The Supreme Council on Islamic Fatwa of the Maldives has ruled that females cannot be judges in the country, and that it is an act considered haram in Islam.
A decision that rules against female judges by the Fatwa Council made on July 9 came to light yesterday. Meanwhile, President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih yesterday asked for the Judicial Services Commission's advice on appointing former High Court Justice Dr. Azmiralda Zahir and former Civil Court Justice Aisha Shujune Muhammad to the Supreme Court.
The president asked for JSC's advice after the parliament passed a bill to reverse an amendment that reduced the Supreme Court justices from seven to five.
The Fatwa council stated that the decision to ban female judges was made after research was conducted from the Holy Quran, Prophet Muhamad (SAW)'s sunnah and Ijmau of Islamic scholars. The research also identified that three views regarding the matter from Islamic Shariah.
1. First Perspective (Ra'yu)
This perspective came from the four Madhhabs (schools of thought) of Sunnah and many of its scholars, Shia Imams that are not included as followers of the Sunnah, Zaidis, Ibali's included the Khawarijis.
The Fatwa council ruled that it was prohibited for women to rule on matters regarding goods, qisas or any other matters under this view. It also ruled that the party that accepts the role as a judge and the party that assigns the person as a judge in the matter would be sinning and even if the ruling was just, it cannot be implemented or carried out.
The view also stated that Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and the four Caliphs of Islam also never appointed a woman as a judge in their time, according to the Fatwa council.
2. Second Perspective
The second perspective was from a few numbers of scholars in the Hanafi Maddhab and stated that women can be judges in civil and other cases that women might be familiar with. The only exception in this view was that women cannot be judges in cases of qisas and where a hadd is involved.
3. Third Perspective
The third perspective is supposedly from Al Imam Muhammad Bin Jarir Al Tabari and stated that women can be judges in all matters without any exceptions. The decision by the Fatwa council also stated that is no evidence to support this statement and no document confirming that this was indeed a statement by Al Tabari.
The decision by the Fatwa council.
After reviewing the three Ra'yus, the Fatwa council stated that the most reliable perspective was the first one due to the strength of the reasoning and evidence behind the view. The Fatwa Council also stated that it was stated and evident from the Holy Quran and Prophet's Sunnah.
The Fatwa council also stated that the remaining two views are weak and without any reliable sources.
"The members of the Fatwa council are inclined to believe that the view of the Jumhur scholars is the correct view. That is the first view," stated the Fatwa councils decision.
This is the first time work is being carried out to appoint a female justice to the Supreme Court. The current justices on the bench are Chief Justice Dr. Ahmed Abdulla Didi, Justice Abdulla Areef, Justice Adam Mohamed Abdulla, Justice Abdulla Didi and Justice Abdul Ghani Mohamed.