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Egypt’s Council of Senior Islamic Scholars Rejects Sissi’s Move to Reform Divorce | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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In this June 2015 file photo, Ahmad Al-Tayeb, Grand Imam of Al-Azhar poses for a photograph in his office, in Cairo, Egypt. The Council of Senior Clerics in Al-Azhar has rejected the Egyptian president’s suggestion for legislation that would invalidate the practice of men verbally divorcing their wives. (Mosa’ab Elshamy / The Associated Press File Photo)

Cairo- Egypt’s Council of Senior Islamic Scholars rejected on Sunday Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi’s suggestion that legislation be adopted to invalidate the practice of Muslim men verbally divorcing their wives.

The council validated the verbal divorce without witnesses or documentation, during a meeting chaired by Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Ahmad Al-Tayeb.

Sissi called for enacting a law that regulates verbal divorces, especially after the recent rise of divorce rates among Egyptians up to 900,000 cases on an annual basis — Forty percent of marriages end in divorce within the first five years.

“The right solution for this phenomenon is to protect the youths from drugs and educate them through media as well as the art with a purpose, decent culture, serious education and regional preaching,” said the council.

Egypt’s Council of Senior Islamic Scholars is the highest regional reference belonging to Azhar, established in 1911. In 1961 during the tenure of former president Gamal Abdel Nasser, it was disassociated before it was revived following the revolution of January 25, 2012.

The council unanimously ruled that verbal divorce, when meeting all requirements, has been an undisputed practice since the days of the 7th century Prophet Muhammad.

The requirements, it explained, included that the man has a sound mind, full consciousness and uses appropriate phrasing.

The council called on Muslims all over the world to be cautious regarding any unusual fatwas even if their source was Azhar sheikhs. It also warned of divorce and breaking families apart.