LONDON: The Supreme Islamic Shiite Council in Lebanon disavowed Sheikh Ali Al-Husseini on Monday for playing a few notes on the keyboard during his appearance on the TV program “Over 18” in early February.
During the program, hosted on Al Jadeed channel, Al-Husseini said that he is always reduced to “the cleric who plays piano” despite studying religion and philosophy for more than 23 years.
Al-Husseini defended art on the program and equated it with existence, citing stories from the Qur’an to support his position.
The program provoked mixed reactions from the Lebanese people, with some encouraging him to continue to challenge the stereotypes surrounding religious figures. Others, particularly Lebanese religious figures, took a more critical stance.
The council’s religious reporting authority issued a statement in which it considered that Al-Husseini had attached “to Islam a culture that is contrary to the religion, and that Islam is innocent of.”
The statement further described Al-Husseini as “impersonating a religious scholar” and called on believers to “shun him.”
During the program, Al-Husseini also refused to consider a woman’s voice “a defect,” adding that the saying is not mentioned in the Qur’an nor in the Hadiths. He also defended Lebanese music star Fairuz, claiming that all her songs are modest and do not provoke temptation.
It is not the first time that Al-Husseini has been called out by the Shiite council for playing music. In 2018, he was expelled from his seminary after a video of his piano playing, posted online, drew criticism from conservatives who felt that it was undignified behavior.
Back then, al-Husseini received online criticism and heard that some religious leaders considered his video “an insult to the turban.”