The Grand Mufti of Dubai, the leading Islamic legal scholar, has ruled that women can hold the position of mufti and issue religious rulings relevant to both men and women on every aspect of life.
Dr. Ahmed al-Haddad, Director of the Dubai Fatwa Department, issued a fatwa stating women can apply alongside men for the position of mufti.
"If a woman reaches the level of education that enables her to issue fatwas, then she has the right to work as a mufti and issue fatwas on all possible issues," Haddad said in his ruling.
Since issuing fatwas means informing people of the laws of God, anyone who has the required knowledge has the right to do so, said Haddad, citing a verse from the Quran that requires those who know about God's laws never to withhold the knowledge they have.
"These instructions from the Quran include everyone, male or female" Haddad said.
Islamic scholars define the position of "mufti" as someone who is qualified to apply the laws of God and the teachings of the prophet to contemporary issues, and Haddad underscored that such an ability is not confined solely to men.
Also at the Mecca International Conference on Fatwa and Its Regulations, held at the end of January in Riyadh, Islamic scholars softened their position on the topic of whether competent women scholars are qualified to issue fatwas or not.
The eighth article of the “Fatwa Charter which was adopted at the conference and will serve as a guideline on the issuing of fatwas, explains that the scholars, who are issue religious edicts must meet the following conditions: “Islam, Justice, maturity, intelligence, and deep knowledge in Islamic rules.” None of the 41 articles of the charter prevents women from issuing fatwas.
(Translated from Arabic by Sonia Farid)