The Promotion of Human Sacrifice and Cannibalism in Egypt
By Walid and Theodore Shoebat
Danish translation: Fremme af menneskeofring og kannibalisme i Egypten
Source:, March 11, 2013
Published on March 18, 2013

The promotion of ritual human sacrifice and cannibalism has been a topic of discussion on two Egyptian TV programs recently.

On Al-Tahrir, Egyptian TV advisor Ahmad Abdo Maher discusses the high-school curriculum issued by the highest religious authority in Egypt, Al-Azhar University, which encouraged students to cannibalize apostates and Muslims who abandon praying. The schoolbook stipulated that the act can be carried out so long as the human flesh is eaten uncooked in respect to the dead body and that the act “does not necessitate a governor’s consent or is punishable by law.” [1]

Here is the video:

The other popular television program, Al-Nas with Safwat Hegazy, a famous Egyptian cleric who launched Mohammed Mursi’s campaign in 2012, sanctioned Aztec-style, ritualistic human sacrifice of a Shia cleric named Yasar Habib. Hegazy justified his threat against Habib, who resides in Great Britain, by giving a case-in-point from Islamic history. Hegazy made reference to when the governor of Iraq – Khalid Abdullah al-Kasri – dragged a shackled Jaad bin Durham to the mosque in Kufah and used him as the sacrificial offering (instead of an animal) and then crucified him:

Hegazy reminded his viewers that when Al-Kasri made his speech that day saying, “O people, sacrifice, Allah accepted your sacrifices. I am now sacrificing Jaad bin Durham.” Al-Kasri then slaughtered him in the mosque on the Sacrifical Day 119 A.H. This set the precedent that using a human being on the Islamic holiday – known as The Festival of Sacrifice – instead of an animal was preferable.

The supporting views on such an edict are so pervasive that even one blog, The Cole Children Forum for Muslim children shares the story, since the account is supported by several of the most forceful theologians during the history of Islam like Al-Shafi’, Ibin Tayymiya, Bukhari, Dhahabi, Ibin Al-Qiyam, Darami and Ibin Katheer. [2]]

While Muslim scholars do not question the authenticity of the event, some question the legality of the act, since it is understood that Eid Al-Adha, The Festival of Sacrifice, is – according to Islam – the commemoration of Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son Ishmael but that he is remembered for sacrificing an animal (not a human being).

However, Abdulaziz Bin Abdullah Al-Rajihi, a respected scholar in Saudi Arabia, expressed support for human sacrifice in at least one speech. Al-Rajihi is not someone to be ignored; he is a scholar who educated the previous chief Mufti of Saudi Arabia, the renowned Muhammad Ibrahim Al Sheikh.

Today, Al-Azhar is a part of the Egyptian government and has the power to enact edicts as mandated by the new constitution. Under article 4, it states:

“The noble Azhar is an independent Islamic institution of higher learning. It handles all its affairs without outside interference. It leads the call to Islam and assumes responsibility for religious studies and the Arabic language in Egypt and the world. The Azhar’s Body of Senior Scholars is to be consulted in matters pertaining to Islamic law (sharia).”

While cannibalism is prohibited in Islam, exceptions do exist for apostates, adulterers and enemy combatants. The difficulty for some moderate scholars is that such an edict comes from the highest authority of Islamic jurisprudence. Abu 'Abdullah Muhammad ibn Idris al-Shafi‘i, the founder of the major Shafie school of Sunni Islamic thought, writes:

“One may eat the flesh of a human body. It is not allowed to kill a Muslim nor a free non-Muslim under Muslim rule (because he is useful for the society), nor a prisoner because he belongs to other Muslims. But you may kill an enemy fighter or an adulterer and eat his body.” [3]

Such edicts are even being disseminated by many Muslim clerics in Egypt. Prominent Sheikh Muhammad Hussein Yaqub recently made a speech encouraging the cannibalization of Jewish flesh:

“Our hatred, animosity, and rage toward the Jews grow. Our hatred of the Jews grows when we see them destroying our brothers. Rage boils within us. If only we could strangle the criminal Jews… If only we could strangle the Jews with our bare hands, and bite their heads off with our teeth, not with weapons.”

Sheikh Safwat Hegazy has repeated a similar mantra when it comes to the desire to cannibalize Jews:

“If our rulers let us, we would catch you [Jews] in the street, and we would devour you with our teeth.”

Islamic history documents several acts of Islamic cannibalism. In 1148, one criminal named Rudwan fled from the police only to be arrested, put to death, decapitated, and cut to pieces. Those pieces were then eaten by Egyptian soldiers who believed that they would absorb his courage. [4]

The phenomenon is not only historic, such ritualistic sacrifices exist today including crucifixions and cannibalism in Ramallah, using the flesh of Jews, seen at the :50 mark of this video:

There are several beheadings in Syria that have surfaced, where jihadists are seen praising Allah as they watch sheep-style human slaughter. We have the video but it is far too gruesome to show.

Of course, we cannot forget Momo the beheader, otherwise known as Muhammad the Midget.

While the majority of pundits and even historians in the West limit their definition of such acts by defining them as ‘executions’, the facts remain; Islamic inspired beheadings are human sacrifices akin to Aztec rituals.

Such rituals go back in history. Hertado de Mendoza in his The War in Granada during the time of the Spanish Inquisition, recounts that a great number of Muslims – under their leader Tahali – sacrificed twenty Christian girls by beheading and fried twenty friars in boiling olive oil, believing that their blood would appease Allah in order to gain victory against the Spaniards. When the Spanish soldiers approached these jihadists in Ohanez and drove them back, they discovered the heads, laid out in rows on the steps of a church, their hair neatly brushed.

Mendoza mentions a similar situation that took place when the Spanish emperor Charles made an expedition against the Muslim Moors of Carthage, where the Muslims sacrificed five Christian children. They said their prayers and slaughtered them in the hopes that Allah would preserve them from the Spaniards. [5]

Such issues are dealt with by collective denial in the West, where pundits and orientalists romanticize such history. For example, the Muslim warlord who had the greatest obsession with skulls and human sacrifice was Babur, founder of the Mughal Empire, which consisted of India, Pakistan, and much of Asia. Western orientalist Robert Irwin describes the works of Babur thusly:

“This is one of the classics of world literature… Writing poetry, together with fighting, hunting and eating fruit, was to remain a lifelong enthusiasm.” [6]

Some excerpts of Babur’s book should shed much light:

“…the Afghans were not able to put up a fight. In a flash, 150 embattled Afghans were seized. Some were captured alive, but mostly only heads were brought…Those who were brought in alive were ordered beheaded, after which a tower of skulls was erected in the camp.” [7]


“…cut off the heads of a hundred or so rebellious Afghans, which they brought back to Hangu. Another tower of skulls was erected.” [8]


“A league farther down the Bajaur glen we stopped and ordered a tower of skulls erected on a rise.” [9]

Irwin seems only capable of seeing the romance:

“My pact and covenant with my beloved was not thus; he chose separation and left me distraught… what can one do with the whims of fate, which has separated friend from friend by force.” [10]

Babur and his ilk even saw decapitated heads as being used for divination. When his soldier Arghun fought and beheaded an opponent named Ishqullah, he and Babur took the head and esteemed it, “as a good omen.” [11]

When Babur was establishing his power in India, he took the town of Chanderi and “massacred the infidels, and brought it into the bosom of Islam,” after which a “tower of infidels’ skulls was erected on the hill on the northwest side of Chanderi.” [12]

After he crushed the Indians of Khanua, Babur poetically praised the victory, ecstatically recounting how there “were piles of the slain, and towers of skulls” were erected:

“…In every direction the soldiers of Islam went, they found a slain rebel at every step, and as the renowned army camp moved in pursuit of the defeated it found no space devoid of obliterated retinue… Many mountains of bodies were created, and on every mountain running streams of blood.” [13]

But the love of skulls was not just during that Mughal era. In the Islamic play entitled, The Miracle Play of Hasan and Husain, which reenacts the life of Muhammad’s two grandsons and is based on oral tradition, it reads:

“O Muslim, we will cut off thine enemies’ heads to prove our allegiance to thee! We will drink cups of blood from the skulls of thine enemies!” [14]

Human sacrifice is thought to be a thing of the past. It vanished due to the influence of Judeo-Christian civilization. It is remembered in movies like Apocalypto and documentaries on the Aztec Empire. But perhaps we should ask: If the Aztecs are a thing of the past, what will life be like, if the same types of human sacrificial rituals become a daily reality?

Indeed, the past has returned.


[1] Al-Iqna’ Fe Hal Alfath Abi Shuja’, By Abu Ishaq Al-Huweini, Third Secondary School, Published by Al-Azhar Al-Sharif, District of Azhar Colleges, Central Administration for Books, Libraries and Teaching Aid. Also see Al-Bashayir News article, “does not necessitate a governor’s consent or is punishable by law … Dr. Ahmad Mahmoud Karimeh denounced the book…several parents expressed their disgust as to how Al-Azhar allowes a book that goes contrary to Sharia …while Ja’far Abduallh, the head of the District of Al-Azhar Colleges denied comment … Al-Iqna’ is also taught in Al-Azhar and can be viewed on Al-Azhar T.V”.

[2] Bukhari in Kalq Af’al Al-Ibad, no. 12. Al-Darimi in Response Against Jahimiyeh, no. 17, Al-Al-Bani, Mukhtasar Al-Ulu, no. 135, also see Mukhtasar Al-Sawaik, by Ibin Qiyam, no. 1071/3.
Also, The Beginning and the End by Imam Al-Hafiz Ibn Katheer [Volume 9 p: 379].
Also, Fatwas and Messages by Ibn Uthaymeen.
As mentioned by the brilliant Sheikh Saleh bin Saad Al-Suhaimi in the fourth tape of his commentary on the book “Explaining the Sunna by Barbharri” Speaking and response to Isolationists Jahamis
It is supported by Imam Malik and Imam Ahmad, as well as other scholars like Imam Shafi’i, and Imam Abuhanifh, and Imam Al-Zuhari, and Imam Ouzai, and Imam Al-Thawri, and Imam Sufian bin Ayyineh, Imam Bukhari, Imam Muslim, and many others

[3] 716 in volume 1, Al-Kortoby.
Imam al-Qurtubi writes in his Tafsir:
al-Shafi’i said:
”He eats the flesh of the son of Adam, and it is not allowed for him to kill a ‘Dhimmi’ (is a non-Muslim subject of a Muslim state), because his blood is respected, neither a Muslim nor a captive, and if he would be a ‘Harbi’ (someone belonging to war) or a fortified adulterer, then killing him and eating him is allowed.”
Source: Tafsir al-Qurtubi by Imam al-Qurtubi, Volume 2, page 229.

[4] E. A. Wallis Budge, Osiris and the Egyptian Resurrection, vol. i, ch. v, p. 177, Dover Publications, INC., New York (1973)

[5] Hertado de Mendoza, The War in Granada, 2.9, trans. Martin Shuttleworth, London: The Folio Society (1982)

[6] Robert Irwin, The Original Mogul, Published: January 07, 1996 in the New York Times

[7] Baburnama, 147-147b, trans. Wheeler M. Thackston, 2002 Modern Library Paperback Edition

[8] Baburnama, 147-147b, trans. Wheeler M. Thackston, 2002 Modern Library Paperback Edition

[9] Baburnama, 218-218b, trans. Wheeler M. Thackston, 2002 Modern Library Paperback Edition

[10] Baburnama, 219, trans. Wheeler M. Thackston, 2002 Modern Library Paperback Edition, ellipsis mine

[11] Baburnama, 208b, trans. Wheeler M. Thackston, 2002 Modern Library Paperback Edition

[12] Baburnama, 272; 344b, trans. Wheeler M. Thackston, 2002 Modern Library Paperback Edition

[13] Baburnama, 324-324b, trans. Wheeler M. Thackston, 2002 Modern Library Paperback Edition

[14] The Miracle Play of Hasan and Husain, collected from Oral Tradition by Pelly, scene x, London: Wm. H. Allen Co., 13 Waterloo Place, Publishers to the India Office, 1879