Sheikh Ali Gomaa was born onMarch 3rd 1952 in Bani Suwaif, Upper Egypt. Sheikh Ali began memorizing the Quran at the age of ten and, although he did not go to religious schools, by the time he graduated from high school he had studied the six canonical collections of hadith as well as Maliki jurisprudence.
After graduating from college Sheikh Ali enrolled in al-Azhar University. During his first year in al-Azhar he memorized many of the foundational texts that other students who had gone through the al-Alzhar high school system had already encountered. These included works in jurisprudence, Arabic grammar, Quranic recitation, and hadith methodology. After completing a second bachelor's degree from al-Azhar in 1979, Sheikh Ali enrolled in a master's degree program at the same university's department of shariah and law. He obtained his master's degree in 1985 followed by a PhD from the same department in 1988.
Before his appointment as Grand Mufti of Egypt, Sheikh Ali was Professor of Juristic Methodologies at al-Azhar University. In addition to teaching classes on the university campus, in the mid-1990's Sheikh Ali reestablished the tradition of giving lessons in theal-Azhar mosque.
In 2003 Sheikh Ali was appointed Grand Mufti of Egypt. Since taking on the position he has revolutionized the process of issuing fatwas in Egypt transforming Dar al-Ifta from a institution that was the extension of one individual (the Grand Mufti) to a modern institution witha fatwa council and a system of checks and balances. Sheikh Ali is a prolific author and writer on Islamic issues and he writes a weekly column in the Egyptian al-Ahram newspaper in which he discusses matters of current interest and religion.