Egypt’s ruling Islamic authority has rejected President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi’s move to invalidate the practice of Muslim men verbally divorcing their wives.
This recent report by Al Jazeera Arabic highlights this rejection as a sign of a deep rift between President Sisi and the head of al-Azhar, Sheikh Ahmad al-Tayyeb, a prominent supporter of Sisi’s rise to power in 2013.
Source: Al Jazeera Arabic
Date: 6 February, 2017
Sisi: Are we not going to make a law that states that divorce is not complete unless (it is done) before an authority, in order to give people a chance to rethink (their decision), or not my respected people?
His eminence the Imam (of al-Azhar) disappointed the Egyptian president. The al-Azhar institution is pulling out of obedience to President Sisi, for in a signed statement by the Senior Scholar’s Committee of al-Azhar, the religious institution rejected Sisi’s proposal of (making obligatory) the documentation of verbal divorce, as a condition for (divorce to occur) between married partners.
Al-Azhar viewed Sisi’s proposal as a move that goes against what Muslim scholars have been abiding by ever since the era of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him.
Regarding the deeper implications of the response to Sisi’s proposal to limit the rate of divorce in Egypt, its unprecedented sharpness was notable. Al-Azhar had called upon all Muslims to be cautious of what it described as the ‘abnormal fatwas’ which some are calling for, as people do not need the laws of divorce to be changed, as much as they need to find means by which to secure ways for decent living standards for themselves.
Perhaps the opposition of the Sheikh of Al-Azhar to Sisi’s command is the first one in many years that this institution contravenes the (government) authority in Egypt. As Sisi wrapped himself with the robe of al-Azhar on June 30 (2013), and Sheikh Ahmad al-Tayyeb was one of the most prominent of his supporters, during the carrying out of the June 30 Coup, deposing the first democratically elected Egyptian president.
However, it is clear that the relationship between the two men is now colder than any other time in the past, (falling) short of a public split.
Sisi: You have tired me O’ Imam
Sisi’s weariness from al-Azhar is because this religious institution will be the main obstacle before his ambition to kindle the religious revolution, which he called for about one year ago.
Sisi blames his opponents for appearing before the people as preachers in order to serve their own political agendas.
The reality is that he did not leave any opportunity to carry out what he was forbidding, while he seeks to become the reformer of the nation.
Sisi: This is the renewal that occurs every 100 or so years. It is not possible that the thought that we sanctify, causes this whole nation to remain the source of concern, threat, killing and destruction for the whole world.
And the Egyptian president would not have been so ambitious, if it weren’t for fatwas that likened his position to that of prophethood, causing (Sisi) to believe he was (a prophet).