'Women should not be appointed judges'

The seminary’s assertion came in the form of a fatwa (religious decree) issued in response to a query a few days back. The seminary’s Darul Ifta (department of fatwa) said in its fatwa number 24427 that it (appointing women judges) was “makrooh tahrimi” (doing so is near ‘haram’) in the eyes of Islam. “It means that a nation that makes a woman its ruler will never succeed, hence woman should not be appointed judge,” the fatwa said quoting the “hadith” (Islamic laws).

The fatwa evoked sharp criticism from Muslim clergy and women, who termed it “anti-women” and “regressive”.

“Bangladesh is currently ruled by a woman...is it not making progress or has the country been branded un-Islamic?” asked All India Muslim Women Personal Law Board chairperson Shaista Amber. She added that in fact a woman judge would be in a better position to understand the plight of another woman.

“Even if such a provision exists in the ‘hadith’, it cannot be implemented in the present age,” she said.

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