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Sunday, December 5, 2021

Muslim women pushing for Chief Kadhi position

By The Frontier Post Reporter

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Muslim women are pushing for a female Chief Kadhi  even as incumbent Sheikh Ahmed Muhdhar’s tenure ends.

Buoyed by the promotion of Martha Koome to Chief Justice, the Muslim women  are now rooting for one of them  to be appointed to the top position in the courts  that deals with how  Muslim law relate to personal status, marriage, divorce and inheritance.

Islamic law scholar Fatuma Juma said if women ascend to such high positions, they will bring a new perspective on women’s issues that are not well articulated in the current set-up.

“It is not a must that the Kadhi position goes to men. It is not a reserve for them. If we are given those chances, women may help to solve issues affecting them, and articulate them better,” she says.

Most Muslim women, she said, are shy and need a fellow female advocate to help them handle marital and other challenges.

Her fellow Muslim lawyer Nusrat Mohammed echoed those sentiments, arguing that it is time for women who have studied Islamic law to get decision-making positions in Kadhi’s courts.

“Almost all Muslim advisers to the Kadhi are men. We need to change this narrative, and consider having female advisers as well.  We also need women scholars within the court who can act as intermediaries,” she said.

Chief Kadhi Muhdhar supports the idea, saying women are also entitled to the position as long as they are qualified.

“As long as you have studied the Islamic Sharia law, you are entitled for the Kadhi position, irrespective of gender,” he said.

Women are entitled to the Kadhi positions if they have gone through Sharia law school, said Supreme Council of Muslims in Kenya (Supkem) Coast branch chairman, Mudhar Khitamy.

“What people need to understand is that the Kadhi Court is just a magistrate court and can be led by either a man or woman. And if a woman applies for the position, she is entitled to it,” he said.

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