Does Islam allow women to be judges? Part 3

Does Islam allow women to be judges? Part 3


Are you really so naive as to believe that Islamic scholars of the past called into question women’s intellectual and emotional capacity to become judges simply because “they questioned everything”and it was par for the course? Seriously? You really go to great lengths to avoid acknowledging the misogyny amd sexism within our tradition. Pretending that it doesn’t seep it’s way into Islamic discourse (often dominated by men) is not helping anyone.

Salaam alykum,

I’m going to delete this because it is clear that if while you have the patience to go through my blog in order to find that post you reference, it is clear that you do not read anything I write which would address your particular concern upon numerous occasions, so the chances that you will take heed of anything I say is predictably (although not necessarily) quite small.

The tremendous history of female scholarship is actually muffled by two forces for their own interests, those who wish to enforce patriarchal readings of Islam and those whose identity (and discourse) is defined by a lack of female scholarship which serves either the goal of calling for some nascent “reform from outside of Islam’s traditions” or to underline Islam’s inherent backwardness.

Now the first group’s interest in this is clear and quite obvious, and is generally linked to cultural considerations combined with socio-economic factors, but, again, nothing unique to any group of people discussing any societal structure (religion, politics, etc).

The second group, in my experience, is much more shocking, because you would imagine they would look at Tabari, founder of his own Madhab (School of Law) [it was called Jariri in case you were interested] and who enshrined the participation of women as judges, explicitly, without any reservations. Imam Abu Hanifa, however, vacillated in his opinion of whether women should be full judges or not, but he established the logic (using The Qur’an) which underlined why women were fit to be judges. Of course, then there is Ibn Hajar’s wife, Anas Khatun, who like Ibn Hajar (the author of the most widely used commentary on Bukhari, Fath al-Bari) was a Hadith expert in her own right; she is seldom spoken of by these groups pushing for “empowering women.” Furthermore, when we look at Ad-Dhahabi, another monumental scholar, we see not only a scholar who himself went to great lengths to underline women’s importance, but this is unsurprising because he was the student of Zaynab bint Umar bin al-Kindi, again, another monumental scholar in her own right. However, that is not as important as the fact that Ad-Dhahabi was the student of no less than fifteen female scholars who are all noted experts. Then there is Thumal who was appointed as a female judge in the 10th century, and if you haven’t noticed, I can keep going with this, but I think my point is made.

So what have I learned from arguments like yours? You desire to have a tradition that does not enfranchise women, because, it’s the only way to explain why some Muslims permit misogyny and sexism, for some reason. If we return to our tradition, we will see that these things were not permitted, they were not accepted, and so you tell me that I’m going to “great lengths” to avoid acknowledging things, when, I see quite the contrary, it seems that people go to great lengths to not know their own tradition.

I am no longer going to accept or even humor this hackneyed trope against Islam and the Islamic tradition. I have the historical record on my side, you have empty maxims, and at the end of the day, I truly believe that by exposing people to the entirety of their tradition you can help more people then by having this desire to simply discuss misogyny but do nothing about it.

I pray this reaches you and your families in the best of health and Iman, insha Allah.

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