Solemnising a Muslim marriage has been the preserve of male qazis. Dr Sayeda Hamid, a member of the Union Planning Commission and an expert of Islamic studies, came all the way from New Delhi to perform the wedding. And she became the first women Qazi to perform the holy ritual of Marriage.
Dr Sabra Habib of Lucknow University will officiate as witness. Dr Sayeda performed the nikah (Islamic marriage ceremony) of Imran Naeem, PhD scholar from AMU, and Naesh Hasan, founder member of a social organisation Bhartiya Muslim Mahila Andolan in presence of eminent citizens.
The introduction as well as the vows were read prominently in English giving the function a different hue than traditional rituals. Four women stood up as witnesses. Although there has been no precedent of women conducting a nikah in recent Muslim history, they are known to have attained the position of qazi and mufti in times of the Prophet.
"The response from our families and local religious leaders has been positive," said Hasan. "We speak of progress but leave all the important jobs to men. Religious duties have nearly solely been a male premise, not only in Islam but also in other religions."
The nikah took place according to the tenets of Islam, her family members said. Endorsing the idea, Kalbe Jawwad, Shia scholar and member of the AIMPLB, said: "There is nothing wrong if a woman conducts a nikah if she has the same knowledge as her male counterpart."
However, Riyaz Ahmed, an Islamic scholar and president of the Idgah Committee in Farrukhabad, questioned the legal aspect of the nikah, saying: "What is the status of a woman qazi? Is she approved by the government?"