DAYS AFTER women were appointed as qazis in Kanpur and Jaipur, the head of All India Muslim Personal Law Board’s Darul Qaza Committee, which handles matters related to qazis and their courts, on Monday said the appointment of women as qazis is allowed under Islamic law.
However, committee head Maulana Atiq Ahmed Bastavi said the appointment of women qazis in Kanpur and Jaipur cannot be considered proper since no institution that handles matters of Darul Qaza (Islamic courts) has appointed them.
Hena Zaheer and Maria Fazal were appointed as qazis by All India Muslim Women’s Board — founded by a group of Muslim women in Kanpur. Zaheer has said their appointment was also endorsed by All India Muslim Women Personal Law Board of Shaista Ambar, who has also been advocating progressive approach towards women under Islamic law. They are the first women qazis in Uttar Pradesh — and only the second in the country, after two women were appointed in Jaipur a few weeks ago.
Amid remarks by some clerics that a woman cannot be made a qazi under Islamic laws, Bastavi said there is “scope” for such appointment and Islamic law does not prevent the same. “The need to appoint a woman qazi was not felt because women can easily get their matters resolved through a male qazi. But if a need has been felt to appoint women as qazis, it is possible under Shariah. There is scope in Islam,” he told The Indian Express over phone.
He, however, said the appointments of women as qazis in Jaipur and Kanpur could have been done just to create “strife”, but it carries no sanctity as they were not appointed by a competent institution. “Qazis are appointed by age-old institutions that operate in states… Where there is no such institution, it is done by AIMPLB… The institutions appoint qazis only after evaluating their capabilities and abilities in Islamic law,” added Bastavi.
When contacted, AIMPLB member Zafaryab Jilani refused to comment on behalf of the board. He, however, said appointment of women qazis in Jaipur was not made by any established idara (institution), which handles matters related to qazis.
While the role of qazis has become insignificant as matters of Muslim personal law are now decided by courts according to Mohammaden law, qazis are still advise, interpret and give verdicts on matters of personal law. These include solemnisation of nikah (marriage), finalising talaaq (divorce) and deciding issues of inheritance.
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