Egypt: Amid hiking prices, Sisi says Prophet ate tree leaves in hard times

In a comment that may suggest Egyptians should eat tree leaves amid the soaring prices, Sisi says Prophet Mohamed and his Companions ate tree leaves when they were trapped in the outskirts of Makkah for 3 years.

According to estimates, Egypt is set to experience a 10.7% inflation in 2022 as consumer prices have gone up by 3.26% last April. This is the highest since June 2018.

As a result, Egyptians have been reporting mounting difficulty in managing the growing cost of living for the past few months, including the country’s already improvised population, which can barely put bread on the table.

This also spurned Egypt’s Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to address the current economic difficulty in a speech he made inaugurating the “Egypt’s Future” project for agriculture.

In his remarks, al-Sisi called on Egyptians to show patience over the crisis, suggesting they can find inspiration in a story referred to the early Islamic era when Prophet Mohamed and early Muslims had to eat tree leaves to survive under the three-year siege imposed on them in Makkah by their non-believing tribe.

In a derisive attempt to calm down Egyptians about recent price hikes, Egypt’s Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi has suggested that Egyptians may eat leaves from trees just as the Prophet did in Makkah.

In this tweet, a Twitter user named E3lam wonders, ‘Should we start storing tea leaves?’. adding, “Al-Sisi told Egyptians that early Muslims then “did not complain or suggest that Prophet  Mohamed ask the angels for a divine miracle that could have provided food for them”, hinting that Egyptians should also wait and show patience instead of asking for solutions. 

Sisi said that he does not feel worried when someone says a kilo of okra costs EGP100, because Egyptians know that “the Companions of the Prophet were trapped along with him in the outskirts of Makkah for 3 years until they ate leaves”.

“They did not ask the Messenger for food or for the earth to explode from beneath them (with riches),” he added.

The tweet refers to the siege against the Muslims in the outskirts of Makkah by Quraish, which ended with the Prophet’s first wife Khadijah dying and losing all their wealth.

That year is known in Islamic history as the Year of Sorrow and was the worst ever in the Prophet’s life.

Al-Sisi also said that during that hard time Muslims did not complain, suggesting that Egyptians should be patient and not demand immediate solutions for the dire economic situations.

Waked’s tweet reads, “He says the Muslim Brotherhood mix religion and politics while he keeps lecturing us about Prophets Solomon, Muhammad, his companions, and tree leaves. This couldn’t more hypocritical?” 

A Twitter user, Sally Wilton, highlighting the paradox between the lavish spending on “wow” projects while Egyptian people are starving. She said: “A tower that cost billions, in a new city in the desert no one wants to live in. Meanwhile a whole country starves. A ridiculous vanity project, backed by the IMF.”

In March Egypt turned to the IMF for the third time in six years to apply for a loan as the country grapples with corruption, the global coronavirus pandemic and now the Russian war on Ukraine.

Analysts have predicted that a further rise in fuel and food prices are likely to stoke civil unrest in Egypt where a third of the population live below the poverty line.

Al-Sisi has made a string of outrageous comments over the years which his critics say is to deflect responsibility for his mishandling of the economy and spending money on vanity projects like the new capital instead of building a welfare state.

In 2017 Al-Sisi was mocked online for asking citizens to donate their spare change to charitable projects.

He has also asked Egyptians to lose weight to save money after the price of fruit and vegetables skyrocketed after the government’s economic reforms slashed food subsidies.

A member of the Egyptian security services Mohamed Mansour said it was “rude” to complain about rising prices and food shortages and asked Egyptians to “sacrifice their dinner” for the sake of the country.