First Women to Conduct Marriages in Egypt

This week Amal Soliman became Egypt’s first woman able to perform Muslim marriages. Soliman’s appointment has generated controversy within Egypt’s Muslim community, especially among Muslim men who insist that a woman should not hold the position of maazun, or marriage registrar. The BBC News reports that the court chose Solima over 10 male candidates due to her legal qualifications. Solima has a master’s degree in law.

Sheikh Fawsi Zafzaf, director of Al-Azhar University in Cairo, responded to Soliman’s appointment stating, “There are no religious texts banning a Muslim woman from being a maazun. But when a woman is menstruating she must not enter a mosque or read Koranic verses and that will affect her job, so for that reason we say it is not advisable to have a woman maazun.”

Solima focuses on the positive affects her gender can have on her job. She told the Gulf News after being appointed first woman maazun, “I will be in a better position than my male counterparts to listen to women facing marriage difficulties and assist them and their partners in resolving their differences.”

Shawkiya Rawash, a woman in her 50’s, told the AFP, “Why not support women? If she can be an example to follow, if she manages to do her job well, why not? I’m in favor.”


BBC News 02/28/08; Gulf News 02/29/08; AFP 02/29/08

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