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Indian Muslim women’s rights organization, is training women to be quazis, or judges, a role traditionally reserved for men. What changes will this step bring?
Bhartiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA) has taken a progressive step towards the emancipation of women by training women to be judges and equipping them with the necessary information which will give them the authority to solemnize marriage and finalize divorces and settlements. The various subjects covered are Quranic law, constitutional law and gender rights. The judges, till now, have been men and their judgement was never questioned. This put women in a considerably weak position.
This measure, however, is expected to ensure a steady stream of female quazis across India who will represent women who are in a vulnerable position. Muslim community is infamous for subjugating their women by suppressing their rights. There are many grave injustices against Muslim women. They find it difficult to wriggle out of polygamy and the ‘Triple talaq’ divorce tradition. In such a bleak scenario, BMMA has ensured that women are represented adequately when it comes to cases involving them.
Another important point to note is that there is no upper limit to the number of women judges as per the Quran. This will encourage more and more women to become judges and help other women seek justice. They will play a pivotal role in preventing child marriage, ensuring that a woman marries willingly, and that a divorce is only granted after a period of reconciliation, and with fair terms for the woman. Apart from this, women would no longer shy away from bringing up their problems and expecting a positive solution for the same.
The measure has got a mixed response. There are many men who are in disdain with the organization for giving women this right. This, according to them, will deviate women from their traditional roles of looking after the household chores. On the other hand, there is another group of rational Muslims who perceive this change as a milestone achievement for the community as it will inspire women to get themselves educated, broaden their horizon and free themselves from oppressive rule of patriarchy instead of living in the shadow of men.
Women are breaking barriers by entering male-dominated professions and proving their mettle in them. If they can become successful pilots, doctors and truck drivers, then why not judges?
Image Courtesy: FB profile of Zakia Soman