Al-Azhar’s top council meets to discuss verbal divorce case

The Council of Senior Scholars, the top body of al-Azhar institution, convened in an emergency meeting on Sunday to discuss the case of verbal divorce potentially being eliminated. The meeting was headed by Grand Imam Ahmed al-Tayyeb.
The council discussed the conclusions its subcommittees had come to over the issues, which will be announced in a press release.
A statement for council said the meeting will discuss the non-objective criticism directed toward al-Azhar recently, which harmed the prestige of the institution and its scholars — something they reject.
The Council of Senior Scholars is concerned with rulings on religious issues, as well as social issues with a religious background, as it is the final authority in all matters relating to Islam, its heritage and its jurisprudence.
Egypt President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi called for a new law tightening divorce procedures for Muslims last month.
Egyptian law currently grants a Muslim husband the right to divorce his wife in her absence and without her knowledge. He may initiate and conclude all the divorce procedures himself, only letting her know at the final stage.
The president said: "We are a country keen to maintain our society, so we have to issue a law that requires the husband and the wife to be present in person, at the same time, in front of the Ma'zoun (public notary, marriage official) for divorce to take place, thereby enabling the couple to reconsider."
The divorce percentage is high; 40 percent of the 900,000 marriages unions every year end in divorce within five years, Sisi said during a speech he gave at a ceremony marking National Police Day.
Egypt saw about 200,000 divorce cases during 2015, which marks a 10.8 per cent increase in divorces from the previous year, the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS) said last year.
The total number of divorces in 2015 reached 199,867 in comparison with 180,244 cases in 2014, CAPMAS said in its annual report on marriages and divorces.
The CAPMAS said that the figure of 2015 is the highest divorce rate in two decades. The rate reached 2.2 cases per 1,000 people in 2015, which represents an 83 percent rise compared to the beginning of the period 1996-2015, according to the agency.

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