Egypt's grand imam calls polygamy an 'injustice'

By AFP
Published: March 3, 2019
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Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb, grand imam of Egypt's famed Al-Azhar institution, said polygamy was the result of a "lack of understanding of the Koran". PHOTO: AFP

Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb, grand imam of Egypt's famed Al-Azhar institution, said polygamy was the result of a "lack of understanding of the Koran". PHOTO: AFP

CAIRO: The grand imam of Egypt’s famed Al-Azhar institution, Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb, has described polygamy as an “injustice” for women.

“Polygamy is often an injustice to women and children,” said the influential cleric, in quotes published on Twitter late on Friday by Al-Azhar, Sunni Islam’s most prestigious seat of learning.

The practice is the result of “a lack of understanding of the Quran and the tradition of the Prophet,” he added.

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Tayeb also addressed the issue in a weekly Friday television show, telling viewers: “Those who say that marriage must be polygamous are all wrong”.

He added the Koran says that in order for a Muslim man to have multiple wives, he “must obey conditions of fairness – and if there is not fairness it is forbidden to have multiple wives”.

After the grand imam’s comments sparked fervent debate on social media, Al-Azhar on Saturday clarified that he did not call for polygamy to be banned.

In his Friday comments, Tayeb called more broadly for the way women’s issues are addressed to be revamped.

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“Women represent half of society, if we don’t care for them it’s like we are walking on one foot only,” he said in the remarks published on Twitter.

The grand imam’s approach was welcomed by Egypt’s National Council for Women.

“The Muslim religion honours women – it brought justice and numerous rights which didn’t exist before,” said the Council’s president Maya Morsi.

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Reader Comments (3)

  • Shafiq
    Mar 3, 2019 - 7:48PM

    I somewhat agree with the Imam, but some times theses Imams are people of convenient. They often do Fatwa to appease the government position rather than defend Islam. Recommend

  • Bunny Rabbit
    Mar 3, 2019 - 8:36PM

    Polygamy started initially to help those desittute women who were poor or were widowed . In the pre insurance pre pension days , life was difficult for such women . the society needed a man to take care of them . Or in some exceptional cases, it was pure love .Today the purpose is lost . Recommend

  • tuk
    Mar 4, 2019 - 1:17AM

    Imam is right! We need more like him.Recommend

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