“Taha Husayn (a well-known secularist) had just graduated from the Old Egyptian University, and he was blind at the time. It was decided that he could be sent abroad to Europe (to complete his studies). So, the ruler invited him to a generous reception and showered him with many nourishing and helpful gifts. After this incident, Muhammad al-Mahdi gave the Friday sermon, and at that time, he was a government preacher whose sermons were attended by scholars and secretaries and other major figures. So, the preacher (Muhammad al-Mahdi) began praising the ruler excessively, to the point that he said, regarding the ruler: “And the blind one came to him, so he did not frown or turn away” (a mocking reference to the Prophet – peace be upon him – in the story the chapter of ‘‘Abasa’).
And from the attendees of this sermon was my father, the Shaykh, the Qadi, Muhammad Shakir. So, he got up after the prayer and said to the people: “O people! Repeat your prayer, for your imam has disbelieved!” Then he made the call to prayer from anew and prayed, and behind him prayed every single person in the masjid.
I swear by Allah that afterwards I saw Muhammad al-Mahdi with my own two eyes as a pathetic and subdued servant at the entrance of a masjid in Cairo, taking the shoes of the worshippers and putting them away for them in a state of humiliation and lowliness.”
[‘Kalimat Haqq’; p. 173]