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Pulpit of St Jeremiah wrongly portrayed as that of Imam Hussain

Posts carry clichéd warnings, calling people who don’t share unfortunate

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Claim: A picture shows the pulpit from which Imam Hussain delivered sermons.

Fact: The raised platform is actually known as St Jeremiah’s Pulpit in the Saqqara necropolis in Giza, Egypt, and has no connection to Imam Hussain.

On 28 July 2023, the Facebook user ‘Ahmad Raza’ posted (archive) a photo showing what looks like a throne or pulpit, with the accompanying caption stating:

“یہ وہ ممبر ہے جس پے امام حسین ( علیہ السلام ) خطبہ دیا کرتے تھے۔۔‎
[This is the pulpit from which Imam Hussain (peace be upon him) used to deliver sermons]”

The text superimposed on the bottom of the image says:

“کوئی بد نصیب ہی ہو گا جو شیئر نہیں کرئے گا
[Only an unfortunate person will not share this].”

Fact or Fiction?

Soch Fact Check reverse-searched the image and found that it was shared on Copts United, a website that hosts a daily electronic newspaper focusing on the Coptic cause. The Copts are an indigenous Christian community from Egypt.

In its article, Copts United mentions James Edward Quibell, an English egyptologist who served as Inspector in Chief of Antiquities in the Delta and Middle Egypt from 1899 to 1904 and as Chief Inspector at Saqqara in 1905, where he helped excavate the Monastery of St Jeremiah.

According to the website, Quibell “is of great importance in the history of Egyptian and Coptic antiquities”.

Further searches through Google Lens linked the image to The Coptics Museum in Old Cairo, Egypt.

Soch Fact Check also found tourism company Tour Egypt’s website that mentions the Monastery of Jeremiah at the Saqqara necropolis, which is located in Memphis, an archaeological site near Cairo.

Tour Egypt says that the Saqqara necropolis — neighbouring the Step Pyramid of Djoser — was the focus of Quibell, who, between 1906 and 1910, found the Monastery of Jeremiah when he “excavated an area of some 18,000 square metres from the sand”.

St Jeremiah is also known as Prophet Irmiya, Armiya or Urmiya, but there is no mention of him in the Islam’s holy book, Quran; however, some commentators have contextualised him as a recognised prophet in the Islamic tradition, as per this website, which cites “Stories of the Prophets” by historian Ibn Kathir.

Page 159 of Ibn Kathir’s “Stories of the Prophets” states, “Another prophet is Jeremiah (pbuh) Ibn Hilkiah from the House of Levi Ibn Jacob (pbuh). It has been claimed that he was Al-Khidr. This was related by Al-Dahak from Ibn Abbas but it is not true.”

Another website, Life in Saudi Arabia, says Prophet Armiya belonged to the Benjamin tribe, “was born in 650 BC in present-day Palestine, and died in 570 BC at the age of 80 years”.

The Monastery of Jeremiah is also mentioned on the Egyptian travel agency Visit Egypt Tours’ website and the pulpit seen in this February 2001 picture on Wikimedia Commons is credited to Roland Unger.

The official website of the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities also has a page dedicated to the Monastery of Jeremiah.

Lastly, we spoke to Nada Ashraf, a tour guide with a Masters degree in Egyptology. According to her, the inscription on top of the pulpit — which is the Coptic language, the most recent of the ancient Egyptian language — translates to, “In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit,” which is not a part of the Islamic belief system. The platform used to be the seat of the high priest, Ashraf added.

Virality

The post by Facebook user ‘Ahmad Raza’ has received more than 792,000 reactions, 9,400 comments, and 112,000 shares.

This post received more than 851,000 reactions, 8,700 comments, and 91,000 shares, while this one received over 363,000 reactions, 3,800 comments, and 37,000 shares. Yet another post received upwards of 69,000 reactions, 500 comments, and 2,400 shares.

Soch Fact Check also conducted a CrowdTangle analysis for the past 30-day period starting 9 July 2023, using the search term, “یہ وہ ممبر ہے جس پے امام حسین ( علیہ السلام ) خطبہ دیا کرتے تھے۔۔”. We found over 300 posts on Facebook, with over 1.3 million interactions.

The image was also shared on Twitter here, here, here, and here.

Conclusion: The raised platform is actually known as St Jeremiah’s Pulpit in the Saqqara necropolis in Giza, Egypt, and has no connection to Imam Hussain.


Background image in cover photo: aboodi vesakaran


To submit an appeal on our fact-check, please send an email to appeals@sochfactcheck.com

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