Shaykh Ali Gomaa is the former Grand Mufti of the Arab Republic of Egypt. He is one of the foremost Islamic scholars in the world. Despite retiring from the post of Grand Mufti of Egypt in 2013, Gomaa has remained active on many fronts and his counsel is more in demand than ever before.
Shaykh Gomaa’s scholarly influence is derived from his position at the centre of many of the most significant institutions of Islamic law in the world. Before becoming Grand Mufti, Gomaa was a professor of jurisprudence at AlAzhar University—the second oldest university in the world, founded in 975 CE—Gomaa also served as a member of the Fatwa Council. He is currently a member of the International Islamic Fiqh Academy, the highest institute of Islamic law in the Organization of the Islamic Conference—an intergovernmental organization for Muslim-majority countries. Gomaa has authored over 50 books, as well as hundreds of articles.
Shaykh Gomaa was exceedingly popular as a mufti and remains ever popular since his retirement. Apart from appearing on popular broadcasts and satellite television programmes, he also revived the practice of informal ‘knowledge circles’ at the AlAzhar Mosque. At his very well attended Q&A sessions after his Friday sermons, Gomaa makes a point of taking on anyone who tries to simplify or distort Islamic teachings without knowledge of its traditions. This has made him extremely popular with those who vehemently oppose political Islam, as well as also making him a target for some extremist Islamists. He recently escaped an assassination attempt outside a mosque in Cairo.
Shaykh Gomaa has immense legal influence through his advocacy of Islamic religious edicts (fatwas). When he was Grand Mufti of Egypt, he modernized the process of issuing fatwas in the country. He did this by overhauling the Dar Al-Ifta organization into a dynamic institution with worldwide reach, based on a fatwa council and a system of checks and balances.