The Issue of Female Rulership – Muftī Muḥammad Rafī‘ ‘Uthmānī

What is Islām’s stance on a woman being made the sovereign ruler of a country? When Pakistan elected its first female prime-minister in December of 1988, many concerned individuals were asking whether this is permissible in Islām. Hence, Muftī Muḥammad Rafī‘ ‘Uthmānī (b. 1936) wrote a detailed write-up on the issue of female rulership in Islām.*

Along with demonstrating that the Qur’ān, Sunnah and consensus of the scholars establish it to be impermissible, Muftī Muḥammad Rafī‘ addresses some common talking points of those who try to argue against this established ruling, namely:

  • The alleged stance of Imām Ibn Jarīr al-Ṭabarī
  • The Qur’ānic account of Queen Bilqīs, queen of Sheba
  • ‘Ā’ishah’s [raḍiyAllāhu ‘anhā] participation in the Battle of Jamal
  • Mawlānā Ashraf ‘Alī Thānawī’s discussion on the ḥadīth warning against female political sovereignty being inapplicable to a democratic government

Muftī Muḥammad Rafī‘ also demonstrates the unanimous verdict of the scholars of Pakistan is of impermissibility.

The write-up, authored in December of 1988, was endorsed and signed by major muftīs and scholars of Pakistan, namely Muftī Rashīd Aḥmad Ludhyānwī, Muftī Walī Ḥasan Tonkī, Mawlānā Salīmullāh Khān and Mawlānā Yūsuf Ludhyānwī.

Aḥsan al-Fatāwā, 6:149-182; Nawādir al-Fiqh, 2:151-94