A leading Muslim judge has blamed Muslim gender activists for derailing legal consequences for Muslim marriages by not understanding that Islam has given Muslim males and females different rights and females often more rights than males in matters relating to shariah compliant marriages. The demand for equal rights is therefore misplaced and mischievous – not in the interests of Muslim women but in the interests of the agenda of gender activists. The 17 year delay since the South African Law Reform Commission determined that there should be a Separate Court can be firmly laid at the door of gender activists bent on codifying Muslim Marriage Law to conform to the Constitution and the position of non Muslim bodies like the Legal Resources Centre with its strong position that the Muslims must change the shariah to conform to the Constitution.
The verbal and written submission made by the AL JAMA-AH Political Party to the portfolio committee on Justice and Constitutional Development of the Parliament of South Africa and its responses to questions from several political parties who are members of the Commission has been met with fierce resistance from a leading self proclaimed gender activist. The resistance borders on misplaced hysteria, unscholarly responses and the activist makes a scathing attack on the Ulema which was uncalled for as the Ulema did not make the submission. The Mujlisul Ulema of South Africa with the Jamiatul Ulema of Gauteng and the Jamiatul Ulema KZN briefed prefers arbitration and a “Separate Court” only if it meets 10 conditions” which the Party has accommodated in its submissions albeit creatively. The MJC and the Majlisush Shura Al Islami of the Western Cape however supports a Separate Court and has communicated this to the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development. The position of the MJC ally UCCSA has not been canvassed but they will most probably go along with the MJC.

Fatima Seedat states ” … AL JAMA-AH’S attempt to derail that process are an attempt to delegitimise community voices and to prioritize the power of the ‘ scholarly ‘ elites. These elites wage a daily battle over the Muslim community” ( … “The Majlis… a most reliable source for the most banal position on community issues” ). She goes on and onAt almost every turn the religious scholars have resisted these reforms. Instead we wil be relegated to the iron will of a scholarly elite who continue to resist reform and renewal. We will find ourselves under the authority of scholars committed to a letter of the law approach that prioritizes historical legal opinions over making the law relevant to current circumstances.” She goes on and on “Opting for a religious court to decide cases through blind adherence to historic precedent is no more than an affirmation of the existing system of judicial bodies that wield a monopoly of power over South African Muslims. Special Muslim courts is a move backward.” She goes on and on “Ganief Hendricks plans a Special Matters Muslim Marriages Court which will silence the voice of ordinary South African Muslims in favour of the religious elite.”

The South African Law Reform Commission whose members included some of the best legal minds in the country and chaired by Bother Ismail Mohamed who later became Chief Justice of the country determined that the Separate Court should have a Muslim Bench of Qadis – expert islamic jurists which Fatima Seedat has taken upon herself to reject calling them scholarly elites which we hope is not meant in a derogatory sense. She is enrolled for a Ph.D so she is no ordinary South African Muslim. South Africa has some of the most pious and humble Alims in the world with no desire to oppress Muslim women which Ms Seedat claims they are guilty of. South Africa has some of the best laws in the world to protect its women. It has its own Ministry for Women and it even has Womens’ Day as a paid public holiday. All this protects all women including Muslim women. South Africa does not have to codify Muslim Marriage Law to further protect them.