Should Islam allow women to conduct marriages?

Hi, I’m Mohamed Gade. I’m doing work experience with WHYS at the moment. I’d like to ask you about this story. An Egyptian 32 year old called Amal Solayman Afifi has become the first female to be given permission to conduct Islamic marriages in Islamic history. Do you agree with the appointment?The decision was announced yesterday in a family court in Sharkiya a province in Egypt, some 60Km north from Cairo. Amal Afifi was among 10 other male applicants who applied for the position four months ago and was successfully nominated after a series of decision trials by the family court panel.Amal Afifi spoke to a Middle East broadcasting channel and expressed her feelings following the announcement: devoting most of her gratitude to Mrs Suzan Mubarak highlighting her efforts in tackling many different issues surrounding women and children in Egypt.

According to Amal, she was confident of being appointed; pointing out that she was the only person amongst the applicants to have obtained a MA degree in law which she described as giving her the edge over all the other applicants.

She also expressed her trust in Egypt’s courts and her belief that every Egyptian citizen regardless of his sex should be judged on his abilities. She says there aren’t any legal restrictions preventing a female to obtaining such role.

In a promising sign for Amal’s claim, a number of Muslim clerics, including Egypt’s current Mufti Ali Jumaa, gave out a fatwa declaring that there are no restrictions in Islam on women working as marriage registrars.

“According to the Hanafi school of Islamic jurisprudence followed in Egypt, women are allowed to conduct any form of financial, commercial or familial contract, including marriage,” Jumaa, Egypt’s top Muslim cleric, was quoted as saying in the local press recently.

The announcement made was no ordinary one and is bound to cause quite a stir among many in the Middle East as well as other Muslims around the world.

Amal revealed her motives and explained why it was a good step to become a female marriage registrar. She said, “It will be a good idea to have some female marriage registrars, as young women planning to get married would feel comfortable talking to them and giving their direct consent to the contract. This also holds true in cases of divorce as women would find it easier to talk to a female registrar than to a man. This may help salvage marriages from collapse”.

So, do you think a female should become an Islamic marriage registrar? Was it the right decision to take up this step? Would you like to see Muslim women in other countries becoming marriage registrars?

18 Responses to “Should Islam allow women to conduct marriages?”

  1. 1 Winslie Gomez
    February 26, 2008 at 16:37

    From a non-muslim perspective I see no problems and in fact would congratulate the lady.

    But I assume your question is addressed to fellow Muslims!
    Lets face it, What do men really know about marraige?

  2. 2 Brett
    February 26, 2008 at 16:50

    The rest of the world will most likely welcome this decision. But I can bet what the extremist or hard-line muslims are going to think. 😛

    Brett ~ Richmond, Va.

  3. 3 m cheta
    February 26, 2008 at 17:31

    I think it is a very good step forward. It is very important for the Muslim community to acknowledge the fact that women are equal to men.

  4. 4 mo
    February 26, 2008 at 17:39

    Islam gave men and women equal rights and court has granted the rigt for women to conduct marriage but lets think about it in a practical way..

    when it comes to marriage, we think about true commitment and although not all women admit it, men are expected to lead the new family life and responsibility, this doesnt imply that women role is slight.

    let alone we always look for new fashions and be 1st to take part of it, but when it comes to me personally, i would have another say!!

  5. 5 VictorK
    February 26, 2008 at 18:09

    I’m not a muslim. This is a matter of interest to muslims alone. So, no comment.

  6. 6 George USA
    February 26, 2008 at 20:02

    That is a matter of Muslim doctrine.

    I have opinions on the matters regarding Christian Churches and doctrines, though such topics are greeted with howls of protest from the vocal Anti-Christians.

    It is interesting that Muslims seek opinion on such a topic, and that there are no vicious attacks for bringing it up.

    If anyone howls, it might be the Muslim theologians.

    Personally, there is absolutely no feeling one way or the other.

    If it is presented as a segue into Muslim Women’s rights in the Muslim world and the Western countries, it seems a way to seek out contention from non participants with those whom it affects within the Muslim religion.

    This is something akin to tossing gasoline on a bed of coals.

    Since we are talking about religious principals you may forgive me in stating the obvious:

    17 He who passes by and meddles in a quarrel not his own
    Is like one who takes a dog by the ears.

    18 Like a madman who throws firebrands, arrows, and death,

    Proverbs 26:16-18 (New King James Version)

  7. 7 D
    February 26, 2008 at 23:55

    I am not against the idea, because it does show some sort of openess and giving equal rights to men and women, especially in an Arabic country such as Egypt. I do not see why Islam should not allow it, if it is within the normal islamic law.

    However, I am quite unsure about how acceptable this will be among the men of the society, and why would they choose a female over a male, in the first place.

    Either way, I think it is a very new idea but only time will show how popular this will be and whether any other arabic or islamic countries will adopt and accept this.


  8. February 27, 2008 at 14:25

    Women do not have many or any rights in Islam! Getting them to conduct marriages is a first step. Also they should let them were what they want, say what they want, work what they want, marry what they want and be what they want! How about that! No hope for women in Islam.

  9. 9 Wahid
    February 28, 2008 at 00:57

    Guys some people around the world have the idea that Islam is totally against women!

    As Muslims it’s our job to explain what the religion really means

    As a Muslim I have no problem what so ever with women becoming marriage registrar.

    If Islam doesn’t allow this to happen then we need to explain why?!

    Before we attack any religion maybe we should just try to understand it, we have to understand that women in Islam have lots of rights as men do!

    Many thanks

  10. 10 A.R.Shams
    February 28, 2008 at 11:56

    That doesn’t sound very reasonable or relevant in the light of Islam because according to Islam two women’s witness is equivalent to that of a single man. Why or how’s it?

  11. 11 Rashid Patch
    February 28, 2008 at 22:44

    This is rather a bit of a non-issue, actually.

    In Islam, a marriage is a civil contract between two people. Nobody “conducts” a marriage except the two contracting parties. In a Muslim marriage, there is no “sacramental” function for a minister, imam, or shaykh, and no “officiant” except the two who are getting married. (That said, there is a huge range of elaborate wedding customs in different Muslim cultures, which vary from region to region.)

    In a Muslim marriage, it is obligatory that there is a written contract; and that both parties have given their consent to all the terms of the contract. It is usual that the woman have a representative looking out for her interests in drafting the contract, but some women dispense with this, and arrange it themselves (although some Muslim cultures require her to have a representative). It is obligatory that the fact of the marriage contract (although not the details of it’s terms) be made public, and that it be publicly witnessed. The man is obliged to give a gift of tangible value to the woman, and the witnesses to the contract should ensure that that gift has in fact been given, or that the woman has agreed to a delay in the delivery.

    Other than that, there is no religious requirement for a minister or functionary of any sort. An imam or shaykh may preside at the public event of a marriage, but their role is purely a social one, and has no “sacramental” function. They act as a master of ceremonies, and make sure the obligatory points are covered. There are some customary (but not obligatory) readings from Qur’an and hadith for marriages, but anyone could read them, or they could be dispensed with altogether.

  12. 12 Rashid Patch
    February 28, 2008 at 22:49

    (I clicked “submit” in error, before that post was completed!)

    In this case, what was unusual was that a woman was being given the job of marriage registrar, which is a civil-service position in the Egyptian government.

    It has nothing particularly to do with Islam at all.

    It does have to do with women’s rights in Egypt – and more power to them. You go, girl!

    Imam Rashid Patch
    Oakland, California, U.S.A.

  13. February 29, 2008 at 11:03

    Dear all

    I see a lot of misconception about the rights of woman in Islam, I feel like people speak regarding what they hear on TV or read in the news paper, I would advise you to look at the book who speak really about the religion of Islam, then and only then you may address you opinion because you will do so with the knowledge and not on article you have read,

    I m a Muslim and I m trying to get and answer from my local imam who will in light me about this matter, so please do the same, and let us know,

    I have a wife and I have a mum and I have sister,

    I assure you that they have an easier life than me and my father, Islamic ally speaking,

    If you get the book speaking about woman in Islam you will understand

    Thank you for reading this,

    I apologize for the misspelling; English is not my native language



  14. 14 Kime Bukar
    March 6, 2008 at 10:44

    Please, please keep what you are saying as a joke, because in Islam there is nothing like what you are saying. It’s totally unislamic. In nutshell Islam does NOT and does NOT allow women to conduct marriage(s).
    Furthermore, please dont’t be bringing this type of debates and or discussions, as God will not take it kindly from you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  15. 15 Md Faruk Hossain
    June 5, 2008 at 08:44

    Islam must undergo dadical and drastic revisions if it is to retain it’s appeal as an acceptable religion or to minimize it’s ominous conflict with the rest of the world.

  16. 16 Md Faruk Hossain
    June 5, 2008 at 08:50

    The West is still racist in it’s attitudes which is truly painful. It’s tremendous advancement in terms of knowledge and technology seemes to have done very little to make them trustworthy and reliable as the leaders of mankind.

  17. 17 Dr.A.K.Tewari
    October 3, 2008 at 17:58

    It is my general observation that those who claim to be muslim do not actually follow what is written in holy screptures. It is the iterpretation that works according to situation. In fact most of the muslim do opposite what is written in book in their actual life.Most of them will not lession your just and scientific interpretation and declair those views anti islamic . It is a very unfortunate situation through which the entire islamic world is passing through.I dont see any immediate solution to the prevailing antagonism in Islamic world.

  18. 18 Dr.A.K.Tewari
    October 3, 2008 at 18:02

    It is my general observation that those who claim to be Muslim do not actually follow what is written in Holy Scriptures. It is the interpretations that work according to situation. In fact most of the Muslim do opposite what is written in book in their actual life. Most of them will not lesion your just and scientific interpretation and declare those views anti Islamic. It is a very unfortunate situation through which the entire Islamic world is passing through. I don’t see any immediate solution to the prevailing antagonism in Islamic world.

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