‘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

Laury Silvers

University of Toronto

Ahmed Elewa

University of Massachusetts Worcester - University of Massachusetts Medical School

Date Written: January 4, 2011

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

Silvers, Laury and Elewa, Ahmed, ‘I Am One of the People’: A Survey and Analysis of Legal Arguments on Woman-Led Prayer in Islam (January 4, 2011). Journal of Law and Religion, Vol. 26, No. 1, 2010-2011. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1735071 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1735071

Laury Silvers (Contact Author)

University of Toronto ( email )

Department of Statistical Sciences
Toronto, Ontario M5S 3G8
Canada

Ahmed Elewa

University of Massachusetts Worcester - University of Massachusetts Medical School ( email )

55 Lake Avenue North
Worcester, MA 01655
United States

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