RELIGION

Islamic authority rejects Egypt's move to reform divorce

  • FILE - In this Tuesday, Feb. 3, 2015 file photo, Egyptian clerics from Al-Azhar institution rally to denounce terrorism and show solidarity with the Egyptian government and security forces at a mosque in central, Cairo. Egypt’s top Islamic authority has rejected the president’s suggestion for legislation that would invalidate the practice of men verbally divorcing their wives. Al-Azhar’s Council of Grand Clerics says verbal divorce, when appropriately declared by husbands with sound minds, has been an undisputed practice since the days of the 7th century Prophet Muhammad. (AP Photo/Mosa'ab Elshamy, File)

    FILE - In this Tuesday, Feb. 3, 2015 file photo, Egyptian clerics from Al-Azhar institution rally to denounce terrorism and show solidarity with the Egyptian government and security forces at a mosque in central, Cairo. Egypt’s top Islamic authority has rejected the president’s suggestion for legislation that would invalidate the practice of men verbally divorcing their wives. Al-Azhar’s Council of Grand Clerics says verbal divorce, when appropriately declared by husbands with sound minds, has been an undisputed practice since the days of the 7th century Prophet Muhammad. (AP Photo/Mosa'ab Elshamy, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this June 4, 2015 file photo, Ahmad Al-Tayeb, Grand Imam of Al-Azhar poses for a photograph in his office, in Cairo, Egypt. Egypt’s top Islamic authority has rejected the president’s suggestion for legislation that would invalidate the practice of men verbally divorcing their wives. Al-Azhar’s Council of Grand Clerics says verbal divorce, when appropriately declared by husbands with sound minds, has been an undisputed practice since the days of the 7th century Prophet Muhammad. (AP Photo/Mosa'ab Elshamy, File)

    FILE - In this June 4, 2015 file photo, Ahmad Al-Tayeb, Grand Imam of Al-Azhar poses for a photograph in his office, in Cairo, Egypt. Egypt’s top Islamic authority has rejected the president’s suggestion for legislation that would invalidate the practice of men verbally divorcing their wives. Al-Azhar’s Council of Grand Clerics says verbal divorce, when appropriately declared by husbands with sound minds, has been an undisputed practice since the days of the 7th century Prophet Muhammad. (AP Photo/Mosa'ab Elshamy, File)  (The Associated Press)

Egypt's top Islamic authority has rejected the president's suggestion for legislation that would invalidate the practice of men verbally divorcing their wives.

Al-Azhar's Council of Grand Clerics said Sunday that verbal divorce, when appropriately declared by husbands with sound minds, has been an undisputed practice since the days of the 7th century Prophet Muhammad.

As a compromise, it proposed harsher penalties for those who don't swiftly document such divorces.

Alarmed by high divorce rates, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi last month suggested that legislation be adopted so a divorce would be legal only in the presence of a state-authorized cleric.

El-Sissi has spoken in the past of reforming Islamic teachings in order to combat extremism.