Real Debate About the Status of Women


The Quran and the Prophet's example show that women and men are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, and that woman is not inferior to man. For certain situations when the Shari'ah restricts or gives preference to men or women, it does not mean discrimination. This should be understood within the frame of the general objectives of the Shari'ah, which are set by a Devine Law that is not subject to political correctness. These directives are given by the Almighty God who knows our disposition better then ourselves and has given us guidelines to order the lives of men and women in a way that best suits our natures.

On the issue of women-led Friday prayer, men and women alike, have challenged the validity of the action and the sanctity of the motives of the organizers.

The overwhelming majority of Muslim women who questioned the rationale behind such an action and refused to be part of gender politics imposed by some is commendable. They demanded references from the Quran and the sayings of the Prophet and they followed the actions of the mothers of the believers (wives of the Prophet) who refused to lead the Friday prayers to mixed gatherings even when they were in a position to impose their leadership in prayers over the Ummah.

During the battle of Jamal (Camel), mother of the believers Ayesha bint Abu Bakr was in charge of the army she had raised to seek justice in the murder of the third Caliph Osman bin Affan, the son-in-law of the Prophet. She was the commander in chief. However, when it was time for the Friday prayer, she herself nominated a man to lead the prayer. Would the supporters of mixed gender women-led prayers call this action hypocritical or intellectually inferior?

Ironically, those who advocate women-led Friday prayers failed to give any sound argument on the basis of the Quran and Sunnah in support of their action. Some of them presented an event narrated in the Sunan Abu Dawood in support of the claim that the Prophet allowed Umm Waraqa to lead the prayer for her family members.

It is said that the Prophet used to visit Umm Waraqa in her own home; he appointed a mu'adhin (one who calls the adhan for Prayer) for her, and ordered her to lead the members of her household (in Prayer)." Umm Waraqah-as stated in the sources-was an esteemed woman of Al-Ansar who had memorized the Quran. 'Abdul-Rahman Ibn Khalid, the narrator of the Hadith, further states: "I happened to see her mu'adhin, who was a person advanced in age." 

Based on the above evidence, some scholars have concluded that a woman is allowed to lead her own family members in Prayer especially in the cases where she is qualified over others who may not be so well versed in the rules of Prayer and knowledge of the Quran.

Paradoxically, people who have made women-led Friday prayers as a center piece for women's rights also refuse to accept those parts of the Quran and sayings of the prophet on issues for which they have developed their own thinking. For instance, many of the supporters of women-led prayers, also promote the right to validate same sex marriages.

What they have proven through this approach is that they have double standards in their selection of the Quran and the sayings of the Prophet. They choose whatever suits their desires and they twist the meaning of the verses when it does not fit into their intellectual paradigm. Obviously, such people cannot be taken seriously in their efforts to reinterpret religion for the betterment of the people, including women.

By applying double standards in their approach to study the Quran and Sunnah, they have shown critical inconsistencies in their arguments. Anyone or group who assumes superior intellect and is driven by superficial standards of gender equality cannot be trusted on a highly sensitive issue such as the status of women.

Le us look at the hadith that is often quoted by the defenders of women-led Friday prayer in more detail. It reads:

Umm Waraqa said, "I said: "O Messenger of Allah! Permit for me to participate in the battle with you. I'll nurse your sick. Perhaps Allah will grant me martyrdom." He said: "Remain in your house. For verily Allah will grant you martyrdom." And she asked his permission to take a muadhdhin in her home. And he allowed her." (Sunan Abu Dawood)

In another version Abu Dawood reports: "The Messenger of Allah used to visit her in her house. And he assigned to her a muadhdhin who would make the summons to prayer (adhan) for her. And he asked her to lead the inhabitants of her home."

The hadith was reported by Baihaqi, Hakim and Daraqutni. Hakim said, "Muslim advanced Al-Walid ibn Jami' (one of the narrators) as being authoritative. But this is a hadith with a single chain of narration (sunnah ghariba). I don't know of any hadith with a connected chain to the Prophet (musnad) in this chapter other than this one." Imam Dhahabi concurred with his findings. According to another Islamic scholar Al-Mundhiri, "Al-Walid ibn Jami' is the subject of dispute (fihi maqal). However, Muslim has reported through him." Ibn Al-Qattan said, "Al-Walid's state isn't known." Ibn Hibban mentioned him in (his book) Al-Thiqat (Trustworthy Narrators). But Ibn Hajar said, "In his chain is 'Abdur-Rahman ibn Khallad (a second questionable narrator). And his status is unknown (fihi jahala)."

The opinions of scholars on the trustworthiness of this hadith cannot be dismissed. Even if the hadith is accepted as it is, there are several other facts that need to be taken into consideration. At the time, when this permission was being given to Umm Waraqa, there were two very learned and prominent companions of the prophet present in Medina, Salman al Farsi and Osman bin Affan. Salman did not go to the battle as his slave master denied him permission to leave and Osman bin Affan was tending his wife who was suffering from some major ailment. None of these two companions were asked to pray behind her. In fact, they led their own prayers in the mosque of the Prophet. Umm Waraqa's house was said to be a few miles from the mosque of the Prophet. In the absence from Medina of a majority of Muslims including men and women, who were given the permission to join the battle, the Prophet must have chosen the most learned scholar of the Quran in her household with the leadership role in prayers. In fact, it was a very bold statement in a male chauvinist society, a statement that re-emphasized the point that women are as equal in their spirituality as men.

The fact that Umm Waraqa led the prayers for her household until the time of Umar, the second caliph, speaks of the respect Muslims accorded to the action and sayings of the Prophet. Interestingly, her household members attended Friday prayers led by the Prophet or Abu Bakr or Umar in the main mosque of Medina as their is no account to substantiate that Umm Waraqa led the Friday prayers to a mixed congregation of her own household members. We also do not see reference to any debate among the women of Medina declaring their intent to lead the Friday prayers or regular prayers in the mosque of the Prophet or any other mosque during the time of the Prophet or his successors. They understood the circumstances that led to the decision of the Prophet.

Still, if there are people who have a different understanding of the Quranic message or the sayings of the Prophet, they need to bring out their argument in a rational way and try to build a consensus of Muslim scholars over the nature and scope of the debate. They cannot impose their opinions upon others. Nor can they intimidate Muslims for holding a different viewpoint.

Those who claim to be Muslims and follow the monotheistic concept of God and believe in His message are not entitled to edit Him for their convenience. Among the defenders of women-led prayers are those who believe that this is the single most important issue that the Muslim world faces today. This argument is also rejected by the Muslim masses that believe that there are several other issues that deserve other priorities. The Friday led prayer by Dr. Wudud will not solve any of the problems pertaining to the status of women in the world. The supporters of this initiative are suggesting that people who are on their side are the only ones who understand how to prioritize Muslim issues. Seemingly, these people have little regard to the voices of the Muslim masses.

The divine decreed upon the followers of His message that they would not discriminate among people on the basis of their gender, race or status. He challenged human beings to rise above their interests to create an egalitarian society where women and men will be respected for what they are. The divine commanded them to complement each other rather than fight each other for the roles given to them. The divine recommended them to construct their relations on the basis of respect, love and compassion. 

Some think that by standing in the front row of a mosque during the prayer, the status of women will improve. Perhaps, we all can find more spirituality standing in front of those houses where women are abused. Perhaps we can all attain better spirituality by providing shelter to homeless men and women. Perhaps we can all find a better meaning in our religion by feeding those who go without food for days.

According to our belief as Muslims, the message of God as given to us in the Quran and shown to us by Prophet Muhammad will remain unaltered with us until the end of time. History has shown that the majority of the Muslim community has always rejected those who have explicitly shown double standards in their approach to preach the Quran and Sunnah.

Instead of creating fictional gender equality let us prepare ourselves, for the real work. Let us organize ourselves, men and women of conscience to ensure that no woman (men as well) is left uneducated, no woman (men as well) suffer from the pain of dependency, no woman (men as well) ever has to lead an unhealthy life in a ghetto and that no woman (men as well) ever denied the rights that God has given to us all. How do we do it? It is a challenge to our generation. 

The world of Islam, and indeed the entire world awaits the emergence of a selfless group of workers dedicated to real change.

Many of our leaders and religious establishments have failed us. They have used the masses to promote their egos. They have deceived the Muslims in to serving their own narrow agendas and in many cases have distorted the divine message to make us more dependent on them. But our Creator and His messenger with his words of wisdom are there to guide us and lead us to the right path. Let us join hands men and women together for a better world.

 

Dr. Aslam Abdullah is editor of the Muslim Observer, director of the Islamic Society of Nevada and the director of the Muslim Electorates' Council of America. He can be reached at [email protected]

Join the discussion forum on this issue.

No, We Don-t Have More Important Issues: In Support of Women-Led Prayer by Sarah Eltantawi


Related posts from similar topics:


Disclaimer
The opinions expressed herein, through this post or comments, contain positions and viewpoints that are not necessarily those of IslamiCity. These are offered as a means for IslamiCity to stimulate dialogue and discussion in our continuing mission of being an educational organization. The IslamiCity site may occasionally contain copyrighted material the use of which may not always have been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. IslamiCity is making such material available in its effort to advance understanding of humanitarian, education, democracy, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, and such (and all) material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml If you wish to use any copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

  42 Comments   Comment

  1. Halima from England

    it is sad to see the state of the Muslims today. we have 4goten the TRUE teachings of the prophet (saw)The mothers of the believers, the Best of women did not do this. What is she trying to prove? Allah O Akbar...May Allah guide us to the path of the rightly guided.Ameen. Wasalam

  2. Mustapa Othman from Singapore

    I think what took place was already formulated by the enemy of Islam using a group of Muslim lead by this so-called lecturer of Islamic Study. I think she is confused between Islamic teaching and American civil rights. Thus she chose the latter just to proof that being a knowledgeable person she could pioneer to be the first lady imam which is being practised by the Christian of America. Maybe she could have been reading the wrong Islamic study books during her learning period.

    She should consider going back to learning the basic tenet of Islamic teaching rather than leading other Muslim to the wrong concept of Islam.

  3. garnets from USA

    How Jeffersonian! "The Quran and the Prophet's example show that women and men are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights.."

    I thought that sentence sounded familiar! Thomas Jefferson, one of our founding fathers, said: "We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed." And that is included in our Constitution. What a remarkable coincidence that the author uses a similar phrase.

  4. Shariati Muhammad from canada

    People need to understand the concept of religous leadership in Islaam. Where has this sister obtain the authority that it is permissible for women to lead the prayer in mixed

    gathering? Seek knowledge it enables us to identify the wrong from right.

  5. umyusuf

    Salam

    While I definately disagree with Dr Wadud, I personally am tired of the cramp space, the dark basement and the dangerous balcony with glass wall alotted to sisters in the different massjid that I have been. Obviously the men who was incharge of planning/building these masajid never know what it feels like carrying a 15lbs car sit with a baby in it plus a diaper bag plus a toddler in tow going up 15 plus steps to get to HER salah area. On top of that having to go back downstairs when the toddler need to use the restroom. Mind you that finding this stair was your first job when you first get in the masjid. This is a million dollar masjid!. How in the world when the number of women plus children that can easily triple or even quadruple the number of men when the men was given triple or quadruple the space amount.

    Over and over again you heard the men complain that the women let the kids running loose around the masjid and that is why we cannot hear the lecture thus can't pay attention thus can't understand and learn anything from the masjid and that is why they should stay home. What happen to the father of these kids and what happen to space for kids to play in. I bet more that 90% of the masjid built in the entire world never have the women opinion consulted.

    This is not just issues about how the masjid is built it is the issue of how our men treated our women. I was once in a conference and a man asked me and my friend (who have her face covered) to leave the bazaar area because it is not the sisters time! Why in the world Allah asked us to be fully covered, to hide more from men!

  6. Abdur-rauf Yusuf (abu Abdr-rahman) from Nigeria

    Asalam Aleikum, this is to remind dear Muslim Sisters that anything that was not part of Islam during the Period of the prophet cannot be part of Islam now and they should fear Allah if realy they are Muslims.Allah says in the Qur'an that whatever the prophet brought, we should hold on to it and what ever he did not command we should move away from it and what 've done is known as BID'AH in the religion i.e innovation and all innovation in the religion is strayance and all strayance shall end in Hell fire may Allah protect us from the purnishment of hell-fire.So, my respected sisters in Islam, repent and turn to Allah for frogiveness and He is ever ready to forgive.

  7. azam from USA

    I completely disagree. I think respected lady should get proper Understanding of Quran and Hadith from some Authentic Scholar. She is lacking religious Education as well the follower of her. Man's salaah is void, if women pray with him on either side or in front. And Women are not allowed to lead salaah. If that was correct then at time of Prophet atleast one such case would hv taken place. May Allah give me and all Ummah correct understanable of HIS religon.

  8. Sideeq Al-Ameen from New Zealand

    As-salaamu alaikum

    Firstly I must say that I dont agree with what this sister has done - we must try to follow the guidance of the Prophet (SAW) and Sahaba in these matters, not make them up because we are now so called 'modern'. However, it may be a sign of the frustration that Muslim women are feeling at the moment - the sisters seem to be constantly forgotten about, and dont seem to be included in anything. Its time to give sisters their due and give them the rights that Islam has given them, and not keep them 'down' with cultural baggage which is not Islam.

    Keep the Peace, wa salaam

  9. Tahir from USA

    It is time for the Ummah to realize the dangers of the Shyatan. Just like Shyatan led the previous traditions astray, he will try to lead this one as well. So defend your Deen with true Ilm. Tahir

  10. Jasmine from USA

    We live in a free country, it's called America. Immigrant Muslims don't understand that we American Muslim women don't have problem with Islam - it is just that we want our shake and fries with it.

    Let me explain, what I mean by that: This is a free country and here we can do whatever we want, period! Some of us women have decided to have women-led Friday congregational prayers with mixed gender for a change, because we want change - even if it is change with its own shake, as long as women are doing it.

    Certainly, American Islam represents a very significant alternative to the Islam of the 1400 years ago. Some of us have an idea about re-inventing the Shariah to make it more feminine to suit the needs of today's modern American Muslim women. The present Shariah is thoroughly from old men - you can't expect them to know about today's modern American Muslim women, so obviously we have a big problem with that.

    Similarly, as the Quran is one of the sources of Islamic laws, we also want to reinterpret the Quran in order to develop more women-inclusive and feminine-leaning laws. All we want is really an Islam American Style.

    OK we are tired of the male gender having the mike to themselves. Yes, wise guy you heard it right ... we want the mike! And so what if this is really all about the mike. Do you a problem with that?

  11. Khadeejah from USA

    salaam alaikum

    I think that the big issue here is the failure of men to protect the rights of women given by Islam. They have allowed culture and ego to degrade the position of women. This degregation in some cases is virtual slavery with a healthy helping of victimization. Women have become disatisfied not with what Islam gives them but with what the culturely driven men have taken. I see this disatisfaction feeding this movement. While I believe it is not permissable for a woman to lead the prayer, I see this as a chickens coming home to roost for the men. Someone with a nice home would not want to change places with a homeless person right? The reason is because he prefers and is satisfied with what he has. He prefers his home to homelessness. Islam gave women a beautiful gift. Practiced correctly she loves her position and doesnt want that of the man. The reality is that this western "pro woman" county has not been able to offer women the dignity and stature that muslim women of the past have had. What is worse than that is that the muslims have done no better even with a divine guide book that gives power and dignity to both genders. The problem is her rights have been taken and now she wants to take control. To the women and men who agree with this prayer leading I would bring secular reasoning in. Islam put the man in charge for a reason. He gave him certain responsibilities for a reason. All one has to do is look around at the American crisis of "baby daddies". When men don't have to take responsibility they don't. Islam has set up ways to be successful in this life and the next. If we all follow Islam and give each other the rights and dignity Allah swt gave each of us. I believe we wont be bothered with issues that fall outside of the bounds of Islam.

  12. Abdul Razzak from Pakistan

    During the battle of Jamal (Camel), mother of the believers Ayesha bint Abu Bakr was in charge of the army she had raised to seek justice in the murder of the third Caliph Osman bin Affan, the son-in-law of the Prophet. She was the commander in chief. However, when it was time for the Friday prayer, she herself nominated a man to lead the prayer. Would the supporters of mixed gender women-led prayers call this action hypocritical or intellectually inferior

  13. Reem from Canada

    I completely and wholeheartedly agree with the author of the article. Why must women continually have to "prove" themselves? Allah sw already tells us how elevated our status is in Islam, and so who are we to keep on questioning His infinite Wisdom?? Allah sw knows best, and we should just leave it be!

  14. SrD Al-bizu from PR

    I don't know if this was the most intelligent move(a woman leading prayers)but the islamic world is suffering of a great CIVIL RIGHTS crissis. The prophet was mostly concerned with the rights of the people and teaching the ummah how to live respecting the rights of others, especially the woman. Maybe this issue if taken carefully will serve to erradicate many challenges faced by our muslim world everywhere such as:

    womans rape

    female circumcision

    pre-arranged marriages

    nebuluous divorces

    and the list is long. I could be here all day making posts. Like I said, this might not have been the most intelligent move but, it could serve to stirr the need to get the man's grip off of Allah's (SWT) comands and start practicing the true Islam where womans have real rights.

    Assalam Alaikum

  15. khadijat from UNITED STATE

    Bisimillahi r -Ramanr-Reheem,Aaslam alikun brothers and sisthers this world is coming to an end as alimghty ALLAH as said in suratAL ASR that man will be in loss expect thos who beleive in islamic monitheism ,recomendead other the TRUTH as almighty ALLAH has ordained and abstain from all what he has forbidden for us. ISLAM reserved their wemen as alimghty ALLAH as ordered but this so so called fredom as nothing too do with muslim wemen it all aboth coruption and fornication .

    It has never been done in ISLAM but all we need is to patient and prepred our self fore the hearafter and may ALLIMIGHTY ALLAH he who is AL GHAFI for give us all our sin . May he save us from all those kafirun and those who stand agints ISLAM .

  16. Hamedah from Nigeria

    Asalam Alaikum,

    I totally disagree with this article. Whether we like it or not Islam is facing many challenges this days and this kind of issue is one of them. Any changes doesn't occur over night, something always leads up to these changes. I think this kind of issue will make people wake up and really inquire into the real meaning of Islam and not just the theory.

    "many of the supporters of women-led prayers, also promote the right to validate same sex marriages" that is such a cheap shot.

    Salam.

  17. Rashad Abdul-Azeem from USA

    Dr. Abdullah has used sound arguments and reasoning to dismiss the silly attempt to grandstand and pick up brownie points from the social engineering class concerning womens rights couched under the idea of womem led Friday prayers.

    We must remember that Allah (swt) has given warnings to the believers that certain segments among those who profess 'religion' will never accept us, until we follow their way of life.

    The leaders of the women-led Friday prayers are following their whims and desires and not the guidance given to us by Allah through His noble Prophet Muhammad (saw). The issue should be crystal clear and should not cause confusion or un-Islamic behavior among the believers toward those who are misguided. We should make dua for them, that perhaps they will return to the straight path.

  18. Omar from Canada

    He says "not all muslims recognize the sunnah".

    I say those who do not recognize the sunnah are

    not muslims. How can you believe in the Quran

    and not believe in the sunnah? The Sunnah was

    transmitted by the same people who transmitted

    the Quran. So, how can you believe in one and

    reject the other, and still claim to be Muslim?

    The Companions of the Prophet SAAW were the

    first and foremost followers of the Sunnah. If

    Sunnah is not to be followed by the Muslims,

    then all of the Companions of the Prophet SAAW

    were non-Muslims!!!

    And if you must rely on the Quran only, then

    follow what the Quran says, "Whatever the

    Prophet commands you, take it, and whatever he

    forbids you, abstain from it". If you are really

    a follower of the Quran, then follow this verse.

    Those who reject the Sunnah of the Prophet SAAW

    are non-Muslims not only by the consensu of the

    Muslims, but also according to the Quran, which

    they claim to follow!

    What's next? Same sex marriage? You have been

    deceived by the Shaytan and the culture that

    surrounds you. Wake up and unite with the ummah,

    do not create disunity when the Muslim ummah

    needs unity the most. This is another fitnah

    that Shaytan has created with the help of other

    Shayateen that claim to be "modernizing" Islam.

    In 1400 years no Muslim woman, out of the

    greatest female scholars, no one "saw the light"

    except this new Dr Wadud? What is her

    qualification? What is her proof of her claims?

    Does she think that she is better than the

    mother of the believers, Ayesha RAA? Ayesha RA,

    during the battle of camel, appointed a Muslim

    man to lead the prayer. Had this been permitted

    for women, I bet my life that she would have

    taken this chance. Ayesha RA was one of the

    greatest scholars of early Islam as she RA

    learned from the Master SAAW himself. Would she

    have missed this opportunity to receive this

    great reward?

  19. H.A. from Yathrib

    Very good article. The lady who wants women to lead Friday prayer is suffering from "SPOT LIGHT SYNDROME" and nothing else.

    If she knows too much about Islam, I would like to visit her home/office and learn about Islam, but not going stand behind her for Friday prayer.

    During my recent visits to Western world or so called "CIVILIZED" world, the western non-Muslim and westernized Muslim women disgusted me...Normally, at home in Yathrib, I pray 3 times day (Which is bad, but I am telling truth), but for some reasons while in the "civilized world", I started to pray 5 times a day...it made me realize the values and importance of Islam, which was shockingly non-existent even in Muslim women. Forget about non-Mulimss; they can do whatever they like...

    I am sure many of have the same feelings...you importing/stealing both Islamic values and gasoline from my Islamic land but living in the so called modernized and "CIVILIZED WORLD"...I wonder why?

  20. Ummaz-Zubayr from US

    If yoou wish to be firm upon the truth and the way of Ahl us Sunnah before you, beware of theological rhetoric(Kalaam)and the people of the theological rhetoric and of disputation,arguing, analogy and debating about the Religion. Listening to them, even if you do not accept from them, throws doubt into the heart. This is sufficient for you to be destroyed. There has never been any heresy, innovation, innovated sect or misguidance except through rhetoric, disputation, argumentation and analogy. These are the gates of innovation, doubt and heresy. The Messanger of Allah(SAW)said,"A people have never gone astray except that they were given to disputation."He(SAW)then recited:They mention this to you,only by way of disputation. No! But they are a quarrelsome people."(43):58 Beware of newly invented matters, since every newly invented matteris an innovation and every innovation is misguidance and misguidance and its people are in the Fire.

  21. Abdul-Baasit from USA

    A well-written article. Muslim women do have a reason to rise up and fight for their rights supported by Muslim men of understanding. However, this fact does not warrant transgression of any kind. We need to stick to the Quran and Sunnah ... Remember, even when Allah grants us the right to fight off aggressors, He warns us NOT TO TRANSGRESS, for He loves not those who transgress (Quran 2:190)... Let's keep the Faith, Brothers and Sisters, and strive to do the right thing. May Allah Keep us on His Path. Ameen

  22. Akbar Khan from Canada

    The school of fiqh of At-Tabari that people are saying allowed for women to lead prayer is nothing but speculation and guesswork. There is no proof in any of At-Tabari's books on Fiqh, that show that he allowed or made permissible for a woman to lead the salaat with men behind her. Not only that, but it is one of the schools of fiqh, amongst many other schools in the history of Islam, that have become obsolete and non-existent. In other words, no one in the world has followed the Tabari school of fiqh for over 900 years.

    Besides, the hadith of Abu Dawud does not say that there were men in the house of Umm Waraqa, in which she led the salaat. Further to that, ibn Hajar said that one of it's chain of narrators is questionable because he doesn't know who he is. Secondly, Al-Mundhiri said that a different narrator in the chain of this hadith, is disputable as well.

    In conclusion, the only schools of fiqh amongst Ahl' As-Sunnah today, are the schools of Hanafi, Shafi'e, Maliki, and Hanbali.

    If someone is going to try and follow a school of fiqh outside of this, well then take the advice of what Imam Ahmed ibn Hanbal, one of the leaders of the school of fiqh said:

    Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal's (leader of Hanbali school) student Muhammad ibn 'Ubaydullah ibn al-Munadi said:

    I heard a man ask him [Imam Ahmad]: "When a man has memorized 100,000 hadiths, is he a scholar of Sacred Law, a faqih?" And he said, "No." The man asked, "200,000 then?" And he said, "No." The man asked, "Then 300,000?" And he said, "No." The man asked, "400,000?" And Ahmad gestured with his hand to signify "about that many" (Ibn al-Qayyim: I'lam al-muwaqqi'in, 4.205).

    Now how many of us TODAY in this day and age, have memorized 400,000 hadiths or somewhere around there? So how can we interpret matters of fiqh withour relying upon what the four existing scholars have said first?

  23. Rock from US

    I just read an article on CNN dealing with this issue. I stopped taking it seriously once I read that the woman that led the mixed-gender prayer has a book being published soon. I should have known. Is there no shame anymore in this country? Hey, the fastest way to put down the revolutionary fist is to put a check in it. Sad. I'm not muslim but I fully understand the dynamics of this entire situation. Being an African-American male, I've seen the U.S. government urge African-American women, for generations, to be "independent" and question why the men should be the leaders of the family. Hence, why our community is in such sad state. The strategies are still the same, just a different playing field . When I see a woman president of the U.S. then maybe I'll think differently but even then I'll have my doubts. It should be no surprise that "women's lib" gets major press throughout Islamic countries at this point. Wars are fought on many fronts. Though Islam may not be for me, I do see the order in it and have the utmost respect for the Prophet Muhammad* (pbuh). Where there is no order, there is chaos. I pray this woman wakes up and repents because she may be setting an example that will prove to be the downfall of the entire Islamic community. If she feels so strong about this issue then maybe she should come up with her own religion that allows such actions or find another one that does. Lastly, I question the intention of any so-called spiritual event where the U.S. media is called in to cover it.

  24. Ayesha Laher from Canada

    I agree there are more serious and urgent challenges facing Muslim women then someone of Dr Wadud's talent and influence and wasting resources on women-led Friday prayers. Dr Wadud would earn greater respect in the eyes of women if she concentrated her time and energy in securing the status and honour of women in Muslim countries. I look forward to the day when I read that Dr Wadud has organised multiple demonstrations inside the United States (to increase the safety and security of women in Afghanistan, Palestine, Iraq, Checneya etc...), by taking on the US political system and US foreign policy rather than portraying herself as a gender policewoman.

  25. zahra from usa

    assalamulikum

    i agree with you. we should be more concered about our duties and role of a women by being a good mother,wife ,daughter,freind and companoin.love our prophet and follow his sunnah.be a good example for our futher generations. may allah show us all the straight path and bless us all with his mercy. amen.

  26. Abu Rahim from USA

    Al salam alakum

    (Not all Muslims recognize the Sunnah) which is the backbone supporting the claim in this article. However, the Koran supports all Muslims and would support Sisters if brothers would allow it.

    We could debate the issue of who, what, or how the dinosaurs were eliminated. One thing stands crystal clear- There Gone- They were unable to adapt to the environmental conditions, unable to withstand the onslaught of evolutionary development.

    Islam will not follow that same faith. Will it not become a religion defined by squabbles mauling over the finer points of nothingness?

    As for my sister: In the Christian world the fall of man is wrongly placed on the shoulders of Eve alone. But in fact the story clearly shows that the fall of man was the fault of both Adam and Eve. They both disobeyed the commandment together (See also Al Araf 7:19). It was Satan not Eve who made evil recommendations. I used the Christian metaphor here because Christianity leads the world of today and whether we like it or not Islam follows. And until we begin to value the worth of our sisters we will continue to lag behind- the glory years of Islam notwithstanding.

    Enter the content of Africa: The most devalued commodity there is female worth. What is it about man that makes it hard for him to see the value of his sister's labor? - Whether its in work providing for material substance or leading Friday prayer, providing spiritual substance. On the other hand everything done by men is factored in, calculated, logged down, and payment of some sort is expected.

    Ego and selfish pride are the two emotions held by doctors, scholars, leaders, which keep us from valuing our sister and will ultimately keep Islam form reaching the apex it almost achieved in the past. So we must question our understanding of (rabb ilil-alamin). This is the creator who nourishes his creation throughout the stages of development until it reaches perfection. (Continued in alternat

  27. Chris from USA

    I am not a Muslim but understand these issues. We have the

    same problems in some Christian Churches (our problems are

    actually much worse). However, I always find it helpful to

    remember that part of living in a free society it realizing that

    people are not always going to do the right thing but they must

    be allowed to make such mistakes.

  28. moslemah

    the author did a very good job adressing the issue of the status of women in islam. Islam clearly defines the rights/roles of muslim women and these feminists are distorting islam to fit their twisted desires. may Allah swt guide them and us

    ameen

  29. Brother Islam from East Oakland Ghetto(u.s.a.)

    Pagan greco/roman "feminist" ideas have currupted some of the MUSLIMAHS in our UMMAH!!!

    Because the men in our UMMAH have become weak(and even more so since "9-11")our women have been tricked into thinking that "western" ways should be incorporated into ISLAM.

    The glorious SHARIAH and "western democracy"(demon-crazy)are not compatible and never will be compatible.

    The #1 cause of death among pregnant women in the"land of the free home of the brave" is is satanic MURDER.

    Mr.Charlie's system of pagan western values can not stop the 12 million new cases of filthy- stinking sexual diseases(that effect women) yearly in his "North American Wilderness".

    Domestic violence has increased 117% in the last 20 years.

    50 to 70 thousand women are "smuggled" to the u.s. for reasons of sexual freakism and "hard labor".

    Little white girls make up the biggest % of KIDNAPPED children, there faces are always on the back of milk cartons.

    There are more Blackwomen in amerikkka dying of A.I.D.S. than Whitemen

    The SATANIC and twisted exploited mindset of "CAPITALISM"/Marketing use women as sexual objects to "PIMP" and make money from.

    If I had the money I would challenge any "western scholar"(religious or secular) to an international debate on the status of women and who has been better of in the history books.

    Using the QUR'AN and SUNNAH not only would I win hands down but it would bring millions to the DEEN!!!!!

    Quit being "scaredy cats" take off those western suits,grow your beards back,put your TURBAN back on AND BE PROUD TO BE WITH THE UMMAH OF MUHAMMED AND RETURN TO YOUR RIGHTFUL POSITION AS KALIFA!!!

  30. Khaled from USA

    One clarification. By 'against it', I mean I am for this 'woman-led' prayer congregation being held. The author, Dr. Abdullah, himself quoted the very hadith from Abu Dawud that many use to justify this Jummah congregation. He then went on to argue the possibility that this hadith is not authentic. However, he did not produce the evidence that categorically forbids women from leading in prayers where members of both genders are present...Thus, while a known hadith that allowed a woman to lead a congregation of both men and women may be doubtful in its authenticity, he has not given a clear verifiable hadith that makes such a congregation forbidden.

    Beyond this point, is the issue that created the enthusiasm for this Jummah in the first place- namely, the second class status of women in contemporary Muslim society, and the need to eradicate the chauvinistic mentality that so many Muslims today suffer. As I see it, the Jummah prayers being led by Dr. Wadud is a precedent born out of the necessity to assert the equal rights of women in a world where the majority of Muslim nations subjugate their women. The comment Dr. Abdullah made suggesting the effort is better spent on poverty alleviation and education, and other such movements instead of 'false gender equality', I believe are also wrong. The economic and social sufferings that women face is a product of an ingrained social culture in which women are treated as second class beings who are limited to the degree to which they can elevate themselves. The congregation being held in New York for once will demonstrate that women can be, at times, the leaders of the community as long as they are adequately qualified to do so. Nobody is saying that this Jummah is the ONLY act that needs to be done to solve the problems we face, but it is a huge step in the right direction.

  31. Bob from USA

    Real Debate about the Status of Women

    I full agree with Dr. Aslam Abdullah's rationale supported by Quran & Sunnah.

    Those who are creating these mischiefs are justing sowing seeds of hate & confusion among Muslims. Do they not read Quran & what the ALL MIGHHT GOD did to Prophet Lot's (PBUH) nation.

    How can we even listen to those who approve "same sex marriages"?

    Quran is not modern day software package to cut & paste where we feel it fits but a divine message for all the people & for all the times.

  32. Aaed from NC

    Muamenoon are at war with muslims & non muslims over Allah commands(Quran & Prophet Muhammad life) since his death time.

    I advise Dr. women to be wadud ..read deep Q:Noor,60 for along strategy..thank you

    Aaed says:

    A-"Remain in your house"

    B- Make a new women TEMP house-O channel/hezb

    C- Fight with Bush the Muamenoon.

  33. Ismail S from USA

    This is an Innovation in Islam and every Innovation is

    abidah and every bidah is in the Hell fire.

    Aesha May Allah be pleased with her had a young

    male servant lead her in prayer and she was the most

    Knoledgeable and righteous sister ever and she didn't

    want to lead the prayer. I would never go to a Masjid

    that let a sister lead the prayer this following the way of

    the nonmuslims, womens live, crap.

  34. abkikreem from England

    This is shows the decline of islam community.BUt Allah promised He will protect his DEEN. shame on those behind woman to lead Friday prayer its this awful and disgusting action. REMEMBER ALLAH IS WATCHING OVER YOU WHERE EVER AND WHAT EVER YOU ARE DOING.

  35. Md S Bhuiyan from USA

    As I am in support of Dr. Abdullah's opinion we need to know our religion deeply and accurately and put it in action rather than creating new ideas from individul's personal perceptions.

  36. Hudd d'Aelia from Canada

    I am at loggerheads with this issue. However, I am more inclined toward it than disinclined, still I have serious doubts about claimed legalities in our religion. I have 5 reasons. 1) There is no place in the Quran where leadership of women is forbidden. 2) There is no place in the Quran or expicitly in the Sunnah, where women are forbidden to lead men in prayer. 3) Religiously speaking we are bound by the same precincts, males and females. 4)If we consider the female as not fit for any function in the religion for what a male is fit, we in fact discriminate and set bounderies to sexes. 5)Although, there might be physical restrictions(I personally saw women far stronger than many men), intellectually women are of the same calliber or better than many men. I have 5 concerns. 1) Hatred toward women is founded in the Torah, the story of Adam and Eve, where Eve is brought out as responsible for Adam's lack of character(in the Torah, I'm talking about). 2) Men in almost all cultures persecuted the woman made her a convenient household slave, a baby factory and a perpetual culprit and guilt-bearer for everything the man failed in his struggle. 3) In such a male chauvinistic society, Islam and Muhammad,pbuh, tried to enlighten the men. Islam could up to a certain extent. Even Aishah,raa, said,"It is wrong from you men, that you put us, women, below stray dogs and wild donkeies." And she said these words to an audience that enjoyed the company of the prophet! 4) Therefore, if something was not done, it doesn't mean that it is forbidden. If women were not used to fly planes in the time of the rasool,pbuh, it doesn't mean that they would be forbidden to do this today. So according to the Emirates they can be air-hostesses but not pilots? How sexist is that? 5) "Male and female has He created them, equal members of one another." Can we, brothers, live up to this verse of the Holy Quran? Can we overcome our social and body barriers? We share a common destiny, men and women!

  37. Azhar from USA

    Your last paragraph says it all about the current status of the Muslim leadership. The challenge we face now is to unite and not fight petty wars amongst ourselves.

    The issue of women leading prayers is threading a fine line (narrower than the breadth of a single strand of hair) between right and wrong. I cannot find supporting evidence to support this action by Dr. Wudud. If someone can prove otherwise, I will stand corrected. But even the supporting evidence by the author does not support Dr. Wudud's course of action.

    This is going to create more controversy within Islam that is not needed at this point of time. We have far more challenging issues today that needs to be addressed.

  38. Murtaza Ali from India

    I think this women leading the prayers is a ploy of the Nations that are against Islam. We know that the mullahs who lead prayers generally spit bad about these nations instead of giving divine messages. So these nations must have thought, that if we succeed in replacing these mullahs it would be great. The best and the easiest way to do it is to replace them by woman, a more softer and milder counterpart to the hatred spreading mullahs. A good idea, question is, will it succeed ?

  39. Zulkifli Hamzah from Malaysia

    may i add, brothers & sisters:

    While being "new thing" inheriting in itself, this woman-led Friday prayer is strange. First of all, it's totally new for me to hear this. (Of course there is some certain situation where a woman can lead prayers such as in group of women travelling, or locally at home among women). But in this case, it deals with PUBLIC! Secondly, to opt for woman-led prayer action due to showing woman position in Islam -- or rather, to prove??? -- is obviously "total-self-driven" and "total-self-concluded" motives. Do we eat flesh of snake because there is no hadith or Aayat that prohibit it? Finally, and this I think is most important, is that how many human beings have betrayed their GOD Almighty by doing things according to their own desires, without HIM Speak first. Human thoughts are vulnerable to fallacy. So, be careful. Wassalam.

  40. Yahya Bergum from USA

    Jazak Allah khair doctor. I am grateful for the attention you have given accounts regarding Umm Waraqa (with whom Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala appears to be pleased).

    I do wish to express one minor concern. Would striving to ensure that women were educated as well as men not seem likely to increase the number of women who were the most knowledgeable members of their individual households? My point would be that dialogue and modesty might not seem to be much of an issue among members of the same household. And thus, apart from cultural considerations, knowledge might appear to be the deciding factor in determining who leads household prayers.

    Admittedly, I am guessing that denying entire categories of believers something the Lord of the Worlds permits them, essentially for the sake of merely continuing to do what we found our fathers doing, might at some point seem to have been a poor exchange. Also, when we find ourselves revising our justifications, perhaps it might be a good idea to take a closer look at our motives.

    Finally, it seems to me that our Lord has cursed other communities with what one or more scholars of our own community had once considered to be signs of Allah's favor. If so then which of the favors of our Lord should we deny (and why)?

    Again, I am grateful for your attention, doctor. You seem to have been more than fair.

    Fi aman Allah.

  41. musa malik from U.S.A

    it is verry bad to see things like this happening.

    when i see things like this going on by people who

    say that they are muslim it shows that they might

    not really be muslim.the jinns are on the move but Allah deen will win in the end