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The New Arab

Salafis outraged as Morocco allows women to officiate marriages

Moroccan women have for long been vocal about attaining their rights and liberties [Getty]

Date of publication: 24 January, 2018

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Morocco has finally allowed women to officiate marriages, but some Salafis still believe Rabat is feminising a "man's job".

Morocco is now allowing women to officiate marriages as a part of women’s rights reformations in the North African kingdom.

What is traditionally seen as a “man’s-job” is now open for women in Morocco, after the Moroccan Islamic Supreme Council issued Rabat with a religious decree, known as a fatwa, to allow women to take up the role of a ma'zoon, someone who under Islamic Sharia issues marriage and divorce contracts.

In September, Moroccan justice minister Mustafa al-Ramid’s efforts to push for legalising ma’zoonat (female ma’zoon) began to show through, but it was expected to have caused a backlash because Morocco's Supreme Council of Islamic Scholars had not given its blessings to pass this new law, making it seem as a deviation from Islamic principles.

With the approval from the Supreme Council of Islamic Scholars, the move has now gone ahead, and is being widely viewed as a step forward for women’s rights.

With the approval of King Mohammed VI and the Supreme Council of Islamic Scholars, the Ministry of Justice is expected to soon announce the recruitment of around 500 officiates, allowing women to apply for the first time. 

However, ultraconservative Salafi scholars, known for their hard-line views have condemned the move, saying it is “feminising what cannot be feminised” and deviating from what they see as core Islamic principles.

"Feminising the profession in Morocco is not in line with religious teachings," registrar and ma'zoon Abdullatif Ajlawe told The New Arab. "According to religious law, women cannot officiate marriages."

He questioned the "ability of women to carry out the profession, as it is highly demanding", adding that any "inadequacies in justice system cannot be remedied through the inclusion of women".

This position is being condemned across the country, with many agreeing that women can carry out the task of officiating marriages, if they, as with their male counterparts, receive adequate training. 

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