India: Kerala: Woman Imam leads Friday prayer, triggers debate

January 27, 20189:24 PM IST

Malappuram (Kerala): A 34-year-old woman has led Jumu’ah, a Friday prayer service of Muslims, here in Kerala, claimed to be the first in the history of the country.

Jamitha, the general secretary of Quran Sunnat Society, took the role of the ‘imam’ of the prayers held at the office of the Society in the Muslim-dominated district yesterday.

Jumu’ah, the congregational prayer held every Friday, is usually led by men.

Around 80 people, including women, gathered to attend the prayers, led by the woman ‘Imam’, the Society sources said.

Jamitha, known as ‘Jamitha teacher’ among her fellow people, said the Holy Quran never discriminates between men and women and Islam never stops women from being ‘imams’.

“It is for the first time that a woman is leading Jumu’ah in the history of our country. It was held at the central committee office of our Society, where we used to gather every Friday for the prayers,” she told PTI.

It was not mandatory for the Jumu’ah to be held only at mosques, she said.

Hailing from Thiruvananthapuram, Jamitha also said she would continue to lead the prayer service on Fridays.

The radical move has kicked up a wide debate for and against the practice of a woman leading Jumu’ah, on the social media.

With inputs from PTI

Categories: India

9 replies

  1. The Quran makes it clear that Women and Men are equal and have equal status in spirituality and dignity.

    “The submitting men, the submitting women, the believing men, the believing women, the obedient men, the obedient women, the truthful men, the truthful women, the steadfast men, the steadfast women, the reverent men, the reverent women, the charitable men, the charitable women, the fasting men, the fasting women, the chaste men, the chaste women, and the men who commemorate GOD frequently, and the commemorating women; GOD has prepared for them forgiveness and a great recompense.” [Quran 33:35]

    Allah gave both genders their rights and due responsibilities. Allah promises forgiveness and rewards to both men and women who obey Him

    “Their Lord responded to them: “I never fail to reward any worker among you for any work you do, be you male or female – you are equal to one another. Thus, those who immigrate, and get evicted from their homes, and are persecuted because of Me, and fight and get killed, I will surely remit their sins and admit them into gardens with flowing streams.” Such is the reward from GOD. GOD possesses the ultimate reward.” [Quran 3:195]

    As for those who lead a righteous life, male or female, while believing, they enter Paradise; without the slightest injustice. [Quran 4:124]

    Quran defends women when they face injustice due to men;

    GOD has heard the woman who debated with you about her husband, and complained to GOD. GOD heard everything the two of you discussed. GOD is Hearer, Seer. (Quran 58:1)

    The Only Criterion For Distinguishing Among The People:

    O people, we created you from the same male and female, and rendered you distinct peoples and tribes, that you may recognize one another. The best among you in the sight of GOD is the most righteous. GOD is Omniscient, Cognizant. [Quram 49:13]

  2. men and women before God are equal in terms of their religious duties (i.e. belief in God and his messenger, praying, fasting, paying zakat (charity), making Hajj.

    Surah An-Nisa’ 4:1 states that men and women are created from a single soul (nafs wahidah). One is not superior to the other.. A woman is not created for the purpose of a man . Rather, they are both created to serve God and for mutual benefit of each other.

    The Qur’an describes Muslim men and women in the following terms:

    “The believing men and believing women are allies of one another. They enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong and establish prayer and give zakah and obey Allah and His Messenger. Those – Allah will have mercy upon them. Indeed, Allah is Exalted in Might and Wise.” (Qur’an 9:71)

    The status of the Muslim woman in Islaam is a very noble and lofty one, and her effect is very great in the life of every Muslim. Indeed, the Muslim woman is the initial teacher in the building of a righteous society, providing she follows the guidance from the Qur’aan and the Prophetic tradition.

    The great importance of the Muslim woman’s role – whether as wife, sister or daughter, and the rights that are due to her and the obligations due from her have been explained in the noble Qur’aan.

    This is why from the most important obligations upon a person is to show gratitude to the mother, and kindness and good companionship with her. And in this matter, she is to be given precedence over and above the father. Allaah the Most High, says:

    “And We have enjoined upon man to be dutiful and good to his parents. His mother bore him in weakness upon weakness and hardship upon hardship, and his weaning is in two years. Show gratitude and thanks to Me and to your parents. Unto Me is the final destination.” [Al-Qur’aan 31:14]

    Allah the Most High, said: “And We have enjoined upon man to be dutiful and kind to his parents. His mother bears him with hardship, and she brings him forth with hardship. And the bearing and the weaning of him is thirty months.” [Al-Qur’aan 46:15]

    As regards the wife, then her effect in making the soul tranquil and serene, has been clearly shown in the noble aayah (verse), in His – the Most High’s – saying:

    “And from amongst His Signs is this: That He created for you wives from amongst yourselves, so that you may find serenity and tranquility in them, And He has put between you love and compassion. Indeed, in this are signs for those who reflect.” [Al-Qur’aan 30:21]

    However there are biological and psycological differences between men and women, thus the Quran has certain different laws and teachings for men and women because they are not the same in physiology.

    Based upon biological differences, The Qur’aan commands women to wear clothes that are different from those worn by men. There are matters in which men and women are treated differently in Islamic sharee’ah, such as:

    1 – Qiwaamah (being in charge of the household)

    Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

    “Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allaah has made one of them to excel the other, and because they spend (to support them) from their means”

    [Surah al-Nisa’ 4:34]

    2 – The Qur’aan states that the testimony of one man is equivalent to the testimony of two women in certain financial transactions.

    Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

    “And get two witnesses out of your own men. And if there are not two men (available), then a man and two women, such as you agree for witnesses, so that if one of them (two women) errs, the other can remind her”

    [Surah al-Baqarah 2:282]

    3 – A daughter inherits half of what a son inherits. Since men have to financially support the family. Also men give dowry for nikah.

    Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

    “Allaah commands you as regards your children’s (inheritance): to the male, a portion equal to that of two females”

    [Surah al-Nisa’ 4:11]

    4 – Clothing:

    A woman’s ‘awrah includes her entire body. The least that can be said is that she should not uncover anything except her face and hands.

    Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

    “O Prophet! Tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to draw their cloaks (veils) all over their bodies (i.e. screen themselves completely except the eyes or one eye to see the way). That will be better, that they should be known (as free respectable women) so as not to be annoyed. And Allaah is Ever Oft‑Forgiving, Most Merciful”

    [Surah al-Ahzaab 33:59]

    The ‘awrah of a man is the area from the navel to the knees according to hadith.

    There are other differences between the sexes, including the following:

    · A man can marry four women, but a woman can only have one husband.

    · A man may marry a woman from among the People of the Book (Jews and Christians), but a Muslim woman may not marry anyone except a Muslim.

    · A man may travel without his wife or any of his mahrams, but a woman may not travel unless she is accompanied by a mahram.

    · Prayer in the mosque is obligatory for men during jumua, but not for women

    Everything mentioned above is based on the difference between men and women, because the male is not like the female. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

    “And the male is not like the female.”

    [Surah Aal ‘Imraan 3:36]

    current secular feminists have a misconception that men and women can have same rights and tasks in every affair. However the Quran gives us different values based upon justice and not based upon latter ideas of feminists, so called liberals and hadith rejectors.

    Allah does not say in the Qur’an that He enjoins secular feminism. But rather He commands justice, He said (interpretation of the meaning):

    “Verily, Allah enjoins Al‘Adl (i.e. justice)” (Qur’an, 16:90)

    Those who say that Islam is the religion of feminism or secularism are lying against Islam. Rather Islam is the religion of justice, which means giving each subject their due right.

    Women are like men in some aspects and they differ from them in others. Most of the rulings of Islam apply to men and women equally. In cases where a distinction is made between the sexes, the Muslim regards that as a mercy from Allaah and a sign of His knowledge of His creation.

    “Should not He Who has created know? And He is the Most Kind and Courteous (to His slaves), All‑Aware (of everything)”

    [al-Mulk 67:14]

    • Once upon a time (1963) I attended a function in New York with Sir Mohammad Zafrullah Khan. (as usual) The wife of the Editor of The New York Times newspaper ‘attacked’ Sir Zafrullah Khan and told him how in USA men and women are equal. Zafrullah Khan Sahib listened for a while and then asked: ‘Madame, do you have any children’? Like a good mother she answered that yes, she had three. Zafrullah Khan Sahib then told her: ‘Please Madame, tell you husband now to have the next three children’. Of course she was puzzled and shocked by such a ‘silly’ comment. Sir Zafrullah Khan however then explained what you are mentioning above, with quotations from the Qur’an, that of course the value of ladies is equal to men, but the function can never be. The lady was impressed by the answer and I think just a bit embarrassed by her initial comments.

  3. Question to those who follow Mirza Ghulam Ahmad;

    what is your position regarding a woman leading men or mixed congregation in salah?

    Ofcouse Mainstraem Islam allows women to lead only other women in salah.

    Only men can lead men or mixed congregation in salah.

    • In the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at there are no plans to have female imams for male congregations. We think the Same with what you are saying.

  4. Men and women are equal in Islam but they are not the same. They differ in physical and emotional strengths. The roles are therefore not a question of superiority or inferiority, but a question of natural capacity and proper functioning.
    There is no incidence where the Holy Prophet appointed a woman to lead prayer which included men and women.

  5. Amuzawir Wrote —-
    There is no incidence where the Holy Prophet appointed a woman to lead prayer which included men and women.

    I agree, but unfortunately most Islamic clerics still follow the OLD interpretation of Islam.
    Women are treated as unclean, the second class, as slave, less valued, insulted and treated inhumanely. Refer to Al Quran

    They killed their children foolishly, due to their lack of knowledge QS 6;140., Women were treated as slaves, and can be traded etc. QS.24:33 QS 23;4-6, The parents treat female or baby girl very badly and inhumanity QS 16:58. Women receive inheritance half then male QS 33:35. A wife do not have a right to reject if her husband want to have sex QS.4:34. Women have to cover whole her body with cloth. QS.33:59.QS 24;31. A man could marry women more than one QS.4:3. before that a man could marry as many as he wants to and also had many slaves. Women stayed alongday at home.

    Progressive Muslim want to reform old interpretation of Islam. Is it wrong?

    All ❤️

    • what you are writing was ‘pre-Islam’. OK, some people continued to treat ladies inferior, not due to Islamic teachings, but due to their tribal traditions. Now still many are aborting females, but this mainly in India and China, less so in Muslim countries. But Somi just wants to ‘bash’ Muslims as usual, why do you not give us the Quranic quotations showing equality of men and women? (lady readers of The Muslim Times: please come to my assistance here!)

    • Somi: come on. You really think that the way Muslims pray we should pray behind a lady Imam? Modesty should prohibit her to act as Imam in front of men. And you expect us not to be distracted when a beautiful girl prays in front of us or besides us? We are human after all.

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