In a rare incident (on record) in Pakistan, a girl has become a witness in her friend’s Nikah along with another woman. Ailia Zehra whose Twitter bio says that she is a journalist-cum-activist tweeted about this rare happening.
Why A Woman Became Witness to Friend’s Nikah?
The simple answer to why a woman never becomes a witness to a friend’s nikah or any other person’s nuptial ceremony lies in the one word which is patriarchy. In the male-dominated society, the testimony of a woman holds lessor weight than that of a man and that too in the name of centuries-old debatable religious laws.
We had a look at reactions to Ailia’s tweet where she revealed about her rather daring act of breaking the taboo, and ordeal of convincing her elders. As expected there was a debate on woman’s status in Islam on becoming a witness in any matter and whether the concept of Aadhi Gawahi applied to only financial matters or transcended beyond.
When A Woman’s Testimony Is Considered Half of A Man
To the objections of whether a one woman’s testimony was equal to one man, Ailia responded that according to her search Islam considered a woman’s testimony half to man only in financial affairs.
People were still insisting that a total of four witnesses were required to testify something if they happened to be women. So, how come she managed to be a witness in a friend’s nikah.
Folks were also enlightening Ailia that it was permissible for two women to be a witness at once but since it was not a practice, therefore, it was her achievement to make a breakthrough.
A Need for Evolution in Religious Principles
The time is subject to change and so the requirements of some religious principles to adapt. According to one popular opinion even if such so-called or actual religious laws are present that somehow bar women from exercising their right to testify a matter then these laws should be evolved to ensure inclusiveness of all the segments of society for its betterment.
What Is A TakeAway?
It is hard to know what does Islam say on this matter because it requires extensive unbiased research by thoroughly exploring the historical records, documents, and point of view of different school of thoughts with a comparative analysis of their approach and reason for the differences. Unfortunately, such an approach of research is missing and those who choose the rational path and dare to go against the social and cultural taboos are posed with questions.
What Ailia has done by becoming a witness in friend’s nikah might be permitted by Islamic law but it is considered a social taboo in the culture of sub-continent; at least in a sense that woman testifying the wedding nuptials are not even a rare sight, let alone a common one.
Therefore Ailia’s act is indeed daring and a slightest progress in shaking the foundations of patriarchy that supposes women to be not only physically but also rationally inferior creature.