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Islamic Sharia Laws ( 1 Sept 2008, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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India: Woman qazi performing nikah a good sign - Tahir Mahmood

By Satya Prakash, Hindustan Times

New Delhi, September 01, 2008

Noted Islamic scholar and Law Commission member Tahir Mahmood has welcomed the solemnisation of nikah by a woman qazi in Lucknow, saying it has “its own high social significance”.

“It symbolises undercurrents of resentment among Muslim women against the unbridled male chauvinism typical of the Muslim society in India, which is not only out of tune with the modern times but also repugnant to the true Islamic teachings,” Mahmood, a former chairman of the National Commission for Minorities, told HT.

Breaking the age-old tradition of male qazi’s performing nikah, Uttar Pradesh State Planning Commission member Syeda Hamid, a Shia Muslim, performed the nikah of Sunni Muslims Naish Hasan and Imran at a Lucknow hotel on August 12.

Naish runs her own NGO, while Imran is a PhD from the Aligarh Muslim University and works for another NGO. Interestingly, the nikahnama was also the one drafted by the Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan, a voluntary organisation founded by activist Muslim women, including Naish, who saw a male bias in the conventional nikahnama.

Mahmood said it was being projected by a section of the media as an epoch-making event but dismissed by the Muslim clergy as an insignificant incident.

Maintaining that there was nothing in Islamic law that prevented women from performing any of the roles traditionally considered to be monopoly of men, Mahmood said: “Assigning any such role to a woman, even though in an isolated case, is bound to impact the tradition-bound Muslim society. It must be hailed.”

“Formal solemnisation of marriage by a qazi is merely a custom and not a legal requirement in Islam. But the custom is nearly universal and the role of a qazi is always played by males.

“This isolated case of deviation from an established tradition, therefore, does have its own high social significance,” Mahmood, a former Dean of Delhi University’s Faculty of Law, added.

Source: Hindustan Times, New Delhi