Shawki Allam

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Shawki Ibrahim Abdel-Karim Allam
شوقي إبراهيم عبد الكريم علّام
Grand Mufti of Egypt
Assumed office
February 2013
Preceded byAli Gomaa
Personal details
Born (1961-08-12) August 12, 1961 (age 62)
El Delengat, Beheira, Egypt
EducationAl Azhar University (PhD, 1996)

Shawki Ibrahim Abdel-Karim Allam (Arabic: شوقي إبراهيم عبد الكريم علّام) is the 19th and current Grand Mufti of Egypt through Dar al-Ifta al-Misriyyah, succeeding Ali Gomaa.


Allam was born in the Nile Delta governorate of Beheira on 12 August 1961. He received his PhD in 1996 from the Al-Azhar University in Jurisprudence and Sharia law.[1] Before his appointment, he served as the chairman of the Department of Jurisprudence at the School of Sharia at Al-Azhar University's Tanta branch.[2] Allam is a Sufi.[3]


In February 2013, he was elected by Al Azhar's Council of Senior Scholars[1][4][5] replacing outgoing grand Mufti, 61-year-old Ali Gomaa.[6] The bylaws of Al-Azhar say the new Grand Mufti must be under the age of 60, have worked continuously inside the religious establishment following his education, be a scholar of both Jurisprudence and Sharia law, and be fluent in a second language other than Arabic.[1] This makes the first time that the Grand Mufti has been elected by Islamic scholars rather than appointed by the president.[1]

The position of Grand Mufti is seen as very influential in Egypt as well as throughout the Arab and Islamic world.[2] The Grand Mufti is the government's first and primary source of religious authority, is seen as the symbolic religious representative of the government, and is able to issue fatwas on religious matters.[7]

His office, the Dar al-Ifta al-Misriyyah (literally, the house of fatwas of Egypt), a government agency charged with issuing religious legal opinions on any question to Muslims who ask for them, issues some 5,000 fatwas a week, including both the official ones that he himself crafts on important issues and the more routine ones handled via phone and Internet by a dozen or so subordinate muftis.[8]

In addition to issuing fatwas, the Grand Mufti of Egypt is responsible under Egyptian law for reviewing all death sentences in Egypt.[9]


Allam is known as a moderate who renounces fanaticism[10] and does not have any political allegiances.[7] In March 2013, he issued a statement warning that any attack on the Al-Azhar Institution or its head, the Grand Imam Sheikh Ahmed El-Tayeb "undermines Egypt's security" and called on all complaints against Al-Azhar "to be addressed with legitimate and peaceful means." This announcement came after 500 students fell ill with food poisoning in a dormitory at Al Azhar University [11] In April 2013, Al Azhar University's Council of Senior Scholars decided to hold elections to replace Al-Azhar University president Usama al-Abd after the same incident.[12]

Contrary to the majority of Muslim scholarship, Allam believes Muslims can keep dogs as pets.[13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Ahram Online: "Egypt's new Grand Mufti elected for first time ever" February 11, 2013
  2. ^ a b Daily News Egypt: "Shawky Abdel Karim nominated as new Grand Mufti" by Ahmed Aboul Enein February 11, 2013
  3. ^ Mai Shams El-Din (February 25, 2013). "Opposing currents: Internal rifts may risk the credibility of Egypt's religious institutions". Egypt Independent.
  4. ^ Reuters: "Brotherhood man spurned for role as Egypt's top cleric" By Yasmine Saleh February 11, 2013
  5. ^ Financial Times: "Egyptian scholars choose Grand Mufti" By Heba Saleh February 11, 2013
  6. ^ Sadiki, Larbi (2014-12-17). Routledge Handbook of the Arab Spring: Rethinking Democratization. Routledge. p. 249. ISBN 9781317650041.
  7. ^ a b The London Telegraph: "Egypt: setback for Brotherhood as its choice for Grand Mufti is rejected" By Richard Spencer, and Magdy Samaan February 11, 2013
  8. ^ Egypt's Grand Mufti Counters the Tide of Islamic Extremism, By Jay Tolson, 6 March 2008
  9. ^ El-Deen, El-Sayed Gamal (24 Mar 2014). "'Fast' death penalty for 529 Brotherhood supporters will be appealed: Defence". Ahram Online. Retrieved 27 March 2014.
  10. ^ Al Shorfa: "Al-Azhar scholars welcome Egypt's 19th Grand Mufti" By Mohamed Mahmoud February 14, 2013
  11. ^ Nile International TV: "Grand Mufti warns attack on Al-Azhar 'undermines Egypt's security" April 5, 2013
  12. ^ All Africa: "Egypt: Azhar Asks State Council Judges to Oversee Election of University President" April 26, 2013
  13. ^ "Are dogs acceptable pets, Muslim scholars ask?". The Economist. 2020-08-27.
Sunni Islam titles
Preceded by Grand Mufti of Egypt
Succeeded by