Sayyid Al-Qemany

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Sayyid Al-Qemany
Born (1947-03-13) March 13, 1947 (age 68)
Beni Suef, Egypt
Occupation Academic writer, thinker
Nationality Egypt
Education Bachelor in philosophy, PhD in sociology of religion[citation needed]

Sayyid Al-Qemany (Arabic: سيد محمد القمني‎ born March 13, 1947 in Beni Suef) is an Egyptian writer and thinker. Al-Qemany is a controversial writer. His works emphasize the importance of critical thinking, and he is an opponent of Islamic fundamentalism, supporting separation of religion and state, and tolerance. He has been awarded the Egyptian Culture Ministry's 2009 prize for achievement in the social sciences of 200,000 Egyptian pounds (about $US36,000).[1][2] The bestowing of the award launched "a judicial and media campaign demanding" its withdrawal[3] by those who claim Al-Qimni is a heretic who has "harmed Islam and the Muslims with his writings".[1][2] Al-Qemany regards himself a follower of Mu'tazila.[4]

Accusations of heresy[edit]

The award was attacked by former Egyptian mufti Dr. Nasr Farid Wasil, who 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 have 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][5]

Shiekh Youssef Al Badri has accused Sayyed Al-Qimni of "deconstructing Islam using eloquent sugar-coated attacks [...] more fatal than Salman Rushdie".[1] In turn Sayyed Al-Qimni 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 have come to Al-Qimni's defense and called on the government to defend Sayyed Al-Qimni against accusations of heresy "which are tantamount to incitement to murder."[6][7] Human rights activists, academics, and journalists have reportedly 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.


Egypt State Award of Merit Prize in the social sciences for the year 2009, which is Egypt’s highest cultural award.

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. ^ Who is Al-Qemany. Al-Qemany Blog (Arabic)
  5. ^, July 9, 2009.
  6. ^ Al-Shurouq (Egypt), July 16, 2009
  7. ^ Al-Misriyoun (Egypt), July 17, 2009

External links[edit]