12 million female breadwinners in Egypt..Do the messages of the Sheikh of Al-Azhar on guardianship ease Eve's crises?

Cairo – While disputes arise in many Egyptian homes against the background of the lack of clarity in the concepts of guardianship and what is called in Islamic jurisprudence as "disobedience", the Sheikh of Al-Azhar Ahmed Al-Tayeb, through his current Ramadan program, came out with messages that sparked widespread controversy in the country.

Official statistics document the existence of about 12 million female breadwinners (who are the heads of the family for any reason) out of the total population, which reached 104.77 million in early April, according to the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (a government agency).

Observers believe that the messages of the Sheikh of Al-Azhar come as an obligatory religious correction of the established misconceptions about guardianship and disobedience, and an attempt to do justice to women in a way that does not prejudice the stability of the family and does not enhance gender conflict, in light of the presence of women breadwinners who take care of family affairs amid a very bad reality that is exacerbated by the absence of a life partner.

Article 11 of the Egyptian constitution stipulates that the state guarantees the achievement of equality between women and men in all civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights.

Correction messages are required

In his Ramadan program "The Good Imam", Sheikh Al-Azhar stressed that the man's authority over the woman is not absolute, but rather limited to the scope of managing family affairs, and that it is the guardianship of consultation, partnership and administration, not the guardianship of leadership and control, and is not a means to rob the wife of her will and confiscate her right to expression.

Ahmed Al-Tayeb explained that “disobedience”, as it is called for the wife who rebels against her husband, is equally pronounced on the husband if he harms his wife, shuns her, prejudices or transgresses her, and threatens her with divorce.

Dr. Mahmoud al-Qalawi, a member of the International Union of Muslim Scholars and head of the Basma Academy for Marital Happiness, believes that the messages of the Sheikh of Al-Azhar are an obligatory religious correction of what has settled in the minds of generations about the use of the right of guardianship in a negative way against women, or focusing on the wife’s disobedience and ignoring the husband’s disobedience, despite the fact that religion is touched upon. to all these crises.

Al-Qalawi explains, in an interview with Al-Jazeera Net, that guardianship in Islam is an assignment, not an honor, and a responsibility that is carried out with justice, without abuse or with it, and its presence with the husband has conditions that negate its absence, such as spending and care. He pointed out that the accusation of disobedience used by husbands against their wives, once right and wrong again, is present in the religion as is the case for the man, and is known as the husband’s disobedience, and means harming the wife, prejudice against her, and constantly threatening and bullying her.

He said that the Sheikh of Al-Azhar clarified the truth of Islam that secular and feminist groups are trying to hide, and promoted fairness for women as decided by the Prophet more than 1400 years ago. Motherhood and guardianship, pushing it to rebellion, and inciting men to love possession and control.

Messages of stability and support for the family

The director of the "My Family Center" for social and family counseling, Dr. Manal Khader, considers that the messages of the Grand Imam are in the interest of the stability of the family institution, stressing that the sheikhdom of Al-Azhar has great Islamic symbolism, not only in Egypt, but also in the Arab and Islamic world.

Khadr points out that many crises occur in homes as a result of the husband or wife not understanding the meaning of guardianship, or the concept of disobedience, whether for a man or a woman within the family, which leads to unpopular incidents in which the woman is the breadwinner and does everything, while her husband is unemployed and talks to her. Talks of guardianship and disobedience, and he does not understand what he is saying.

Khadr explains, in her interview with Al-Jazeera Net, that part of the solution to the problems of homes lies in returning to Sahih al-Din, while taking ways of science and learning before marriage so that those who are about to become involved understand the meaning of the family, while resorting to specialists as soon as a crisis occurs.

An Egyptian debate about human rights concepts

On the other hand, Egyptians on social media criticized Al-Tayyib's messages in conjunction with the broadcast of the episodes, and some considered them "reactionary speech", and others considered it "an interpretation close to modernity that affirms equality between men and women, to correct what the sheikh said earlier." Others described the term guardianship as "ugly racist," stressing that the term "leadership" is better and given to those who deserve it, be it a man or a woman.

The writer, Islam Behairy, had previously rejected similar statements by the Sheikh of Al-Azhar about disobedience, guardianship, and disciplining the wife, and considered them among the sayings of the people of heritage and the first interpreters, and a violation of the constitution and the Qur’an, according to his belief.

On the other hand, the head of the Al-Shehab Center for Human Rights (a voluntary human rights organization), Khalaf Bayoumi, believes that the recent messages of the Sheikh of Al-Azhar are rights-based par excellence and an enlightened constitutionalism, in the interest of advancing the human rights concept of the family, and specifically the husband or wife, but it needs the adoption of the state with all its institutions to correct what has settled. Violations within the family system against women, especially since the ratios of women who are breadwinners in Egypt are large and need to clarify the facts and rights pertaining to them.

In his interview with Al-Jazeera Net, Bayoumi attributes the increasing domestic violence in Egypt to the spread of misconceptions, such as the husband's absolute authority in the home and the negative view of women, and sometimes the conversion of the marital home into a detention center or trial platform in which the judge and the opponent are one, the husband who arrived. His rulings in some instances took the lives of his entire family.

He explains that the positive discrimination of the breadwinner woman, as happened in the constitution and the repeated statement of women's rights, "must not make us forget the rights of the rest of the family members at the height of the prevailing gender conflict between feminists and masculists."

Bad fact documented

Official statistics document that the proportion of female breadwinners has reached 18.2% of Egyptian families. According to a study by the Egyptian Information Service (a government agency affiliated with the Presidency of the Republic), there are no less than 12 million female breadwinners in Egypt, in which a woman becomes responsible for an entire family, regardless of the number of its members.

According to the same authority , the proportion of women who are breadwinners below the poverty line represents 26.3%, and Egypt's strategy in 2030 aims to reach 9%.

In a recent study by the Egyptian Center for Thought and Strategic Studies under the title "Women Breadwinners…Increasing Numbers and Successive Efforts to Empower", the image of the "monogamous" family, supported by one party, is widely spread in Egyptian society.

According to the study, the number of families headed by women in 2018 was estimated at about 3.3 million families, noting that most of the heads of households are widows at a rate of 70.3% of the total female heads of households at the level of the Republic, followed by married women at a rate of 16.6%, then divorced women at a rate of 7.1%.

Source : Al Jazeera + Websites + social media sites

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