Egypt trains marriage registrars to analyze divorces

CAIRO — The Egyptian Justice Ministry, in cooperation with Dar al-Iftaa, held a coaching program final month for approved marriage registrars, often known as mazouns, together with directions on find out how to examine verbal divorce petitions earlier than their official authentication.

Under non secular legal guidelines, a Muslim man in Egypt can divorce his spouse by merely stating, “I hereby divorce you.” The divorce is then formally notarized. If the oral declaration of divorce takes place in entrance of the approved individual and is instantly notarized, the divorce can’t be rescinded.

The coaching course, held Oct. 28, targeted on oral divorce as a result of it’s the most typical kind of divorce in Egypt, and it typically doesn’t find yourself being registered due to the context through which the phrase “divorce” between the spouses was talked about. For such a divorce to be legitimate, in response to Al Azhar’s Council of Senior Scholars, the husband should make the proclamation of divorce “through a legal capacity and a conscious will.” Officials have been skilled to make clear the encompassing circumstances and whether or not the divorce was then documented or not, in response to authorized provisions.

The program concerned 903 registrars from throughout the nation’s governorates and was geared toward elevating consciousness of the implications of divorce. The coaching program goals to broaden the function for marriage registrars — trying into the intention and sincerity of verbal divorce statements — and never restrict their jobs to the authorized course of and documentation of those divorces.

In an Oct. 28 assertion, the Justice Ministry stated that the coaching is a part of the Egyptian state’s efforts to cut back divorce charges and mitigate “the ensuing repercussions which threaten the family cohesion and community building.”

In a phone interview throughout a tv program on al-Hadath al-Youm on Aug. 10, Maj. Gen. Khairat Barakat, the top of the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics, stated that divorces in Egypt throughout the previous 12 months numbered 213,000. 

The head of the Egyptian Mazouns Syndicate, Sheikh Islam Amer, advised Al-Monitor, “The training program was carried out based on the syndicate’s request to Dar al-Iftaa to allow marriage registrars to have a broader role in matters related to marriage and divorce.”

“The training was mainly based on how to verify whether or not a verbal divorce actually occurred” as specified under religious law, he said, especially in cases of triple talaq — the religious right of a Muslim man to divorce his wife by uttering “talaq” (divorce) three times in one sitting. When this happens, the man cannot annul the divorce unless the woman marries another man through tahleel marriage, or a short-term, intermediate marriage, which is forbidden under Islamic law, Amer said.

The training focused on verbal divorce cases, Amer continued, “especially since many Muslims believe that a divorce cannot be done through oral means, which [they believe] is against Sharia.” He harassed, “In such cases, it would be the registrar’s mission to verify what words a man uttered to divorce his wife and if he really had the intention to do so or it was just an empty threat.” 

If marriage registrars have extra leeway, Amer stated, it might ease the burden on the Egyptian Dar al-Ifta and Al-Azhar al-Sharif, that are the principle reference in issues of marriage and divorce. “Now, the registrar can act like a mufti, which will achieve the desired goal of reducing divorce rates in the near future.”

Ahmed al-Mashad, a member of Al-Azhar International Center for Fatwa, said during a ONE interview in 2018 that the religious institution has a family reunification unit that receives about 400 questions per week, most of which revolve around divorce.

Amer stressed that registrars should not rush to authenticate verbal divorces and seek reconciliation between the spouses, and that their role is no longer limited to just registering divorce cases, which weigh heavily on the state’s budget.

The official divorce costs in Egypt reach about 17.85 billion pounds annually. The state also spends about 7.75 billion pounds on litigation expenses and the salaries of judges, public prosecutors and exports, according to Ahmed Samir Zakaria, adviser to the think tank Egyptian Center for Economic Studies, in a assertion primarily based on a examine issued by household courts. 

Amer added that the subjects coated throughout the coaching might be circulated to all of the approved marriage registrars throughout the homeland, who will coordinate with governors to  increase consciousness of the risks of verbal divorce.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi called for new legislation to annul verbal divorce in 2017. Al-Azhar’s Council of Senior Scholars categorically rejected Sisi’s call, on the basis that divorce verbally pronounced is the rule in Sharia.

Saeed Sadiq, a professor of socio-political science at the American University in Cairo, told Al-Monitor, “It is necessary to identify the reasons that lead to divorce, and the registrar should be the last resort for couples. It is also equally important to raise awareness to avoid rushing into marriage under social pressure, which sometimes pushes women to marry the wrong person. Young men should also be educated on marriage responsibilities and its social and economic requirements.”

Randa Fares is the director of the Mawadda venture, a nationwide program to boost consciousness amongst engaged {couples} in a bid to cut back divorces later. She stated in a May 27 interview that Egypt registers between 800,000 and 900,000 marriages yearly, versus 200,000 divorce instances. 

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