Shaikh Mohammad Mutawali Al Shaarawi Shirawi with Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, after he received the Islamic Personality of the Year award in 1997. - Gulf News Archives Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

1998 - Thousands of Egyptians flocked to the funeral of the Arab world’s best known television preacher, Shaikh Mohammad Mutwalli Al Shaarawi, who died of a heart attack. He was 87. Shaarawi was buried in his home town of Daqadus in the Nile Delta region of Daqahliya after prayers by Shaikh Mohammad Sayyed Tantawi, the head of Al Azhar. Born on April 15, 1911, in Daqadus, Shaarawi studied Arabic language and Islamic religion. He held the post of Minister of Awqaf and Al Azhar Affairs between 1976 and 1978. Shaarawi was a pioneer in the field of Islamic preaching. His weekly religious programme on Egyptian television after Friday prayers was followed by millions of Muslims around the world. In his programmes, he explained the Holy Quran, using examples from everyday life. He was chosen as the Islamic Personality of the Year 1997 in Dubai. Shaarawi graduated from the Faculty of Arabic Language at Al Azhar University in 1941. He taught in Saudi Arabia between 1950 and 1960. He was a member of Egypt’s Shura Council and the Arabic Language Academy.

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