Q:) Scholars of Islam, As-Salamu `alaykum wa
Rahmatu Allah wa Barakatuh. I’d like to know whether a woman is
permitted to act as an imam or to deliver Jum`ah Khutbah (Friday
sermon). Jazakum Allah khayran?
A:) Wa `alaykum As-Salamu wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon
Dear sister in Islam, it gives us pleasure to receive your question and
to see the Muslim youth are interested in knowing the teachings of
Islam, which Allah has chosen for His servants as a way of life.
According to the Qur’an, a true Muslim should refer to scholars to
become well-acquainted with the sound image of Islam.
First of all, it should be clear that the Qur'an and the Prophet’s
Sunnah bear witness to the fact that woman is at least as vital to life
as man himself, and that she is not inferior to him. When the Shari`ah
restricts some positions to men, it does not mean discrimination, but
this should be understood within the frame of the general objectives of
the Shari`ah, which are set by the Law-giver (Almighty Allah) to order
the lives of men and women in a way that best suits their natures.
Explaining the Shari`ah-based rulings regarding whether a woman can act
as an imam or not, Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and Islamic
scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, states:
According to the general consensus of jurists and scholars of Hadith,
a woman is not allowed to lead men in a mosque or congregation. She is,
however, allowed to lead a congregation consisting only of women. In the
latter case, it is not only permitted for women to do so, rather it may
even be considered highly recommended because of the greater rewards of
praying in congregation (jama’ah) as compared to praying individually.
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) never said that such
rewards are solely applicable to men and that women are excluded. The
authentic practice of the Mothers of the Faithful, such as `A’ishah and
Umm Salmah (may Allah be pleased with them), also confirms this
conclusion. Both of the esteemed wives of the Prophet (peace and
blessings be upon him), who were highly regarded for their deep grasp of
religion, used to lead women in Prayer.
Although the vast majority of scholars are of the opinion that a woman
may not lead men at all, there is a minority of them – including
scholars such as Imam Ibn Jarir, the celebrated commentator of the
Qur’an, as well as jurists such as Abu Thawr and Al-Muzani – who
consider it permissible for a woman to lead members of her own household
The last mentioned group of scholars have based their ruling on the
following report of Abu Dawud on the authority of Umm Waraqah: The
Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) used to visit her 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 Qur’an. `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
- If she is exceptionally qualified and others are not so well versed in
the rules of Prayer and knowledge of the Qur’an;
- If her husband is a new Muslim who is struggling to learn the rules of
Prayer and the Qur’an, while she herself is perfectly well versed in
- If she is a mother of minors who are still learning the rules of
Prayer and the Qur’an.
In exceptional cases such as the above, the Hadith of Umm Waraqah is
undoubtedly a great source of relief.
As for the second point in your question, we’d like to say that there is
nothing wrong, as far as Islam is concerned, for a woman to lecture in a
mixed assembly in universities or mosques, or elsewhere. However, she
has to adhere to her Muslim identity. In other words, she should pay
attention to her dress and decorum in public. She should not soften her
voice in a way that raises curiosity in those who possess ill manners.
Allah Almighty says: (O ye wives of the Prophet! Ye are not like any
other women. If ye keep your duty (to Allah), then be not soft of
speech, lest he in whose heart is a disease aspire (to you), but utter
customary speech.) (Al-Ahzab 33: 32)
But women are not allowed to deliver jum`ah khutbah (Friday sermon),
which is part of an act of worship. The eminent Muslim scholar Sheikh `Abdel
Khaliq Hasan Ash-Shareef states:
Sister, you should know that a woman is not permitted to deliver jum`ah
khutbah nor to lead men in Prayer. jum`ah Prayer, in principle, is not
an obligation upon women.
Group of Muftis
Article Taken (with Thanks) from Islamonline.net
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