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Women Leading The Prayers

22 March, 2005

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A US based female Muslim professor, Amina Wadud has led Friday Prayers in a New York Church with men in the congregation despite sharp criticism from Muslim religious leaders in the Middle East who termed it a gross violation of Islamic norms and values.

Whereas, Amina Wadud, a professor of Islamic studies at Virginia commonwealth University, contends there is no restriction on women in Islam to lead the prayers.

Wadud said before the service, "With this prayer service we are moving forward, this single act is symbolic of the possibilities within Islam." Asra Q Nomani, a former Wall Street Journal reporter, and mother of an illicit child, was the lead organizer of the prayer.

On the other hand, all Islamic organizations representing US Muslims have strongly opposed the idea saying that Wadud is not the representative of Muslims and she is tarnishing the whole Islamic faith.

Pronounced Muslim scholars in Pakistan have stated that women have been given more rights in Islam comparing to any other religion or cult, but there are certain limitations imposed by God and the job of leading the prayers is handed over to men.

Abdul-Aziz al Khayyat, a former minister of religious affairs in Jordan and a religious scholar says that its forbidden under Islamic doctrine and that the Prayers of the men who participated would not count.

Prophet Mohammad and all the scholars did allow the women to lead ... mixed congregations, not even to allow her to pray at the side of the man, Al-Hayyat says "she can only pray behind him."

Q1, Is this a calculated conspiracy aimed at creating another sect against Islam like Qadianis where created at a time when British Empire in India were facing tough resistance from the Muslim opposition.

Q2, Is the west afraid of the spreading of Islam in USA and Europe and wants to create suspicion in the minds of fresh converts about the freedom of women in Islam.

Q3, What is your opinion about those who attended the prayers and what actions should the Muslim leaders and Ulema Take?

Reader Comments:

Faith in Allah

Why we always have to judge people on there actions.Allah is the ultimate judge,if we believe on that then leave it to HIM & have faith on HIS justice. Islam has been flourshing for centries & stunt like these happened in the history but couldn't stop the growth of Islam. I don't see action like these can harm Islam.It might bring more people towards Islam & then they will find true path to Islam(Remember Malcom X).Have faith in Allah.

Muhammad, United Kingdom - 22 March, 2005



MAZHAR ULLAH, Pakistan - 23 March, 2005

Divide they fall - United we stand !

Q1, Is this a calculated conspiracy aimed at creating another sect against Islam like Qadianis where created at a time when British Empire in India were facing tough resistance from the Muslim opposition.

.... For sure, Divide they fall - United we stand.

Q2, Is the west afraid of the spreading of Islam in USA and Europe and wants to create suspicion in the minds of fresh converts about the freedom of women in Islam.

..... First it was Nation of (Kufr) Islam by Malun Alijah (who claimed himself as prophet) ... assasination of Brother Malik Shahbaz (Malcom X) ... million march drama by Malun Louis Farakhan ... and now this Maluna' Wadud.

And its not only with muslims ... in 1987 a judgement was passed by the anglican community to accept women to lead prayers in Churches (which is also not allowed in Christianity)

Q3, What is your opinion about those who attended the prayers and what actions should the Muslim leaders and Ulema Take?

.... All those who attended .. . have gone astray and should repent from Allah and seek mercy.

Post 9/11 scenario ... slogans for modern enlightment and similar dividing acts are visible even in Pakistan ... here too some groups (including Dr. Fake of Jahil Online & B.C of RehmanRahim) are serving the western interests by spreading their own interpretation of Islam ... instead of spreading the truth given to us by Prophet Muhammad (SAW).

May Allah show us the right path (Al-Fatiha)

Hasan Zuberi, Pakistan - 24 March, 2005

I am not really a scholar of Islam however, to me logically women doesn't seem fit as an Imam. For a moment, even if we consider a women leading a prayer.. what will happen if the same Imam has menses? Islam doesn't allowed a woman to pray during that time? So, are we going to have two Imams for a mosque. One the regular Imam and the other as backup Imam? Decide yourself!!!

Arif, United Kingdom - 24 March, 2005


Where is it written that women cannot lead prayers?Is it in Quran?Is it in Hadith?Qoute it !I think woman can lead prayers of mixed congregation and there should not be any fuss about it?Opposing Maulana's (self proclaimed as there is no accredited islamic organisation which grants the title Maulana-Malun etc)should re-consider in Islamic Ideological Council/Islamic Summit and should focus on granting right for women to drive automobiles(like in Kuwait or Saudi Arabia).
Asra G Nomani's having a illicit child is wrong only once some one can object and prove it under islamic & shahriat law,She should not brag about it.Under Sharia she cannot be punished untill she is tried for zina,and at least 4 muslim witnesses have witnessed it.Her paramour is equally responsible for Hudood.
Kindly qoute me the islamic law in which women are not allowed to lead prayers?

Sohail, United Kingdom - 25 March, 2005

It is not allowed for women to lead prayers.

The misconceptions are expressed by anti muslim community to pose a flase image of Islam. That is true that they are misguiding women all ver the world about islam. Saying Islam is hars to women All muslim women should read and learn Islam by their own to avoid such misconceptions. It is clear that Islam gives the rights of women in all aspects and their called rights are not rights but a false thing for women with which they will be ashamed theirself, in this world and in that world.

Akif Zeb, Pakistan - 25 March, 2005


Women are more secure in Islam then other religions, This act has not related to islam.

Shoaib Karim, Pakistan - 26 March, 2005

islam give more freedom to women. every religion says that. Prove it. Why criticize her, if islam give freedom to women why burqa for women not for man and why not allow her to lead the prayer. this automatically will prove that.

, Pakistan - 26 March, 2005

Congregation or Exhibition

I am not a scholar to tell whether it's legitimate in Islam or not, however, first thing came to my mind when I saw women leading the, so called, congregation of Salaa't (prayer) in front of media, which apparently was invited specially for this occassion to broadcast it to worldover, I thought, is it a Congregation or Exhibition.

I think this particular Prayer congregation was designed to pray infront of Media for people to see, therefore, I wonder if they were praying with intention to submit their will to God or to manifest their act to people ?

To me it was moreorless a SHOWOFF then praying for Allah (swt).

Anyone who intends to pray for Allah (swt), then He or She doesn't have to be worried about what community is doing to the rights of anyone, in this case, it's not a gender issue but a issue of faith, which is beyond the boundaries of gender sensitivity.

Ali Agha, Pakistan - 28 March, 2005

There is a consensus among Muslim jurists that a woman is not
allowed to lead men in a Mosque or congregation. Also, she is not
allowed to lead people in a Friday Prayer or to deliver the Friday
khutbah. She is, however, allowed to lead a congregation consisting
only of women.

Responding to the question, Sheikh Muhammad Nur Abdullah states the

1. Islamic teachings are based on two things: belief and submission.
When it comes to `ibadat (acts of worship), the Prophet (peace and
blessings be upon him) taught us to follow his example and not
someone else's. Salah (ritual Prayer) is unanimously agreed to be an
act of `ibadah, and the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) is
reported to have said "Pray as you see me praying." So the example
of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and the Companions
and the generations that came after them have to be followed.

2. The rules of salah should be known from scholars because they
know how to interpret the sayings of the Prophet (peace and
blessings be upon him). Among those great scholars are `A'ishah (may
Allah be pleased with her). Among the rules of salah are the
requirements and prerequisites for how to perform it, who can lead
the people in salah, and so on.

3. Scholars have put certain conditions for someone to be qualified
to lead the people in Prayer. The imam must be a Muslim, sane,
adolescent, male, and pure, i.e., have wudu' (ablution). Women
leading men in Prayer is wrong, whether in fard (obligatory) or nafl
(supererogatory) Prayers. But if the followers are only women, it is
allowed for a woman to lead the Prayer. According to Shafi`is and
Hanbalis, a woman can lead other women in Prayer while standing in
the middle of the line. According to Malikis, women cannot lead
other women in Prayer at all, while the Hanafis say it is makruh or

4. According to the hadith of Umm Waraqah reported in the Sunan of
Abu Dawud, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) appointed a
muezzin for her, and ordered her to lead her family members in

5. The majority of Muslim jurists say that there is no single
incident where a woman led a mixed Prayer outside her family

Having said that, we cannot find one single proof that women can
lead men outside their family members in salah, and going with the
hadith "pray as you see me praying", we cannot innovate a way of
performing salah.

Allah Almighty knows best.

Marshall, Pakistan - 28 March, 2005

The majority of Muslim scholars hold the opinion that a woman can
lead other women in congregational prayer.

Here, we would like to cite for you the fatwa issued by Sheikh
`Atiyyah Saqr, former head of Al-Azhar Fatwa Committee:

"It is well known that congregational prayer (Salatul-Jama`ah) far
exceeds individual prayer in reward, and there are many hadiths that
support this. It is reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings
be upon him) said: "The congregational prayer exceeds that of
individual prayer (Salatul-Fard) by twenty five or twenty seven

A woman is allowed to join the congregational prayer at mosques. The
same rule applies to a woman who wants to join a congregational
prayer in her house along with her family, as well as at her work or
even at school where she studies or teaches.

Imam Malik states that a woman, under any circumstances, is not
allowed to lead other women in congregational prayer.

The majority of jurists, however, maintain that a woman is allowed
to lead her fellow sisters in congregational prayer if there is no
man to lead the congregation. They cite an occasion to support their
view. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) is reported to
have appointed a muezzin to Umm Waraqah (may Allah be pleased with
her) and allowed her to lead other women in her household. Also, it
is reported that `A'ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) used to
lead women in congregational prayer and she would stand along with
them in the row. So did Umm Salamah (may Allah be pleased with her).

Some jurists maintain that when a woman leads other women in
congregational prayer, she should stand with them in the same row
and she is not allowed to stand in front of them.

Others say that even if the woman leads other women in
congregational prayer, then her prayer as long as the prayer of
women praying behind her is valid as there is no clear evidence
which states otherwise."

Allah Almighty knows best.

Marshall, Pakistan - 28 March, 2005

Auzo Billahe minash Shaitanir-Rajim. Bismillah ir-Rahman ir-Rahim

Shaitan had won the day. A woman lead the Salah (Prayer) to a mixed gathering, seated mixedly Auzo Billahe minash Shaitanir-Rajim, and the woman were not even properly covered Auzo Billahe minash Shaitanir-Rajim.

Not only is she insane and ignorant but even those who followed her are insane and ignorant.

At times like these, these Ayah come to mind:

"And when they meet those who believe, they say: "We believe," but when they are alone with their Shayatin (devils), they say: "Truly, we are with you; verily we were but mocking.

Allah mocks at them and leaves them increasing in their deviation to wander blindly."

(Surah Al Baqarah 2: 14-15)

"And fear a Day (of Judgment) when a person shall not avail another, nor will intercession be accepted from him, nor will compensation be taken from him nor will they be helped."

(Surah Al Baqarah 2: 48)

"To you be your religion, to me my religion." (Surah Al-Kafirun 109:6)

And from the Hadith

Volume 001, Book 003, Hadith Number 080.


Narrated By Anas (Radhi Allahu Anhu) : Allah's Apostle (Sallallahu 'Alayhi wa Sallam) said,

"From among the portents of the Hour are (the following):

1. Religious knowledge will be taken away (by the death of Religious learned men).

2. (Religious) ignorance will prevail.

3. Drinking of Alcoholic drinks (will be very common).

4. There will be prevalence of open illegal sexual intercourse.

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Islam, save yourselves and your family from the Punishment of Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala and Hell-fire for the Hour is fast approaching.

May Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala guide all of us to His Path and reward us with Jannatul-Firdaus. Ameen!

Wa Alaikum Salam wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuhu

Learn some Important Duas online:

Give yourself a chance by studying the Glorious Qur'an and the Sunnah for you have nothing to lose, yet everything to gain!

“Those who believe, and whose hearts find satisfaction in the remembrance of Allah: for without doubt in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find satisfaction.” (Surah Ra'd 13:28)

marshall, Pakistan - 28 March, 2005

Common Logic

As far as I'm concerned, there does not need to be a Qur'anic verse specifying that a woman can't lead the prayers. Do people think that it is suitable for men to stand behind a woman when she bends over during the prayer? The problem is people like Ms. Wadud don't have the faith to accept Islam completely. The believers use logic and say, "we hear and we obey." These rules are legislated by God and he is the most Wise, not Ms. Wadud. Her opinion is not above that of Allah and the traditions of the Prophet Muhammad (sas) and his family.

Mohamed Abbass, United Kingdom - 28 March, 2005

Salaamun Alaa manittaba'al Hudaa only!

Amina - you have been very famous with mischeif. Allah has honoured muslim women in the holly quran and you have tried to spoil this honourship but you couldn't and won't. The only thing I can advise you is to be abiidah (slave woman) for Usama binladen for the rest of your life so that you can continue your famousness and be rewarded by Allah with good deeds, because apart from Allah, only Osama can decide when you need to become a muslim professor, not the Americans or the Europeans or the people behind them who are using the brains of every one one on earth except the true MUSLIMS. Your diploma for professorhood is in the hands of Osama, go and get it!


Saadiq, United States Minor Outlying Islands - 28 March, 2005

She is wrong who has no knowledge about Islam. The people who are supporting her has a very little knowldge about Islam. May Allah show them right way.

Muhammad Usman Khan, Costa Rica - 29 March, 2005


As Allah give the more respect to women as compear to men prove in Quran and in shariate. But this type of activity discareag women in Islam

salman, Pakistan - 29 March, 2005

Who Cares!!

Why do we give so much importance to these people that obviously do things just to get cheap popularity. Did anyone know who ameena wudud was before this far cry for popularity? She is not the first to do something drastic and unconventional just so she can have her 10 sec. in the limelight, nor will she be the last. Not too long ago the American media gave a lot of importance to this Muslim Homosexual Organization by the name of Al-Fatiha( astaghfirulah-e-azeem), Time magazine ran a piece on it, local newspapers ran stories on how they should be the Flagship Muslim Organization, but did they succeed? NO! They didn't nor they will ever, we need to calm down.

We give undue attention & significance to these individuals that do these outrageous things for the same reason that TOM GREEN of MTV fame do absurd things on his show or for the same reason that Guests on Jerry Springer show do things that they do, just so they can have 10 seconds in the public eye. None of them has any real talent or substance so this is an easy route to stardom. That's it. It is really that simple. We are getting too worked up about this, who cares if she led the prayers of 25-30 “RENEGADES”, out of the 6 million Muslims living in America, all they could conjure up for this “remarkable & historical” event is 30 maybe, BRAVOOO!! Keep it up!, what an accomplishment! My philosophy about dealing with this kind of “intelleigencia” is that you just hear them out and say, “go ahead, KNOCK YOURSELF OUT”.

Islam is not so fragile that it will be withered with these meek efforts to malign its true picture, people in the past have tried much harder with far more organized plans and they have failed, these people are amateurs, they don't even have truly malicious intent like their predecessors, all these poor people desire is some fame and limelight, let them have it! I do however wonder, what gems do these people come up with for issues, don't they?

Ahmer, United Kingdom - 29 March, 2005

Who Cares!!

Now on the other side of the coin, we got some special theories as well. I have debated with my “CONSERVATIVE” friends about this issue of whether men are superior to women in the eyes of Allah SWT. It baffles my mind that even educated individuals (educated is a very relative term mind you) comes up with these noble concepts that are more than anything just plain funny. How about this for an argument, Men are superior because they are physically stronger and can lift more weight? What?? Are you for real? Do you think a true common sense religion like Islam is going to favor one gender to another just because they can lift more weight? Give me a break! Or how about this noble concept that since all the prophets were male that's why All men are superior, well those men were superior that were Prophets, how does that make you & I superior? How about this golden nugget, well women go through this monthly cycle that men don't & oh yes 2 women are necessary as a witness and only one man, how about that, I should bow down to the male supremacy now, shouldn't I? Are you kidding? How does that make men superior to women, besides if you are claiming that in Islam men are superior to women, shouldn't you prove that with a surah from quran or an authentic hadith of the prophet (may Peace and blessings of Allah swt be on him). Can they? NO!! Is there anywhere in Quran where Allah swt categorically say that “Men are superior to women”, a true litmus test would be that if a man and woman do the exact same ibadah exactly the same way , then man for their superiority should get more reward than a woman, can anyone give any example of that? NO!

Now the question is, what proof do I have that in the eyes of Allah swt and in Islam men & women are “EQUAL”, Read my lips(actually you can't but just play along) not identical, but “EQUAL”, there roles & responsibilities are different, you have every right to put a label on those responsibilities as one being more important than the other but it does not prove superiority. Coming back to my proof, well my proof is what Allah swt says in Quran about who is superior. Surah Al-Imran verse 195 “And their Lord hath accepted of them, and answered them: “Never will I suffer to be lost the work of any of you, be he male or female: ye are members, one of another”}, Surah Nissa verse 123/124 “whoever works evil will be requited accordingly. Nor will he find, besides God, any protector or helper* If any do deeds of righteousness, - be they male or female - and have faith, they will enter Heaven and not the least injustice will be done to them.” You want more, how about Surah Nahl verse 97 “Whoever works righteousness, man or woman and has faith, verily, to him We will give a new Life, a life that is good and pure, and We will bestow on such their reward according to the best of their actions the greatest bliss is the Good Pleasure of God: that is the supreme felicity. I can go on & on.

Ahmer, United Kingdom - 29 March, 2005

Who Cares!!

They key is what I said earlier and that is Men & Women are equal not Identical, it could be your prerogative that men's responsibilities and duties makes him a superior human being, however its clearly not what Quran is saying. Personally I have never done anything in my lifetime anything harder anything merely as tiring and excruciating as what my wife goes thru every single day 3 times a day feeding our 16 month old son. She literally has to run after him wrestle him to the ground force open his mouth put one bite inside, he spits it out, runs away, and it's the same grind all over again.

Its time that we celebrate our mothers, daughters, sisters & wives for they truly give us so much joy & happiness in all dimensions of life. Its time that we applaud our true Women leaders such as Sister Ingrid Matson, V.P of Islamic Society of North America, or the MSA (Muslim Students Association)sisters who are the true face of Islam, specially in the west.

It makes me laugh when they project Irshad manji as some kind of a revolutionary, what has she done? She is proud to be Gay, That's her accomplishment? Or how about Isra Naumani the organizer of this Prayer that was led by ameena wudud, she is supposedly proud of having an illegitimate child and wears this accomplishment as some kind of a badge of honor. Does that take any special, super-natural capability to achieve something like that? Should we, all the heterosexuals wear our heterosexuality as some kind of a medal as well, what kind of rubbish is that? Whether you are gay or straight, whether you have legitimate children or illegitimate, whether it's right or wrong? That's not the question (although it should be!), the question is how does that make you a visionary? And more importantly why do these morons feel this urge to find validity for their shortcomings in Islam. If you want to be Gay, go ahead be gay, sleep with a chicken for all I care, but why do you feel this need to justify your sicknesses with Islam. I swear leaps some people take just to get a little recognition in the media, only if they knew that it makes them look desperate & pathetic to a vast majority.

Ahmer, United Kingdom - 29 March, 2005

I agree with Muhammad

I agree with Muhammad. I am a Christian, but can relate to this. Allah (or in my language, God) is the final judge. Is it up to Him to decide if one is a true muslim, christian, or whatever. It is His justice which pervails, not that of man. Man is flawed--God is not, so I think it is best to let Him decide.

The debate over women leading a mixed prayer is also present in Christianity. I do not believe that women should lead congregations--the Bible says men are the heads of the houses. On the other hand, a woman surely doesn't have to be behind me, like a slave. However, if I meet a woman who is a prayer leader, I do not judge her--I leave it to God.

There is no conspiracy in America against Muslims. Thats ridiculous--if you look at embassy websites, they encourage Muslims to come to America by showing stories of some of the nearly 30 million muslims in the USA. So, Hasan, I think Europe is much more afraid. America does NOT have specifically anti-muslim or anti-foreigner political parties, whereas Europe has many. A conspiracy? I don't think so.

Freedom of women is a big question for me when I look at my culture and conservative Muslim culture. I know Islam gives considerably power to women in marriage and that she is asked to cover up because a woman's body is private and has great power over men. In my culture, you can choose to be open or choose to be conservative. Then, however, I read about village council-sanctioned gang rapes of women for honor in Pakistan. This is disgusting. I read about acid thrown on women's faces. I read about actresses who are threatened with death because they kissed a Hindu while acting. I know that in order for a woman in Pakistan to file a police case for rape, she must produce 4 Muslim men as witnesses first--this is ridiculous. I know many Muslim girls in Turkey, Iran, India, the USA, and Pakistan. They wear burkas and hijabs and cover up. However, they have told me that they wear underneath. What does this say? At least in the west you can choose how to act--I've seen women in Burkas in the US and I've seen the opposite. When you say Islam gives more rights to women, no one has named them. No one has listed them. I want to know what you think freedom is. Christianity gives few rules, if any, for specifically women--men and women practice the religion equally. So, how can Islam's rules give more freedom than a religion with no gender-specific rules?

In short, when you say women's freedoms, I see few, if any in Islam. I read about more rapes and sex-trafficing of women in the Islamic world than anywhere else. Women are forced to cover themselves, to stand behind men in prayer, are disfigured in honor killings, are threatened because they kiss a man... What rights?

Ethan, United Kingdom - 29 March, 2005

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