Al-Azhar backs a civil state in Egypt

Al Azhar Part 2

One of the main issues on the political scene is whether Egypt should have a religious constitution or a civil one and whether they’re mutually exclusive. According to Tayyeb, they are not.

As is the case with many questions regarding the role of religion in civil life, this issue was often open to controversy. The Egyptian government’s flagship paper, Al-Ahram, therefore describes the document as “historic.”

The document states that Islamic jurisprudence does not denote the need for a “priestly state” that enforces religious practice, and that the concept of “Shura,” a religious term, indicates pluralism. According to Al-Ahram, the document also states that the nation would resort to Islam for supporting a democratic and constitutional nation based on free elections and equal representation.

Independent daily Al-Shorouk calls the document “revolutionary.” Tayyeb said that the parliament would be the only legislative authority. The rest of the document talked about respecting women, children, freedom of speech, the practices and values of Egyptian society, and all religions.

According to Al-Shorouk, the document’s long list of signatories contains the names of many Islamic, political, literary and intellectual figures, including Coptic thinkers and activists.

State-run daily Al-Akhbar quotes Tayyeb as saying that Islamic principles would remain the main source for legislation and that members of other religions should be guaranteed the right to resort to their own religious authorities for administering their personal affairs if they choose.

Al-Wafd’s party paper ran the headline, “Al-Azhar clings to the civil state.”

Courtesy: al Masry Al-Youm

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