A madrassa in Hyderabad is the first in the city to teach women to become muftias. A mufti is an Islamic scholar who interprets Sharia law and is a jurist who can give legal sanction, known as ‘fatwas.’
Around 15 girls are enrolled for the course at the Madrassa Jamiatul Mominath in Moghalpura, Hyderabad, which was set up in 1991. The madrassa’s founder, Hafiz Mastan Ali, told the Times of India that the reason he founded the course was to help women feel more comfortable discussing their issues. He said that women often hesitate to open up to muftis, but they might open up to muftias.
The one-year course has so far produced 318 muftias. The women discuss their personal issues, limitations they face, prayers, property issues and current issues, during the one year that they study at the madrassa.
Suraiya Shakeel Khan, who is undergoing the course, thinks that completing the study can help her give support to women. Many of the girls told Times of India that they feel like they would get more respect in the community after they become muftias.
The head of the department, Nazima Aziz, says that the course can empower these young Muslim girls. Surprisingly, she and her students are against the banning of triple talaq. “We don’t agree that talaq is a sword dangling over the heads of women. It’s an option to end an oppressive marriage and should be used as last resort,” said Aziz.