The Grand Sheikh of Al Azhar Institute, Dr Ahmad el-Tayeb decided to form a specialized legal committee to begin amending Law 103 of 1961, regarding the reform of Al-Azhar, indicating that Al Azhar University and its mosque, for many years, has been losing public credibility, as it is seen as little more than a mouthpiece for the Egyptian government. He added that amendments are expected to improve the role Al-Azhar plays and means to secure its organisational and financial independence and upgrade its institutions. It will also research a transparent way to elect the grand imam, and the possibility of him having three deputies.
He also called for the establishment of a council of scholars and leaders in Islamic Shariah that would be responsible for electing the future Sheikh of Al- Azhar, instead of appointing him. The council would also be responsible for determining a restricted tenure for the position, so that it would no longer be held for life.
El-Tayeb added that the institution’s Supreme Ulama Committee will choose
the grand imam, whether through elections or appointment, and will include researchers and intellectuals from Egypt and the Muslim world to explore the role of Al-Azhar in spreading a tolerant approach, representing Sunni doctrine. He also hinted that there may be a non-Egyptian grand imam in the future, but added that Al-Azhar was based in Egypt and it is better if an Egyptian holds this position.