to the forth school of law (Maliki), any prayer that a woman leads others
in – whether women, men, or mixed – is invalid”, concluded this
person. Ali ibn Abi Talib is reported to have said, "The woman is not
to lead (Salat)."
have been a few Muslim scholars who thought there is no harm in women
leading the prayers. Among them was Imam Abu Ja'far Ibn Jarir Al-Tabari
(died 310AH). Al-Tabari was an absolute mujtahid and is known as the Imam
of the Exegetes (Mufassirin). But his school didn't thrive and it didn't
last as the 4 surviving schools did. Those who maintained such views, were
rare and could not support their views with the Quran and Hadith.
Therefore those views were debunked by the Muslim fundamentalists and were
arguments presented by the fundamentalists against women leading in prayer
can be summed up as follow:
If it was permissible, it would have been reported from the Salaf
Since the Sunnah for women in prayer is for them to be behind the men, it
is known from that that it is not permitted for them to be in front of
scholar known as Abdullah bin Mas'ud said: "Put them back to where
Allah put them back." Al-San'ani and Tabarani reported it. It is also
mentioned in Majma' Al-Zawa'id.
most conclusive evidence that women cannot lead men in prayer is a Hadith
reported from Muhammad who said: "The best ranks of the men are those
at the front. And the worst of them are those at the back. And the best
ranks of the women are those at the back. And the worst of them are those
at the front."
This Muslim concluded that such an act contravenes and puts under question
the wisdom of Allah and is tantamount to follow in the footsteps of Satan.
He wrote: “So it becomes clear that such people who insist on the
permissibility of a woman leading men in prayer have nothing firm to rely
on in their position other than the following of their fancies and what
their lusts dictate to them.”
Islamic scholar, Dr. Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi writes: “Throughout Muslim
history it has never been heard of a woman leading the Friday Prayer or
delivering the Friday sermon." He
argued that “prayer in Islam is an act that involves different movements
of the body… Hence, it does not befit a woman, whose structure of
physique naturally arouses instincts in men, to lead men in Prayer and
stand in front of them, for this may divert the men’s attention from
concentrating in the Prayer and the spiritual atmosphere required…
Hence, it is to avoid the stirring the instincts of men that the Sharia
dictates that only men can call for Prayer and lead people in the Prayer,
and that women’s rows in Prayer be behind the men.”
Dr. Qaradawi’s position, Imam Shaker El-Sayed, former general secretary
of the Muslim American Society tells the Muslim women: “There is an
established historic consensus among all Muslim scholars that a woman may
lead other women in prayer, but she should not lead men in prayer".
"This is not because she is a woman,” he said, “but because of
the awkwardness of the position we Muslims take when we prostrate in
prayer. These positions would make both women and men uncomfortable when a
woman bows down and prostrates in front of men.”
an understatement. One question that is not
considered is why worshipping God should require such awkward positions?
There is nothing spiritual and holy in these silly positions.
They are in fact ridiculous. They are embarrassing and not befitting for
intelligent people. Nothing in Islam is catered to intelligent people.
Muslims know that the rituals of Salat, including fasting and hajj that
constitute the pillars of Islam are borrowed from the pre Islamic pagans
whom Muhammad berated and called ignorant? If they were idolaters and
ignorant, why use their rituals? Couldn’t God invent new rituals that
did not resemble the rituals of the pagans? It is obvious that Allah’s
knowledge and creativity of religion was limited to Muhammad’s
Muslim writer whose articles are published in various Islamic sites and
who is an avid supporter of Islamic terrorism, in an article that he
titled “Idiocy of Gender Equality: The Case of the Woman Imam” argued:
those who have their faith in gender equality that is rooted in feminism
which forms part of the current secular values would naturally conclude
that religions are man-made: synthetic. But this conclusion also in turn
raises another question, why men have been so successful in dominating
women, shaping history, society and civilisations? So, one may argue that
known human history actually demonstrates the non-existence of gender
equality. It is a recent invention by some idealists; in contrast,
religions have always existed throughout human history as if it is an
essential part of human nature.”
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