Cairo: Al-Azhar, Egypt's top Islamic authorit, on Sunday rejecting President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi's call for reform unanimously ruled that 'verbal divorc'e is valid if all requirements like the man has a sound mind, full consciousness and uses appropriate phrasing.
Al-Azhar ruled that verbal divorce, when meeting all requirements, has been an undisputed practice since the time of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).
El-Sissi had proposed the change during a televised address he gave last month with the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Ahmed al-Tayeb, in attendance.
In a carefully-worded statement, the council made no mention of el-Sissi, or his suggestion last month for legislation requiring such divorces to be carried out in the presence of a state-authorised cleric. It was addressed to "the people", according to Associated Press.
The council expressed concern over the high rate of divorce in Egypt, where 40 per cent of marriages end in divorce within five years, according to figures cited by the president. But it pointed out that the figures include only documented divorces, suggesting that reducing the number of verbal divorces would have little impact.
Though there are differences among scholar over validity of concurrent talaq, there is total unanimity on verbal divorce if the needed requirements are met.
Differences over practice of triple talaq exist in the Islamic Sharia since the tenure of second Caliph Omar (RA). Muslim scholars and jurists argue that concurrent talaq or triple talaq in one go has never been approved by Prphet Mohammad (peace be upon him), during the tenure of first Caliph Abu Bakr (RA) and the first two years of Caliph Omar's caliphate.
Caliph Omar later approved it as punishment, scholars argue, but later on the practice was annulled by Muslim jurists. It is on this basis, the practice of concurrent talaq has been termed invalid in most of the Muslim countries. (Read more about Triple Talaq by clicking here.)
Muslims in India, majority of them followers of Hanafi school of thought, are adamant on the invalid concurrent talaq and are fighting a case with women activists in the Supreme Court.
Interestingly, some renowned Hanafi scholars have also ruled against concurrent or triple talaq. According to the sources in the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB), the members fear that agreeing to any change on triple talaq would open floodgate of interference in other Sharia matters.
It is also learnt that there is a strong dissent among the members of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMLB) and especially some women members are upset over board's handling of the situation.