#Trending: 'Eat shoots and leaves' al-Azhar scholar tells Egyptians

#Trending: 'Eat shoots and leaves' al-Azhar scholar tells Egyptians
Saad al Deen al-Hilali told television viewers that Egyptians must eat tree leaves to see them through tough economic times, and compared President Sisi to the Prophet Mohammed.
2 min read
06 Nov, 2016
Saad al Deen al-Hilali spoke on the private television station ON TV
A controversial Egyptian scholar has drawn sharp criticism for comparing the country's dire financial circumstances with those faced by the first Muslims during the time of Prophet Mohammed.

He also said that Egyptian citizens should eat tree leaves to survive current austerity measures the government in pushing through, despite concerns the country's dire poverty will only worsen.

Saad al Deen al-Hilali, a professor of Islamic jurisprudence at al-Azhar University said on the private television station ON TV that a global conspiracy has forced Egypt into its current financial crisis.

"[It's] just like the one faced by Prophet Mohammed in Mecca," he said.

"Egypt is going through a financial crisis today […] but an Egyptian would rather die starving as an honourable man than lose his honour," Hilali said.

He then went on to tell struggling Egyptians how they can save face.

"Our country and our forefathers have taught us to walk with our heads up high, even if we had to eat tree leaves, as our beloved Prophet did for three years."

"Our prophet was forced into financial hardship for three years while he was in Mecca, just like the financial crisis we are living today."

"But he survived it by eating tree leaves and petals," he said.

Hilali's comments were met with outrage on social media for equating Egypt's ruler, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi with the Prophet Mohammed.

They also scoffed at the Egyptian scholar's suggestion that tree leaves are an edible or nutritional option.

The hashtag #when_will_the_ hypocrisy_stop quickly gained traction in the days following Hilali's comments.

"Hilali has given two revelations: the first being that Sisi is like the Prophet, and the second is that now we can start eating tree leaves," another said.

"So will you also be eating tree leaves?" a user asked.

"The people of Egypt must eat tree leaves to survive these hard times, just like our Prophet did, because the same infidels that made the Prophet eat trees leaves are making us do the same today!" another said.