Fatwa sparks debate among Egypt’s clerics

January 09, 2006

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CAIRO, Jan 8: An Egyptian cleric’s controversial fatwa claiming that nudity during sexual intercourse invalidates a marriage has uncovered a rift among Islamic scholars. According to the religious edict issued by Rashad Hassan Khalil, a former dean of Al Azhar University’s faculty of Sharia, “being completely naked during the act of coitus annuls the marriage.”

The religious decree sparked a hot debate on the private satellite network Dream’s popular religious talk show and on the front page of Sunday’s Al-Masri Al-Yom, Egypt’s leading independent daily newspaper.

Suad Saleh, who heads the women’s department of Al Azhar’s Islamic studies faculty, pleaded for “anything that can bring spouses closer to each other” and rejected the claim that nudity during intercourse could invalidate a union.

During the live televised debate, Islamic scholar Abdel Muti dismissed the fatwa: “Nothing is prohibited during marital sex, except of course sodomy.”

For his part, Al Azhar’s fatwa committee chairman Abdullah Megawar argued that married couples could see each other naked but should not look at each other’s genitalia and suggested they cover up with a blanket during sex.—AFP