Magazine article The Christian Century

Egyptian Mufti Says Women Not Obligated to Prove Virginity

Magazine article The Christian Century

Egyptian Mufti Says Women Not Obligated to Prove Virginity

Article excerpt

In a decision being hailed as a major step toward female equality in the Islamic world, the grand mufti of Egypt has said that Muslim women have no obligation to prove their virginity to prospective husbands.

Appearing on a popular Egyptian talk show, Grand Mufti Ali Gomaa said he endorsed a recent fatwa, or religious edict, that said it is permissible--though not required--for women who have lost their virginity to have reconstructive hymen surgery, according to a report February 20 in the Daily Star newspaper of Egypt.

The fatwa was issued by Soad Saleh, a noted female Islamic scholar at Cairo's Al-Azhar University, one of the Islamic world's most revered institutions. Saleh also received backing from Shiekh Khaled El Gindy, another Al-Azhar scholar and a member of Egypt's Higher Council of Islamic Studies.

"Islam never differentiates between men and women, so it is not rational for us to think that God has placed a sign to indicate the virginity of women without having a similar sign to indicate the virginity of men," El Gindy told the Daily Star. …

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