US to impose visas restrictions for pregnant women    China shuts city of millions to stop spread of deadly virus    Militants set off car bombs, storm army positions in Syria's Idlib: State news agency    Virus fears drag down European stocks ahead of ECB policy decision    Apple's Safari web browser users are tracked despite prevention feature    Lebanon seeking $4bln-$5bln in loans for wheat, fuel, medicine: Finance minister    'This isn't good enough': Solskjaer's Man United loses again    Egypt is boosting economic growth rates, women's role: El-Mashat    Egypt, UK sign billions-worth deals at investment summit    Egypt banking system outlook stable on robust growth, high liquidity: Moody's    Madbouly launches 51st Cairo International Book Fair    Lebanon forms new government, protests continue    Grid parity remains main issue facing MENA renewable energy projects: MESIA    Egypt's Warda scores twice as Larissa held in Greek league    Sesame Street launches Arabic TV programme for Middle East children dealing with displacement    Egypt's Ismaily sign Tunisian striker Fakhreddine Ben Youssef    US Congress delegation visits North Sinai: Armed Forces    Senate approves Trump impeachment trial plan, rejects Democrats on documents, witnesses    New draft customs law finalised, waiting parliament green light: Egyptian Customs Authority chairman    Egypt in a group with Gabon, Libya, Angola in 2022 World Cup qualifiers    Palm Springs Film Festival announces 31st edition's winners    Israeli electric company ends power cuts to West Bank after Palestinians pay debt    Factbox: Major severe coronavirus outbreaks in the past 20 years    Not all low-carb, low-fat diets help you live longer    50th WEF kicks off with huge international participation    Egypt to play Angola for group leadership in African Men's Handball Championship quarter-finals    Talks about talks    Afrah Alqobaplay is the newest of the Youth Theatre Companyat The Floating Theatre    Genesis    Elias Fakhfakh tasked to form Tunisia's new government    Al-Sisi orders additional social protection programmes for low-income: MP    Italy former honorary consul sentenced to 15 years jailtime for smuggling artefacts    Palm Hills signs EGP 505m credit facility with AUB to refinance existing debt    Egypt's Health Ministry on alert after Chinese coronavirus outbreak    Maspero triangle's towers will be up and standing in 30 months: NUCA    TMG to sponsor 5 Egyptian athletes qualified to Tokyo Olympics 2020    Initiative for visually impaired Egyptians to receive art education    Egypt's Sisi extends state of emergency for 3 months    Madbouly chairs SCNW meeting on GERD's upcoming technical, legal discussions    Harry, Meghan drop their royal titles repay £2.4 mln    Parliamentary elections to be held in November: Baha Abu Shoqa    ‘Djamila Bouhired' movie star Magda al-Sabahi dies at 89    Egypt is best tourism destination for 2020 according to BBC    Mission Africa continues    NBE studies establishment of rowing club in Cairo    Egypt's Zamalek, Smouha presidents hit with disciplinary sanctions by EFA    Egypt's President Sisi pardons some prisoners on 25 Jan. Revolution anniversary    Egypt's Sami Anan released after near two-year detention    







Thank you for reporting!
This image will be automatically disabled when it gets reported by several people.





Sermon settlement
Published in Al-Ahram Weekly on 09 - 08 - 2016

After almost a month, the crisis between Al-Azhar and Ministry of Endowments over the controversial measures to standardise Friday prayer sermons is apparently on its way to being resolved. On 3 August, President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi called on the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Sheikh Ahmed Al-Tayeb to discuss with him a way out.
After leaving the Presidential Palace, Al-Tayeb held an urgent meeting with officials from Al-Azhar's grand committee, Minister of Endowments Mohamed Mokhtar Gomaa and the country's Grand Mufti Sheikh Shawki Allam.
“Al-Azhar's Grand Imam has instructed all religious institutions to work together to improve the capabilities of preachers in order to cope with today's challenges that the nation is facing,” said a statement issued by Al-Azhar after Al-Tayeb's meeting with Gomaa and Allam.
The statement also added that Al-Azhar has proposed establishing an academy that specialises in training preachers and will be under the direct supervision of Al-Azhar's Grand Imam.
In another statement issued on Friday 5 August, Gomaa said that the unity of the religious institutions is his ministry's top priority in the face of terrorism and radicalisation.
“The unity of Egyptians and religious institutions demands collective effort from all sides. The ministry will support every decision calling for unity. There is no time for divisions,” Gomaa said.
Gomaa added that the Ministry of Endowments “will not let the Friday sermon be a tool of division amongst Muslims”, explaining that it will gather with leaders of all religious institutions in Al-Azhar to discuss the issue.
“Under the sponsorship of Al-Azhar's Grand Imam, we will work on what serves our religion and our nation,” Gomaa added.
The crisis erupted early in July when the Ministry of Endowments issued a decision requiring preachers to read identical, pre-prepared scripts in their Friday sermons in a bid to crush radical ideas. The decision has since been a source of discord between the ministry and Al-Azhar, the country's top religious bodies.
Responding to the decision, the Al-Azhar Scholars Council issued a statement on 26 July rejecting the idea of pre-prepared scripts on Friday.
“The written sermon would freeze clerics' thinking and hinder any renewal of a religious dialogue,” a statement issued by Al-Azhar's Senior Scholars Council said. “Instead of agreeing to a written sermon, and to guarantee the effective combatting of radical ideas, the ministry should have better organised training courses to upgrade the scientific and cultural level of its preachers,” the statement added.
By law, the ministry is the body entrusted with supervising and administering mosques, estimated at around 120,000 across Egypt. However, Al-Azhar remains the sole religious authority regulating dawa (issuing summons) and preaching affairs.
Al-Sisi's meeting with only the Al-Azhar Grand Imam sent a clear message that he supports Al-Azhar's position in the crisis. The presidency statement on Al-Sisi and Al-Tayeb's meeting did not mention that the ongoing crisis was discussed.
On Sunday parliament's Religious Committee members announced their support for Al-Azhar. Some members of the committee called to transfer the authority of mosques from the Ministry of Endowments to Al-Azhar.
However many members rejected the proposal and said that crisis should be solved through dialogue between the two institutions.
The decision to have pre-prepared scripts on Friday follows a string of other measures that the Ministry of Endowments has undertaken over the past three years to tighten its grip on religious discourse in Egypt, in an attempt to regulate it.
A decree unifying the theme of the Friday sermon across Egypt's mosques came out in 2014. The aim, according to the Ministry of Endowments, was to keep mosques away from politics following the ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi. While committing to the main theme, every imam is free in presenting his sermon in his own style.
Gomaa announced early in July that all preachers must read the same script in Friday's sermons across Egypt. A senior committee combining the ministry's top officials would write sermons covering 52 weeks, in addition to religious holidays. According to Gomaa there is a long-term plan to write 270 sermons covering five years. Each sermon would be posted prior to Friday prayers on the ministry's website. The imam should read the sermon word for word, not only to ensure he will not speak off the cuff but also so as not to exceed the 20 minutes he is allotted. Inspectors from the ministry will be assigned with monitoring mosques to report on the performance of imams and their compliance with written sermons.


Clic here to read the story from its source.