Hamza Yusuf Finally Admits It’s Permissible For Women To Lead Men In Prayer

Full disclosure: In this video, he does not say what his personal opinion is regarding this issue. However, he does finally admit that on every issue, there were multiple opinions. Specifically, on the issue of women leading men in prayer, al-Tabari held that women can lead men in prayer if they are more qualified. In addition, Ibn Taymiyya also held that if a woman was literate while the men in the congregation were not, she could lead them in prayer. This also confirms what Khaled Abou El Fadl has said the tradition states all along, that if women are more knowledgeable than men, then yes, they can (and should) lead men in prayer.

The most significant point that he makes, in my humble opinion, is what I’ve been waiting years for a mainstream Muslim scholar to say: that there were multiple opinions on every issue.

“I would argue that the ‘islamic tradition’ has within itself all of the needs to renovate ‘the house’ but its going to take an immense amount of intellectual energy, it’s going to take very very highly qualified people, which necessitates institutions, that can train and produce the types of people that are needed to engage in this activity.”

This is pretty huge, considering some of Hamza Yusuf’s previous statements. A few years ago, he was adamantly against the idea of women leading prayer. A few years before that he was even more conservative. Who knows, maybe he’ll turn out to be a progressive in another few years time. (I kid, I kid…).

Update: I’ve been thinking about this all day, and it reminds me of a discussion I had with @AzamHussain. When mainstream scholars hold back information that they know is correct but choose to withhold it they knowingly mislead people and disrespect their congregations. The most pertinent example is the subject of this post. When Dr. Wadud was getting (much more than) harassed for leading prayer in NYC, Hamza Yusuf didn’t say a darn thing. Now, years later, he finally admits that, yes, there was debate on the issue and some scholars say it’s just fine for a woman to lead men in prayer. Where was he back then? While I appreciate his and other’s contributions to the American Muslim community, this tendency among ‘mainstream scholars’ to err on the conservative side while withholding the full story still rubs me the wrong way.

This is just one reason why I choose to read the Qur’an in solitude, and not through the lens of the ‘scholars,’ whoever they may be.

Now for a personal note: A big thank you to Dr. Amina Wadud for pushing this issue in our time. I’m afraid the discussions surrounding women’s spaces in mosques (let alone, women leading prayer) would not have happened had it not been for her. May God bless you a thousand blessings, and thank you for being an inspiration to me when we first met in 1999 when I was 16– at the Islamic Hinterland conference in Toronto.

Which reminds me to thank Rahat Kurd and everyone else who made the Islamic Hinterland conference possible. In other words, BIG HUGS.

You can watch the entire discussion here. Here is a transcript of the video clip above plus what he said afterward, to give you some more context:

Now, in terms of what is legitimate renovation*[9] or ‘tajdeed’, I would argue that the Islamic tradition is a vast tradition. The Islamic tradition is largely un-read. Even people now that are studying in ‘madrasahs’, studying at Shar’ia colleges do not go deeply into this tradition. This is simply a fact. One of the things – I’ll give you one example. When I wrote a paper on female prayer, because this was an issue a few years ago, years ago when I was a student in Mauritania, I remembered in a book that Ibn Ayman from the Malaki madhab considered female prayers was permissible, and I remember as a twenty-one year old student underlining that; and I actually went back to the book and found my underlining of that statement. When I studied the prayer issue, I was so stuck by the fact that not only was it debated early on, but there were multiple opinions. Imam Tabari considered it permissible for women to lead the prayer if they were more qualified than men – to lead men in prayer. Ibn Taymiyah himself permitted women to lead men in prayer if they were illiterate and she was literate. He just said that she should lead from the back because she might distract the men if she was leading from the front. Ibn Taymiyeh! Permitting a woman to lead men in prayer!

This is the tradition, it’s all there. People have no idea how many of these issues were already examined and discussed, and erudition and energy went into this so if you look, I would argue*[10] that the Islamic tradition has within itself all of the needs to renovate the house, but it’s going to take an immense amount of intellectual energy, it’s going to take very highly qualified people which necessitates institutions that can train and produce the types of people that are needed to engage in this activity.

‘Usul ul –fiqh’, which is one of the great – it is essence the philosophy of legislation in the Islamic tradition – much of the Qur’an and the hadith is in fact closer to what we would call ‘constitutional Law’ in the west. It’s not Statute Law. The Prophet, peace be upon him, gives far more constitutional expressions in legal injunctions than he ever gives cut and dry statute law – ‘do this, don’t do that.’ He leaves things open. There’s an immense amount of ambiguity in the hadiths; this was known early on. There are very few verses of the Qur’an and hadith that are considered as what is known as ‘qat’iatil dilala’, which is where the understanding of the expression is absolute; that we know exactly what it means. It often holds two, three, four, five, six meanings and you get all these multiple interpretations.

The other thing that is so extra-ordinary about our early scholars is that they were very well aware of what we would call ‘fallibalism’ – that they were not dictating ‘God’s Law’ in their jurisprudence. They were dictating the ‘mujtahid’ or the individual’s understanding of God’s Law. In fact even Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziya in I’laam ul Muwaqqi’een has a chapter entitled ”The Prohibition of Calling a Fatwa ‘The Ruling of God “. The Prohibition of Calling a Fatwa the Ruling of God! The ‘fatwa’ is a personal opinion of a ‘mujtahid’ in attempting to understand the intention of a text.

Moreover, the fatwa was known and understood to be specific in many cases to time and place. This is another aspect of fatwa’s that are rarely understood even amongst people that are trained in classical Islamic education. The Hanafi*[11] school believes that the place actually affects the ruling, even though the other schools do not in the Sunni tradition. So if you’re in England, there are certain rulings that would be permissible here that might not be permissible in another place. Other scholars argue ‘no’, but these are the differences of opinion and nuances – this is another aspect – the Muslims have always recognised diversity and differences of opinion, but we have what are called ‘thawabit’ and ‘mutaghayyirat’’ in our Islamic tradition. The ‘thawabit’ are things that do not change: they cannot be reformed. One of them is our basic understanding of God, our basic understanding of Prophecy, our basic understanding of eschatology, of what happens after life; these things are fixed and eternal, they do not change with time and place. God is all powerful, omniscient. He speaks and he has no gender even if we use gender language to express the divine by the limitations of language, but Muslim theologians were always clear that there was no gender to God – God is neither male nor female. Transcendent.

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  1. Nahida says:

    Oh this is fantastic! I’m so excited!

    From some personal experience, I can tell you that mainstream scholars knew this all along. They just didn’t share it with people, and that upset me greatly.

    Yes yes yes thank you!

    I love Dr. Amina Wadud and stalk her accordingly.

  2. Serenity says:

    You do realize that he doesn’t actually “admit” it, right? He just says that certain Islamic scholars, among them Ibn Taymiyyah and Al-Tabari, said that women are Islamically permitted to lead men in prayer, with certain conditions.

    Nonetheless, his admitting that these scholars (especially Ibn Taymiyyah!) said that is a huge breakthrough and worth celebrating!

  3. Taqwa says:

    thank you for posting this,
    however, i would disagree with the way you delivered the message, this is not about Sheikh Hamza Yusuf admitting to anything, knowledge is something that is accumulated, and you can be corrected along the way the more knowledge we gain, and Islam is a big ocean to cover, Sheikh Hamza Yusuf simply laid down the facts as he knew them till that point vs. actually hiding that for so long and now coming clean about it!

    i’m a woman too, and this is good knowledge to know and be aware of but i think the western feminism took over some people where they would take this as victory or a full on PASS on woman leading in prayer when if Islam made it permissible it’s only to be things easier and flexible for Muslims WHEN time and CONDITIONS demand it.

  4. ahmad.husain says:

    I think you are reading your own bias into his statements. He is simply saying that these things have been discussed before. Some scholars have held these opinions before but they were not accepted.You seem to think every opinion is equally valid which is not true.
    The title is misleading: “admits it’s permissible” is not correct, as it makes it seem like this is his personal opinion or fatwa. “Admits there is a difference of opinion” would be better; in which case, it’s hardly controversial, as the details of this difference of opinion can be found in the major works of fiqh. (See Ibn Rushd’s Bidayat al-Mujtahid or Imam Nawawi’s al-Majmu’, etc.)

    There’s a difference of opinion with regards to the permissibility of Alchohol (excluding wine). Should the ‘ulama start giving fatwa on that opinion, allowing the ummah to go and drink beer? This was the opinion of the early scholars of Kufa. The mufta bihi position of the hanafi madh-hab was not on this position for a reason.

  5. m says:

    Respectfully, I disagree with your statement that Hamza Yusuf kept this information hidden – please see this article he published in 2007 – available for download here – https://www.yousendit.com/dl?phi_action=app/orchestrateDownload&rurl=http%253A%252F%252Fwww.yousendit.com%252Ftransfer.php%253Faction%253Dbatch_download%2526batch_id%253DM0RxQ3QvcGswVW52Wmc9PQ – that describes in depth both the extent of scholarly disagreement on the issue, as well as what appears to be his personal opinion. According to what you wrote (I haven’t watched the video), he isn’t saying anything different today than he said in 2007.

    That being said, there are multiple problems with his article.

    first, he idealizes the uniformity of the practice of Islam in mosques to demonstrate that Islam is uniformly practiced according to the Sunnah of the Prophet, and is unchanging in that respect – right down to what people wear to prayer. And then unfairly juxtaposes that with seeming “differences” in devotional practice of other religious such as Christianity and Judaism by citing, for example, their diversity in dress. (This is so odd. Has he not seen the amazing amount of diversity in dress by both those leading prayer and the congregants? Hasn’t he himself seen how converts often adopt “ethnic” dress (even dress unrelated to the Prophet (saw) himself, but related to Muslim peoples from around the world- Pakistani for example) in order to be more “Muslim”?) This is just one example from the article- there are a few more. But if his argument is strong, he doesn’t need to rely on comparisons that clearly idealize one side and demonize another, right?

    second, There’s something I don’t understand… if so much information from these many “lost” schools of Islamic thought has truly been lost – burned, destroyed, etc…. why do people like Hamza Yusuf act as if the only possible interpretations of things are those that have survived? There are so many reasons that the four remaining schools have flourished that are not simply religious – political, economic, etc – and why the others did not – that I don’t understand this strict adherence to “if we don’t have a record of it in Islamic history then it can’t possible have been an opinion”. Did the Prophet Mohammad (saw) tell Muslims that our only valid interpreters were of the four schools?

    It seems to me that the Prophet (saw) was flexible… he considered the needs of his people during the time in which they lived… according to the words of most contemporary Muslim scholars I have heard – especially American Muslim scholars- we are supposed to be doing the same. After all, Allah willed that we are born into the time we live in – and the time we live in – the society in which we live – the context in which we exist – that is what we have been given to deal with and it is in relation to that society/time, etc, that we will be judged. Maybe I’m wrong – but how could we be judged on the basis of a time or context in which we were NOT living? There are so many verses in the Qur’an related to past generations and how they died out, and how we should see them as Signs…. anyway, this is very long so, good luck getting through my ramblings.

    And Hijabman, thanks for letting me go off on a tangent on your journal about an article I brought up…. 😀

  6. hijabman says:

    You’re welcome :-)

    But again, the article you mention was published in 2007. In 2005?, during the whole Dr. Wadud prayer thing his tone was mighty different.

    And this is sort of a spinoff of my initial point imho: “second, There’s something I don’t understand… if so much information from these many “lost” schools of Islamic thought has truly been lost – burned, destroyed, etc…. why do people like Hamza Yusuf act as if the only possible interpretations of things are those that have survived?”

    • dawud786 says:

      interesting, too, that Hijabman selectively quotes and leaves out the point that connects the opinion of al-Tabari, ibn Taymiyyah and Hamza Yusuf: that the prayer is led from the back.

      it is strange that we associate standing in front of the mosque to leading it, or that the back of the mosque to weakness – is the spine the weakest part of the body? or the neck the weakest part of the head?

    • dawud786 says:

      last I heard, we prayed facing the qiblah, not the imam.

      none of this is to say women do not deserve leadership roles; they clearly do. it is just to say that giving the khutbah or dars was deemed to be a role that women scholars did, following the sunnah of Ayesha, Allah be pleased with her; while male scholars led the prayer.

      the wife of the Prophet led an army, yet is not suggested that she also demanded to lead the salah. Umar, Allah be pleased with him, appointed a muslim woman to police the bazaar with a lash to punish malfeasance, and he famously struck his son when he offered the same opinion Umar had previously given, that women should not attend the mosques, saying Dare you say MY OPINION when I have told you what the Messenger of Allah says

      clarification on this: watch the video

    • Marghoob says:

      As it is Shari masla, woman can be Imam of women but can’t be Imam for men, if any women were eligible, was our mother Hazrat Ayesha razi Allah tala unha!
      And Jang e jamal (battle of Basra or battle of Camel) was the best time for it, with all due respect to All Sahabe karam razi Allah annah I am not saying who was wrong or right but the massage from this battle is Clear at least for me ……….. Allah Subhana Tala knows best………. And sorry if anyone disagrees with my comments ……..

    • Mohgul says:

      Extract from “Women of Sufism”
      A Hidden Treasure
      Writings and stories of Mystic Poets, Scholars and Saints
      Selected and introduced by: Camille Adams Helminski

      In the early days of the Muslim community, there were women who made the call to prayer, and there were also women who led the ritual prayer not only for women but also for men. In particular, Umm Waraqa bint Abdullah, who was trained by Muhummad himself, acted as the prayer leader for her whole tribe.

      Lady Nafisa, who was known as the “jewel of knowledge” and “the mother of the helpless,” was the great-granddaughter of Hasan, son of Lady Fatima and Imam Ali. Nafisa married Ishaq, son of Imam Jafar as-Sadiq.

      She was reputed to know the Qur’an and the commentaries by heart and was so versed in religious knowledge that even her great contemporary, the Imam al-Shafi, used to come and listen to her discourses and enter into discussions with her; the degree of his respect for the scholarship of this saintly woman and for her sanctity also, may be judged from the fact that he used to pray with her the special prayers for Ramadan.

      Whenever Al-Shafi would fall ill, he would send word with a messenger to Nafisa asking for her prayers and as soon as the messenger would return to Al-Shafi he would find him recovered from his ailment. When he came down with his fatal illness he again sent his messenger to Lady Nafisa but this time she told the messenger to go back and tell Al-Shafi’I that “God had blessed him with the pleasure of seeing His Noble Face”….Al-Shafi knew his time had come to make his final preparation. He made his last will and testament, asking that Lady Nafisa perform the funeral prayers for him when he died. When the imam died, his body had to be brought to her house because she was so weak due to her constant fasting and worship that she could not leave her house….

    • Imran Hameed says:


      Dude it sounds like you are contorting his words to fit your agenda. Yes it was discussed – and yes it was dismissed by the vast vast majority. Just like it is being discussed in a much more shallow manner today – and being dismissed by the vast vast majority again.

      There are several small minority opinions out there – least of all the use of terrorism being legitimate.

      There is nothing to hide – this is a matter of public and historical record.

      I commend you reading the Quran in solitude – but the smarter thing to do is learn from everyone as you have alluded to in some other post.

      We should have the courage to question our own assumptions – with four fingers pointing to myself.

      Imran Hameed.

    • Aminu Baba says:


      Assalamu ala man’ittaba’al huda,
      A’udhu billahi min ash-Shaitani-r-Rajeem, bi Ismillahi-r-Rahmanir-Raheem

      Fa bashshir ibad, alladhina yastami’unal qaula fa yattabi’una ahsanahu (Q39:18)
      Wa ma yulaqqaahaa illadhina sabaru, wa ma yulaqqaahaa (Q41:35)
      I open with an exclusive greeting/peace prayer to all those who sincerely want guidance to suffice the diversity of the readers of this humble piece. Of the two verses I quoted from the holy Qur’an, the first describes true worshippers as “those who listen to advice and follow the best thereof. They are the ones whom Allah has guided, they are the people of understanding”. The second verse goes on to explain the attributes of these people thus; “No one attains the lofty virtues of piety and its fruits (al-Jannah) except those who patiently adhered to the rope of Allah, no one attains that except the most fortunate ones. May Allah make you, the reader, and this humble servant, one of those fortunate ones. Indeed Allah has the power to make anything happen.
      I was prompted to do this rejoinder after seeing big headlines screaming “Hamza Yusuf Finally Admits It’s Permissible For Women To Lead Men In Prayer” in the following site; http://hijabman.com/journal/hamza-yusuf-finally-admits-its-permissible-for-women-to-lead-men-in-prayer/ which apparently is the main source from which a member of the group; Multiculturalism-PluralismGroup@yahoogroups.com, named Zina Khan, through message No. 96187 is trying to resucitatate this weird belief that has since been put to rest through educative rejoinders by knowledgeable Muslims. Even though in their analysis, hijabman admitted that “he does not say what his personal opinion is regarding this issue”, they still went ahead quoting brother Hamzah Yusuf making definitive statements supporting this deviant view point. Since it is not allowed for a Muslim to spread falsehood or mis-information and confusion among believers, I felt it is my duty as well as any true Muslim, to clear the air once again and put this destructive propaganda back to sleep.
      In the first place I would not like to believe that the respected American Islamic evangelist made the following statements concerning the issue of women leading prayers as alleged; “on every issue, there were multiple opinions. Specifically on the issue of women leading men in prayer”. This is surprising coming from a supposedly enlightened Muslim, who has in front of him the Book of Allah, verses; 2:2, 3:5, 3:60, 9:33, 17:81, 25:1, 17:105 and many others, stressing the universal truth and clarity of the message of the Qur’an as it also attests of itself in 4:82. There is no ambiguity or contradiction in the Muhkamat (judiciary) verses of the Qur’an and therefore there should be no difference in opinion whatsoever in any significant matter concerning the religion of Islam as explained by the prophet (S.A.W) in (innal halala bayyinun wa innal harama bayyinun………Bukhari and Muslim) and in (man ya ish minkum fa sa yara ikhtilafan kathiran, alaikum bi sunnati…………Abu Dawud and Tirmithy). Where we are in doubt or there is dispute between us on any matter, we are clearly directed in 4:59 to refer it to the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of His messenger, or to the people of knowledge as in 4:83, until everything becomes absolutely clear. Therefore the best and most honorable course of action for any of these brothers parading themselves, or being hyped by Shaytan, as living encyclopedia of Islamic knowledge, is to either come down from their high horse and go back to school or simply say “I DON’T KNOW”, rather dabble in matters they are not quite clear about(man kana yu’minu billahi wal yaumil akhiri fal ya qul khairan au liyasmut…Bukhari and Muslim; min husni islamil mar’I tarkuhu ma la ya’niihi, Tirmithy)
      And the following; “al-Tabari held that women can lead men in prayer if they are more qualified. In addition, Ibn Taymiyya also held that if a woman was literate while the men in the congregation were not, she could lead them in prayer”. This is surely not the opinion of at-Tabari. As is usual with at-Tabari, in his Tafsir, which is in line with his well known methodology, he states all the authenticated narrations explaining the verses. Sometimes he even includes extreme opinions and in Islam you don’t regard a deviant opinion as a difference in opinion. You don’t even use it as a basis for supporting a form of worship (see 4:115 and 24:63). I checked the entire 28 volumes of his Tafsir under the subject of prayer and I can’t locate where he made this statement. Besides at-Tabari wrote and entire book in which he documented the issues of Fiqhu in which scholars have differed and you can’t find women leadership of prayers as a subject of dispute. I therefore challenge anybody to show where at-Tabari established and justified this practice. Even if indeed at-Tabari voiced that opinion it should be regarded as such and no respected scholar should cite as a basis for supporting any aspect of worship since it flies in the face of authentic Sunnah.
      Ibn Taymiyah was also said to have made the following elaboration according to Dr. Hamzah; “Ibn Taymiyah himself permitted women to lead men in prayer if they were illiterate and she was literate. He just said that she should lead from the back because she might distract the men if she was leading from the front”! (emphasis mine).
      This is incredible and clearly ridiculous even on the face of the bare statement. To make this foolish assertion and ascribe it to an erudite, intelligent and God-fearing scholar like Ibn Taymiyah is a crime of the highest order and whoever is peddling this stupidity should remember to face Allah on the day of judgement with the evidence. In the first place ibn Taymiyah, or any scholar for that matter, has no right to permit or not to permit anything in Islam (they always forget that Islam is not Christianity!). Secondly the most authoritative source of ibn Taymiyah’s opinions is his Fataawah (legal pronouncements) and the above foolish statements cannot be sighted in any of the entire 34 volumes of this work!.

      Having said that, and before we examine the ramifications of this deviance furthet, let us see requirements for an Imam in Islam. These qualifications were prescribed by the prophet (S.A.W) and obeyed to the letter by his noble and loyal companions (wa qaaloo sami’naa wa ata’naa….2:285). They were meticulously adhered to by their successors and established as the acceptable practice ever since and passed on from generation to generation, without any adulteration, doubt or rebellion, even from the divisive sects. But before I recapitulate them here, I would like to challenge all the so-called renovators and revisionists to cite just one single case during the time of the prophet, or at any time during the reign of the four rightly guided caliphs, the exalted period of Barakah, where a woman was asked to lead a group of men in prayers, or to administer a town or a village, or even to deputise for an Amir (governor), or to lead any delegation or expedition anywhere during this revered period. They can’t find any single instance, none!. All the fringe cases they have are exceptions where a woman temporarily led her fellow women as an exigency. This is because our predecessors, the fore fathers of this religion, are not like us; cynical and seditious. They understood clearly the prophetic Sunnah (religious principles and practice) when he ordered; “A woman should not lead your prayers nor a miscreant or promiscuous Muslim, unless you’re coerced by a ruler or you fear for your life or your freedom” (reported by ibn Majah). Ustadhah Zaynab Mansour Ansari in response to a question at Sunnipath.com, did an articulate rejoinder concerning this scandal way back in 2005, in which she noted and I quote; “Most significantly, the Prophet, may Allah bless him and give him peace, commanded us, “Pray as you have seen me pray.” (Bukhari) It was his practice to have men pray in front of women. The greatest female companions and Ahl al-Bait – the likes of Aisha, Fatima, Zaynab, Hafsa, Umm Salama, and others, all deeply learned, courageous, and pious women, never went on record as having led a congregation of men”. All those brothers and especially sisters that are being brain washed by heretics in North America should go back and refer to this article by a fellow woman: http://qa.sunnipath.com/issue_view.asp?HD=7&ID=6805&CATE=3600
      The most qualified to lead a group of believers in prayers is he who has the most memory of Qur’anic verses, then the most conversant with the Sunnah, then the most pious and finally the oldest among them, in that order(Sahih Muslim). This is how the order is to be implemented according to the prophet (S.A.W) in descending order:
      1. The one with the highest memory of the verses of the holy Qur’an is chosen

      2. Where there are two or more with same level of memorization, the most conversant with the Sunnah is preferred

      3. If they happen to posses the same level of knowledge of the book of Allah and the Sunnah of His messenger, then the predecessor among them in Hijrah is chosen

      4. If they posses the same level of knowledge of the book and Sunnah and migrated at the same time, then
      the most pious among them is chosen

      5. If they posses the same level of knowledge of the book and Sunnah and migrated at the same time, and their level of piety is adjudged to be the same, then the
      oldest in age is chosen (Abu Dawood, imam Ahmad, Nasaa’i and others)
      The exception laid out by the prophet is where prayer leadership concerns a family, then it is the head of that family who is entrusted with leadership. The same applies to a ruler in his kingdom (Sahih Muslim). He is the automatic imam or his appointee, even if he does not fulfill the above conditions for the reasons already stated (despotism). Under this subject, it is permissible for a woman to lead her female family members where she happens to be the leader of the family by positioning herself in the middle of the front row (hadith of Waraqatu bintu Naufal from Abu Dawood). This, as well as many other exceptions, can be found in Islam and they are aimed at affording the woman as much latitude as would enable her participate in the same worship rituals as the man without unnecessarily compromising her nature.
      Finally it is significant to note that while there is complete unanimity among the leading scholars of the religion concerning absolute prohibition of women leadership, prohibition of a woman calling the Adhan (call to prayer) and prohibition of the woman pronouncing the Iqamah (Starting the prayer), there is also complete unanimity that the attendance of the congregational prayer by the woman is not an obligatory duty, it is optional, while for the man it is obligatory. On the contrary, there so many sound hadiths from the prophet (S.A.A.S) in which he emphasized that the prayer of a woman in her home is better (also see 33:33 and 34). Why then should any sane human being go all out for the good and ignore the better?. In my opinion, it is only an unchaste woman that would be struggling to compete with men, not only in Masjids but in every aspects of leadership. In fact Aisha (R.A) was reported as lamenting; “Had Allah’s Apostle known what the women were doing, he would have forbidden them from going to the mosque as the women of Bani Israel had been forbidden.”. And she was referring to the women of her own time!. This made me to infer that if Sayyidatuna Aisha have seen what the women of globalization under the leadership of Amina Wadud and Asra Nomani were doing to Islam, she would have cursed and banished them as apostates!.

      To those latter day advocates of feminine equality disguised as Muslims let them solve this poser: Assuming their wishes were allowed into mainstream Islam and women are accepted equally with men to lead prayer and you wake up to find the leader of your local Masjid is a woman and as she was leading (mark you you should’nt look at her back side as she is bowing down) suddenly her menstruation starts and she must stay off prayers during this period, Now for some women it lasts as long as 15 days after which it is adjuged as an ailment and the woman can resume her prayers . So for 15 days in a month you don’t have an imam (“Imamatu”?), the deputy if he were male, takes over during this period. Is this a serious shortcoming or not?. Now assuming the deputy is a woman and her’s started just as she is barely 1 or 2 days on to the “throne” and suddenly you find yourselves leaderless. So you come to a decision to appoint a third imam (even though the norm is for two only but in this game, no rule is sacrosanct, the renovators are in action!) and after a long argument (why not, they are confusionists remember?) the feminine side finally carried the day because they happen to be more knowledgeable, or more vocal, and a fourth “Imamatu” (note this point: in Arabic a woman cannot be called Imam, among the reasons why they slated it for renovation) is appointed to carry on with the prayers. If this “democratic” confusion is allowed to go on your local Masjid could have as many as 15 women prayer leaders!. What about when all the fifteen of them kept on consecutively delivering babies and they are supposed to absent from prayers for 40 to 60 days, what do we have?. Crises at hour hands!, we may have to do without congregational prayers for at least two years!!. Now all these are possible events that are natural to the woman. Mark you all this is under the assumption that the woman is a spinster. I did not factor in instances where the “Imamatu” is married and happens to get divorced by her husband (assuming that divorce is not on the cards for renovation) or the husband died. Under the present, unrenovated Islam, as we inherited from our prophet, Salla Allahu alaihi wa Aalihi wa Sallam (S.A.A.S), the “Imamatu” has to get confined in her house for between 30 to 90 days!. Tell me a better description of Chaos?. Therefore since Islam is not madness and considering the great responsibility on the shoulders of an imam, Islam discriminates by relieving the woman of this responsibility. It does so in order to dignify and not to belittle her. There are so many great provisions made solely for the protection of her sanctity and which ennobles the believing woman in the Qur’an and the Sunnah that she does’nt have to hassle and battle for anything. These provisions, together with personal examples set by the prophet (S.A.W) in his dealings with his wives and the wives of his companions and the place of women during his time, are so many that I cannot cover without delving into another subject entirely. So many scholars have written on “the place of women in Islam” that no western Muslim should feel guilty about anything. They should be reminded that they are in a higher moral ground when it comes to this issue. They don’t have to renovate anything in Islam non-the-least putting up their women as leaders in Masjids to prove anything. The way a western woman looks at equality as I tried to elucidate earlier on, is different from that of a Muslim woman because of their different paradigms.

      All the four schools of thought from which over 90% of Muslims derive the laws governing their daily lives (see Q51:56 and 3:85) are unanimous that it is forbidden for women to lead men in prayers. There is no difference of opinion among them on this issue. It must be stressed that the four imams do not disagree on fundamental matters and women leadership is very fundamental in Islam. It is surprising therefore to hear someone saying;
      “I remembered in a book that Ibn Ayman from the Malaki madhab considered female prayers was permissible” (emphasis mine)
      The foremost books expousing the Maliki fiqhu (Islamic jurisprudence or what the Americans call statute laws) are: 1. Mukhtasar Khalil, 2. Ar-Risalah and Mudawwanah in that order. If you check under the chapter on Imamah (leadership of prayers), the foremost enactment shall come across is that a woman cannot lead either Fard (obligatory) or Nawafil (superagatory or voluntary) prayers. Infact the Maliki school as we shall come to see, is even stricter than the others in this issue. So if it is true ibn Ayman, if he exists at all or actually made that statement and is not quoted out of context, is on purely his own like Wadud.
      Thankfully, prominent students of Imam Malik that who are well known and recognized throughout the Muslim world have written books recording his teachings. Among the most widely consulted books of Maliki fiqhu, in fact its flagship book, is Mukhtasar of Khalil which has over 1,500 commentaries. Then we have the Mudawwanah of at-Tanookhee which is a direct record of the rulings of Imam Malik by one of his prominent students, abdul-Rahman ibn al-Qasim. Then we have ar-Risalah of Abu Zaid, all of them famous Maliki students. In all these books the ruling is that the woman, the mentally ill, the child, the indecent, the unbeliever and the bisexual cannot lead either the obligatory or the superogatory prayer. In Maliki school the woman cannot lead even children. So where did a so-called ibn Ayman come in?
      Similar rulings against women leadership of prayers can be found in all flagship books representing the other schools like; al-Maj’moo’ of imam Nawawi for Shafi’iyyah, al-Mugniy of Ibn Qudamah for Hanbaliyyah, and Fiqhu al-Akhbar of al-Khamis for Hanafiyyah and all subsequent books derived from them like Minhajis-Sunnah, Minhaj al-Muslim, Salatul mu’min, Ruhul Masaa’il fiy Furu’il Fiqhu etc. Only that the ruling is a little lighter in the other schools, especially the Hanbali which allows all the members of the prohibited categories mention above to lead their likes in cases of necessity.
      Also if one checks ALL the books mentioned above and other authoritative Fiqhu books by recognized scholars, under the chapter; “the rights and duties of women to their husbands and the rights and duties of men to their wives” the foremost quotes you shall come across is the message from the noble Qur’an chapter 4 verse 34 and the generally agreed upon hadith of the prophet,(which aligns with Allah’s book Ch.66 V.6) where he says; “the man is a leader in his house and he shall be called to account for the deeds of his family” and on family matters in general and women in particular, one could refer to comprehensive enactments in Chapter 65 and 66, Ch.2 V.221-240 and Ch.4. Vs.1-35. Together with some verses of emphasis and reiterations here and there spanning the entire Qur’an, these verses spelt out in clear unambiguous terms, the rights and duties of the two sexes. It is not in the 21st century that some upstarts and revisionists would begin to discover or renovate what Allah and His noble messenger have bequeathed to the Ummah a long time ago and which have stood the test of time through regular, constant and persistent practice. Those so-called revisionists or renovators should know that by whatever deceitful phrase they try to camouflage it, innovation is clearly discernible from its antonym by a circumspect Muslim and there is absolutely no innovation in Islam. You can’t bend the rules of Islam to fit the whims and caprices of despotic perverts and dubious cultures. Conversely, Islam came to purify these deviant and misguided worldly cultures which breed corruption, lewdness and injustice. The light and spirit of Allah’s revelation are aimed at the hearts of reasonable individuals to repent so that the world could be made a just and lovely place (Q7:56&58)


      Take a second look at this picture; a misguided woman in front of a handful of some miscreants “making history”!.

      Since her media orchestrated perversion that Friday afternoon in May, 2005, a sober observer would notice that Amina Wadud increased in popularity among the wrong audience, the Unbelievers, while her status diminished before God and His true servants (Q5:51). She suddenly rose up from total obscurity to the altar of “an internationally known scholar”, “a consultant on Islam” “the famous Islamic feminine rights advocate” and so on (Q68:9). The western media, largely owned by the Jews orchestrated and over-reported the event despite the fact that only a handful of miscreants answered her call for the prayers. To suit their anti-islamic propaganda, they awarded her dubious honours like “professor of Islamic studies at Virginia Commonwealth University”, “visiting scholar at Starr King School”, costumed and set her up to mount the rostrum at lectures, seminars and symposia in the U.S and some puppet countries, with scanty miss-road audience to boot. All her arrangee talks were sponsored by institutions controlled by hypocrites. Records of junk materials, including her “books”; Qur’an and Woman: “Re-reading the Sacred Text from a Woman’s Perspective” and “Inside the Gender Jihad: Reform in Islam” were given special places in the libraries of these institutions which hitherto were not known to be positively associated with anything Islam or Muslims.

      Amina Wadud appears to me as a confused lady who has a warped understanding of Islam and is being used by the enemies of truth to propagate confusion among the ranks of serious Muslims. Perhaps right from her “conversion” she was unfortunate to acquire the knowledge of the religion of Islam from a corrupt teacher. Check-out her profile, all her Islamic knowledge were obtained either from Orientalists or from obscure institutions that have neither recognised Islamic faculties nor respected Islamic scholars. To compound matters, she went to Egypt and studied philosophy!. This wrong training perhaps misled her to believe she can bend the interpretation of the Qur’an to suit western feminism. If only she were to patiently calm down and enter the house through its doors, she would have discovered all the facilities and provisions she was struggling to grab right inside it. Islam is incompatible with western feminism. The western woman (I shall come to the men when next we hear of a man leading prayers in mini skirts or something of that sort) suddenly woke up to find the Christian religion, the religion she was exposed to from childhood, as inadequate and hypocritical. It can no longer serve her culture of unrestrained freedom. In the first place she was nurtured to acquire this latter culture and behaviour due to absence of sound religious precepts governing the conduct of her daily life. Religion in the West has been bastardised, subjugated and relegated to the background (see Conflict Between Historicism And Positivism). She therefore grew up to sub-consciously abhor religion even though she needs it for some kind of spiritual support, when things go wrong. She looked at religion as something to be used on some specific occasions and then dumped. In her irrational attempt to catch up with men, she abandoned the home for the street, relegating the care of her children to formulated milk, nannies and day care centers. She even tried to put a stop to conception through the pill and recently we have Silicon breasts and artificial buttocks. This crazy drive to alter Allah’s natural order of creation (see has finally landed the West into the sex-change procedure, where we find more females wanting to change to males (see 4:119). The world is now battling with the multifarious consequences of these wayward practices just like it is with climate change and organic foods. In addition to Allah’s natural creation of the Male and Female (M&F), the West now have LGBT. The forms in the west must now have six columns for an individual to choose from, instead of two. Very soon they will have a pill to stop menstruation all together so that women don’t have to bother about monthly pills. In that case my scenario above shall be thrown overboard. Since they never knew that there is Islam, a natural religion, a religion entirely different from the one they grew up in, new converts like Amina Wadud had that inherent feeling that they could treat Islam the same way as Christianity, forgetting that Islam means total submission. They ignore the conditions laid out in Q2:208 and 60:12
      Wa ma lahum bihi min ilmin in yattabi’una illa adh-dhann wa tahwal anfus…(53:28)

      Look at the picture once again. According to the screaming headlines, by the Jewish media, she “made history”, meaning she has done something that was never done before her (wa laa ya zaaloona yuqaatiloonakum…2:217). The terrifying implication is that she has left a trail of evidence against her even right here on earth. To those men (and one can see women in the same row!) who prayed behind Amina Wadud that Friday the 18th of May, 2005; if they are asked by Allah on the day of judgement; by whose authority did you commit such a crime (28:65), what would be your answer?. On the authority of Amina Wadud?. Let them start rehearsing Q25:26 to 29 for a befitting answer. And what would be your defence Amina Wadud?. Before you start browsing through junk traditions or fairy tales by discredited scholars, you should know that in Islam you don’t base the obligatory aspects of your worship on minority or rebellious opinions. You’re not allowed that privilege as provided in Q4:59, Islam is based on the convergence of the Ummah (loyal followers of the prophet S.A.W) or what the rebels themselves refer to as main stream Muslims. If you refuse to abide by this clear procedure prescribed in the book of Allah, then you should take His warning and be ready for the punishment promised in Q4:115.

      I would like to call the attention of those who call themselves revisionists or renovators that Islam is not Christianity. The fact that the Bible undergoes all kinds of revisions, innovations or even distortions and outright misinterpretations to suit both the clergy and the ruling class does not warrant new converts into Islam, like Amina Wadud and Asra Nomani, importing these inappropriate practices into Islam. They called themselves progressive (PMUNA) whereas they are actually rebels in the sight of Allah. They pretend to love the Qur’an while at the same time defying its injunctions. They should be reminded that Islam is complete (see Q5:3) and is not in any need of innovation or importation from other religions (see Q3:19) and the hadith of Aisha, the beloved wife of the prophet (S.A.W), related by Buhari and Muslim, where she said the prophet warned; “Whoever brings into this affair of ours what does not belong to it, it is rejected” reiterating Allah’s warning in Q3:85 and the length hadith of Irbat ibn Sariyyah (R.A) where he report the prophet counseling in one of his last sermons; “….Sufficient for you is my tradition and the traditions of the rightly guided successors, the beacons of guidance. Beware of revisions. For every revision is an innovation and every innovation is a blunder and all blunders lead to hellfire”.
      The prophet (S.A.A.S) was reported in a famous tradition is forecasting that the Muslims are going to imitate the Jews and the Christians in every step they took which led them astray. Here we are now, faced with this stark reality.
      In their capricious stupor, these Westernised renegade Muslims feel they can bring into Islam everything they see being done in the Church. The Christians introduced women Pastors into their religion and they feel we Muslims too must have a woman Imam. Assuming, God forbid, they had their way, these lost souls would not stop at that. They would continue agitating until our mosques turn into singing and dancing arenas and finally to miracle centres, thereby achieving the ultimate goals of the Advocates of Chrislam! (Wahdatul Adyaan)

      The superiority of man over woman in Islam with regards to the form of worship, in authority and responsibility, in nature of applicable rules, is absolutely non-negotiable, non renovateable as clearly empowered by Allah in the aforementioned verses. This was the widely accepted rule and practice throughout the Muslim world from the prophet’s time till the present day of “the quartet” and “shared values”. Everybody, men and women alike, accepted this fact because not only does it make sense as a law of God, it also conforms to the law of nature. Man is responsible for looking after the family in all civilised cultures of the world. He seeks for the hand of the woman in marriage, initiates courtship and the procreation process. Due to reverence and to show the authority of man over the woman, the noble prophet (S.A.W) was reported as saying; “If I were to direct any soul to bow down in worship to another, I would have ordered the woman to bow down to her husband” (Abu Dawood, Tirmithiy, Hakim and ibn Majah as authentic and sound tradition). And in another tradition he was reported as saying; “if a husband beckons his wife to his bed and she refuses thereby displeasing him, the angels shall continue to curse her till morning” (Bukhariy and Muslim).


      The above picture of ““Imamatu”” Amina Wadud in action together with that of mature, bare shouldered, bare headed ladies in trousers and body hugging dresses walking side by side with ear-ringed, hair-plaited men and gay prostitutes on our streets of today, just about sums up the message intended under this heading; i.e among the signs of the last hour like floods, strong winds and earth quakes which have already appeared in our time is the above picture of a woman leading a group of men in prayers.
      However if even in the face of all the overwheliming evidence this rebellious group still wants to carry their selfish agenda through, then let them by all means go ahead (fa man sha’a fal yu’min wa man sha’a fal yakfur….18:24). They have been foretold by the prophet(S.A.W) to among those that will devide this religion inspite of Allah warning (42:13) into 73 groups out of which only one shall be successful (firqatun najiyah), the rest ending up in hell fire. When the prophet (S.A.W) was asked which group shall be the successful one, he said the one that adhered to what you and I have held on to. On another occasion he said it is the Mainstream Muslims(wa hiya al-Jama’ah). So the phrase mainstream Muslims”, coined by some confused souls is a very important and dignified title endorsed by Allah in Qur’anic verses and Hadith of the prophet(S.A.W) exclusively for the firqatun najiyah. We should hold on to it till we meet at the blessed spring of al-Kauthar in sha Allah. Even then the difference mentioned is in regards to leading her fellow women. It is distractive therefore for Hamza Yusuf to bring this minority view here, if at all he made the statement which, I still do not want to believe he did, since in matters of worship, fringe opinions count for nothing.

      I would like to conclude by putting the issue of women liberalism and Islam in its proper perspective while at the same time stressing my stand on the subject. To begin with Iam the prophet (S.A.W) in a Hadith al-Qudsi said that Allah Azza wa Jalla loves the world and what is in it but that nothing is dearer to Him than a virtuous woman. The question is who qualifies as a virtuous woman?. We need to goo no farther than the Qur’an to obtain our answer. It is indeed the woman who obeys the command of Allah in Sura 24, verse 31 and Surah 33, verse 59. Therefore let us be sincere in all our actions. Lets look at all those women in the vanguard for women liberation did they adhere to the book of Allah and the Sunnah of His messenger in their personal conduct?. If you want to clean up the society you should first and foremost clean up yourself (Jihad an-Nafs). He who comes to equity must come with clean hands. On the other hand Iam not completely dismissing feminine agitation in Islam especially in these times when the men have neglected their leadership roles, taking it for granted. We have corrupt Judges in our courts and indolent Imams leading our daily and Jumu’ah prayers. This is a topic in its own right. Therefore Iam absolutely convinced that women are getting less than fair deals in different parts of the world, with the issue taking different shapes and dimensions depending on the region of the world. They are exploited and/or, relegated to less than befitting roles which suppresses their full potential in contributing to societal developement. Notably, this problem cuts across religion and culture and it is a fact that Islam in its true essence, came to obviate rather than exacerbate the problem. Let us now give it a closer look. In my own part of the world, which is West Africa, the women are exploited mainly through internal and external Sex-Trade. You find young school age girls being sexually abused even by their teachers. Then we have cases discrimination in marital disputes, inheritance and divorce with complicity of the authorities. Other issues that are increasingly becoming less gender-sensitive are poor education and health care. The form of exploitation in the West is where the woman is increasingly being treated as a sex object. For instance she is an advertisement object, a beauty pageant or a fashion model striding through cat walks showing-off her nudity for living. Nowadays she must be in the front covers of tabloids, bill boards, movies and entertainment centers, displaying her body in semi-nude attires to attract customers. This is sex-trade the advanced world version. While the innocent African girl is trafficked between W.Africa and Europe in most cases without her consent and knowledge of the full implications of what she is heading into, her Western counterpart plunges into fully conscious albeit in an advanced and more sophisticated fashion. In the end it is the advertising and entertainment moguls that are the better for it and the woman enjoys a temporary spell of good living while her beauty lasts. Recently though, all forms of artificial body enhancements have been devised by the sex industry to make this enjoyment period last longer for the woman. These range from face-lifts and skin grafting, to slimming operations, down to entire breasts and buttocks implants. These are the serious issues I expect the American Muslim Women Liberation League to stand up to and fight if they are sincere and not to dissipate their energies fighting Allah and His messenger, who brought Islam for them on a platter of gold. All they need to do is to propagate it in its sublime, unrenovated, purity as bequeathed to us from our great ancestors, who taught women to purify themselves and cover their nudity when the rest of the world was naked.
      Finally I would like to call on Sister Amina Wadud and her fellow accomplice, Asra Nomani and all those who stood behind them in prayers, to repent and come back to Allah, for he is oft forgiving, most merciful (see 39:53). It is not too late. I leave you with the following verses of the noble Qur’an. Please read and Contemplate on them;

      Yaa ayyuhalladheena amanu ittqullah wa qooloo qaulan sadeedah. Yuslih lakum a’malakum wa Yagfir lakum zunoobakum. Wa man yuti’illah wa rasoolahu faqad faza fauzan azeemah (33:70-71)
      Innallaha ya’murukum bil adli wal ihsan. Wa itai zil qurba. W aynha anil fahsha’I wal munkaru wal bagyu. Ya’izu kum la’allakum tazakkaroon (16:90)

      Assalamu Alaikum wa Rahmatullah Wa Barakatu

      Aminu Baba

    • Nahida says:

      Mohgul said exactly what I was about to. There is an incredible amount of evidence that women participated FULLY in congregational prayers–in both calling the adhan and leading. To say otherwise is to pick and choose from the sunnah. And then to ramble on about how Muslims treat women equally by making some weird analogy involving backbones is to immaturely escape the argument.

      Anyone claiming that Hijabman left anything out is on the brink of some sort of pathetic desperation–he posted the whole video and the quote that mentions exactly that, he just didn’t mention it in the rest of his article, which was his own personal commentary: he has no obligation to represent yours. You’re all perfectly capable of reading.

    • T Hoss says:

      This is just one reason why I choose to read the Qur’an in solitude, and not through the lens of the ‘scholars,’ whoever they may be.
      There is a reason we rely on scholarly interpretations of the Qur’an.

      For example, the verse about “killing the non- Believers,” when read WITHOUT the scholarly texts that clarify the context (and this is not recent, this has been for centuries) would, by most literal interpretation, mean that, well, we should “kill the non- Believers.”

      What I disagree most with you is about how you classify anyone who disagrees with your interpretation of Islam as “conservative.”

      BTW, I am just giving my honest opinion – I fully support your right to post this and I actually think that it is a good thing, we need different ideas and opinions in the Muslim community.

    • hijabman says:

      Yeah, which is why I wouldn’t ever read the Qur’an literally. Without the scholarly texts, and just reading the Qur’an you would also understand– Just like Lesley Hazleton– an agonstic jew who read the Qur’an (see: http://www.ted.com/talks/lesley_hazelton_on_reading_the_koran.html ) that ” the permission [to kill unbelievers] comes hedged about with qualifiers. Not, you must kill unbelievers in Mecca, but you can, you are allowed to, but only after a grace period is over and only if there’s no other pact in place and only if they try to stop you getting to the Kaaba, and only if they attack you first. And even then — God is merciful, forgiveness is supreme — and so, essentially, better if you don’t.This was perhaps the biggest surprise — how flexible the Koran is, at least in minds that are not fundamentally inflexible.

      “Some of these verses are definite in meaning,” it says, “and others are ambiguous. The perverse at heart will seek out the ambiguities trying to create discord by pinning down meanings”

      She didn’t need scholarly texts to realize what the Qur’an was saying.

    • Nahida says:

      In fact, knowing the language, becoming a scholar, or relying on scholarly sources is no guarantee to understanding the Qur’an. These are not prerequisites to understanding the Qur’an. People who are very familiar with the Qur’an (historical, scholarly contexts and all) derive incorrect interpretations from it and completely twist its message. The best example of this are the disbelievers who lived during the time of the Prophet, who understood exactly what the Quran was saying and didn’t need scholarly texts to put the verses in context because they WERE the context, yet failed to grasp the meaning. As the Qur’an states:

      “When you recite the Qur’an, we place an invisible barrier between you and those who do not believe in the life to come. We have put covers on their hearts that prevents them from understanding it, and heaviness in their ears.” (17:45-46)

      Only Allah (SWT) provides guidance. And anyone who says otherwise:

      “Among them is a group who distort the scripture, to make you think that what they relate is a part of the scripture, when it is not from the scripture. And they assert that it is from God, when it is not from God. Thus, they tell lies concerning God, and they are well aware of it.Never would a human being, whom God has blessed with the scripture, wisdom and prophetic office, thereafter say to people, ‘Be servants of me instead of God.’ Rather, he would say, ‘Become true devotees of the Lord since you learn and teach the Book and study it as it should be studied.’Nor would he instruct you to take angels and the Prophets for lords and patrons. What! Would he ever enjoin upon you unbelief after you have surrendered to God?” (3: 78-80)

      pretending to be an intermediary between God and the believers does not have sound judgment.

      Someone is presented with 2 interpretations: one that is austere and clearly sexist and contradicts the nature of Islam, and another that is faithful to the nature of Islam itself in that it is compassionate and embracing. There comes a point when this is not a question of intellect–it is a question of character.

    • Kristin says:

      Alhamdullilah! My husband and I were just discussing the fact that here in Fort Knox there are no Muslim services, and thus no one to lead congregational prayers. I am more knowledgable at this point than he and expressed my regret that females are not permitted to lead congregational prayers, to which he said he wasn’t so sure, I should research! I am so glad I found my answer! Allahu Akbar!

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