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Does Islam allow women to be judges? Part 4

Does Islam allow women to be judges? Part 4


Empty maxims? When 3 out of the 4 major Islamic schools of thought believe women can’t be judges and there are Muslim countries in which women can’t be judges or are limited in this field due to their gender? Thanks for that list of scholars though. I predict we’ll be seeing some more photos of women studying Islam on your blog soon to prove how equal everything is… Whatever helps you sleep at night.

Salaam alykum,

Yes, empty maxims.

In Islamic history there was not this “four schools” approach, that is our approach, there were many schools, which I not only mentioned specifically in the last post, but to confine the definition to what “3 out of the 4 major” schools say, is not only inaccurate, but, discards tremendous amounts of Islamic history and scholarship.

Furthermore, the debate was whether a woman should be put into a position as a “Qadi” a judge whose Fatawa (legal opinions) were to be followed as she would preside over legal cases, or whether she should be put into that dangerous position as they were liable to be imprisoned/abused/killed during tough times. Imam Malik was actually flogged in public, while Imam Abu Hanifa was imprisoned. The concern was over their safety and their ability to withstand such difficult positions.

People don’t discuss this matter, as there is no dispute that a woman may become a Mufti, and the former Sheikh Al-Azhar, Sheikh Tantawi, the highest religious scholar in Sunni Islam, opined, without hesitation, that a woman may become the Grand Mufti of Egypt.

Therefore, even if we accepted the “3 out of 4” schools arguments in the simplistic paradigm you offer, it would seem that there is dispute within those schools, and that the concerns of the times were very different to our times as we live in societies where our perception of violence, or more accurately, the possibility of violence is far different, which clearly had a far greater impact on their choices.

It is therefore quite clear that this is not a simplistic issue of the relative legality, as Dr. Amira Sonbol of Georgetown University underlines in her tremendous work on the issue of Islamic Law and women.

In fact, Professor Maya Shatzmiller, writing about the economic and legal rights of women writes:

The limitations imposed on women’s ability to exercise their property rights in ventures requiring free capital, like trade, commerce and investment, were not the product of the Islamic legal environment, actually happened in spite of it, in plain defiance but of the spirit of the law and more importantly, the judges’ recommended of practice.

In spite of it, she writes. The issues are not found in the legal framework, that is a fanciful idea that psuedo-intellectuals who have given up saying that Hijab is oppressive.

So, that is why I say that your arguments are nothing more than empty maxims, because if you actually cared about changing things you would’ve been able to come at me with something far stronger than my choice to post pictures of women becoming scholars. It’s not about “misogyny has gotten into Islam,” it’s that when a society and/or the rulers let go of their Islam that’s when misogyny enters, that’s when injustice occurs, that’s when we are able to rationalize these things.

Blogs that simply state that there is misogyny seldom translate that identification of a problem into action, or even potential actionsmost of the people who ask where the female scholars never look for them to begin with, and so, excuse my lack of patience for people who co-opt the suffering of my Muslim sisters to simply have a soap box to stand on.

You see, if people actually cared enough, if they actually thought it was Islam that was preventing women from doing things, then they would have been able to come at me with arguments that had specifics, they would cite things, but they don’t, they simply remark that there is misogyny, which I do not deny, the difference is that I want to try my best to stop it and historically speaking the best method has been to use Islam, which is what I try my hardest to do.

Now, I have to finish putting together my Khutbah, which is one of the ways I try to change things, so, good looks on your anonymous messages, I look forward to deleting the irrelevant remarks I receive following the posting of this unfortunately, very condescending and arrogant post, to which I apologize profusely to you (and others) for, but still stand by the central thesis (excusing the “colorful” word choice) that no one is doing anything and I’m tired of it.

I pray this reaches you and your families in the best of health and Iman, insha Allah.

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