Palestinian Woman Is First to Oversee Muslim Wedding Vows

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Tahrir Hammad, left, a initial lady to perform marriages in a Palestinian territories, conspicuous Thaer, right, and Rawan, second from left, masculine and mom during a Islamic justice in Ramallah, West Bank.

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Abbas Momani/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

RAMALLAH, West Bank — Tahrir Hammad thinks women, including herself, are too regretful to offer as judges, and accepts yet doubt an Islamic authorised foreordain that sees dual women as homogeneous to one masculine declare for central ceremonies.

Yet Ms. Hammad, 36, is a pioneer, carrying recently turn a initial lady to be available to perform Muslim marriages in a Palestinian territories. She seems not to be worried by a successive criticism, even from a former highbrow of hers, Hussam el-Deen Mousa Afana, who described her appointment as “opening a doorway of a metastasizing evil” in a post on Facebook on Aug. 14.

“Honestly, we didn’t cruise of what people would think,” Ms. Hammad pronounced recently. “I like holding risks.”

She added, with a laugh: “I wanted to uncover that women could do it. we wanted to light sparks. we wanted to chuck a bomb.”

Ms. Hammad is not a initial Palestinian lady to occupy a position traditionally indifferent for group in Muslim societies. In 2009, a liberal-minded jurist, Sheikh Taysir Tamimi, allocated a Palestinian territories’ initial dual womanlike Islamic justice judges, who now order on divorce, control and inheritance. Islamic courts manage all family affairs for Muslims in a territories.

As with Ms. Hammad, a appointment of a womanlike judges was primarily met with derision. But they are now an supposed partial of a landscape, alongside a flourishing numbers of women who evangelise Islam to other women during Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, Islam’s third-holiest site.

Advocates for women’s rights welcomed a appointments yet pronounced they were usually a start in addressing innumerable problems in marital law and a matrimony process, astray control and subsistence rules, and a disaster to surprise women of their rights. Those obstacles can't be overcome, advocates say, since of low insurgency from regressive judges and stoppage in a Palestinian Parliament.

But on-going Muslim scholars wish pioneers like Ms. Hammad will inspire some-more women to find positions within a Islamic legal system. That would yield a some-more penetrable space for women to claim their rights, they said.

“This is a sanctified beginning,” pronounced Sheikh Tamimi, a former tip Islamic Palestinian judge. “When a lady is explaining herself to a woman, to a chairman of her possess gender, it is most easier than her explaining herself to a man.”

Since Ms. Hammad’s appointment, dual some-more women have practical to turn matrimony celebrants. A supervision cabinet is deliberation their applications.

Palestinian matrimony celebrations are typically elaborate, multiple-day affairs involving tasty feasts and hundreds of guests, with a bride wearing a array of exuberant dresses surfaced with conduct scarves. But couples are strictly married in a minutes-long rite in a drab bureau where a father and a bride’s father pointer a matrimony contract.

That is where Ms. Hammad comes in. On a new day, she sat during a vast desk, in a brown-and-green conduct headband and prolonged robe, as happy group and women squeezed into a room.

The mom of a bride remarked excitedly that a lady was going to go a marriage, and began enormous jokes about throwing her father out of a window and starting over.

Ms. Hammad asked a bride, Saja Harfoush, 22, if she consented to being married to a 23-year-old metropolitan worker. Ms. Harfoush muttered inaudibly.

Ms. Harfoush’s mother, emboldened by Ms. Hammad’s presence, called out to her daughter, “Raise your voice!”

Later, a families thanked Ms. Hammad for seeking a bride clearly if she consented to a ceremony.

“She gave space to ask a bride what she wanted,” Ms. Harfoush’s mom said. “When we was married, a celebrant didn’t let me speak. It wasn’t like what a sister Tahrir usually did.”

On a same day, a families of Munif Qamish, 22, a groom, and Raghad Qamish, 17, a bride, filed into a little office. The integrate share a same final name since they are initial cousins, a normal pairing in Palestinian society.

Ms. Hammad began a rite by explaining a significance of matrimony in Islam yet afterwards paused, realizing there was usually one masculine declare when dual were needed.

Then Ms. Hammad removed that a dual women in a room could act as a declare underneath Islamic law as used by Palestinians, that states that dual womanlike witnesses are a homogeneous of one man.

“We could have dual women, yet afterwards we’ll have to fist in a signatures,” she said, drumming on a central bill before her.

The groom’s hermit fast found an comparison Palestinian masculine who would act as a second witness.

The rite resumed. Ms. Hammad incited to a teenage bride, seeking if she had any conditions she wanted stipulated in her matrimony contract. Ms. Qamish whispered, “I would like to finish my education.”

Later, Ms. Qamish pronounced she had not confident she could make her matrimony redeeming on her right to finish her studies until Ms. Hammad had asked her.

Ms. Hammad pronounced Sheikh Tamimi, a former judge, had initial urged her to find a celebrant’s position in 2009. But it took her years of operative as a high-level scribe, not unequivocally advancing professionally, to comprehend she wanted a job. Then, this year, Ms. Hammad said, she walked into a room where dual Islamic judges were articulate about matrimony celebrants. She interjected, “So we cruise a lady can do it?”

“They said: ‘Yes. Do it. Apply,’ ” she said.

In a rush of courage, Ms. Hammad filed an application. That partial was easy, in that any Islamic justice central can request to be a celebrant.

Her focus was upheld to a supervision cabinet of Islamic judges who met twice over dual months to discuss either it was slight in Islam for a lady to manage a marriage. In mid-July, she perceived her answer: Yes.

Even yet she is competent to turn an Islamic judge, Ms. Hammad pronounced she was confident that she had reached her veteran apex as a matrimony celebrant.

“You would cruise this is contradictory, yet we would not be a judge,” she said, blushing. “I cruise myself too emotional.”

Yet Ms. Hammad has coolly weathered a call of criticism.

She wrote a Facebook response to her former professor, Mr. Afana, kindly rebutting his criticisms — mostly that women should not brew with men, and that a lady operative late would slight her family and children. She remarkable that each complicated contention concerned a blending of genders, and that she did not work late. She ignores hoax by colleagues inexperienced to saying a lady in charge.

Ordinary Palestinians have embraced Ms. Hammad. Only dual of some-more than 20 couples have refused to concede her to go during their marriages. Those dual were sensitively redirected to a masculine celebrant, yet generally, it is initial come initial served in a Islamic courts.

Ms. Hammad remarkable that it was transparent she was a initial womanlike celebrant: Only men, she said, would cruise it was O.K. to marry off couples in a little bureau that doubles as an repository room, with black binders full of matrimony certificates covering a walls.

“I’d like a room with flowers and a fish tank,” Ms. Hammad said. “I cruise it’s improved to have a regretful atmosphere, where everybody can relax.”