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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:

Dollor for scholors

This Amina chacter is just another so called islamic professor who is on the payroll of the anti-Islam forces, they want to corrupt the religion of Islam with things that the Christianity has been corrupted by such as before there were no women priest's and now they are.. they want the same thing for Islam.. but this Amina does not realise that many have tried before such as Qadiyanis.. she is only safeguarding her place in HELL.

Amjad, United Arab Emirates - 30 March, 2005

Re: Ethan

Ethan, I like your style that you always start out rationally, giving initially everyone this impression that you just might be a fair & level headed person, but as you march along, your true prejudice self eventually comes out. How convineant for you that you blame the religion of Islam for all the stupid and herendous things that Muslims do. Would it make any sense if i started blaming Jesus & christianity for what Timothy Mcviegh did in Oklahoma City, or how about david koresh or how about Hitler, none of them were muslims but did very stupid barbaric things. Just recently more than 100000 lives were convinenatly taken in IRAQ by none other than your neo-con hawks. So spare me the self righteous psycho analysis bullshit. As for Islam giving rights to women is concerned, how about Islam giving women the right to own property and right to vote 1500 years ago, west didnt get around to this till 1950's. Yes Islam does enforce this totally insane inhumane, barbaric duty on women that they cant do striptease infront of men that are not their husbands. Forgive us for that we'll try to be as civilized as yo all in future. Any muslim who orders a Gang rape of a woman or throws acid on woman's face even if shes openly commiting adultery is nothing but a moron, we all have stupid morons in every society, or are you claiming that west is free of people who beat up their wives, or kill their wives if they saw them cheating on them. A christian man is very capable of doing something just as stupid as a muslim man, if he saw his wife sleeping with someone or even for something else, but you cant blame the religion for that. Islam says that if your wife is cheating on you or you think shes not a good person, LEAVE HER. Islam does not preach burning her or throwing acid on her face, if someone does that, they do it not because they find it a religious obligation but because people do stupid outragous things when they are angry. Does that make it right? offcourse not, but to blame a religion for someones stupidity is just as stupid if not more. As for Countries with muslim majority having more prostitution is concerned, thats just a plain old lie, do you have any statistical proof of that, are you telling me that countries with muslim majorities have more prostitution than Holland? This says nothing more than you just hate the fact that Islam is fastest growing religion and it bugs the life out of you. And your "Muslim" Hijabi friends who of all people find comfort & refuge in you, how they are burdened & forced to wear burqa. First of all tell them that if they do anything by force they shouldnt do it at all. Allah swt says in Quran very specifically, "There is no Compulsion in religion". You are telling me that these friends of your's living in america can't call the police and tell the police that they are being forced to do something. Oh yeah one more thing if you want to see more muslim women "Forced" to do hijab(head covering), you should visit any college campus and you will find more than a handful proud muslim women born n raised in america who do hijab not because someone forces them to, but because they understand it to be their religious obligation. Why do you all in west think that all our women are some how looking towards you to save them, snap out of it. They are not. As for allowing women to lead prayers in america is concerned, i agree with you, let them, who cares. But if you are hoping this will be adopted by mainstream, dont hold your breath. Not because the men wont let it but believe me our women donot want to stand next to a unknown man and pray. Whether its allowed or not thats a different topic, but i agree whoever wants to do it, let them. Just like a christian church in Idaho holds their weekly prayers in complete nude and its not catching on in the mainstream christian churches, with the same token this woman leading mix congregation is not going to catch on in the Islamic Mosques. You always preach to everyone to have an open mind, you should try that yourself sometimes.

Ahmer, United Kingdom - 30 March, 2005


No doubt Islam has given so many freedoms and even and exclusive rights to both the men and the women. The greatest of them is that the HEAVEN is kept underneath of the foot of a woman (mother). now what more she can wish? But IMAMAT is only the right and responsibility of the men because NO PROPHET OR MESSANGER is a woman and sure ALLAH the creature of the universe and MASTER of all GODS knows best.
may ALLAH bless the ill minded and so called muslims who are the INSTRUMENTS of ENEMIES of ISLAM the best RELGION of the UNIVERSE.

H.I.AZEEMI, Pakistan - 01 April, 2005

A Vital Issue..

In the absence of a Islamic State & sincere leadership, Muslims the world over are vulnerable & will remain vulnerable to attacks & incidents such as the above, regarding women so-called leading prayers..
We as sincere Muslims will be further humiliated & see more attacks upon Islam, a Islam that is compatible to Uncle Sam & his Zionist paymasters..
Much of the Muslim world is divided into small, weak fragmented states, ones that can be taken out at will..we see that all the so-called governments are hand picked to serve the interests of the U.S & Isreal. Muslims do not have a leadership to honour them or to protect their property, off all the so-called rulers, they serve the U.S, when their time is up, they are Saddam, Arafat etc..
Muslims who openly talk about 'democracy' 'nationalism' & 'secularism' are openly misleading Muslims.. these are illegal concepts in Islam & contarary to the systems of Islam..
The only ideology to challenge the corrupt & mis-guided West is Islam, hence we see intense propaganda against it ..
May Allah {swt} help us in bringing back sincere leadership & Islamic goverence..

Dr N Khan, United Arab Emirates - 01 April, 2005


My name is Thomas and I live in the Polar opposite of Islam in the center of the United States. By accident I happened across your web page and was very impressed with the openness of your discussions. In this area that I livem our general impression is that the Middle East tends to be dogmatic and overly rigid in your application of faith, or religious teachings. It is good to see that that is not true. If you are willing to discuss and negotiate issues, and to moderate a solution then I believe that true peace may be in our future. I was raised as a devote catholic, I was an alter boy at 12, and my family has Jesuits priests and we all believe in the Lord God Almighty. Regardless if you think that Catholics are subservient swine or exalted priests, the fact that all men and women must contend with is that only God may judge another man. In my limited understandings of the Bible and the Koran it appears to me that both Jesus and Mohamed preferred peace and forgiveness. What amazes me is how people that profess to be devote Christians and Muslims tend to be so unforgiving and angry, which tends to make me believe that this more about control then religion. I just read you article about the “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.” I understand too well the resistance to change that is so imbedded in societies, but who are we to judge her, or her actions? Should we condemn a women for praying to her God just because it is not the way WE believe she should be praying? Then we are the Hippocrates, not her. She is doing what she feels is right and we are being judgmental and shallow minded. If the Lord God Almightily has any issues with her, then He will deal with it on His schedule, and it is beyond our ability to understand. This person, this woman, has a right to her relationship with her God and we cannot tell her how to worship or pray or we subject ourselves to the same scrutiny.

Just another point of view.

Thomas, United Kingdom - 01 April, 2005


It is just another plan for the non-believers to disgrace islam - amina wadud is teaching what religion in virgina. she must be brain washing all the kid she is teaching islam.

Abbas, United Arab Emirates - 02 April, 2005


I feel that Ms. amina wadud has gone insane. I feel she is trying to draw attention to herself by insulting islam. Does anyone remember the bood the stanic veres well she is like the writer Rushdi - anti-islam. People who read Namaz - with her believing she is right are equaly to blame. What are her teachings as a profesor of islam? makes me wonder. Is she creating a new religion what???? I feel these are the signs of the last day!!!!

yasmin, United Arab Emirates - 02 April, 2005


Ethan, my brother, you need to "STUDY" Islam and not muslims.

Your problem is that you obsereved quite a number of incidences where women have been ill treated in muslim society and you have "ASSUMED" that this is Islam.

NO!!! that is not Islam.

Many Muslims of today and Islam are in fact two poles apart entities. There are few and hard to find Muslims who are really coherent with Islam in every respect including their treatment with the women.

Of course the freedom of women "in Islam" is not what you people like and allow for your women. Your President Bush has already said in one of his statements, that most of the American youth in the near future would be of BASTARDS. Of course that is the real fruit of your kind of freedom for women.

Acid throwing, rape and other ill treatment is a part of corrupt society and not part of the religion. Like Christianity does would not allow to raise children out of wedlock, but most of the christians of today won't mind it.

Woman Leading prayer is a serious concern and we cann't let go in the name of freedom.

Amina Wadud is liable to serious consequences.

And there is no doubt that Jews and Most of the Chiristian Fundamentalists are nurturing such Islam polluting individuals.

Batif - Pakistan

Batif, Pakistan - 03 April, 2005

I believe that there are extremists and bigots who are Christians and the same who are Muslims. The rest of us just want to do good to others and live our lives in peace.
For people to worry about old tribal customs and superstitions that have nothing to do with religion is silly. God was not behind such things as were believed in the general society/tribe at the time of Jesus or Mohamamad or earlier such as the "unclean" nature of women during their menses or that men should not cut their beards or not wear certain materials on their bodies etc
any more that HE insisted that we believe other misconceptions like the Sun revolving around the Earth or Heaven being on top of the clouds and you could get closer to God by getting up on a mountain top like a stepladder. The important stuff is what the Prophet taught about Man's relationship to Allah...

Homara, United Kingdom - 04 April, 2005

"And there is no doubt that Jews and Most of the Chiristian Fundamentalists are nurturing such Islam polluting individuals.

Batif - Pakistan"

They may be Christian Fundamentalists... but they don't follow the Bible. It says a woman is not to ever speak in church, they are not to ever be in a position above men. They are to obey their husband as they do the Lord. Etc. Woman is to only have one husband (no restriction men).

It is a pity that we in the USA do not follow our book... we would have better women then.

But if men were happy and had nice little wives to play with all day... who would join the army? Who would serve the government?

Alas... now you know why Christians have always wished for the end time. For so very very long (over milennium) the churches and then the government have told us what is good... often it is in conflict with our book.

Men was given freedom, woman was made for him. All deny this... but it is written right there.

An American Man, United Kingdom - 04 April, 2005

"Christianity gives few rules, if any, for specifically women"

You must have not read the Bible then.In the Bible a woman is the servant of her husband. He rules over her completly. Also there is no prohibition against men having as many wives as they wish in the Bible (it is stated that women may only have one husband).

I am very happy about these things, the Bible is a great book and I wish it was followed here.

Most Christians have never read the Bible, they just follow their churches. The churches lie.

An American Man, United Kingdom - 04 April, 2005

Purifying yourself before prayers

Abulution, or purifying yourself with water is a must ritual before offering Islamic prayers, and Islam has given so much freedom to women, that they are asked not to come to prayers during their Mensus (Periods). Yet, I doubt if women ought to be selected as Imams, then I guess atleast for four to five days a month, they would have to give this leadership of Imamat in Prayers to Men.

Wait a minute! may be that's one of the reasons for women to not to lead the prayers, as you would never know if you are fulfilling the basic fundamental of purity to come to near to Salaa't or prayer. ?

IJ, Pakistan - 05 April, 2005

Women Leading the prayers

This is the first time I am reading the Pak Tribune. This seems like a very fair newspaper. Although I have no knowledge of Islam I as a out sider do not see any harm in women leading the prayers. People who believe in the Islam religion with their heart and soul will not care who leads the prayers as long as the rules were being fallowed. Only the fanatics have a problem with this.Although I am a Hindu I have nothing against Isalm. Its not the Islam who creates the problems its the people. I would like to see more comments from Pakistani women to understand what they think of it. Thank you for letting me express my thoughts and keep up the good work.

vinod narang, United Kingdom - 06 April, 2005

This is a violation of Islamic customs and values.

Bilal, Pakistan - 06 April, 2005

he is the one to judge

allah is the main judge in all matters.ppl make excuses about relgion and want to boost thier ego.may allah forgive them and us.

amberine, United Arab Emirates - 07 April, 2005

women leading the PRAYER

women should not lead prayer as it is against ISLAM.It is the duty of a man to lead a prayer.The Holy Prophet has himself said that only men should lead prayers.Thus only a man should lead the prayer not a women.

zoya, Pakistan - 09 April, 2005

Can she Lead reguarly(consider her physical problems)

There is a question in my mind, if can regularly lead the prayers, as I know women are physicaly different from men and there is a time every month when they cannot even offer themselves what is the question to leading prayer.God forgive us all.Amin

Shoukat Hussain, China - 10 April, 2005

This ones for ethan who says he agrees with muhammad Mr ethan what you say about gays and lesbians do you also agree that this is ok too... we should accept this to be normal and we should accept them with open arms, what do you say?

IFTAKHAR AHMED, United Arab Emirates - 10 April, 2005

Amina Daud (the Kafir Lady )

Those who do not obey the teachings of islam and try to invent such a horrible thing like she did , are definately wajibul qatl in my opinion

SADAQAT KHAN, Pakistan - 11 April, 2005

I Totally agree with basim from Pakistan that there is no doubt that Jews and Most of the Chiristian Fundamentalists are nurturing such Islam polluting individuals.
Listen Ethan u dont know anything about islam bkoz ur not one. Nothin really is what it seems to be. U better stop thinkin about what is right or what is wrong. It is the duty of the muslim fundamentalists to sort out the solution of this particular problem and let them do their duty themselves.

Khan, Pakistan - 12 April, 2005

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