Sheikh Ali Gomaʕa (Arabic:علي جمعة ) is the Grand Mufti of Egypt succeeding Ahmad El-Tayeb. He has been called "one of the most widely respected jurists in the Sunni Muslim world," and described as "a highly promoted champion of moderate Islam," gender equality, and an "object of hatred among Islamists." He specializes in the science of the foundations of Islamic Law, viz. Usul al-fiqh. He follows the Shafi`i school of Islamic jurisprudence.
His office, the Dar al Ifta (literally, the house of fatwas), a government agency charged with issuing religious legal opinions on any question to Muslims who ask for them, issues some 5,000 fatwas a week, including both the official ones that he himself crafts on important issues and the more routine ones handled via phone and Internet by a dozen or so subordinate muftis.
In addition to his television appearances, Gomaa has a weekly column in the Egyptian daily newspaper al-Ahram. His articles have covered a wide range of topics from explanations of the basis of Islamic law and calling for calm in the face of the Danish cartoon crisis, to refuting extremism and denouncing The Protocols of the Elders of Zion as a forgery. He is one of the signatories of A Common Word Between Us and You, an open letter by Islamic scholars to Christian leaders, calling for peace and understanding.
Quote “it is allowed taking the opinion of the scholars from the Hanafi madhhab who allow to deal with wrong contracts in dar-al-harb (the house of war) ”
He also based his fatwa on a narration (hadith) that says: “No usury between the people of war in the house of war” which may be considered a weak narration according to some opinions.
Another justification was that the Prophet let his uncle Al-‘Abbas Ibn ‘Abdil-Muttalib take usury in Mecca - a house of war - and he did not prohibit him except in the year of the Farewell Pilgrimage.
In all during the fatwa – which was a reply to a question from a Muslim in Europe asking about whether it would be allowed for him to work in stores that sell alcohol and pork along with other products because he cannot find another job – the Sheikh mentioned the terms “dar-al-harb” (House of war) and “ahl al-harb” (people of war) several terms, and gave a response that not only dealt with what the questioner had asked but further points such as the taking of Interest and gambling.
He recently stated on national television that it is permissible in Islam for a woman to have hymen restoration surgery for any reason since Islam promotes protecting one’s privacy and reputation and does not require a woman to provide proof of her virginity.
In November 2006, prof Gomaa ruled that female circumcision (also referred to as female genital mutilation or FGM) should not be applied; this ruling is in accordance with Egyptian law, that also forbids female circumcision. This ruling came about after a conference instigated by research and a documentary on FGM in Somalia by the German action group Target. This fatwa is now also used in Western Europe to combat FGM. On June 24 2007, after an 11-year-old died under the knife undergoing circumcision, he decreed that female circumcision was not just “un-Islamic” but forbidden.
He has also stated that Islam does not call for and has never known a theocratic state and that there is no contradiction between Islam and liberal democracy saying, “I consider myself a liberal and a Muslim, but this does not mean I am a secularist. The Egyptian [historical] experience has combined liberalism and Islam in the best of ways.”
He is a signatory of the Amman Message, which gives a broad foundation for defining Muslim orthodoxy, unequivocally states that nobody has the right to excommunicate a Muslim, and restricts the issuing of fatwas to those with the scholarly qualifications to do so.
In 2007 he "unequivocally told the Washington Post that the death penalty for apostasy simply no longer applies.
He is the Editor of the Encyclopaedia of Hadith, a sub-project of the greater Sunnah Project of the Thesaurus Islamicus Foundation, which aims at documenting and publishing all works related to Prophetic narrations or Hadith.
Gomaa has publicly asserted that the anti-Semitic The Protocols of the Elders of Zion is a forgery and made an official court complaint concerning a publisher who falsely put his name on an introduction to its Arabic translation.
Gomaa believes the best antidote to Islamic extremism is "traditional conception of sharia law — along with knowledge of Islamic jurisprudence
Artists and intellectuals here say the edict, whose ban on producing and displaying sculptures overturns a century-old fatwa, runs counter to Islam. They also worry that extremists may use the ruling as a pretense for destroying Egypt's ancient relics, which form a pillar of the country's multibillion-dollar tourist industry.
Jay Tolson defended Ali Gomaa, saying
while Gomaa did say that it was un-Islamic for Muslims to own statues or to display them in their homes, he made it very clear that the destruction of antiquities and other statues in the public sphere was unacceptable and indeed criminal. He is also on record deploring the Taliban's destruction of the great Buddhist statuary in Afghanistan.
According to translations by the Israeli-based MEMRI organization of an interview allegedly conducted in early July 2003 with the Egyptian newspaper Al-Haqiqa, Ali Gomaa decreed the killing of Israelis travelling to other countries permissible in Islam (though not required). This was the case even if the Israeli was a diplomat, because Israeli are "Harbi and the Harbi spreads corruption throughout the face of the earth. According to Jay Tolson, "I passed on this charge to the mufti's office, and he replied categorically that the contents of the article were a fabrication."
His published works include in alphabetical order:
His sheikhs and teachers include in alphebetical order:
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