Hiyala Magazine

Representation in Justice is a woman's right too - The fight for justice as the first female Shari'ah Judge in the middle east-

Jumanaa Shareef

While Palestine is known globally for the conflict with Israel and our social media and news cycles are filled with the latest atrocities upon the people living in the land, few acknowledge or think about the daily lives of Palestinians.

Judge Kholoud al-Faqih from Palestine was a name that was on the minds and conversations of the locals of the city of Ramallah, Palestine and beyond- and now the world. Well known as the first female Shari'ah judge appointed in the middle east, Judge Kholoud has, to this day, advocated and fought for the justice that is women's rights afforded to Muslims through Islam itself.

Despite severe hatred and backlash, Judge Kholoud stands firm behind the belief that we as Muslims must let go of the "traditions and culture" masquerading as Islamic law. She has time and time again questioned patriarchal practices and advocated for the representation of women within the ranks of the judiciary. Why should women be subjected to sentencing without being given the choice of representation within the system? Many who raised concerns against her have said that the role of a judge is by default is one that requires emotional detachment and objectivity. These people claim that a woman cannot be objective and therefore cannot perform this duty of presiding over a court of Shari'ah. Judge Kholoud has said, on the other hand, that "Islam does not deny women their right to self-determination, their dignity, nor their ability to be a judge. It is patriarchy, that has deprived us of these rights". She fights against the notion that justice should in any way be gendered. Fighting through obstructions such as decreased litigation in smaller courts due to Judge Kholoud's attempts, she has shown that women should be unapologetic and determined when it comes to justice.

The most important thing that Judge Kholoud teaches us the importance of asking questions. To ourselves- to the people that surround us, and the institutions that surround us.

Whichever stance you may take on this story, there may be general questions that need to be asked to oneself. Do we as Muslims carry certain biases within ourselves that prevent us from truly turning to the preachings of Islam? Do we as a society carry prejudices without education and knowledge on the matter? Do we speak for the conditions of the oppressed without having all the facts? No matter where we stand on a matter, perhaps it's time for a long-overdue change in the way we think. As Judge Khuloud has consistently shown us in an uncompromising manner- we should always be brave enough to ask questions.