Friday Prayers for Egypt: Tahya Masr

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God,

Generosity is honorable. It is also symbolic. It can be a show. Make real and valuable its recent initiative.

Tahya Masr was the campaign slogan of now-president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. It translates, ‘Long live Egypt,’ and centered his focus on the importance of the nation. During his campaign Sisi asked for sacrifice, promised two years before positive changes would be felt, and hinted at austerity. He won a landslide victory.

Sisi then re-launched the slogan as the name of a special fund created to support the economy. He pledged to donate half his monthly presidential salary, as well as half his wealth. The prime minister followed suit, as did a prominent businessman. The army offered a billion Egyptian pounds, and an imprisoned, convicted al-Jazeera journalist made a notable personal contribution.

Weigh their hearts, God, and honor them accordingly.

Given the depth of Egypt’s economic problems, this fund is unlikely to make a significant impact. But the message is clear and worthy: Those asking sacrifice are leading by example. Help the people to hold this mindset also, within their far more limited resources. Show them how to work for the greater and common good.

But perhaps, God, Sisi offers nothing that risks his comfortable life. Perhaps the army will reap its gift tenfold in new government contracts. Perhaps the businessman is protecting his place in the order. Perhaps the journalist is trying to buy his way out of trouble.

Your virtues, God, are never secure. They can be manipulated for base causes. Or they can be impinged in base accusations. True virtue produces true fruit, but is protected only by you and your reputation. Lend your honor to those who follow your virtues, God, and restrain those who abuse them.

But from whatever motivation drives those who donate, use the money well. May it help somewhere those who need it. May it be spent transparently. May it set a useful example and inspire similar generosity.

Bless the president and government, God, that they with wisdom will work hard to tackle the many challenges they face.

Bless the army and security, God, that they with determination will protect citizens from harm and know their best role in the land.

Bless the businessmen and investors, God, that they with integrity will increase their wealth and that of all others beside.

Bless the journalists, imprisoned or otherwise, God, that they with courage will know and experience a true rendering of justice as they seek the same in their coverage.

Through these and others, God, multiply all generosity. Secure Egypt’s virtue, and may she live long.

Amen.

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