Sheikh Ali Goma’a is the Grand Mufti of the Arab Republic of Egypt. He is the second highest Sunni authority in Egypt after Sheikh Ahmed Al Tayyeb and one of the foremost Islamic scholars in the world. Goma’a is responsible for the Dar al Ifta al Masriyyah, a leading institute for Islamic legal research, and the legal arm of the Egyptian Ministry of Justice, which is responsible for passing official religious rulings. It issued close to 465,000 fatwas in the year 2010.
Egypt’s Weight in Islamic Scholarship
Goma’a’s scholarly influence is derived from his position at the center of many of the most significant institutions of Islamic law in the world. Before becoming Grand Mufti, Goma’a was a professor of jurisprudence at Al Azhar University—the second oldest university in the world, founded in 975 CE—Goma’a also served as a member of the Fatwa Council. He is currently a member of the International Islamic Fiqh Academy, the highest institute of Islamic law in the Organization of the Islamic Conference—an intergovernmental organization for Muslim-majority countries.
Visit to Al-Masjid Al-Aqsa Controversy
On April 18th, 2012, Sheikh Ali Goma, with HRH Prince Ghazi of Jordan, broke what had been a 45 year taboo in some parts of the Islamic World (propagated notably by Al-Jazeera-based Sheikh Al-Qaradawi) and visited Al-Masjid Al-Aqsa in order to pray there and support the beleaguered Muslim community in Jerusalem. The visit was viewed as controversial in Egypt, but set off a change of public opinion in the Islamic World that continues to this day. The Grand Mufti also visited the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, which was much appreciated by the Christian community of Jerusalem.
Goma’a has become exceedingly popular as a mufti since he began to appear on popular broadcast and satellite television. Part of his appeal is due to the revival of the old Islamic practice of informal ‘knowledge circles’ at the Al Azhar Mosque, and very well attended Q&A sessions after his Friday sermons at the Sultan Hasan Mosque, where Goma’a makes a point of taking on anyone who tries to simplify or distort Islamic teachings without knowledge of its traditions. This has made him extremely popular with those who are against extremism. He has published regular articles in mainstream US papers like the New York Times, and the Washington Post.
Popularized and Simplified Fatwas
Goma’a has immense legal influence through his advocacy of Islamic religious edicts (fatwas). Since he was appointed Grand Mufti of Egypt in 2003, Goma’a has modernized the process of issuing fatwas in the country. He has done this by overhauling the Dar al Ifta organization into a dynamic institution with worldwide reach, based on a fatwa council and a system of checks and balances. Goma’a has recently been outspoken on environmental sustainability— speaking in November, 2009 about plans to make Medina the first “green” Islamic city.
Goma’a has authored over 50 books, as well as hundreds of articles. He now uses the Dar al Ifta to get his scholarly opinion out. His office issues some 5,000 fatwas a week, with official ones on important issues written by him and the routine ones dealt with via phone and the Internet by a team of subordinate muftis. Goma’a believes that respect for traditionalism is growing in the Muslim world, partly because of the immense demand for fatwas issued by his office.
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Shaikh Ali Gomaa, former Grand Mufti of Egypt, and visiting professor at Zayed University Institute for Islamic World Studies; Zhan Jingbao, Consul General of the People's Republic of China in Dubai; and Vice-President of Zayed University Dr Sulaiman ...
Leading among attendees are leader of Tunisia's ruling Ennahda party Rachid Ghannouchi, Professor Mehmet Görmez, Head of Turkey's Religious Affairs and former Egyptian mufti Ali Gomaa. “At this meeting, we will talk about dynamics which maintain the ...
... President-General of the Nigerian National Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, Muhammed Saad Abubakar; former Egyptian Mufti Professor Ali Gomaa; Professor İsam Beshiri; Professor Muhammad Imara; and Islamic scholar Selmân Hussein en-Nedvî.
Sheikh Ali Gomaa, former Grand Mufti of Egypt, and Visiting professor at Zayed University Institute for Islamic World Studies, Zhan Jingbao, Consul General of People's Republic of China in Dubai, and Dr. Sulaiman Al Jassim, Vice President of Zayed ...
One of the few figures who held to traditional Islamic Law despite the vogue of the Arab Spring