Last Update 22:0
Monday, 21 October 2019

Grand imam described polygmy as a 'restricted right' but did not call for ban: Egypt's Al-Azhar

'Women represent half of society. If we don’t pay attention to them, it would be like walking on one foot,' Al-Azhar's grand imam said during his weekly Friday talk

Ahram Online , Sunday 3 Mar 2019
Ahmed El-Tayeb
Al-Azhar's Grand Imam Ahmed El-Tayeb (File photo: Reuters)
Views: 2499
Views: 2499

Egypt's Al-Azhar, the highest seat of Sunni Islamic learning, issued a statement on Saturday clarifying that Grand Imam Ahmed El-Tayyeb did not call for polygamy to be be banned while addressing the issue of multiple wives during his weekly Friday television show on state TV.

“The issue of polygamy leads to injustice to women and children in many cases,” said El-Tayyeb, adding that this is a result of incorrect understanding of the verses of the Quran and the teachings of the Prophet on this issue.

He added that “polygamy is conditioned by [the ability to maintaining equitability], and if equitability is not possible, then polygamy is forbidden.”

Polygmy is a restricted right; and we can look at it as a sort of licence and as a licence it requires a reason, the grand imam explained.

In Egypt, Muslim men are legally allowed to marry up to four women at the same time.

However, a 1985 law has set restrictions on the ability of Muslim men to marry more than one woman by mandating that husbands inform wives of any new marriages and granting wives the right to divorce in these cases 

Al-Azhar’s media department also posted a 2016 video where he denied that he was calling for legislations “which ban polygamy, or any legislation which tears down the Quran or the Prophet’s teachings.”

During his Friday talk, El-Tayyeb also addressed other women’s issues.

“Women represent half of society. If we don’t pay attention to them , it would be like walking on one foot,” he said.

The National Council for Women hailed the grand imam’s statements and his reasoning on the matter.

“We extend our appreciation to the grand imam for his assertions, which came to enlighten minds and reveal the truth, while constantly affirming that Islam honours women by bringing justice and rights that did not exist before,” said Maya Morsy, the president of the council.

Short link:


Ahram Online welcomes readers' comments on all issues covered by the site, along with any criticisms and/or corrections. Readers are asked to limit their feedback to a maximum of 1000 characters (roughly 200 words). All comments/criticisms will, however, be subject to the following code
  • We will not publish comments which contain rude or abusive language, libelous statements, slander and personal attacks against any person/s.
  • We will not publish comments which contain racist remarks or any kind of racial or religious incitement against any group of people, in Egypt or outside it.
  • We welcome criticism of our reports and articles but we will not publish personal attacks, slander or fabrications directed against our reporters and contributing writers.
  • We reserve the right to correct, when at all possible, obvious errors in spelling and grammar. However, due to time and staffing constraints such corrections will not be made across the board or on a regular basis.

© 2010 Ahram Online.