There’s Now a Fatwa Hotline for Women Run by Muslim Sheikhas

There’s Now a Fatwa Hotline for Women Run by Muslim Sheikhas

I often think going to a male Sheikh about personal questions can be a little bit awkward and uncomfortable. I am sure other women are also uncomfortable asking a man about things relating to menstrual cycles, for example.

So, nothing makes me more excited than knowing there is a growing amount of female sheikhas that we can go to if you have those burning questions that need to be answered.

The fatwa hotline is the only one of its kind in the Middle East, where the government appoints a group of women who are highly educated and scholarly, to give religious rulings, known as fatwas. tweet

During the time of Prophet Mohammed (PBUH), women were teaching and giving fatwas left and right, so it is about time this practice comes back into play again. Thanks U.A.E. for reviving the Muslim women sheikhas. We were beginning to think they were a thing of the past.

The government pays to train these women, educate them, and even give them a living stipend.

Mariam al Zaidi, one of the first Emirati women trained and educated through the UAE government program.

Mariam al Zaidi, one of the first Emirati women trained and educated through the UAE government program. Photograph from The Guardian

Thus far, the fatwa hotline is the only one of its kind in the Middle East, where the government appoints a group of women who are highly educated and scholarly, to give religious rulings, known as fatwas. The hotline is located in Abu Dhabi on the eighth floor of the General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowments Building.

You may be asking yourself, “Sure, it empowers women, but how is a hotline a good thing?”

These sheikhas have heard every kind of question you can imagine — from marital issues regarding intimacy to questions about hijab, to work related issues, to child rearing issues. tweet

Common sense — we want answers and we want them now. Searching the Internet can take time as we have to filter through so much nonsense before getting to something that may or may not be accurate.

With the hotline, we make a simple call and there’s a lady on the other end that knows the answers you might be looking for! Yes, I know that everyone has their own opinions, but these women are well versed in the religion of Islam. They teach and answer questions from this knowledge.

And don’t be shy to ask whatever it is you are curious about. These sheikhas have heard every kind of question you can imagine — from marital issues regarding intimacy to questions about hijab, to work related issues, to child rearing issues. And they answer all questions in a calm demeanor.

The caller is then comfortable with the answer she receives, feeling that the sheikha she has just spoken to has not placed any judgement on her. In fact, these fatwa aficionados have gotten such a great reputation on their demeanor and knowledge, that even the men are calling them for advice.

Sheikha Radia speaking to an all-female study circle at a mosque in Abu Dhabi. Photograph from The Guardian

The fatwa hotline is a step in the right direction for women striving to heighten their knowledge in Islam.

So, people, the next time you see that hotline bling, know that it could only mean one thing: There’s a knowledgeable sheikha on the phone providing a fatwa for someone searching for answers!

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There’s Now a Fatwa Hotline for Women Run by Muslim Sheikhas
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