Syria's Grand Mufti said a program is underway to train women to occupy the position of Mufti in an unprecedented step to include women in key roles pertaining to Islamic jurisprudence.
Sheikh Ahmad Badreddin Hassoun told Al-Arabiya.net on Tuesday that he is personally supervising the project in which scores of Syrian women are being trained. Hassoun said the program is in keeping with Islamic patterns.
"The Prophet allowed women to issue fatwas and used to refer women to come to him to consult his wife Aisha," Hassoun said. The Syrian candidates are all graduates of the Shariaa (Islamic law) College at the University of Damascus. The successful women muftis will become members of the Iftaa Council ï¿½ the institute in charge of issuing fatwas ï¿½ which will offer special facilities to counsel women, Hassan said.
An Islamic studies teacher, Hoda Habash, welcomed the project as a step towards recognizing women's issues. "There are some women's issues that only another woman will be fully able to understand," said Habash, who teaches the Quran to women at a Damascus mosque.
"Also, women won't be embarrassed speak freely to a female mufti when seeking advice," she added.
(Translated from Arabic by Sonia Farid).