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Friday Prayers for Egypt: Divorce and Authority

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God,

You know best the worth of a woman. You know what is timeless, you know what is cultural.

Help Egypt to know as you do, and act accordingly.

Troubled by rising divorce rates, the president pushed for reform. Hoping a standardized process might curb rash decisions, he asked administrative witness and registration be made mandatory.

But the top religious authority ruled against it. Islamic law permits a woman to be divorced orally, with no witnesses. Registration is advisable that the woman might know her rights. But even at the moment of divorce, neither her consent nor presence are required.

God, you know if this ruling accords with Islam as you intend it. But all agree on the importance of family. Preserve and strengthen this core unit of society. Protect and enable the woman within it.

What is her best role, God? What are her firm rights? Where lie her responsibilities?

Likely unrelated but unmistakably poignant, not long thereafter the president appointed Egypt’s first female governor.

God, you know if this authority accords with Islam as you intend it. To date there has been no noticeable religious criticism. But her governorate is known for Muslim interpretation that limits the public leadership of women.

Bless her in her role, her rights, and her responsibilities.

Bless the president as he seeks to honor women and challenge religious conservatism.

Bless religious conservatives, as they seek to honor you and women according to conscience.

Bless Egypt, that she would find your way amid interpretations.

And bless the Egyptian woman, wherever she is to be found.

Amen.