Saudi women are now legally allowed to issue fatwas following a vote in the Shoura Council. This enables women to become muftis, Islamic scholars who interpret and expound Islamic law (Sharia and Fiqh). Muftis are jurists qualified to give authoritative legal opinions known as a fatwa.
The historic was approved after winning 107 votes and thus, ends 45 years of only specialist men being able to issue fatwas in the Kingdom.
Women members of the Council had demanded that the issuing of fatwas should not be limited to men, through the involvement of female academies specialized in the study of jurisprudence in issuing fatwas.
The Shoura Council approved the recommendation, made by one of its members during its 49th meeting, calling on the General Presidency of Scholarly Research and Ifta, the only governmental body authorized to issue fatwas in the Kingdom, to open independent sections for women.
Recently, Saudi Arabia allowed women to drive. The reform will be effective June onwards next year. The announcement was made on the state television. The move is seen as a measure to remove the tag of being a repressionist regime for women.