Women Leading Prayer - The Deeper Issue

Category: Faith & Spirituality, Featured, Women Topics: Mothers, Prayers (Salah), Women Views: 10275

On March 18, 2005 Amina Wadud led the first female-led Jumuah prayer. On that day women took a huge step towards being more like men. But, did we come closer to actualizing our God-given liberation? 

I don't think so. 

What we so often forget is that God has honored the woman by giving her value in relation to God-not in relation to men. But as western feminism erases God from the scene, there is no standard left-but men. As a result the western feminist is forced to find her value in relation to a man. And in so doing she has accepted a faulty assumption. She has accepted that man is the standard, and thus a woman can never be a full human being until she becomes just like a man-the standard.

When a man cut his hair short, she wanted to cut her hair short. When a man joined the army, she wanted to join the army. She wanted these things for no other reason than because the "standard" had it. 

What she didn't recognize was that God dignifies both men and women in their distinctiveness--not their sameness. And on March 18, Muslim women made the very same mistake.

For 1400 years there has been a consensus of the scholars (both men and women) that men are to lead prayer. As a Muslim woman, why should this matter? The one who leads prayer is in no way spiritually superior. Something is not better just because a man does it. And leading prayer is not better, just because it's leading. 

Had it been the role of women or had it been more divine, why wouldn't the Prophet have asked Ayesha, Khadija, or Fatima-the greatest women of all time-to lead? These women were promised heaven-and yet they never lead prayer. 

But now for the first time in 1400 years, we look at a man leading prayer and we think, "That's not fair." We think so although God has given no special privilege to the one who leads. The imam is no higher in the eyes of God than the one who prays behind. 

On the other hand, only a woman can be a mother. And God has given special privilege to a mother. The Prophet taught us that heaven lies at the feet of mothers. But no matter what a man does he can never be a mother. So why is that not unfair? 

When asked who is most deserving of our kind treatment? The Prophet replied 'your mother' three times before saying 'your father' only once. Isn't that sexist? No matter what a man does he will never be able to have the status of a mother. 

And yet even when God honors us with something uniquely feminine, we are too busy trying to find our worth in reference to men, to value it-or even notice. We too have accepted men as the standard; so anything uniquely feminine is, by definition, inferior. Being sensitive is an insult, becoming a mother-a degradation. In the battle between stoic rationality (considered masculine) and self-less compassion (considered feminine), rationality reigns supreme. 

As soon as we accept that everything a man has and does is better, all that follows is just a knee jerk reaction: if men have it-we want it too. If men pray in the front rows, we assume this is better, so we want to pray in the front rows too. If men lead prayer, we assume the imam is closer to God, so we want to lead prayer too. Somewhere along the line we've accepted the notion that having a position of worldly leadership is some indication of one's position with God. 

A Muslim woman does not need to degrade herself in this way. She has God as a standard. She has God to give her value; she doesn't need a man. 

In fact, in our crusade to follow men, we, as women, never even stopped to examine the possibility that what we have is better for us. In some cases we even gave up what was higher only to be like men.

Fifty years ago, society told us that men were superior because they left the home to work in factories. We were mothers. And yet, we were told that it was women's liberation to abandon the raising of another human being in order to work on a machine. We accepted that working in a factory was superior to raising the foundation of society-just because a man did it.

Then after working, we were expected to be superhuman-the perfect mother, the perfect wife, the perfect homemaker-and have the perfect career. And while there is nothing wrong, by definition, with a woman having a career, we soon came to realize what we had sacrificed by blindly mimicking men. We watched as our children became strangers and soon recognized the privilege we'd given up. 

And so only now-given the choice-women in the West are choosing to stay home to raise their children. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, only 31 percent of mothers with babies, and 18 percent of mothers with two or more children, are working full-time. And of those working mothers, a survey conducted by Parenting Magazine in 2000, found that 93% of them say they would rather be home with their kids, but are compelled to work due to 'financial obligations'. These 'obligations' are imposed on women by the gender sameness of the modern West, and removed from women by the gender distinctiveness of Islam. 

It took women in the West almost a century of experimentation to realize a privilege given to Muslim women 1400 years ago. 

Given my privilege as a woman, I only degrade myself by trying to be something I'm not--and in all honesty--don't want to be: a man. As women, we will never reach true liberation until we stop trying to mimic men, and value the beauty in our own God-given distinctiveness. 

If given a choice between stoic justice and compassion, I choose compassion. And if given a choice between worldly leadership and heaven at my feet-I choose heaven.

 

Yasmin Mogahed received a B.S. in psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is currently a graduate student in Journalism/Mass Communications at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and working as a free lance writer. 


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  72 Comments   Comment

  1. Lisa Elkaabi from US

    Although you raise a wonderful point about women making men a standard. I feel that in some ways that ideal has been forced upon some women by men themselves. Women were forced by men, who abuse their distinctiveness and refuse to provide for their children, to work and support the human beings that they brought into the world. I'm not completely against your article but wouldn't you agree that some women neglect education and indirectly promote illiteracy to their children by solely depending on men to be the bread winners. My main point is that there is a flaw in human nature. Men will neglect their responsibilities and in some cases abuse them therefore women have to prove that they can do anything a man does and better to earn respect.

  2. Ina from Malaysia

    Thank you for a very good article. It's hard to see things clearly with so much propaganda and so many confusing values around. May Allah guide and keep us all in The Straight Path.

  3. Dr. Shahid Shaikh from USA

    I am proud of a woman who is my wife. She is double graduate but declined to work for the sake of her chidren. Although, I insisted her to work because it's USA and her friends used to work but she convinced me how important the education of children is by staying at home and look after them before and after the school. She never competed against me nor gave the example of a man to compete. She raised my beautiful three children and set an example for them to emulate her. I being busy in my studies and work could not help in this regard as she has done solely for them. What good I see in my grown up daughters and a child is the reflection of my wife's character and love of Allah(SWT)that she inculcated in them by her example. I think, I am a lucky man to whom Allah(SAW) gave such a daring and caring wife. Her (woman) one attribute to carry them in her womb and deliver to world is paramount then whatever I (we) learn/earn in rest of my life and still there will be no reward bigger than that what she has accomplished so far.

    As a teacher, I have seen the faces of those chidren in school who have broken families and can not excel in their studies. During counceling, I have felt their pain when they mention I don't have dad/mom or they are so busy in their affairs, competing eachother, that we don't get enough time with them. I hope my sisters will find their examples in Ayesha, Khadija, Fatima and the ladies who have left the marks on history by not competing with men but hoping the rewards from Allah(SWT) for their dignified work, i.e. raising Mo'min children that will become Sadiq-e-Jariah for them until the day of judgement and not of those who by their neglect will become curse for both parents. May Allah give us Hidayah, Aa'meen.

  4. Shahin from USA

    notice that this article is not saying "women are better then men and if i had to choose i would be a woman anyday"....no! its says that there is no harm in being a woman and that one can live a happy and respected life as a muslim WOMAN. Therefore she does not need to go chase the man's job.

  5. JAWAHIR from Malaysia

    Salam sister Yasmin,

    Very well put....and makes a lot of sense if the reader can start with an open mind...i went through both the comments for the ones who agrees and disagrees...and basically the ones who do not agree either do not understand or do not want to understand....

    Man ..woman..honestly it does not matter....what is important is not who lead the prayers but our prayers and how we interprete Islam and the Quran. Form and substance....it is the substance that matters..NOT the form..

    Some comments even wants to challenge the laws created by Allah...if for non Muslims..understandable... but from fellow Muslims????

    All the best ..Alhamdulillah..

    MUSLIMS UNITE!!!!STOP THE PETTY BICKERING AND LOOK AT THE LARGER PICTURE......

    JD

  6. Atal Hakikat from Australia

    Great read and very creatively honest.

  7. Carrie Rashid from Kingdom of Bahrain

    I question whether these women (who wish to become Imams/or lead prayers) wish to do so because "men" do it. I would imagine that it is more their own personal dream or realization that this is what they are meant to do.

    Many years ago it was unthinkable for a woman to become a journalist. Did Ms. Mogahad become one because she saw men doing it? Probably not.

    Is Ms. Mogahad a mother? If not, will she give up her dream of journalism to ensure her children do not become strangers to her? If she is a mother, because she works, can heaven not be laid at her feet?

    Many years ago it was even unthinkable for women to have a higher education, much less read or write. And yet it is for the benefit of all, for education to be instilled in all children.

    I do object to the implication that those mothers who do work due to "financial obligations being imposed upon them by the gender sameness of the modern west" . Is it gender sameness for a mother to wish her children to have food on their table, a roof over their heads, or provide for a better education? Yes in a perfect world, a mother should not want or need for anything, but she does need and generally it is for her children. Are these mothers un-worthy and in-distinct because they put their own needs (being at home with her children) below those of her children (food, shelter, clothing)?

    And what of women without children who work? Are they un-worthy and in-distinct? What of widows (either men or women) who must be both mother and father?

    Each individual is praised with different gifts to benefit society. It would be shameful to deny a person (and I say person to include men & women) the avenue to express those gifts whether it be a woman leading prayers or a man raising a child. I know men cannot give birth but do not say they cannot be mothers because they can and they have.

    Gender distinction is a wonderful thing but a person should be true to what Allah has instilled in thei

  8. Shamshir Ghazali from Malaysia

    Beautifully put.

    It is not compulsory for woman to do Jumaat prayer. Why then she wants to lead that prayer?

  9. ismail from south africa

    salaams

    a lovely expression of aspirations for all muslims male and female...why should men and women aspire to standards set by humans when we can aspire to the standards set by the lord of creation.i agree y should women follow standards set by men who many themselves now seem to feel that the only way to redeem themselves is to be more feminin...

  10. Kaleema A. Sumareh from USA

    Bismillah This is a question of does a woman have a soul and, does the woman have a soul capable or worthy of religious leadership to all of humanity? The idea of women not leading prayer for mixed congregations comes out of fear. The question is fear of what? Perhaps it goes back to the origination and originators of the Garden of Eden/Eve/Snake story which is basically rooted in a type of male homosexual culture - fundamentally anti-woman, and it maybe due to a basic spiritual disconnect (ignorance and superstition) over conception, pregnancy, birth, child rearing/adult making, that has developed over centuries into the "woman's place" in religion, society and home/family. Part of this concept is of women being biology and the greatest thing a woman has is physical "virginity". Once this virginity is gone, the next place for a woman is "motherhood". If however, motherhood is not an option for a woman, the role of women is defined by the type of career choices suitable for women. As the one with the vagina, women have been made the keepers of the society's morals, a shared responsibility for men and women that has been imposed upon women almost exclusively. Women do not cause immorality, and as we know, restricting them does not make the world morally safe. Instead of trying to keep women from leading prayers for mixed congregations we need to ask why, deeply, fundamentally, why do men rape women, molest children and wage endless wars that kill women and children? (Rape is a crime of violence, not sex). The argument made in the article is propaganda and is being used to spread fear. In this case, the propagandist are using the fear of Allah to keep women, with much effort in a place rooted in ignorance, superstition and fear of conception, pregnancy and birth. How can one say a woman can't lead any prayer because she has a womb, a vagina & births other human beings conceived either through a man or through Allah's means without the aide of a father? Peace

  11. Aysha from USA

    Assalamalaikum sister, Subhanallah it is an excellent article definitely an "eye-opener". I wished it could be printed in all the school newspapers.

  12. Sohail from England

    What a beautiful article and so well written. My utmost respect goes to sister yasmin who so clearly and conscisely shows the beauty and privelige that Allah (swt) has bestowed upon woman kind. I pray to Allah(swt) that our ladies remember that on the day of akhira when they stand before their lord it will he be he who will be judging their actions and not man.

  13. Aiki - Dawud from Cyberspace

    Quran 16:125, 3:114 -- These surah say it all to me. If one can pray at home whether male or female then why does it matter who leads the prayer in public?? Just because something has been done a certain way for a long time does not mean that it's not a possibility for another gender to lead a prayer. What happens if there was a community majority of women then they can't lead a prayer? What happens if for some reason there are no males in a certain area to truly lead? These are possibilities in any society. "Allah" is the true judge, we all must enjoin what is truly right, just, and free to all mankind including women!! Somethings have become to traditional, ceremonial,and static. If a woman that is a mother can educate in the home then why not in public, at the very place we worship the one true creator? Allah always raises one up from among us -- why not a woman to teach, lead, and care for the community as a whole? We've become too worried about tradition, and practice, instead of truly pushing the all members of the community to do their best for Allah. We are all examples for the cause of Allah. YES, I agree with the women and I'm a male. No, human is ever better than another except in how we choose to live our lives, according to the Quran. The Quran truly liberated women long ago, allow them to enjoin that freedom which is right in the cause of ALLAH.

  14. M. Mohsin from Bangladesh

    Does Ms Mogahed think a learned, honest, intelligent, muslim person irrespective of gender and temporary physical difficulty lead a congregation [prayer as well as peace, political, military, business, theology]?

    I am not asking for a Fatwa but a simple answer: Suppose in a female group [any group], the members elected an Imam (from among themselves) to say their prayer (mandatory) in Jamat. Can a male join that jamat (as urged in Quran)?

  15. leila from IRAN

    leading prayer or not, you think it is realy important for us (women) no belive me we know ALLAH does not let women to be imam and it is the man responsibility and right in Islam and we observed it for 1400 years and now because a woman break a rule ,women are defeated to refractoriness just for some mistake that less number of muslim women do but in some country like IRAQ AFGHANISTAN and some other country men ignor women right every day women can not study because of their father or husband and they never dont say why?and any muslim man does not write any article about them WHY? because men havejust liked themselve from 1400 years ago until now

  16. Irene Papanicolaou from UK

    I find Ms Mogahed's views perplexing.

    I agree that a woman should not try to be like a man. However, how can seeking a position of leadership whether in prayer or in any other case be defined as trying to be a man?

    I do not understand why gender should be important, since, unlike giving birth, leadership, does not require any gender-specific biological characteristics.

    Any human being, regardless of gender, race, or social status should thus be allowed to lead prayer.

    Prayer should be a reminder that we are all equal before our Maker...

  17. Sahiba from US

    Salam Sr. Yasim,

    The article is very well written. I completely agree with you. Keep up the good work. May Allah bless you. Khuda Hafiz. Sahiba

  18. RAZIA KHAN from CANADA

    The article is very encouraging and an eye opener for those women who are either ignorant or mislead by their so called education & liberation.Leading a prayer in the mosque by a male Imam is not an issue of gender inequality at all. What happens in life is that we carry the burden of our own issues within us and then take it out in all these forms.I have been an obstetrician all my life & I have seen pregnant women suddenly bleeding and pouring blood on the floor through their pants or rupturing their bag of water suddenly while bending or working and amniotic fluid gushing out through their legs like a fountain.I have watched the shock & helplessness on their faces as well as on those of bystanders. Then & there I thanked God for the role he selected for us as women. Imagine if one of them was leading a prayer in the mosque or delivering a Khutba to a gathering of hundred men, women & kids of all ages?

  19. Abu Masoud from USA

    The writer has done a marvelous job in exposing the real issues. It is as if the west has solved all its problems and now they want to export their failure to Islam. They want to "liberate" women, but they do not tell us from what. They are vague because their real agenda is to destroy the most precious and the core of the muslim ummah, the woman. What they real mean by "liberation", is "liberation from Isalm".

    When you confront them with facts, like the writeer did, they start arguing about not enough evidences and so forth. They simply want to reject the Quraan and Sunnah and innovate a new Islam, that fits their whims and desires.

    I say to all of them, Islam has liberated women 1400 years ago. The west dares to value women in the manner prescribed by Allah SWT to all muslims.

    If you truely care about women and that is your real agenda, go back to the teaching of Islam, fulfill Allah's commands as you are told, follow the Sunnah as prescribe my the Prophet PBUH, and our situation InshaAllah will change. But, you will not do it because it is too hard for your weak souls. This is why you want to revert to "shortcuts" and innovate a new religious and dress is with your version of Islam.

  20. Harris Hakimie from Malaysia

    I have to agree that Islam embraces the differences in gender roles.Privileges and responsibilities are met out righteously with refrence to the Holy Quran.Its just the present umat that plays bias in implimenting it. Addressing the issue of inequalities towards woman has never been approach globally in the Muslim world community.

  21. Fatima from South Africa

    So this means that God has decided that as a woman I should have a different interaction to me, from the type that men have with him! Not sure where this idea comes from - some references would be useful!

    As for "God dignifies both men and women in their distinctiveness--not their sameness", human dignity stems from the fact that we 'know Allah'. Hence Adam's distinction from the rest of creation was that he was given knowledge - that is how God dignifies humans. And that refers to all humans - not just men!

    I do agree on one point - that striving to be like a man if you're a woman, or like anyone else taht you're not, for that matter is shortsighted. Our striving is ultimately for excellence in knowing Allah. And if some of us chose to know Him through leadership ... why not?

    BTW ... If we women are striving to be like men, who are men striving to be like??? Who do men strive to be like when they interpret the Qur'an and hadith in a way that keeps me confined to the darkest corner of my home? Who are they striving to be like when they lead salaah, make azaan, lead the community etc? I wonder??

    All I can say is that we're not striving to be anything like that. If anything, I think we are all of us striving to stop anyone, men or women who try to keep us from a full and wholesome relationship with God ... so that we may dignify Him!

  22. JAMEELAH ABDUL-ZAHIR

    THE ARTICLE WOMEN LEADING PRAYER-THE DEEPER ISSUE, WAS VERY POWERFUL. I CONSIDER MYSELF A MUSLIM WOMAN WHO BELIEVES IN THE RIGHTS OF WOMEN, BUT WAS ALSO VERY DISTURBED TO HEAR OF THE SISTER WHO LEAD THE JUMMA PRAYER. IT WAS DISHEARTING TO ME TO SEE THAT AS MUSLIMS WE ARE BUYING INTO THE NOTION THAT ISLAM CAN BE "TWEAKED" TO FIT MODERN SOCIETY. ISLAM NEEDS NO ADJUSTMENT, ALLAH'S WORD IS ALWAYS "MODERN." AS A WOMEN WE ARE GIVEN PRIVILEGES THAT MEN WILL NEVER HAVE. YOUR SINS ARE FORGIVEN WHEN YOU GIVE BIRTH, THE DISTINCTION WOMEN ARE GIVEN IN REGARDS TO RESPECT. WOMEN IN ISLAM WERE REGARDED AS 1ST CLASS CITIZENS LONG BEFORE WESTERN CIVILIZATIONS IN REGARDS TO THEIR PROPERTY AND ASSETS. AS MENTIONED IN THE ARTICLE THERE ARE SO MANY THINGS THAT WOMEN CAN ONLY DO THAT MEN CAN'T WE SHOULD BE VALUING THE GIFTS ALLLAH HAS GIVEN INSTEAD OF TRYING TO FIND SOMETHING TO FEEL INFERIOR ABOUT. AS WOMEN WE ALL SHOULD LOOK AT HOW SUPERIOR ALLAH HAS MADE US.

  23. Ronni from USA

    If leading prayer TRULY has nothing about superiority about it, then why does it matter if a woman leads it or not? The whole premise of the article is ridiculous. I don't think this has anything to do with "the Western influence", a popular cop-out among Muslims today OR with a woman trying to define herself by men. I think the author just made something up just to have something to complain about.

    It is about being RESTRICTED from doing something. If a man can lead prayer and if prayer is DIRECTED TOWARD GOD and if the woman is TRULY honored before God, then WHY is the Muslim woman FORBIDDEN from this beautiful practice or position? It is the MEN who have made this about MEN, saying that a woman has no place in leading prayer. But prayer isn't OR SHOULDN'T be about them anyway but about God.

  24. Ana from Indonesia

    This is a good article. But it doesn't have concrete evidence. It is like this person say this person say that. I am woman and I am not trying to be equal to men, I dont think Islam teaches that. There are characteristics unique to women and characteristics uniquely to men. But men, being the dominant group, change some system of society and degrade women. Women are not allowed to go out without men. I think what Amina Wadud did is courageous, standing to what she belief in. Afterall, we can't judge her on whether what she did is right or wrong, that's up to Allah. All I want as a woman is freedom, men can voice their opinions, contribute to society. whats wrong with women being a doctor or a lawyer? changing and helping the world is not restrictly for men only.

  25. nasir ansari from US

    I believe that female are bieng treated fairly & just. But this is going beynold Islamic laws and what Allah has said in the Quran. Please sisters

    take your proper place in our society. Islam has given you the equal rights please do not step over the basic rules & regulations of Islam.

    Leading Jumuah prayer is not right. Sisters please take your proper place in Islam and your homes.

  26. Mojibor Rahman from Usa

    I respect the women because my mother is a women and my wife & sisters also.I respect the equal rights but not in every way.Because Allah did not creat humen equaly to balance the earth.If anyone disagree I want to put some example for them.

    Do you think in a olympic games which women/girl is gold medel winner she ran equal to the men?Never.She should be equal to the men who is 4th.or 5th.If you looking for equal rights then men & women run togother do you think they ever win?Allah creat men stronger than women thats allah's secreacy & beauty.In a wrestling man and women never fight togother.If they fight women never win.This is not a disrespect to fight men& men Women & women.This is respect and values.Whatever Allah gave to the women he never gave to the men.Women should be proud for that Allah creat her as a wommen as a mother as a child's Haven.

    Allah give us the tawfique to understand islam and follow Quran.Amin.Jajakumullah khaier.

  27. Khadijah Abdullah from usa

    The eloquence of this article shows the true Islam.I am saddened that at the Univ. of Akron in Ohio some teachers focused on an article in the Times portraying this as a good thing.Another sister tried to express her dissatifaction with it and her teacher did not understand. One of my professors cut out the article and gave it to me.She was happy that women were doing this.I want to know why are Muslimahs actions of such interest?If a nun tried to preach, she would be reprimanded.Another very important issue is what does she do at the time of her monthly cycle?Still give the kutbah? Astoghfurlah!! If not, then everyone will know when her cycle comes and where is the modesty in that? I have been at sister's homes where a women lead the prayer.I have heard such beautiful voices. If I think the voice was beautiful, then a man would even think more.The West and it's values are causing fitnah in our ummah.We need to pray much more.

  28. robert abdur-rahim plummer from USA

    Alhumdulillah!!! this is one of the best articulated and meaningful articles i have read in my entire life. Insh'allah the author is rewarded many times over as each of us is rewarded by reading this ilm. Alhumdulillah!

  29. every1 read this plz (Afra) from USA

    Mr Waild. this article is right! it does not attack on women it shows them the way the RIGHT way! what are you tryin' to say that women should stand front of men and lead the prayer! and Quran has women rights...we have all the rights we need and want to live in this world(happilly) I think you should Read Quran more carefully and in hadith Muhammad (pbuh) said that it is better for woman to pray at home! what part don't you understand in this hadith it said clearly that women can't stand front of men and lead a prayer also men shouldn't hear women talking outloud don't you think leading a prayer is FAR AWAY!! and what kind of courage are you talking about that Dr. Women is making a FOOL out of herself and Muslim women! thats what i think! and this article is totally right! may be we live her talk like American but let us not forget our VALUES, CULTURE, & RELIGION. and i am not going to let any Dr. Women come and change everthing in Islam. Christain changed their way of prayer they used to pray sepratelly women on one side and men on the other but now they are mixed! but don't forget they changed their Bible too. and im not going to let anyone change my (our) Quran and values that Quran teaches us!!!!! this article is right! people who are aginst it give PROVE!! do you have any hadith or anything you read in Quran! plz. let me know first! yeah i don't think you'll find anything but keep trying. lols:):)

  30. Mukhlis from Hong Kong

    It is a cofused situation. Anyone who reads The Holy Qur'an will remember the verse that says whether men or women, who ever does good deeds will be rewarded etc (An Nahl 16:97-98). Thus putting men and women as equals before Allah & equal before the law. Muslim men have forgotten ( or never learnt ) that. They go to Hadith and Shariah that one man's testimony is equal to that of two women, or men can drive women can not, men can pronounce Tallaq but women can not, etc.

    All this has resulted in this woman taking great pride in leading a prayer & others aligning this side or that side. In effect it is bid'ah, a deviation without justification. Hope it is not. But it can lead to the same situation as American women demanding and getting the right to serve in the armed forces and getting raped & gang raped.

    Having said that, it is a fact that women have not been given their due and honorable place in ( mostly Arab) Muslim societies. They are aggrieved party. If they fall on the otherside, from the frying pan to the fire - whome should we blame ?

    Let us pray, good sense prevails on both sides.

    Mukhlis

  31. Afra from USA

    very good article. totally agree! i was against women leading a prayer at the first time. i don't know what she was tryin' to do? Allah has told women their rights in Islam. they should stick to them. tryin' to do everything as men are making them look stupid men has to do somethings that women can't do or shouldn't try to do and women can do somthings men can't do...but i don't see men protesting that why can't we give birth? :)...ok the point! mens job is to bring food home and womens job is to take care of house and kids but nowadays women go out leaving their kids at home or at the day care center...and they want same salary as men! what are women tryin' to do kick out men form the WORLD or what?lols...i think what that Dr. Women did was WRONG and people shouldv'e stoped her.? she knows better she knows hadiths, Quran.? what made her think that what she was doing was right? well, now she knows IT WASN'T!!!

  32. Mubeen Siddiqui from USA

    An excellent article for understanding the releationship and duties of men and women.Congratulations,a job well done.

  33. Umme Mahmood from England

    Thanks to the Almighty that the majority of Muslims are still sane. i agree with you whole heartedly. The irony is that these so called prayer leaders proudly claim to achieve what was not for 1400 years. How foolish if one cannot find even one example in such a long past?

  34. k.hasan from u.s.a.

    Allahu Akbar!!! You took the words out of my mouth, sister. And probably the mouths of other sisters in Islam. I feel so sorry for the women who don't value their worth as women. How the shayton has duped us to dislike our nature and role in the world, given to us by Allah(subhanawata 'ala). Jazakallahu khair for saying it all, peace.

  35. Mahmooda from canada

    An excellent article, must read and understand the beauty of Islam. I totally agree with your opinion Sr.Yasmin. I like the way you compared men and women and their responsibilities.

  36. Rasheedah Rabb from USA

    Peace be unto you.

    With Sis. Amina having to prove to herself that she can create a ground swell of opinion by declaring that it is acceptable for women to lead the Jumah prayer, the jester only gives relief to those oppressed Sisters who feel that their rights have been denied to them by men. Unfortunately, whom ever is advising Sis. Amina has misinformed her. For oppressed women in

    countries that show no respect for women, this will not elevate their conditions at all. It appears to me that this was derived to divide us and cause greater disunity. However, Allah is the best knower and while it appears in the light of day to be dark, there is a reason that Islam has been given the attention that it has. Allah is the best of Planners. Insha Allah, look to the positive aspect of the revelations that are before you, and keep your words and your actions to the right. May Allah forgive us our sins and bless us to continue with the light of His understanding.

  37. Syed Bilal Khalid from Pakistan

    MASHALLAH a very well written article, with balance and strong points that help other understand the issue in proper daily life comparison rather than bringing up historical facts.. causing the reader to judge the issue in his / her own daily life experience. May ALLAH guide you further keep you in HIS guards.

  38. zhameer from singapore

    lets just take the qur'an first then talk about hadeeth later.

    1. who did Allah created as khalifah ?

    2. name one female prophet ?

    3. Maryam is mentioned by name not Maryam ibnatu Imran but Isa is mentioned Isa ibnu Maryam.

    4. nowhere in the qur'an when mentioned both man and woman, woman's name comes first.

    there's more but do they really want to hear.

    "khatamallahu a'la quluubihim"

  39. Syed from USA

    Interesting article, thank you for writing it, may Allah reward you.

  40. silver rose from US

    Very nice article, mashallah. You said it the perfect way.

    May Allah reward you for this.

  41. Muhaideen batah from USA

    I have nothing more to say. It was all said in this article.

  42. khalkhan from Singapore

    What a truthful article. Why do we want to be man. If we have understanding of God's wishes

    we even wouldn't dare against it. May Allah give

    us guidance every second of our remaining life.

  43. Ahmed from nigeria

    It's just too bad.It has never happened.It doesnt happen when the Prophet was alive.It didnt happen during the generation of the salaf.It didnt happen during the 4 imams.Then is she more pious then them?Verily she has no right to do that.It is anti-islam.Islam is complete and no one can bring into it or take away from it.Verily it is not in the sunnah.The muslim ummah should make sure it doesnt repeat agin and forever.

  44. Yaseer from Asia

    I applaud you expression of views in relation to Islam and how it is misinterpreted. It would have been excellent had you added a few remarks on how children are abandoned from the teachings of Islam; when mothers are more focused on establishing worldly things for the family. It is imperative that parents teach what they know of Islam at their tender age of childhood. If the foundation is not laid right, it would be awfully difficult to construct a building because it ends up in a disaster.

    We all must be concerned and focused towards making the right decision within the boundaries of Islam. Competing with men to establish equality should not be the norm for women. The society, or so called world democracy has created the definition for equality for men and women. As you correctly pointed out, equality is defined within Allah's Quran and our prophets (SAS) Hadiths. Certain privileges are given to women and others are not, and vice versa for men. Just because the Quran and SAS Hadiths don't permit certain things for men and women, we must not come to conclusion that our noble book and Hadiths are biased towards a certain gender. Eventually, we will find the right mix and a good explanation for all, if we spend time studying the Quran and Hadiths rather than reading it.

    One thing I like to point out in terms of Women leading prayers. Take for example; men always know their purity because Wudu establishes that for them. But Women even if they take Wudu, can they guarantee purity? No. Though women keep a count of days for their mensors (Periods), there is no 100% accuracy on when it'll be experienced. What if it happens at the time of leading prayers? All at the congression following the imam in prayers, will have the notion of prayers not being answered. Let's say the Lady Imam is changed on her mensors day. Won't this be a subject for others to laugh? Therefore, Islam is established with strong principals by Allah. If SAS didn't allow it, then we must not do it.

  45. zahra from usa

    assalam uli kum

    alhamdulliah i think the author has made it clear the fair love of allah toward his creation.women has such a high status that non of the wordly justice can ever give. i thank the author for giving out so much information in such a good way.may allah accept our sincere efforts.ameen

  46. nisha from British Columbia

    Very well said, Thank you. I truly hope the women, not just the Muslim women,look at the unique gift God gave us as mothers and be the best mothers and raise the children who will be the future, InshaAllah.All the neglect that today's children are feeling is certainly not the mother's fault but definitely mothers can be more compassionate and best the educators. So Why run after something else when we have the most.

    Being leading prayers for men does not give women any extra credit that we may be accountable to Allah swt.May we all be guided to the right path.

  47. shaheda from usa

    Alhumdullillah. This is a great article. The author has definitely told it as it is in the Quran and sunnah. I would, however, like to comment on k2's comment about keeping women in a walled area. In the prophet's (SAW) time, women used to cover properly & had shame & modesty while entering the mosque. This is not the case today. Today, women enter with their best clothes on , makeup , hair done etc. Do you think if this had happened in Prophet (SAW)'s time he would have allowed it?

  48. Ghalie from Canada

    Excellent artical, very well said. Subhanallah you were able to explain the difference between men and women in Islam in such an elegant way. Great job, you should try to publish it in a newspaper so that non-Muslims may see what other Muslims think of women leading prayers. Jazak Allahu Kharian for your taking the time to explain and clarify what we all know.

  49. raji from usa

    As-Salaam Alaikum,an outstanding article,but I do feel the author is still placing constraints on her gender regarding leadership.Leadership is a GOD given right,accepting the responsibility rests on ones' comfort in their faith or discomfort with the status-quo.I do not feel muslim women devalue themselves by accepting leadership responsibilities.Our IMAMATE is struck in time.The wise move for muslim women is to leave the men suspended in the IMAMATE and use their"distinctiveness" and take over community development of our communities.Let them(imams)robe up and talk about the noble past,and the women should take over everything else.Pick any area,education,health,government;name it we need leadership.The idea of the Imam as the ALL IN ALL is misplaced,outdated and unproductive.There is much value in the rise of muslim womem leadership and we men need to support it and promote it.

  50. Ayat El-Dewary from Canada

    Ms. Mogahed has done an excellent job of differentiating the

    uniqueness and beauty of the roles of men and women. There is

    something however that we definitely do not want to lose sight of and

    that is, as Ms. Mogahed mentioned a woman that chooses to stay at home

    to take care of her children (be it Muslim) or not does not make her a

    passive and weak individual. Furthermore, a Muslim woman does not

    just stay at home and take care of children (this is a full time job

    on its own that goes completely unrecognized unfortunately in our

    world today). However, She is one who helps society enhance and move

    forward in every sense of the word.

    Women during Prophet's (PBUH) time were the best teachers, best

    warriors, amazing home care mothers, best business people, and also

    held ministerial positions like Ayesha (Rady Allah 3anha). The Prophet

    PBUH once said that if anyone needs to learn about the teachings of

    Islam, one should go to Ayesha (not her father Abu Bakr ElSedeek who

    was one of the Prophet's best friends). This does not make a woman

    want to be like a man rather, it is the urge to want to help society's

    civilization grow and gain her value in relation to God, which is very

    much a woman's role in Islam. This comes to show the uniqueness of

    women's multitasking skills, intelligence and the ability to help the

    enhancement of society in every way.

  51. Amin21 from USA

    Why must we always view ourselves in how we contrast to the West? It seems many traditional "islamic" ideas these days are being held up and argued that they should remain simply unchanged for no other reason than so that Muslims are not like the West...

    Where as others compare the Islamic world to the West in how it is worse.

    Certainly we can take things from the West and improve our societies, or from China, or from the soloman islands, or any where a beneficient idea that is not opposed to our base principles (and not simply are legalistic obsessions) but that doesn't mean that we must do EVERYTHING like the West...

    on the converse just because something has been done in certain ways in the west isn't a declaration of it being "unislamic" in and of itself... and the fact that something is Western shouldn't be an argument either for or against implimentation of it in Islamic society...

    the merit of the idea itself is what should be viewed forget where it is from...

    1. Does it accomplish good and justice

    2. Does it CLEARLY go against the PRINCIPLES of the Quran without any round about arguments or evocations of hadeeth to which contradictory also saheeh hadeeth also exist.

    3. If the Quran makes something Halal at the time of its writing, does that mean it is considered the best thing? Divorce is Halal, but I would never advice someone to get one, penalties listed in the Quran are maximum penalties... but the Quran never makes them obligatory penalties and and Islamic society does even require ever going that far if they can come up with a lesser penalty that is an equal deterant for the crime.

  52. Sharifah from Singapore

    Alhamdullilah. Sister Yasmin has indeed touched the very core of this topic. Indeed men and women are created different - physically and in character. This difference is but to complement men and women to form the best unity in a family and in society. We should celebrate this difference and syukur to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds, who knows the best for us, his creation.

  53. k2 from USA

    Who began this innovation (bida) of having women in a secluded walled area of the mosque?

    The real issue is not of a women leading prayer but of why women feel they have to make dramatic statements to get the attention of Muslim Men who have taken away their rights as Muslim Women.

    Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) was allowed to attend and participate in the Prophet's Mosque, in the main hall. She was not told to go sit in some closed off area of the mosque where she would have been unable to have any discussions or interactions with anyone but women. But this is the current state of affairs in most Mosques in America.

  54. Saf from England

    Alhamdulila

    i often read articles at islamicity but i never give my comments but this is the first article which influenced me to say few words

    this is a well balanced article i have similar thoughts but was never able to put my feelings into words

    well done

    Allahhafiz

  55. Susana from Canada

    Alhamdulillah.There are those who heed to Allah taala's command.And those who make apparent that they love God but disobey Him.

  56. walid from France

    This article attacks a women that had the courage to lead a prayer. Even if many arguments are good, the journalist forgets one important think that we should not discuss about : freedom. As she said, women did sacrifices to go and work on machines. But, what about thoses countries where they do not have to work, and do not have the right to have education ? Because in many islamic countries, education is traditionnaly reserved for men. If some women did not decide one day to change mentalities, would they have the right to an education?!

  57. Um Amina from USA

    Alhamdulillah, an excellent article and very logical and reasonable. I am a Muslim woman and I am very disappointed at the 'new trend' like any other trend sister Amina Wadud is trying to spread. InshaAllah this too will fail like all other FITNA that is spreading against Islam and Muslims.

    Allah has promised Quran will be preserved for all times. We Muslims have to be alert from those who try to mislead our young generation. Make believe Scholars will come and go but Quran will stand pure and true...Ameen

  58. Hafiz Mohammad from Pakistan

    Aslam-o-alikum sister

    u have come up with an excelent piece of work..i really appriciate..May God bless you..and keep u on the right path ameen

  59. Munthasir from india

    Salaam, Alhamdulillah, this article brought me to tears. Realization that if allah wish, He can let people see the justice behind his decisions, even if it is apparently against them. The standards as sister mentioned is indeed the touch stone. Unfortunately the standards has been altered ,so is the society.

    In western society the role of God is none. And it is quite normal feminist movement to have upper hand. THe whole effort of muslim women in taking that 'controversial' decision is to tell this liberal feminist that we are not any different that the freedom you talk about.But again i dont want to make villain out of Dr.Amina wadud. It was jus' a mistake, which insa allah, allah will overlook and forgive her.

    Many westerners might find difficulty to coming terms with the points raised in this article, as they attribute islamic rationalism to cultural upbringings, they also have some stigma which attached to their own upbringings which in turn might veil the truth behind it.

  60. Bedri from USA

    Mashallah! We, Muslims need more women of like this sister. Great and well balanced article. May Allah reward you!

  61. Skovan from Singapore

    The article doesn't address the issue of whether God allows women to lead a prayer or not. Muslim masses are also against women being a leader of a state, forgetting about a famous woman who is a queen at the time of Prophet Solomon, who invited her to Islam. Women are modest and hold behind-the-scenes portfolio during the time of our prophet as such its incorrect to quote that just because our prophet didn't therefore we shouldn't.

  62. Samer k. from USA

    this is an awesome, awesome article that all women and MEN should definitely read!

  63. Liaquat Ali from USA

    The whole argument is based on something that could best be classified as"

    "A heard from B heard from C heard from D heard from E heard from F who may have heard it from the Beloved Prophet (saw)"

    The most important point I gathered from Ms. Mogahed's article is the concept of the directness of relation to God (in reality, the Scripture).

    That is, current-claiming-Muslims, men, Arabic-speakers, previous generations, etc., have no authority to define future-Muslims', women's, non-Arabic-speakers', current/future generations', etc., relationship with the Scripture.

    Everyone has direct relation and responsibility. If one relinquishes that directness, it is no one else's fault.

    Liaquat Ali

  64. Jainaba Ceesay from USA

    I absolutely agree with the writer because I believe that Allah created men and women with different roles in society, but not for the purpose of women being inferior to men.

  65. Muxiiyadeen from usa

    Sister Yasmin`s article is very thoughtful. You hit the nail on the head, sister.The truth lies in the Holy Qur`an, and Praises be to ALLAH, the majority of people who are reverting to Islam in the west are women.So these lies that the west is propagating with regard to their unfounded `liberation and freedom`` to serve their purposes will come to an end. Because falshood cannot stand the Truth. Women in the western societies have become objects to be enjoyed for lusts and sex by men (I am sorry If I have offended someone) They have made their valued bodies (which ALLAH Has dignified) cheap by displaying them to the public. It is time that they should rise up against these Men-dictated, false Idealogy and endeavour to reach solutions; and solutions can only be attained through the Holy Qur`an, GOD`s Merciful and Beautiful Law which has been revealed to our Prophet Muhammed (May ALLAH`s peace and blessings be upon him) for our everyday solutions, guidance and success both in this World and the Hereafter. When women cover their GOD-honoured bodies, we all know that you will not give a second look to that women for lust. But when they display their bodies, we all know that everyman will look at them for lusts. This is indeed a misguided ``freedom`` and slavery for women which is doomed to failure. Truth prevails and falsehood is bound to vanish.

  66. um yusuf from usa

    MashaAllah beautifully written, what I have always thought. Women need to be empowered by truly understanding their worth according to Islamic standard. When women truly understand their worth, the honored role that Allah has given her, the uniqueness of her creation, only then they will be empowered to fullfill their role, proud of who they are and stop feeling like their are the lesser creation comparing themselves to men. In fact we are here to inspire and be inspiring to the men.

  67. Yahya Bergum from USA

    Of all the articles criticizing Amina Wadud this one seems by far the most eloquent.

    The article's author seems to be striving in the way of Allah. Perhaps as a result of her jihad, the author's secular education is a blessing for the Ummah. Or so it might seem. If I had a point worth getting, I suspect you might have gotten it by now. Wassalam.

  68. Hudd from Canada

    Allah-i-barik fiki(God bless you)! A great article! You cought that feeling which was on many Muslims mind but we just couldn't translate it into words. Excellent and complete. You said it, Yasmin, as it is!

    Salam!