‘I Am One of the People’: A Survey and Analysis of Legal Arguments on Woman-Led Prayer in Islam
32 Pages Posted: 18 Jan 2011 Last revised: 23 Jan 2011
Date Written: January 4, 2011
This paper, written five years after the Wadud prayer, presents a survey and analysis of the various responses to female led mixed-gender congregational prayers as well as a legal argument for its default permissibility. We show that, in interpreting the Hadiths on woman-led prayer, Sunni schools of law hold a range of opinions on its permissibility. We discuss how Muslim jurists consider historical needs in their rulings, the role of female modesty in this debate, and the nature of juristic consensus. We present our own argument that unrestricted female prayer leadership is legal by default rather than an innovation as many critics have charged. Finally, we set out our own different positions on the propriety of Muslim women asserting their inclusion in the current situation.
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