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Fatwa calls for ban on female receptionists
13 Dec 2012
BY MAHIMA KAUL

A recent fatwa issued by a leading Indian Islamic seminary advises women to refrain from working as receptionists, describing the job as un-Islamic and against Sharia law. The influential Darul Uloom Deoband offered the ruling in response to a question posed by a Pakistan-based company on 29 November on the seminary’s website, and states that Muslim women cannot work as receptionists because they are not allowed to appear before men without veil.

There are approximately 160 million Muslims in India, of whom 60 million are women. An overwhelming majority of them are illiterate.

Muslim journalist Bilal Zaidi told Index that although the Deoband is one of many schools of Islamic jurisprudence in India, it does have an impact on media and perception-building in general. The Deoband has a strong web presence, and as a result its fatwas are easily picked up and disseminated via mainstream media. Zaidi added that although the fatwa is just an opinion, “in practice, there are many who feel such fatwas are law… and then a large portion of the Muslim society tries to enforce them. Eventually, the opinion becomes identity.”

Some who support the logic of the fatwa, such as Saeed Hashmi, a columnist for the conservative Urdu newspaper Dainik Inqelab, point out that it is not mandatory. Hashmi told Index he feels this fatwa is a sensible warning to protect Muslim women from prying eyes, but understands it is difficult for everyone to follow such a directive in a big country like India.

In her paper analysing the effects of fatwas on Indian Muslim women, academic Shazia Shaikh feels that while the Darul Uloom Deoband has in the past brought about reforms in the Muslim communities, fatwas that seek to stop Muslim women from taking government jobs, becoming judges, and even working as receptionists, are nothing but misogynist, despite the fact the Koran is claimed to guarantee women’s rights.

One response to “Fatwa calls for ban on female receptionists”

  1. By way of a formidable, transformative River Of Light in my mind during the month of October 1981, I see that:

    + We have entered Humanity’s Next Cycle.
    + We have entered the Age Of Woman.
    + I am Son Of My Mother, nothing is higher than this.
    + Women will manage everything. Men will manage themselves.
    + Love is the power and the way. There is no other way.
    + To murder and get away with it has never happened in this world and it never will.
    + There will be peace, universal and perpetual, up to and including the last word spoken by, the last breath of, the last person to be alive.
    + We are approaching a world-moment, apart from which the business of this world’s people will be that of saving lives.
    + All are priceless, unto the least and beginning there.
    + Last will be made first, highest will be made lowest, in WORD of this acome.