Category Archives: Religion and Religious Institute Sovereignity

Sovereignity of Islamic Institutions of Eritrea and Foreign Influence

Islamic Institutions of Eritrea are victims of foreign institutions. For different reasons, the historical Institutions of Islam in Eritrea have left aside since the fall of the Ottoman empire. This was done for a purpose.

With the grand ambition of European expansion and the rise of Arabs against the Ottoman Empire, the Europeans and Arabs were partners to conquer Africa and other parts of the world. But this was a difficult task unless religion was used as a tool, to subjugate the target people.

For this, new religious missionaries from the West and Arab world started to proselyte their own religious orders that had a long-term ambition to colonize the people. These missionaries played the tool of royal family offsprings and trade as a means to establish their base. These were used as initial steps. After some twenty or thirty years, these centers became the springboard to launch their aggressive colonization project by oppressing the native people and eliminating the existing religious institutions.

Since the 16thC, Eritrea had strong religious institutions that had a base along the Red Sea coastal areas. Sheikh Hanafi mosque was of the historical religious institution that had a center in Massawa and belonging to the Sheikh Hanafi School of thoughts from Sunnah Islam. Dankal region had one of the oldest Sunni school of Jurisprudence, the Shafi’i school. There were also from the Maliki and Hanbali schools.

Sheikh Hanafi Mosque in Massawa, Eritrea

But, these schools were phased out with the arrival of new doctrines that were better armed for the service of colonizers.

In the year of 1817/18, a missionary from Hijaz(now Saudi Arabi) named Muhammad Uthman al-Mirghani al-Khatim(originally from Turkistan) crossed the Red Sea to proselytize Idrisiyyah Order(a Sufi Order which was founded by a Sunni Islamic Scholar, jurist, and Sufi, Ahmad Ibn Idris al-Fasi from Morroco).

Muhammad Uthman al-Mirghani begot Muhammad al-Hassan al-Mirghani from a Dongola (a city in North Sudan) which he later became the inheritor of legacy in Africa, Khatim. Al-Hassan founded the Khatmiyyah Order in Kassala and became the main instrument of the 19yhC Egyptian expansion in Eastern Sudan and Eritrea. Since then the Khatmiyyah Order had a stronghold in Eritrea, especially the Western Lowlands, Sahel and cities of Eritrea.

The old Sunni Schools were not preferred schools by the Egyptians, Italians, and English. As a result, their influence diminished significantly.

Other Islamic institutions which have growing influence in Eritrea are the al-Azhar University, the Grand Mosque of Mecca and the Grand Mosque of Turkey.

The most influential Islamic Institutions in Eritrea

1. Khatmiyyah Mosque of Kassala and its brotherhood Association branches in Eritrea – the al-Mirghani Royal Family have branches in Keren and Massawa(not effective).

2. al-Azhar Mosque of Egypt and its affiliated institute – Al Azhar University – Cairo

3. The Grand Mosque of Mecca – it is the holiest place of Islam and center of pilgrimage. Its influence is obvious but the Saudi royal family is not free to use the opportunity to influence Eritrean Islamic institutions through their heavily funded projects.

4. Grand Mosque of Turkey

Although Turkey is a secular state, its influence in the Islamic world and Muslim communities is significant. Since the 14thC and to the early 20thC, Turkey was the major power of the world. Its expanded Ottoman empire had a control over the two Holy places of Mecca and Medina.

Although its influence was diminished for the last 100 years or so, its newOttoman project Ambition is playing a great role to attract some opportunist secular and liberal Islam politicians to use Turkey as a base for their political ambitions. Eritreans are not free from this.

The above mentioned Islamic institutions are well established and their influence across the world is strong. With the changing order of the world and fear of the unknowns, these institutions will continue to influence sovereign countries across the world.

Eritrea, being one of the poorest and politically disadvantaged countries with almost non-existing religious institutions, the influence of these foreign institutions will continue to be prominent. This will lead to politically unstable country because Eritrean Islamic institutions are not free from outside influence.

As a Liberal Democrat, my political principle is based on Eritrean sovereignty. This means sovereignity from any kind that breaches absolute freedom of the people and their established institutions. Therefore, it is strategically important to have a general understanding of those actora which have potential threats to influence the political process and independence of Eritrea.

ኣቡነ ሉቃስ፡ ንኤርትራዊት ቤተ ክርስትያን ተዋህዶ ዘዘኽተሙ ሰባኺ ጸረ-መናፍቅነት

2001 እዋኑ እዋን ውራ ውራ ህግደፋውያን እዩ ዝነበረ። በዚ ግዜዚ ህግደፍ ንመላእ ሃገር ኣብ ትሕቲ ቁጽጽሩ ኣብ ዘእትወሉ ዝነበረ ግዜ ንቤተ-ክርስትያን ተዋህዶ ኤርትራ ድማ ሕንፈት ኣይገበረላን።

ካብ መወዳእታ 1990ታት ኣትሒዙ ብፍላይ ኣብ ዓዲ – ቐይሕ ቤተ ክርስትያን ተዋህዶ ቅዱስ ምካኤል ዝምዕብል ዝነበረ ብኣባ ጽገ ናይ ሎሚ ድማ ኣቡነ ሉቃስ ዝምራሕ ዝነበረ ትምህርቲ ሰንበት ብስም ስብከተ ጸረ መናፍቅነትን ተሃድሶን ከምኡ’ውን ንድሕነት ኦርቶዶክሳዊት ቤተ-ክርስትያንን ብዝብል ጉልባብ ብብዝሒ ክስበኽን ጀሚሩ።

ብሳላ ጻዕሪ ኣቡነ ሉቃስ ኣብ ዓዲ-ቐይሕ ትምህርቲ ሰንበት ኣዝዩ ማዕቢሉ እዩ። ብፍላይ ካብ 1998 ክሳብ 2002 ዘሎ እዋን ብዙሓት በላሕቲ መናእሰያት በቲ ኣብ ትምህርቲ ሰንበት ዝወሃብ ዝነበረ ትምህርቲ ተሳሕቦም ብብዝሒ ሓደስቲ ዲያቆናት ክፈርዩ ዕድል ረኺቦም።

እዞም መንእሰያት ኣዝዩ ስሩዕ ዝኾነ ትምህርታዊ ምክትታልን ካልእ ሓገዛትን ይግበረሎም ስለዝነበረ ብመንጽሩ ውን ብብዝሒ ናብ ዩኒቨርስቲ ኣስመራን ካልኦት ላዕለዎት ትካላት ትምህርትን ስለዝተጸንበሩ ነቲ ኣብ ዓዲ ቀይሕ ዝተማህርዎ ትምህርቲ መናፍቅነትን ምክትታል ትምህርቲ ሰንበትን ከም ዘለዎ ሒዞሞ ተዘርጊሖም።

ብፍላይ እቶም ኣብ ኣስመራ ዩኒቨርስቲ ዝተጸንበሩ ብኣካድያማዊ ትምህርቲ’ውን ከም ኣርኣያ(mentors) ስለዝተወስዱ ንብዙሓት ሓደስቲ መንእሰያት ኣብነት ብምዃን ትምህርቲ ሰንበት ዝያዳ ተቐባልነት ኣብ ምርካብን ብኡ መጠን ድማ ኣብ ምስፍሕፋሕ ዝለዓለ ተራ ተጻዊቶም።

ኣብ 2001 ብዘጋጠመ ፖለቲካዊ ነውጺ ህግደፍ ብሃይማኖታውያን መራሕቲ ውን ንህዝቢ ምቁፃር ዝበለጸን ዝቐለለን ስለዝነበረ ንትምህርቲ ሰንበት ከተባብዕ ተራእዩ። ነቲ ድሕሪ ናጽነት ዘስፋሕፍሕ ዝነበረ ሓድሽ ሃይማኖት ጰንጠ ቆስጠ ድማ ናይ ኣመሪካ መሳርሒ እዩ ብምባል በቶም ትምህርቲ ጸረ-መናፍቅነት ዝሰልጠኑ መንእሰያት ተጻብኦትታት ክወርዶም ጀሚሩ።

ህግደፍ ድማ ነዚ ዕድል ተጠቒሙ እዞም ብኣስተምህሮ መናፍቅነት ዝሰልጠኑ ዲያቆናት ጸረ መናፍቅነት ዝያዳ ስብከቶም ከስፋሕፍሑን ኣንጻር ተኸተልቲ እምነት ጴንጥን ካልኦት ንትምህርቲ ጸረ-መናፍቅነት ዘይድግፉን ኣመንቲ ኦርቶዶክሳዊት ቤተ-ክርስትያን ኤርትራ ደው ክብሉን ኣተባቢዑ። እዚ ጥራሕ ከይኣክል ንኣቡነ ሉቃስ ናብ ኣስመራ ብምምጻእ ዝያዳ ሓይሊ ክህልዎም ብምግባር ንቤት ጽሕፈት ሲኖዶስ ክቆጻጸርዎ ተጌሩ። በዚ መሰረት ድማ ኦርቶዶክስ ቤተ ክርስያን ኤርትራ ብሓድሽ ትምህርቲ ክትህነጽ ጀሚራ።

እታ ኣብ ልዕሊ ካልኦት እምነታትን ሓደስቲ ትምህርትን ጽቡቕ ተጻዋርነት ዝነበራ ቤተ ክርስትያን ኣብ ትሕቲ ጽልዋ ኣቡነ ሉቃስ ብምውዳቕ ንትምህርቲ ሰንበት ዝያዳ ከስፋሕፍሕ ብምግባር ንተኸተልቲ ጰንጠ ይኹኑ ካልኦት ሰዓብቲ ክርስትና ኣብ ትሕቲ ፍጹም ራዕድን ምክትታልን ከምዝወርዱ ብምግባር ኣደዳ ስለያዊ ዕንደራ ህግደፍ ክኾና ዕድል ከፊቶም።

ህግደፍ ድማ ነዚ ዕድል ብምጥቓም ብዙሓት ኣመንትን መራሕቲ ቤተ ክራትያናትን ክኣስር ተራእዩ። ነቶም ኣብ ትምህርቲ ሰንበት ነዊሕ ተመክሮ ዝነበሮም ሰበኽቲ ድማ ግዳይ ማእሰርቲ ክኾኑ ግዜ ኣይወሰደን። ንኣብነት ከም በዓል ዶር. ቀሹ ፍጹም ዝኣመሰሉ ካብ ግዜ ደርግ ኣትሒዞም ኣባላት ትምህርቲ ሰንበት ዝነበሩን ኣብ ምህናጽ ኤርትራዊት ተዋህዲ ቤተ ክርስትያን ኤርትራ ዓቢ ተራ ዝተጻወቱን እንሆ ካብ 2004 ኣትሒዞም ኣብ ትሕቲ ሞቚሕ ህግደፍ ይነብሩ።

ኣብ ኣስመራ ጥቓ ቤተ-ክርስትያን እንዳ ማርያም ዝነበረ ማእከል ጴንጠ ብምውራር ድማ ኣብቲ ማእከል ዝነበረ መጽሓፍትን መሳርሒ ሙዛቃን ከም ዝቃጸል ጌሮም። ብምቕጻል ድማ ኣብ ኣስመራ ብብዝሒ ተዘርጊሑ ዝነበረ ማእከላት ከም ልሙድ ኣጸዋውዓ ድማ Church እናፈተሹን ኣብኡ ክግልገሉ ንዝጸንሕዎም ኣመንቲ እናኣከላበቱን ምስ፡ፖሊስን ኣባላት ጸጥታ ብምትሕብባር ድማ ከም ዝዕጾ ኣብ ምግባርን ዓቢ ተራ ተጻዊቶም። ኣብዘን ማእከላት ዝግልገሉ ዝነበሩ ምእመናን ድማ ኣደዳ ምእሳርን መግረፍትን ክኾኑ ጀሚሮም። ኣብዚ ግዜዚ ካብ 2500 ክሳብ 3000 ኣመንቲ ብሰንኪ እምበቶም ኣብ ትሕቲ እስርቤት ይርከቡም

ኣቡነ ሉቃስ ትምህርቱ ንምስፍሕፋሕ እቶም ኣብ ዓዲ ቐይሕ ዝሰልጠኑ መንእሰያት ዲያቆናት ዝያዳ ሓይሊ ከም ዝህልዎም እዩ ጌሩ። ነቶም ኣብ ኣስመራ ዩኒቨርስቲ ዝነበሩ ድማ ዝያዳ ንጥፈታቶም ከሐይሉን ኣብ ምሉእ ኤርትራ ትምህቲ ሰንበት ከስፋሕፍሑን ዝያዳ ምትብባዕ ጌርሎም። በዚ መሰረት ድማ ካብ 2001 ክሳብ 2005 ዝነበረ እዋን ትምህርቲ ሰንበት ዝያዳ እናስፋሕፍሐን ቤተ-ክርስትያናት ጴንጠቆስጠ ድማ ምሉእ ብምሉእ ከም ዝዕጾ ኮይኑ።

ኣብ 2006 ንፓትርያሪል ኣቡነ ኣንጠንዮስ ካብ መንበረ ጵጵስና ኣብ ምውራድን ኣብ ትሕቲ ቀይዲ ከም ዝወርዱ ኣብ ምግባርን ድማ ኣቡነ ሉቃስ ዝለዓለ ኢድ ተጻዊቶም።

ኣብዚ ግዜዚ ኣቡነ ሉቃስ ፍጹም እምባ ገነነ ባህርያት ብምሓዝ ንቤተ-ክርስትያን ተዋህዶ ኤርትራ ብዘይ ርእሰ-ሊቃነ ጳጳሳት ተሪፋ ኣብ ደገ ድማ ፍርቃ ኣብ ኢትዮጵያዊት ኦርቶዶክሳዊት ቤተ ክርስትያን ተመቒላ ፍርቃ ድማ ምስ ኮፕቲክ ተዋህዶ ኣለክሳንድርያ(ግብጺ) ተማዕቊባ ብፍጹም ዘኽቲማ ትርከብ። እታ ኣብ ኣስመራ ዘላ ቤተ-ክርስትያን ድማ ብዘይ ኣቦ ዘኽቲማ እንሆ ምስ ኢትዮጵያዊት ተዋህዶ ቤተ-ክርስትያን ንምጽንባር ትሸባሸብ ኣላ።

ኣባ ሉቃስ – እቲ ሰባኺ ጸረ-መናፍቅነት – ኣብ ልዕሊ ኤርትራዊት ቤተ ክርስትያን ተዋህዶ ፍጹም ዝኽትምና ኣኸቲሉ ጥራሕ ዘይኮነ ንህዝበ ክርስትያን ኤርትራ’ውን ጓሳ ዘይብሉ ብምግባር እንሆ ፋሕ-ፋሕ ከም ዝብል ጌርዎም ኣብ ፈቐድኡ ቤተ-ክርስትያናት ክበኣሱን ዋጭ-ዋጭ ክብሉን ክስተት ዳግማይ ባቢሎን ኣብታ ቅድስቲ ቤተ ክርስትያንን ወሪዱ ይርከቡ።

እታ ኣብ ኣመሪካ እትርከብ ቤተ-ክርስያን ተዋህዶ ኤርትራ ኣብዚ ግዜዚ ምስ ግብጻዊት ቤተ-ክርስትያን እናተሓባበረት ንፓትርያሪክ ኣቡነ ኣንጠንዮስ ዳግማይ ኣብ መንበረ ስልጣኖም ክምለሱ ይቃለሱ ኣለዉ። ይኹን ደኣምበር እታ ነብሳ ክኢላ ክትመሓደር ጀሚራ ዝነበረት ቤተ ክርስትያን ዳግማይ ናብ ግብጻዊት ቤተክርስትያን ተመሊሳ ክትርኢ እንከለኻ የጉህየካ። እዚ ድማ ግብጺ ኣብ ልዕሊ ኤርትራ ክሳብ ሕጂ ብተዘዋዋሪ ትገዝእ ምህላዋ እዩ ዘመልክት። ካብ መንፈሳዊ ሓርነት ናብ መንፈሳዊ መግዛእቲ ዝተመለስና የመልክት። ዘይምስምማዕ ናብ መግዛእቲ እዩ ዝመልሰካ።

በዚ ኮይኑ በቲ ቤተ ክርስትያን ተዋህዶ ኤርትራ ኣብ ዕንወት ትርከብ። ፍርቂ ጎና ምስ ግብጺ – ፍርቂ ጎና ድማ ምስ ኢትዮጵያ ኮይና ድማ ኣብ ኣስመራ ስማዊ ቤት ጽሕፈት ሲኖዶስ ሒዛ ብዘይ ፓትርያርክ ኣብ ጸልማት ትርከብ ኣላ። ነዛ ቤተ ክርስትያን ከይ ትመቓቐል ድማ ናይ ኩላትና ሓላፍነት እዩ እሞ ንሓድነታን ንክብሪ ኤርትራውነታን ደው ክንብል በዚ ኣጋጣሚ ይጽውዕ።