Sheikh of Al-Azhar Ahmad Al-Tayyeb said in a series of interviews that aired on Channel 1 (Egypt) between May 17 and June 2, 2019 that the Western notion of equality is "false." He criticized Western civilization for not being based on any principles or heritage and said that this is why gay marriage is considered acceptable in the West. Stating that Allah's laws are immutable, Al-Tayyeb said: "Even the animal kingdom did not go that far." Sheikh Al-Tayyeb also said that the Quran does not order men to beat their wives, and, explaining that a man who chooses to not beat his wife is not in violation of the shari'a, he said that wife-beating in Islam is only permitted in certain extreme circumstances and that it is comparable to a "poke." He also said that Islam is criticized for permitting wife-beating because Islam and Muslims are "targeted," while the beatings that occur in the U.S. in the U.K. lead to death and police involvement.
May 17, 2019
Ahmad Al-Tayyeb: "Is equality an absolute principle or a limited principle? We can see that the Islamic notion of equality is limited. However, the Western notion of equality is, I'm very sad to say, absolute. It has destroyed – or has strived to destroy – many of the values that are more vital for the stability of people's lives. If we examine the Western notion of equality... As a researcher I have the right to say that in my opinion this notion is false.
"Modern civilization is not based on principles. It is well known that modernity has no principles or heritage, and that nothing is sacred. All those things were locked up in a dark room, and that was it.
"This led us to the point where it is very legitimate, legal, socially acceptable, and considered to be in good taste for a man to marry another man. In a [gay] marriage certificate, they write that John is the wife, or in [lesbian marriage] they write that Nadine is the husband, for example. This is something... By God, even the animal kingdom did not go that far.
"Brother, if they have gotten to the point of legitimizing homosexuality... What else can you say about a marriage between two men? Allah's punishment for the people of Sodom and Gomorrah is well-known. Pay attention! The laws of Allah are immutable, so the punishment will come sooner or later."
June 2, 2019
"I keep saying this over and over again, and will continue to do so. People should realize that the Quran's mentions of wife-beating are not an order. Rather, the Quran allows using this method... That is to say, the husband is allowed to resort to this kind of treatment. If he finds a different useful way, he shall not use beating, because the Prophet Muhammad does not think well of it. He forbade it, hated it, and had never used it once in his life. Supposing a wife disobeys her husband, and he tries the first and second solutions [admonish her and not share her bed], but she still does not desist... And supposing he accepts this and does not resort to beating her, because of the circumstances, because of the kids, because his reputation does not allow him to divorce her, or because the wife comes from a home that does not accept divorce... So he accepts this situation [and does not beat her]... Would we say that he has violated the shari'a? Absolutely not, on the contrary – the shari'a will back him up. So I want people to understand that beating the wife is not an order at any level of orders in the shari'a. It is exactly like eating the dead when one is close to death. It is a situation one may resort to when there is no other way, and when he strongly believes that this would help resolve the problem. Only in this case, the husband is allowed to beat his wife.
"It is found that 25% of the women are beaten by their husbands or partners. These statistics come from foreign sources. Are the beatings in America and the U.K. civilized ones? There, beating leads to death or involves addressing the police. While our beating, which is allowed but not required, and which has certain conditions and detailed descriptions that cause it like a poke... So our beating is considered backward, barbaric, and brutal, while the beating in America, which causes death and involves the police is considered a civilized beating? Why does nobody talk about it?"
Interviewer: "The fingers of accusation are pointed only to Islam."
Ahmad Al-Tayyeb: "Because Islam is targeted and the Muslims are targeted. This is what I can say, and I am certain about this."