Al-Azhar asserts legitimacy of oral divorce, stresses need for documentation

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A broadcasted call from President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi during a recent speech suggests the possible issuance of a law that bans the practice of oral divorce without documentation. The Higher Scholars’ Authority, affiliated with Al-Azhar, published a statement on Sunday in which they seem to simultaneously agree with and dispute Al-Sisi’s call.

The authority said in its statement that oral divorce is legitimate and does not need any documentation or certification, adding that Muslims agreed on the legitimacy of oral divorce since the Prophet Muhammad’s era.

“Oral divorce should be allowed to take place without the need for documentation or certification; this is what Muslims have agreed on since the era of the Prophet Muhammad,” the authority statement read.

However, it hinted, during the statement, towards that documentation of divorce is necessary to ensure the divorced woman’s rights and the rights of her children. It also noted that religious opinions do not prevent the issuance of any law related to this issue.

“The ruler has the right to carry out the necessary measures to generate a legislation that guarantees punishing all who avoid documenting the divorce,” the statement read.

In January, Al-Sisi asked the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Ahmed Al-Tayeb, whether it is possible to issue a law that prevents the occurrence of oral divorce between married people without documentation or the attendance of a preacher who is officially authorised to carry out marriages or divorce.

A recent study by the Central Agency for Public Mobilization (CAPMAS) and Statistics has highlighted that divorce rates have increase since 1996.

 

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