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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:


I think that this sister is a prime of example of the coming of the day of judgement. When those who are yet unlearnt will be leading the righteous. First of all, why would any pious sister, or just any sister for that matter who knows that to pray at the last line of the congregational salat is the best place to be at as oppose to the brothers with the first lines even want to consider going as far as to lead the salat,when she knows that the best place to receive her ajar is in the back???. I think this sister is looking to create a woman revolution or something like that in Islam. I would also label her a deviant. And I would strongly recommend for no brother or sister who has heard of any thing like this to participate in any shape or form.

Osama, Pakistan - 30 April, 2005

Superior Females

Having had second thoughts on my previous submission. I have realised that the real reason Islam, Judaism and some of the Christian sects do not allow women as leaders (R.C)is that the men who control these beliefs are frightened that it will prove the intellectual superiority of women. This some will facetiously argue that men are superior mentally and women will agree, but only because the proof is plain. They marry each other

Tom, Aruba - 02 May, 2005

Freedom from Religion

I was surprised, initially, to seea news column in an Islamic country, seemingly to allow open criticism on religious fundamentals. I have since read most of the submissions and am wondering. Where are the genuine opposition letters? Do you have no organisations opposed to religion.? I ask this as a member of the Australian Skeptics. We allow the erection of Muslim Mosques, Synagogues, Hindu and Buddhist temples. Our Political Leaders have included followers of Judaism, Christianity, Atheism, Agonsticism. etc., so far it has not affeced the country adversely. I will admit that I feel the present incumbents are, in my opinion, the worse we have had. But being opposed to the Iraqi conflict, I am biased. Unfortunately these "War" lords who made sure they were never involved in armed conflict, are the first to send others to do the fighting.Often this is done with religion being one of the motivating principles. Bush Blair and Howard being no exception. In reverse the Ayatollahs and Fundamentalist leaders of Christian and Muslim fanatics who send others to their deaths for their own self aggrandaisment.
I have not been to Karachi since the period 1946/50 and then I was able travel freely without fear. I am led to believe that as an Atheist I could not do so today. Is this true.In our local park recently I saw a group of Muslim men at prayer, they were tourists. They may have got a few inquisitive looks from the locals, this is a bush farming centre with a town of only 4,500 people but there was no way that anybody would have hindered them. So I ask is it possible you would publish anti religious sentiments or not?

Tom Edgar, Aruba - 03 May, 2005

ASRA and Amina

IN fact, some limits are applied on both men and women. But anyway, in Islam, Men is considered to be the responsible for Imamat. Any woman don't have any right to involve such sort of Activity. The rason behind this is the physical and mental approach of a man. As it is clear from The Hadis Sharif that if some nation selects a woman as its ruler, no one is responsible for its collapse & disintegration but themselves. So, Imamat is a case far from their approach. So, we should try to stop such kind of activities in future.

Allah Ditta, Pakistan - 03 May, 2005

I dont know of any religion which specifically prohibits women from Leading any prayer. Did not god create Both man and women? It appears that as humans we are creating an image of God! How dare we judge the faith of others in God. We are grossly concerned with the Laws and words, fighting one another over the syntax of the Qoran, We have mortaly forgotten that God is love and he knows no difference between his children. Do you love one child more than the other, ask your heart and you will have your answer. I beleive that it is in the Liberation of ALL women that the world will become a better Place

Tony, Aruba - 05 May, 2005

YES treat them equal.

That is the way to do it. Men & women are equal in the eyes of Allah. The eternal Soul is the same soul residing both in Male and Female. The material Body in any form or shape will perish at death. It is the Soul that is eternal. In prayers & praising the Universal Allah there should be no discrimination between the sexes.

Adam, Canada - 06 May, 2005


As an ex photo-journalist I know that newspapers will manipulate news to suit their own particular understanding of events or desired outcomes from actual events. But if you want freedom of the press, an absolutely necessary requirement if one is to have any freedom at all, then the journalist and his employer must be free to say what they want even if it offends philosophically, politically, or even the Religious. To suppress the journalist or his writing is not a new phenomena. Stalin and Hitler brought it into prominence but the Roman Catholic Church also has burnt books as well as people (along with quite a few other Christian sects) Islam has, in the past, also been guilty Or should I say that the adherents of these Religious bodies are the guilty ones who use religion as an excuse to suppress and control others. The Fanatics of any ideology are dangerous demented people,suppression of freedom of thought and the dissemination of those thoughts is their only way of staying in Power. I recently said in response to an interview for a local Roman Catholic School. Believe only what you are told when you can PROVE to your own satisfaction that the facts support your hypothesis.I'm not sure it went dowwn too well with the Church. But then the Imman wouldn't be too pleased either.

Tom Edgar, Aruba - 09 May, 2005

After taking a class on women in religion, and focusing on Islam the majority of the time, I do understand the trouble over this issue as traditional Islamic teaching comes into conflict with modernization and globalization. So I have a question for Muslims, becuase I would like to know if what I was taught is wrong.....
Was the frist person to believe the message of the Prophet and to become a Muslim actually Muhammad's wife Khadija Bint Khuwaylid? Didn't Muhammad say, "She believed when people did not, and believed me when others did not, and consoled me with her money when I was abandoned by others." I was also taught that the first martyr for the Islamic cause was a woman (Summiyya), and that women attended the first and second Aqaba Conferences that were believed to have founded the Islamic state in Yathrib. The other main person we focused on was another wife of the Prophet, Aisha. Was she the first Muslim woman whose views have been important to Muslims throughout Islamic history? Didn't Muhammad's contemporaries consider her a source of religious rules and an expert on issues of Islamic legislation? I am not asking these questions for any other reason than because I would like to know if they are true. While I am not anywhere near an expert on Islam, and would never claim to be one for I think only a Muslim could be, I am very grateful for taking the class I took because I understnad the propaganda that western countries distribute about women in Islam. I don't believe however that issues such as the one we have here with Amina Wadud has anything to do with a western conspiracy to break apart Islam. The world is small, we are globalized, as I said earlier. Time changes everything, including religion.

Student, United Kingdom - 11 May, 2005

i really dont get the concept of women leading the prayers ... when it is said that in the presence of men if women have to pray with them they would stand at the very back ... behind all men .. during prayers .. or even if beside than behind some hijab ... like parda (curtain) or wall or something .. at least thats what i know .. so how can a woman stand in front of all people and lead the prayers when the "hukum" (order) is of what i wrote earlier!!!

Asim Shouket, Pakistan - 12 May, 2005

Right is right..?

Islam A complete code of life, is religion of peace and harmony. but most of the time its misunderstood by people and the ullemas too. now a days as world has become a materialistic, so every individual wants to mould his/her religion according to thier wishes and demands. Islam has given rights to women, know doubt about it but there are various limitations plus restrictions for women too. so what press or media and even ullema's says they should truely and deeply consider the right things in the HOLYQURAN wHATs in it and do not Please Exploit our religion just because of their conflicts. In the end i would like to request to whole western world , that stop it, Islam is Religion of love, brotherhood. unity,discipline, faith and belief on One Prophet p.b.u.h and Allah Almighty.

MOna Jamali, Pakistan - 25 June, 2005

Witness God's Hand not man's

Would it not be ironic i The Supream Being really could care les about our controvercy? Witness His Tidal-waves and Huricanes. Christians ans Muslimsm men women, treated as he sees us ,equally dust.

Nino Spinelli, United Kingdom - 12 September, 2005

Assalam o alaikum to all muslim brothers and sisters.
i m not a scholar... just an ordinary muslim trying to be a good muslim... i have read a lot of islamic books, history books, and tafaseer by muslim scholars but there hasn't been a single hint regarding the imamat of a women.
Islam was completed nearly fiften centuries ago and any change made afterwards without ijmaa is tehreef... and and person involved in tehreef can not be called as a good muslim... its just like a simple example... if one considers himself as a very good muslim and says that from onwards i will say three sajidas instead of two in every rakat as i fear Allah more then rather then being considered as good it will be a sin....
Nabuwat and Imamat are purely for men and its been clearly told that no women no matter how pious can be a nabi (prophet) or Imam.
If there would have been any possibility then the prime example would have been among the azwajay mutahiraat or the daughters of Holy prophet....
Regarding Namaz its said that the best said prayer for muslim women is the one which is offered inside the room of her house....
there are clear instructions for parda, mehram and namehram for a muslim women.....
Islam has given muslim women her rights as a women which we have been trying to change by ourselves by following christians and other non muslims
May Allah Guide us towards the right path

Akif Zeb, Pakistan - 27 September, 2005


i dont knw y ever one is gettin worked up abt this but as far as i knw my morals, my ethic n my islam is with in me. We talk abt how islam tells us to do this n how to lead a true islamic life (the right path) but as far as i knw by experience pakistan tht is supposedly a islamic state has corruption n a enormous list of unlawful/unislamic acts. i rather have a woman lead a prayer then a mulla who takes from the mosques funds, who beats his wife, who truly believes tht women r merely just objects for men. Some one who doesnt have any morals, who takes advantage of islam by puttin his own interpretation n makes others believe tht he is rite. now our focus should be on how to stop these people from committin crimes. Our main focus should be on how to get our morals n ethics rite n then start being a muslim. cuz i've seen ppl who pray n committe sins n they say well atleast we pray. thts not good enuff tht doesnt make any sense . islam doesnt tell us to do such acts n pray n get all our sins forgiven. Peoples perception about life have to be extermely broad in order to understand the big picture. runnin out of time . peace . the og

dani, Croatia - 03 October, 2005


It is, no doubt, a conspiracy against Islam.Had such an act been allowed in Islam, Hazrat Ayesha(R.A.)and Hazrat Fatima (R.A.) would have been made to do so.Amina Wadud and Asra Naumani are a fitna.

AASIA RASHID, Pakistan - 12 November, 2005


I just have a simple question for all the supporters of this fitna:will you allow the Pope, the Rabbi and all the other spiritual leaders plus the American President to be replaced by WOMEN? Does your religion allow that?


Zainab Siddique, Pakistan - 12 November, 2005

This is totaly against Islam and she will pay in Jahannam. Islam will be victorious insha'allah.

Abdullah Hui, China - 19 November, 2005

Find the True soul of Islam

Most of you people are idiots. Look outside the box. This lady is one of the most courageous lady i have ever heard of. She demonstrates the real spirit of islam, look at the idea, the principles, the moralities. The idea of "Search for the true soul of islam" is very much prevailant. Kudos to you. You people need to stop judging people, you have no right. All all of the hadith you pull from the hanafi books are nothing but pure trash. Please keep your filth in its own confines.
Way to go Lady. I support to. May Allah bless you

Iffat, United Kingdom - 24 November, 2005

In my opinion a Muslim woman is as entitled to lead a prayer session of men and women as a Muslim man. There is absolutely nothing wrong about this. Why deny women our humanity? Why?
P.S. I love to pray in a Muslim cultural center in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, where women are side by side just a meter worth of distance away from men. This way they do not get assigned to inferior spaces--viz. behind menfolk or downstairs in the basement. I say to the Muslims everywhere: open up your minds folks.

Dr. Abdul Malik, Canada - 06 December, 2005

Military Strategies on Study Grounds

In many instances conservative Muslims and the Christian Right are on the same side: calling for an end to compulsory coeducation, fighting the teaching of Darwinism, rejecting anything that could even come close to being a 'free mind marriage'. Of course there may be some requests by fundamentalist Muslims that seem unacceptable, all of them revolving around women's rights..In any case, as the debate show, it is the West that defines the space of the debate. Often debates on Islam are no more than debates on the meaning of the West. A good example for womens in priesthood occurs within a single 'cultural' framework: that of the West. Many neofundamentalists are aware of this and try to prevent any debate and interaction, putting the sharia forward as the real dividing line, with the consequence that they can live not in the West but in a ghetto. The quest for a strict application of the sharia aims to re-create an absolute otherness that has no possible concrete application. Even if strict neofundamentalists reject integration into Western societies, the bulk of the conservative Muslims are eager to integrate but want to push for conservative moral values in capita, that they can share with other citizens, whatever their faith. The Intersection of both gender in application commodity reveals a future opportunity.

Shokat Saleem, Georgia - 07 December, 2005

Assalamu Alaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuhu...

Muslim, Wake Up!.. Open Your Eyes.. what is going on? isn't our Religion the Perfect? Allah Almighty said in Holy Qur'an that He Subhanahu wa Ta'ala> perfected it.. "... This day, those who disbelieved have given up all hope of your religion, so fear them not, but fear Me. This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My Favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion. ...> (5:3)

"Verily ye are in an age in which if ye neglect one-tenth of what is ordered, ye will be doomed. After this a time will come, when he who shall observe one-tenth of what is now ordered will be redeemed.

Men will be liars towards the end of the world; and will relate such stories as neither you nor your fathers ever heard. Then avoid them, that they may not lead you astray and throw you into contention and strife.

The time is near in which nothing will remain of Islam but its name, and of the Kuran but its mere appearance, and the mosques of Muslims will be destitute of of knowledge and worship; and the learned will be the worst people under the heavens; and contention and strife will issue from them, and it will return upon themselves.

Ye follower of Muhammad, I swear by the Lord, if ye did but know what I know of the future state, verily ye would laugh little and cry much. " Ahadith - sayings of our beloved prophet - saws

so why to follow such things... ? I mean about those who attended this thing...

what is the REASON of doing so?

"God hath not created anything better than Reason, or anything more perfect, or more beautiful than Reason; the benefits which God giveth are on its account; and understanding is by it, and God's wrath is caused by disregard of it." Hadith

so why to do so....?

Verily, we, Women, are having in Islam rights.. more rights than in any other religion... in any other case... would anybody change something good - the Best with something less- or with the Worse?

why, then, to do like this?

where is our Honor, Dignity? the REspect for our religion?.. Verily... being a Muslim Muslimah it's a Blessing... be Grateful about this.. act to be Worthy of having this Gift from Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala.. be Worthy of having this religion...

I am a reverted to Islam.. Alhamdulillah...

May Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala guide us to the Right way.. to His Light... and keep us away from these kind of Innovation... may He keep us away from the accursed shaytan... may He make us among his Righteous Slaves.. Ameen

A sister in Islam...

Muslimah, - 21 December, 2005

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