Al-Azhar condemned Egyptian series ‘Faten Amal Harbi’ in a statement on Saturday, and warned against mocking the verses of the Quran and distorting the image of clerics.
The Fatwa Centre of Al-Azhar issued a strongly worded statement in which it said: “The intentional presentation of the Islamic scholar with his white Azhar turban in the form of an ignorant man lacking chivalry in some artworks is an act of deplorable bullying.”
The statement considered this “an intentional distortion which is rejected and does not harm scholars as much as it harms their detractors and is not commensurate with the great people of Egypt’s reverence for religious scholars and men.”
“There is no priesthood in Islam, and none of the imams and jurists have claimed infallibility for themselves throughout the ages… The attribution of these infamous descriptions of scholars is fraud… and deliberate confusion that aims to distort them, bring down their status and rank, and distort the concepts of the true religion and empty it of its content,” Al-Azhar added.
It stressed that “mocking the verses of the Quran, distorting their meanings from what they were deliberately formulated for, and presenting false interpretations of them as correct with the aim of provoking controversy is a major crime by all standards of religion, science, and professionalism, and a flagrant denial of Muslim women.”
Al-Azhar also emphasised that “the correct prophetic Sunnah is the second source of Islamic legislation after the holy Quran, and it is the practical application of it and the first tool for understanding it and deriving its rulings, which the Quran indicated as a divine revelation from the words, actions, and reports of the prophet. Any attempt to marginalise it and set it aside is an unacceptable assault on the stature of the Prophet. “
The series sparked a great deal of controversy since its first episodes were aired due to its rejection of the Personal Status Law and its portrayal of a cleric in an “inappropriate manner” from the point of view of Al-Azhar.
Faten Amal Harby is written by Ibrahim Eissa, produced by Al-Adl Group, and directed by Mohamed Al-Adl.
The series revolves around a woman played by actress Nelly Karim who presents 14 personal status cases, accusing the law of not doing justice to women.
An online campaign was launched last year under the hashtag #guardianship_is_my_right, in which Egyptian women shared stories on how the Personal Status Law had prevented them from making decisions for themselves or their children without the approval of a male guardian.
The Personal Status Law regulates the relationship of individuals in terms of kinship and marriage and what results from intermarriage, birth, guardianship, custody, mutual rights and duties, and any dissolution that may result in alimony, custody, and inheritance rights.
The Egyptian House of Representatives had discussed amending the law in 2020, however, it sparked widespread controversy and its discussion was postponed.
Jurists believed at the time that the Personal Status Law needed a comprehensive review to keep pace with the social and legal changes of the modern era.
The series renewed the controversy over the possibility of amending the provisions of the law, which are derived from the texts and provisions of Islamic Sharia.
The series’ writer Ibrahim Issa had previously stated to local media that “the conditions of Egyptian women are governed by a 100-year-old law signed by King Fouad, and despite its amendment in the years 1926, 1989, and 2000, and the issuance of the Family Court Law in 2004, the laws themselves are 100 years old… and all aspects of official and popular victory for women that exist now are not reflected in the law, so it was important to present a dramatic work at a public time that presents the issue with complete transparency and real drama.”