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A brief biography
QAZI HAKIMA KHATOON 40 FIRST FEMALE QAZI TO CONDUCT A NIKAH
‘There is nothing in the Quran that forbids women from being a qazi’
Growing up, Hakima Khatoon knew that her parents treated her differently. Soon after she turned 13, her friends started dropping out of school to get married but Hakima and her five sisters were encouraged to keep at their books by their father, Mohammad Moinuddin, a well-known social worker in the village of Khaskhamar in West Bengal’s Howrah.
And it wasn’t long before the daughters took to social work too. Hakima was working with her sister in their organisation, Nari-O-Sishu Kalyan Kendra, when she first learned about Bhartiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA)’s novel initiative to train female qazis.
“Traditionally, qazis have always been men but there is nothing in the Quran that forbids women from taking up the role. I was very excited about the training,” she recalls. In 2017, she and 17 others had finished their two-year training in Darul-Uloom.
Today, she is the only qazi in India to have performed a nikah but though the ceremony in January between a British bride and an Indian groom received a lot of attention, other couples haven’t come forward to get married by her. “Pariborton hobe kintu time lagbe (It will take time to change),” she says.
— Himanshi Dhawan