Mawlana Abdol Hamid:

The prohibition on Women and Sunni Muslims Registering for Presidency Contradicts Islamic Sharia and International Law

The prohibition on Women and Sunni Muslims Registering for Presidency Contradicts Islamic Sharia and International Law

Shaikh ul-Islam Mawlana Abdol Hamid stated today (June 14, 2024) during the Friday prayers of the Sunni community in Zahedan: “The prohibition on registration and candidacy for the position of President of the Republic, as stipulated in Article 115 of the Constitution, for women and Sunni Muslims, contradicts both Islamic Sharia and international regulations.”

Misinterpreting “Political Figures” as “Men in Politics” is Erroneous
According to the website of the Zahedan Sunni Friday Imam’s Office, Shaikh ul Islam Mawlana Abdol Hamid stated during the Zahedan Friday prayers that Article 115 of the Constitution deals with the election of the president. This article stipulates that the president must be among the “religious and political figures” and “adhere to the official religion of the country.” Another article of the Constitution declares “Twelver Shia” as the official religion of the country. Based on Article 115 of the Constitution, three groups have been deprived throughout these 45 years: “women,” “Sunni Muslims,” and “competent and capable individuals who do not belong to a specific religious or political spectrum.”
Mawlana Abdol Hamid further explained that during these 45 years, women who have registered to run for president have not been approved because the Constitution states that the president must be a “political figure”, and women are considered political figures, not “men”. The 14th presidential election is about to be held, and not once have women been given the opportunity.
He emphasized that if one examines the world’s norms, “political figures” does not mean “men in politics”; instead, it refers to those who have the qualifications, abilities, and skills in the political arena. Interpreting “political figures” as “men in politics” is a misinterpretation. If the experts’ intention behind the term “political figures” was men, why did they not consider the rights of women?!

Women Possess Significant Capabilities
The Friday prayer leader of Zahedan remarked that a significant number of women possess remarkable capabilities. The Holy Quran recounts the story of Bilqis, the Queen of Sheba. As narrated in the Quran, Bilqis, through her exceptional abilities and competence, was able to deliver Yemen from a major crisis and immense suffering.
There are also contemporary examples of women who have demonstrably achieved success in the development and advancement of their nations. Notably, the former President of Singapore, a woman who observed religious attire and prayed regularly, was instrumental in transforming the country. She implemented policies that opened her nation’s borders to all foreign companies and investors, while also declaring tax exemptions for those who invested in Singapore. These actions led to an increase in the value of the Singaporean dollar and the successful eradication of unemployment within the country. Muslims constitute approximately 15% of Singapore’s population, and the nation’s constitution guarantees equality for all, regardless of religious affiliation or gender.
He further elaborated, “There exists no explicit evidence or definitive ruling in the Book of Allah (Quran) or the authentic Sunnah (practices of the Prophet Muhammad) that prohibits women from assuming the roles of ruler or head of state. If anyone holds a contrary view, they should present their supporting arguments. The obstacles to women assuming these positions stem primarily from certain interpretations, societal norms, and traditional practices, not from any explicit injunctions in the Quran or Sunnah.”
Mawlana Abdol Hamid emphasized, “If undue restrictions are lifted and women are given equal opportunities, many women can outperform and outdo many men in various roles. Of course, there are also many qualified men among us, but stringent conditions and filters, such as ‘practical adherence to Islam’ and ‘practical adherence to the rule of law,’ prevent these individuals from entering the arena. In contrast, anyone capable of building and developing the country, regardless of ethnicity or religion, should be allowed to participate. Once, the previous Zahedan City Council consulted me on selecting a mayor. I advised them that if no Muslim candidate met the necessary qualifications, they should appoint a Zoroastrian with the requisite competence to lead the city’s development. This is because city development falls under the category of ‘public rights.’ The populace is not concerned with an individual’s religious practices or beliefs; they desire someone who can build their city and nation. If you appoint the most prominent ayatollah, scholar, mufti, or Devotee of late-night prayers, but they lack the ability to manage and develop the country, you have, in essence, violated the rights of all citizens.”

Exclusion of Sunni Muslims from the Presidency in the “Islamic Republic System” is Unjustified
Continuing his remarks, the Friday prayer leader of Zahedan pointed to the prohibition on Sunni Muslims registering as presidential candidates as another form of discrimination enshrined in Article 115 of the Constitution. He stated, “There are competent and qualified individuals within the Sunni community, but they cannot register due to the constitutional requirement of adhering to the ‘official religion of the country.'” He questioned the rationale behind this law, asserting that it contradicts the Quran, the Sunnah, Islamic Sharia, and international law. He emphasized, “You are depriving over twenty million Sunni Muslims in the country, who have always been present in all spheres, of their rights simply because they are ‘Sunni’! You claim that the country’s system is an ‘Islamic Republic’; what connection does this law have to an Islamic Republic system? The Constitution is not divine revelation; it contains flaws and errors, and many of its provisions do not conform to Islamic Sharia.”
He mentioned that women have registered as presidential candidates but have been denied the opportunity to participate. He further noted that during the current electoral cycle, a qualified and prominent Sunni figure, Dr. Jalalizadeh, intended to register as a presidential candidate but was reportedly prevented from doing so.

“In the past, We Have Raised the Issues With Presidents and the Highest-Ranking Officials in the Country, But We Have Seen No Results.”
Continuing his address, Mawlana Abdol Hamid remarked, “There’s a well-known proverb: ‘Prick yourself with a needle before pricking others with a pin.'(Physician, heal thyself!)”. He questioned, “You ask me not to speak about these matters. Where and to whom am I supposed to address them? We have spoken to presidents and even written letters to the highest authority and figure in the country, but we have seen no results. Therefore, we have no other choice but to raise these constructive and beneficial criticisms here.”
He added: “On one occasion, a group of esteemed individuals met with one of the presidents who had six months remaining in his first term. He wanted to gain the support of the people of this region. These esteemed individuals said, ‘You who want to gain the support of these people, choose a minister from among the Sunni Muslims for these remaining six months. Even if you are not re-elected as president, a positive action will remain in the minds of the people. And if you are re-elected, then appoint a minister or governor from among the Sunni Muslims, which also has no legal restrictions.’ He [the president] said, ‘I cannot appoint a minister or governor from among the Sunni Muslims because this is not in my hands, and the decision is made elsewhere.'”
Continuing his remarks, Mawlana Abdol Hamid narrated an interaction with another president. He stated, “We also approached another president, someone we had even supported, during the cabinet formation process. We requested him to appoint a Sunni minister. He responded that the parliament would not approve such an appointment. We urged him to proceed with the appointment regardless of parliamentary approval, but he lacked the courage to do so. We then suggested appointing a Sunni vice president, but again, he either declined or lacked the courage to take such a step.”

Thirteenth Government Had “Positive Actions” But Also “Very Painful Events and Injustices”
The Imam of Friday Prayers in Zahedan added: “We also made significant sacrifices by supporting the current administration [Raisi’s government]. Many in the Sunni community and the Iranian people opposed our decision to vote for him. However, we believed in giving the conservative faction a chance. We cast our ballots, and while his campaign team didn’t promise a Sunni minister, they pledged to appoint Sunni governors, deputy ministers, and ambassadors. Unfortunately, not only did these things not happen, but during this administration, numerous Sunni mosques in various cities were closed and the deed of the central prayer hall of the Ahlus-Sunnah in Tehran was transferred to the names of others against the law, and prayers were even suspended there. We traveled to Tehran several times and contacted the President’s Office, but we did not achieve any result. Following the Mahsa Amini incident, the ‘Bloody Friday of Zahedan’ occurred without any justification, causing immense pain. Additionally, during the Iranian people’s protests, the way authorities handled protesters and detainees violated the law. These were all injustices inflicted upon the Iranian people during the current administration’s term.”
He declared: “I am not saying that the Thirteenth Government [Raisi’s administration] did not do anything positive; there were positive things as well. However, there were also very painful events that occurred during this government, and unfortunately, they did not make amends for them. We said, ‘Condemn this incident [the Bloody Friday of Zahedan] and win the hearts of the people,’ but they were unable to do even that. I wish the head of the Thirteenth Government were alive so that we could raise these grievances, but life did not give him the opportunity, and every human being passes away from this world when their time comes.”

We Fear Future President Will Also Be Unable to Take Any Action

President Cannot Act Until Policies Changed
The Friday prayer leader of Zahedan remarked, “I raise these points to illustrate the current situation we find ourselves in. Each presidential candidate makes pronouncements and offers promises, but the reality is that the president here does not have sufficient authority like in other countries, and the president’s powers are restricted here. Of course, if the president were a powerful and capable manager, they could still accomplish some things and gain the people’s satisfaction even within these limited powers. However, this hasn’t happened as effectively as it should have in the past, and the country faces numerous problems today.”
He emphasized: “We say that the president, whether a man or a woman, and from any ethnicity, religion, or orientation, should be a thoughtful mind and a capable manager, and also benefit from complete and extensive authorities. After all, the president of Iran is actually the leader of more than 85 million people and should be someone who shines in the world and delivers messages to the world. We would like it so that when our president delivers a speech at the United Nations General Assembly amongst the presidents of other countries, he carries a message for them, and this becomes a source of honor and pride for the country and the people.”
Mawlana Abdol Hamid continued: “Our fear is that the future president will also not be able to do anything, and the current troubles and problems of the country and the people will still remain. What clear horizon can the new president show the people? Until the president is endowed with complete and sufficient authority, and until the policies are changed from above, the president cannot do anything. The people expect changes to take place in the country. If this does not happen, electing a president is a mere repetition.”

The “Unlawful Pressures” on the Darul Uloom of Zahedan Continue
In another part of his speech, Mawlana Abdol Hamid, the Friday prayer leader of Zahedan, referred to the ongoing “unlawful pressures” on the Darul Uloom of Zahedan. He stated: “Unfortunately, pressures are still being exerted on our institution despite contradicting the law, customary practices, and Islamic law. Some official and legal documents related to the seminary have been revoked without any reason. They have also obstructed many citizens’ rights. Additionally, at checkpoints, they have stopped many students who had gone home for the Eid al-Adha holidays and demanded they pledge not to return. This is despite the fact that the students here at the seminary only study, and we have emphasized to them that they should not be involved in any political activities and just focus on their studies. Therefore, pressuring these students and demanding pledges from them is an incorrect action and goes against the law and tradition.”
He emphasized: “We urge the central authorities in Tehran, particularly those forward-thinking individuals entrusted with positions of responsibility, to take immediate action to stop those who are carrying out these acts. These individuals are creating division among the Iranian people. Their words are not spoken in the interest of security; instead, they are creating insecurity in the region. The actions of these inexperienced and hotheaded youngsters ultimately harm everyone. One of the issues I raised with Mr. Raisi during our first meeting was the need to appoint individuals with a broad perspective in sensitive areas, especially ethnic and religious regions. This is particularly important for security and military positions, as such individuals would be better equipped to make decisions without bias. Therefore, we implore the authorities in Tehran to address these issues and not neglect these regions, allowing individuals to misuse their authority and legal positions.”
Continuing his address, he stated: “We hold you in high regard; you too should uphold these respects. If you have something to say, come forward and speak directly. You called for dialogue and discussion; we sent our friends to engage in negotiations. We are proponents of dialogue and discourse and encourage others to do the same. We have repeatedly stated in the past, sit down with the protesters and talk to them. Mawlana Abdol Hamid concluded by emphasizing: ‘We have repeatedly stated that the Makki Seminary of Zahedan is not confined to a single faith; rather, we focus on the core principles of Islam and the betterment of all humanity. We hold ourselves accountable to never utter a word that contradicts truth and honesty. All Iranians are our compatriots, and we consider it our duty to defend their legitimate rights. We all reside together in this country. We may have our differences, but on matters of national security and territorial integrity, we stand united with all Iranians.”

The Almighty God has designated “special temporal and spatial opportunities” for the spiritual growth of humanity
During the first part of his speech at the Zahedan Friday prayers (June 14, 2024), Shaikh ul-Islam Mawlana Abdol Hamid referred to the Grand Mosque [of Mecca], the Prophet’s Mosque [in Medina], Mina, Muzdalifah, and Arafat, as well as the first ten days of Dhul Hijjah and the acts of worship observed during this period, including sacrifice (Qurbani), pilgrimage (Hajj), fasting, and the Takbirat al-Tashriq. He emphasized that the Almighty God has bestowed these special temporal and spatial opportunities upon humanity for their “spiritual growth.”
According to the website of the Office of the Friday Prayer Leader of Sunni Muslims of Zahedan, Shaikh ul-Islam Mawlana Abdol Hamid stated: “The Almighty God has planned for the growth and progress of humanity. Faith, commandments, ethics, acts of worship, service to the people, and all the good things in religion are for the purpose of societal growth, progress, and attainment of purity. All of God’s commandments and the entirety of religion are for the salvation of humanity and the benefit of all people. The conduct of the Prophets and of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him and his family) also offer an opportunity for all humanity to achieve success, salvation, and prosperity by following their example.”
Mawlana Abdol Hamid further emphasized: “To guide humanity towards salvation, the Almighty God has bestowed upon them special opportunities and has accorded exceptional value to certain times and places, where acts of worship hold greater merit and reward. Among these revered places are the House of God (Baitullah-al-Haram), the Grand Mosque (Masjid al-Haram), the Holy Sanctuary of Mecca and Medina, the Prophet’s Mosque (Masjid an-Nabawi), and the Holy Land (Bait al-Maqdis). Acts of worship performed in these sacred sites carry a special reward and merit that surpasses those performed in other locations.”
Expanding on his point, the Preacher of Zahedan Friday Prayers stated: “The blessings associated with these sacred places lie in the effort one makes to reach them and worship God there. These centers have been inhabited by prophets and great figures. They are the land of revelation, sincerity, Divinity, worship, and servitude. In these places, the reward for each prayer is multiplied by 100,000 and 50,000. Therefore, every Muslim aspires to reach these holy places and worship God there. Even if one were to give away all their possessions to reach these sacred sites, it would be worthwhile.”
Elaborating further, the Imam of Zahedan Friday Prayers stated: “While not all Muslims have the opportunity and means to physically reach these blessed places, the Almighty God has bestowed upon humanity the virtue of time, encompassing all individuals. Acts of worship performed during these special times also hold exceptional value.”
Continuing his address, he elaborated on the significance of the first ten days of Dhul Hijjah and the acts of worship prescribed during this sacred period:
“The Almighty God has designated significant acts of worship during the first ten days of Dhul Hijjah, a period of immense blessing and distinction. Among these acts, sacrifice stands out as one of the greatest and most virtuous deeds. The Eid prayer is another special and unique act of worship bestowed upon all fortunate believers worldwide. The Takbirat al-Tashriq are also an integral part of these days, with the recitation of these supplications considered the most excellent form of remembrance of God during this time. Some Companions of the Prophet (peace be upon him) would commence reciting these Takbirat from the first day of Dhul Hijjah, though their recitation holds greater merit from the morning of the ninth day until the afternoon of the thirteenth. During these days, the recitation of the Takbirat al-Tashriq following the obligatory prayers is obligatory. Whether travelers or residents, women or men, all are enjoined to recite these exceptional and unique supplications, with women reciting them softly and men reciting them aloud.”
Mawlana Abdol Hamid continued: “The Day of Arafah is a blessed day marked by numerous acts of worship that hold immense spiritual rewards. Among these, fasting on the Day of Arafah stands out as a particularly virtuous deed. The Almighty has bestowed upon those who observe this fast the reward of two years of fasting, a unique merit exclusive to this sacred day. This year, the Day of Arafah falls on Saturday in Saudi Arabia and Sunday in Iran. If you have not yet completed the ten days of fasting in Dhul Hijjah, I urge you to seize this opportunity and fast on Saturday and Sunday at the least.”
Mawlana Abdul Hamid, the director of Darul Uloom Zahedan, spoke about another important act of worship during these days: sacrifice.
“Sacrifice is specifically tied to the days of Eid al-Adha. It can only be performed during these three days. If you slaughter a whole herd of sheep after Eid, it won’t be considered a sacrifice. It would be counted as a charitable act, not a sacrifice. But for each strand of hair on the sacrificed animal, you receive a reward. And before the blood of the animal even touches the ground, the sins of the person who made the sacrifice for the sake of Allah (God) are forgiven.”
He further added: “Hajj is another blessed act of worship that binds both time and place. It is performed only during these specific days in the sacred locations of Mina, Muzdalifah, the House of God (the Kaaba), and Arafat. If one’s Hajj is accepted by Allah (God), then Paradise itself is the reward. The very foundation and pillar of Hajj is being present at Arafat. When a pilgrim stands on the plains of Arafat and sincerely repents, all their sins fall away. They are cleansed of their transgressions as if they were just born from their mother. In these sacred locations and during these auspicious days, Allah accepts repentance with the greatest favor. May Allah grant us the ability to benefit from these opportunities. May He also grant the pilgrims the ability to perform the rites as the close servants of Allah (God) have done. May their Hajj be accepted, and may they return home safe and sound.”


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