Egyptian Shia Shaykh Hassan Shehata. Wrongfully killed but whose martyr is this man?

Shaykh Yasser al Habeeb
Shaykh Hassan Shehata

Egyptian Shia Shaykh Hassan Shehata.
Wrongfully killed, but whose martyr is this man?

An Egyptian Sunni Shaykh converted to Shiism.


Interesting, unusual but not ground breaking.

Egypt is a nation of  83 million people the overwhelming majority of whom are Sunni Muslims. There are probably tens of thousands of shaykhs in Egypt.

He changed his beliefs from Sunni Islam to Shia Islam.  He has the right to do so - and Shia Muslims have the right to be happy with this conversion that is seen by some as validation to the correctness of their school of thought.

That’s fine.

It’s even fine if Shaykh Shehata works on making appeals to other Sunnis, seeking to call them to his new found faith/school of thought. Al Tijani in Then I was Guided did just that. Some read him- most Sunni Muslims ignored him.

That should also be fine.

There are 1.6 billion Muslims in the world. 

Big deal.

But that is not what happened, and that is why the late Shaykh Hassan Shehata is a problem.

One should condemn the way he died and condemn the deaths of others with him. However, Shehata is no hero, no saint, and should not be made into a martyr for any self- respecting group of people. He is an embarrassment.


He has become a hero and is claimed as a martyr for the Shia faith on the hands of intolerant Sunnis.

His death should be condemned... but he should be a hero to no one.

The reality is that he was treated as a martyr and his loss was mourned.

The Facebook official page of the Lebanese Shia Amal Movement stated that his “ritually clean soul burns their black hearts.”

The Facebook page Al Shia, which claims to represent all the Shia in the world, called him a martyr and mourned his “tahera/ritually clean” soul.

MPAC jumped on the bandwagon too.

MPAC is an advocacy group of American Shia and Sunni Muslims. MPAC issued a press release on the killing of Shehata and his associates stating:

"MPAC condemns the brutal murder of four Egyptian Shia Muslims, who were killed in an act of mob violence on Sunday in the Giza province outside of Cairo. Egypt has a rich history of intra-faith harmony, and this attack sets a dangerous precedent for the country and the region. Furthermore, it underscores the need for American Muslims to be vigilant against sectarian vigilantism in the U.S."

They went on to say:

"We expect a strong message from the U.S., Egypt’s strong ally, that a government which fails to protect its citizens cannot be a reliable partner in the region.
Witnesses report several hundred villagers surrounded the house of a local Shia family during a religious ceremony, accusing the participants of spreading anti-Islamic beliefs. Refusing to listen to the mob’s demands to leave the village, the family was dragged out into the street and the house set ablaze. Eight others were injured.  This latest act of sectarian savagery indicates another harbinger of violence.
'Groups promoting this type of madness are akin to the KKK in the U.S.,' said Dr. Maher Hathout, MPAC’s Senior Adviser."

In addition, MPAC wrote:

"To help protect the harmony of American Muslims, MPAC has re-launched its 'Intra-Faith Code of Honor', a set of standards that Islamic leaders have signed onto which encourages understanding and peace amongst Muslims. MPAC calls upon all American Muslims, whether they are Sunni or Shia or neither, to encourage their respective communities to deal with differences of opinion in the Islamic code and spirit of mutual respect and peaceful discourse.   Communities need to hold their leaders accountable for reconciliation and against any action that may lead to violence.
“We need to stem the tide of hate based on theological and socio-cultural differences among Muslim communities throughout the world,” Dr. Hathout said."

MPAC is framing this killing as a sign of the rise of intolerance in Egypt. They add, correctly, that “Egypt has a rich history of intra-faith harmony” and that the “incident underscores the need for American Muslims to be vigilant against sectarian vigilantism in the U.S.”

If there is intolerance in Egypt, Shehata should be its Exhibit # 1.

Nowhere does this press release tell the reader anything about the main target of the mob violence. The main target was Shaykh Hassan Shehata, who had inflamed passions in Egypt against the Shia by using foul and vulgar language against figures that the majority of Muslims in the world, and the overwhelming majority of Egyptian Muslims, revere.

What did Shehata say? Below are links to Youtube videos of Shehata.

The following is a sample of what he said:
1   1. He called Aisha, the wife of the Prophet and a narrator of the Hadith for Muslims, a small donkey and a daughter of a dog. Her father is Caliph Abu Bakr al Sadiq, one of the Rightly Guided Caliphs of Islam.
      2. He called Caliph Omar, one of the Rightly Guided Caliphs, effeminate and worse than the devil itself.

3   3. He went on the show of the London based Shia Shaykh Yasser al Habeeb. They endorsed the views of each other. Al Habeeb has been disowned by Shia personalities as not representative of Shiism because of his sensational and inflammatory attacks on Sunni Muslims and their revered figures.

Of course, none of these offenses justify the killing of the Shia Shaykh and his companions.

But doesn’t it provide the context that MPAC is speaking about.

Doesn’t MPAC have an Intra-faith Code of Honor that was mentioned in the release? 

Nowhere in the release does MPAC mention Shehata was a textbook case of what MPAC condemns. Shehata should be Exhibit # 1 of personalities to condemn.

Shouldn’t MPAC have made it clear that it condemns the sectarian incitement of Shehata, but that his incitement does not justify a violent reaction?

Isn’t that information important and relevant?

Why didn’t MPAC’s press release mention these facts?

Some might say this omission was intended to defame Egypt. That would make MPAC join the chorus of those, for a myriad of agendas, seeking to pressure and destabilize the Morsi government.

Lastly, why are Shia groups mourning Shehata, calling him a holy martyr, when they have distanced themselves from Shia Shaykh Yasser al Habeeb? Shiias claim that al Habeeb does not represent Shia thought. But Shehata did? And he did enough to be anointed a "holy martyr?"

What’s the difference between Shehata and Al Habeeb?

The choice of Shaykh Shehata as a Shia martyr is harmful to Muslims generally, but especially to the Shia.

The following are links to the press release and other sites mentioned in this entry:

4   Shehata cursing Aisha, the wife of the Prophet, and calling her accursed and the daughter of a dog- the highest insult in the Arabic culture. Her father if Abu bakr al Sideeq, the first of the Rightly Guided Caliphs of Islam.

5   Shehata cursing Caliph Abu Bakr and Caliph Omar and calling them garbage and dogs.

6   Shehata calling Caliph Omar worse than the devil/shaytan himself.

7   Shehata calling the place where the Muslims met to elect the first Caliph Abu Bakr a stable. He calls Caliph Abu Bakr the son of a shoe.

8   Speaking against Muslim unity, since the Sunni revere figures who the Shia curse. Curses Aisha, the wife of the Prophet, claiming the Prophet and the Koran curse her.

9   Shehata's call to the Shaykh al Habib’s London based show. Shehata and al Habeeb praise and endorse each other.  Al Habib praises Shehata as a thorn in the eye of the enemies of the deen/Islam. Shehata calls the Sunnis, who call the show challenging Al Habeeb, monkeys. Shehata mocks Aisha and claims the Sunnis worship Aisha and Caliph Omar. Shehata claims Sunnis revere all those who are enemies of ahl al bayt, the family of the Prophet, in the Shia tradition.

1   Sunni response to Shehata.


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