UAE to have women muftis by next year | world | Hindustan Times
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UAE to have women muftis by next year

UAE is set to appoint the world's first state-sanctioned female muftis next year after the country's head of Islamic Affairs announced plans to recruit and train them.

world Updated: Nov 03, 2009 16:15 IST

UAE is set to appoint the world's first state-sanctioned female muftis next year after the country's head of Islamic Affairs announced plans to recruit and train them.

Six Emirati women will be considered for the training programme, said Dr Ahmed al Haddad, the head of Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities Department. Once accepted they will begin the course, which will last several months, early next year.

The move follows a fatwa issued by Grand Mufti Dr al Haddad in February that sanctioned women's role as muftis and called on qualified Emirati women to apply for the programme, which includes instruction in Sharia law and legal thinking.

"We continue to accept new applicants until we begin the training," said Dr al Haddad adding, "It is already part of the 2010 budget."

Dr al Haddad also said that the debate did not affect whether women should serve in other roles. "The controversy over female muftis is not necessarily over this point, but about whether or not a woman should be appointed as the grand mufti of a state," he was quoted as saying by 'The National'.

They will be instructed according to the Maliki school of jurisprudence, one of four in the Sunni tradition and the one followed in the UAE.

Although women currently serve as religious advisers at the Abu Dhabi fatwa centre, their role is limited to advising women on "women's issues". Dubai's move would mark the first time women have acted as muftis on a par with their male counterparts.