 December, 2023 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly

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