Saudi Arabia: Women can issue fatwas and be muftis, says senior Sheikh

Saudi Gazette via WUNRN
A senior member of the Board of Senior Ulemas has said women are allowed to join the board in order to break the monopoly held by men.
Sheikh Abdullah Al-Manea said women have the same Shariah obligations in creating religious edicts or ‘Fatwas.’
“I don’t see anything in Shariah law which prevents women from becoming a scholar, mufti or working in any consultative body if she is courteous,” said Al-Manea in an Al-Watan interview.

“Women share in the responsibility of discussing social issues.”

He said as long as they do not provide an opportunity for men to view them with lust there is nothing stopping them from becoming the head of an organization.

Suhaila Zain Al-Abdeen, member of the National Human Rights Society said there is a pressing need for women to participate in edicts on sensitive matters.

He said women can work in the same organization as men as long as they work separately.

“Even though men and women are different they share a number of similarities. There is nothing which prohibits a woman from working alongside men as long as they do not mingle,” Al-Manea said.

Al-Manea said in Islam there are no restrictions on men hearing the voice of women, noting that the Prophet’s wives used to answer questions from men they did not know but they were divided by a curtain.

“This shows that a woman’s voice is permissible to be heard by men,” he said referring to an idea that hearing a woman’s voice is a temptation.

“This shows us that knowledge is not limited to men but in the time of the Prophet (pbuh) women were authorities in different fields of knowledge.

Abdul Rahamn Al-Zenadi an Islamic culture teacher at Imam Muhammad Bin Saud Islamic University in Riyadh said “We have in the Kingdom several Saudi women who are authorities on Shariah law. “

“Several law professors are stressing they are more capable of giving edicts than many muftis who appear on some satellite channels,” Al-Zenadi said.

2 August 2008

Source: Saudi Gazette