Al-Azhar to discuss sukuk law

Al-Azhar’s Council of Senior Scholars will meet next week to discuss the draft law on Islamic sukuk bonds, according to an official source from the council.

The meeting will come after a meeting of the Al-Azhar Jurisprudence and Legal Research Committee Monday to discuss the law as well.

President Mohamed Morsy referred the law to the council Sunday. The law was approved by the Shura Council against the wishes of the Council of Senior Scholars, which had wanted a chance to weigh in on the draft.

Al-Azhar has also criticized the law for giving Morsy the power to form an authority regulating the bonds.

The source added in a statement to the press that council will not set a date to meet until after the committee has finished its work. The source also said that the council will invite experts in Islamic economics to the discussions before submitting its final report to the president.

According to Article 4 of the Constitution, the Council of Senior Scholars must weigh in on all matters concerning Sharia, but the article does not stipulate whether the council’s opinions are binding or consultative — potentially setting the stage for numerous political and legal conflicts in the future.

The source claimed that the council’s role is only advisory and is meant to clarify the applicability of Sharia.

The Nour Party has also pushed for Al-Azhar’s review of the law, and said that the institution should also approve a pending loan from the IMF, which would require Egypt to pay interest.

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