Sayyid Al-Qemany

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Sayyid Al-Qemany
Born (1947-03-13) March 13, 1947 (age 72)
Al-Wasta, Beni Suef, Egypt
OccupationAcademic writer, thinker
EducationBachelor in philosophy

Sayyid Al-Qemany (Arabic: سيد محمد القمني‎, also al-Qimni, born March 13, 1947 in Beni Suef) is an Egyptian secular writer and thinker. His works emphasize the importance of critical thinking, and he is an opponent of Islamic fundamentalism, supporting separation of religion and state, and tolerance. In 2009, he won the Egyptian Culture Ministry's prize for achievement in the social sciences, a cash award of 200,000 Egyptian pounds (about $US36,000).[1][2] A judicial and media campaign was launched calling for the prize to be withdrawn[3] by those who claimed Al-Qemany was a heretic who has harmed Islam and Muslims with his writings.[1][2]

Views and opinions[edit]

Al-Qemany views the Koran as more than religious scripture and contends that it is legitimate to study it from a historical perspective using the same scientific tools and criteria that are employed for other disciplines.[4]


Al-Qemany gave two contradicting narratives with regard to his doctorate degree, both were criticized by Egyptian intellectuals and media as being fake. He once claimed to have earned the degree from the Southern California University, a fake university according to Bears' Guide to Earning Degrees by Distance Learning 2003. He also claimed that he earned the degree from Kuwait University supervised by Prof. Fouad Zakaria, without supporting his claim. No thesis with his name exists in Kuwait University’s library and Prof. Zakaria denied [5] having supervised him.

Former Egyptian mufti Nasr Farid Wasilo called the decision to award Al-Qimni the prize "a crime against Egypt's Muslim identity."[2] The Islamic association Jabhat 'Ulama Al-Azhar stated that Al-Qimni "has openly blasphemed in a manner that does not lend itself to [any other] interpretation." The Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood and al-Gama'a al-Islamiyya also attacked Sayyed Al-Qimni[3] Dar Al-Ifta, Egypt's official fatwa-issuing body, headed by Chief Mufti Dr. 'Ali Gomaa issued a fatwa stating in part:

The Muslims [believe] unanimously that whoever curses the Prophet or slanders Islam removes himself from the fold of Islam and [from the community] of Muslims, and deserves punishment in this world and torment in the world to come... The statements [from Al-Qimni's writings] quoted by the [individual] who requested the fatwa are heretical, regardless of who wrote them; they remove their author from the fold of Islam... and [also] constitute a crime according to Article 98 of [Egypt's] penal code. If these depraved, loathsome, and invalid statements were indeed made by a specific individual, then this individual should be convicted rather than awarded a prize, and punished to the full extent of the law...[2][6]

Shiekh Youssef Al-Badri accused him of "deconstructing Islam using eloquent sugar-coated attacks [...] more fatal than Salman Rushdie".[1] Al-Qemany replied that Badri was accusing him of atheism. "Islamic scholars do not want the Muslim to use his God-given brain! They want a submissive and obedient Muslim who refers to them in the slightest details of his life."[1]

Egyptian liberals came to Al-Qimni's defense and called on the government to defend him against accusations of heresy "which are tantamount to incitement to murder."[7][8] Human rights activists, academics, and journalists issued a petition of solidarity with him.[2]


  • The Religious and Democracy (ahl al-din wal-dimuqratiyah), 2005.
  • Thank You ... Bin Laden!! (Shukran ... bin Laden!!), 2004.
  • The Islamic Groups: a view from within (al-jama'aat al-islamiyah ru'yah min al-dakhil),2004.
  • Traditions About the Tribe of Israel (al-isra'iliyat), 2002.
  • Islamic Traditions (al-islamiyat), 2001.
  • Israel: Revolution, History, Delusion (isra'il, al-thawrah al-tarikh al-tadlil), 2000.
  • The Creation Story (qissat al-khalq), 1999.
  • The Other Question (al-su'al al-akhar), 1998.
  • The Wars of the Prophet's State (hurub dawlat al-rusul), 1996.
  • The Unknown History of the Prophet Abraham (al-nabi ibrahim wal-tarikh al-majhul), 1996.
  • The Prophet Moses and the Last Days of Tel el Amarna (al-nabi musa wa'akhar ayyam tal al-'amarna), 1987.

Awards and recognition[edit]

Egypt State Award of Merit Prize in the social sciences for the year 2009, which is Egypt's highest cultural award.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "Egypt: The Egyptian Apostate" Global Voices, July 15th, 2009, accessed 23-September 2009
  2. ^ a b c d e Dispute over Granting of State Award to Egyptian Liberal Sayyed Al-Qimni. By: L. Azuri September 22, 2009. accessed 23-September 2009
  3. ^ a b Egyptians protest award to controversial writer, 13 July 2009. accessed 23-September 2009
  4. ^ Bar'el, Zvi (2009-07-15). "Awarding Islam's Challenger". Haaretz. Retrieved 2018-03-18.
  5. ^ [1] Al-Ahram Newspaper, 17 August 2009
  6. ^, July 9, 2009.
  7. ^ Al-Shurouq (Egypt), July 16, 2009
  8. ^ Al-Misriyoun (Egypt), July 17, 2009

External links[edit]