Woman professor leads Muslim prayer, irks Islamic leaders
Posted on : 2005-03-19| Author : Darya Zarin
News Category : General
Gender inequality in Islam took another beating when a female
professor, Amina Wadud, led
a Muslim prayer service attended by 80 to 100 men and women in
Wadud, who teaches Islamic studies at
She asserted her intentions to ‘remove the artificial and sometimes extremely inconvenient restrictions on the entry and participation of women’ in Islam. Sharply criticized by religious leaders from Muslim countries, Wadud also received malicious calls and emails, said Saleema Abdul-Ghafur of Progressive Muslim Union, the main organizer of the event.
According to Asra Nomani, another activist supporting Wadud,
the event aimed at putting the spotlight on gender inequality in not only
day-to-day Muslim life but also its spiritual aspect. Nomani
said that she and Wadud were standing up for their
rights as women in Islam. “We will no longer accept the back door or the
shadows. At the end of the day, we’ll be leaders in the Muslim world,” she
Meanwhile, around 15 protestors gathered outside the church to oppose the event. One man also tried to enter the hall, but was not allowed in by policemen who were guarding the congregation against any untoward incidents.
Wadud, who is an African American, is a convert to Islam. She is also the author of Quran and Woman: Rereading the Sacred Text from a Woman's Perspective.
According to Wadud, the Holy Quran contains no objection to women prayer leaders. To substantiate her claim, she cited the incident mentioned in the Holy Quran about Prophet Muhammad who allowed Umme Warqa to head a prayer of followers of both genders at her residence.
However, Muslim illuminati Hafiz Abdur Rehman Madani has contented that Muslim women are prohibited not only from leading prayers but also from standing among males in a mosque.