Shawky Abdel Karim received the most votes in Al-Azhar’s elections for the new Grand Mufti. Abdel Karim is the chairman of the Department of Jurisprudence at the School of Sharia at Al-Azhar University’s Tanta branch.
Al-Azhar’s Association of Senior Scholars headed by Grand Imam Ahmed Al-Tayeb selected three candidates for the post of Grand Mufti to replace the outgoing Ali Gomaa in a Monday meeting.
Attia Al-Sayed Fayyad, a professor of comparative jurisprudence and Farahat Abdel Aati Saad, a professor of jurisprudence, both at Al-Azhar’s School of Sharia in Cairo, came second and third, respectively.
Grand Imam Al-Tayeb will present the three names to President Mohamed Morsi who is expected to appoint Abdel Karim for receiving the most votes.
Abdel Karim authored a book on the political rights of women in Islam and another on determining and changing the gender of foetuses during pregnancy.
Outgoing Grand Mufti Gomaa reached the retirement age of 60 in 2012 but had his tenure renewed for one year by the then-ruling Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF).
The Association of Senior Scholars reportedly recommended Morsi do the same but the president refused, instead asking Al-Tayeb to nominate a new mufti.
The position of Grand Mufti is very influential both inside Egypt and across the Sunni Muslim world. The mufti issues opinions (fatwas) on religious matters within the realms of law, politics, economics and the daily lives of Muslims.