Can a Muslim Woman Be a Judge?

05 September, 2020
Q Dear scholar, I am a new convert to Islam. I read that men and women are equal. But some people claim that a Muslim woman cannot work as a judge. Is this true?

Answer

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful. 

All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.


In this fatwa:

A woman can serve as a judge even as a man does as long as she is qualified.


In responding to your question, Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and an Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, states:

A woman can serve as a judge even as a man does as long as she is qualified. It is one’s ability to serve the position that matters and not gender differences. Not all men are qualified to serve as judges; likewise, not all women are eligible to serve as judges.

We said the view of several scholars of the past (such as Abu Hanifah and Ibn Jarir At-Tabari) and many modern scholars. For sure, others oppose it. Since there is no revealed text to support the latter view, it is based on their subjective interpretations.

Furthermore, no one says that a woman cannot serve in the positions of fatwa or counseling or teaching; the work of a judge is not much different from that of a mufti.

Almighty Allah knows best.