Islam not against women solemnising marriage: Syeda Hameed (Interview)

August 24th, 2008 - 9:49 am ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Aug 24 (IANS) Islam does not prohibit a woman from solemnising a marriage and it was reflective of the “slow and steady” changes happening in Muslim society, says Syeda Hameed, an official who courted controversy by performing the marriage rituals of a couple.”As a religion, Islam does not prohibit a woman from solemnising marriage. We have to move forward. It is the need of the hour,” Hameed, a member of the country’s Planning Commission, told IANS in an interview.

Hameed is pleased to see no hue and cry because on Aug 12 she performed the ‘nikah’ (solemnising a marriage according to Muslim practice) of Naish Hasan and Imran Ali. She terms it a healthy sign.

“I had apprehended there would be some hard reaction, but I was determined to fulfil the desire of Naish and Imran. I have known them for a long time,” she said.

“At the same time, I had thought that there would be acceptance of what I was going to do,” said Hameed, who had specially gone to Lucknow to solemnise the marriage.

“Things were changing “slowly and steadily”, she said, adding: “Attitude is not as hard as it used to be. We have to move forward.”

What prompted her to take up a path-breaking initiative?

“I belong to a family where reformism has been a deep-rooted tradition. My great grandfather Maulana Altaf Hussain Hali was known for his reformist views. He spoke of reforms in Islam 100 years ago,” she said.

For her, being a reformist does not mean any compromise with the religion one espouses.

“We are deep into religion but are extremely liberal in outlook. What I did by performing ‘nikah’ is in consonance with my great family tradition. I shall be happy if more and more women come forward and take path-breaking steps, befitting Islamic ethos and values.”

Having ushered in a new trend by breaking traditional barriers, Hameed feels that a lot needs to be done for gender parity in Muslim society.

“Yes, more path-breaking initiatives are needed to reflect the true image of Islam. It will be possible when the forward-looking people take initiatives,” she said.

“There are enough enlightened people in society to bring change in society,” Hameed said.

Should a woman feel threatened in a society where there is a “limited or restricted” role for women to play?

“Reformists never stop doing good things,” pat came her reply.

(Rajeev Ranjan Roy can be contacted at

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