May 24, 2007

Knowing the dismal state of scholarship in Al-azhar I thought nothing that could come out of it would surprise me, I was wrong. Two recent, disgusting and utterly un-Islamic fatwas, came from Al-azhar "scholars" and took me by complete surprise.

Islam requires women to wear the hijab and the sexes to be segregated (you can't touch the opposite sex unless related) but any two people suckled by the same women at least five times, as babies, are considered siblings. An Al-azhar professor came up with a novel fatwa to overcome this. He proposes women to suckle grown up men, not related to them, five times, to overcome the segregation of sexes required by Islam. Can't it get any worse? luckily, in Islam, unlike most other religions, muslims are required to critically think of and question what people like this professor say. The professor finally backed down and was thrown out of the Al-azhar.

Now it's the Grand Mufti of Egypt's turn, one the highest religious authorities in the country, he came up with an even more disgusting fatwa. I can't describe it but you can read it here (arabic). I usually try to find excuses for "eccentric fatwas" and "muftis" but this man is a pervert.

So what's wrong with Al-azhar? well, this is not new, over the last few decades some of the most novel fatwas (and people), and often contradictory, came from Al-Azhar. The British recognized an independent Al-azhar was a threat so they "reformed" it, and so has Jamal Abdi-Nasser again with a special Al-azhar Law. Both the Grand Mufti of Egypt and the sheikh of Al-azhar, the two highest Islamic authorities in Egypt, are now appointed by the regime. That should give you a clue.

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