A quiet revolution: the female imams taking over an LA mosque

Nurjahan Boulden, Tasneem Noor, and Samia Bano after praying together on November 12, 2021 in Venice, California.
Nurjahan Boulden, Tasneem Noor, and Samia Bano after praying together in Venice, California. The Muslim Times has the best collection for women rights, especially the Muslim women rights

Source: The Guardian

By Amel Brahmi

While many have misinterpreted a hadith to mean women can’t enter a mosque, these women are covering progressive topics like sexual violence, abortion, pregnancy loss, domestic violence in their sermons

hen Tasneem Noor got on the stage at the Women’s Mosque of America in Los Angeles, she felt butterflies in her stomach. Facing about fifty women on praying rugs, ready to deliver a sermon – khutba in Arabic – she took a deep breath.

During the prayers, the women would follow Noor’s lead, but several would pray four more times after it ended, to make up for any potentially invalid prayers. That is the result of a 14-century-old disputed hadith that leads some to believe women are forbidden to lead prayers and deliver sermons.

“I don’t mind,” Noor told me later. “Some people function better with rules.”

Noor, 37, is part of a quiet revolution in America: at the all women’s mosque, she was celebrating its five year anniversary of practicing the female imamat, a rare and often controversial practice in Islam.

Women aren’t even allowed to pray in many mosques across the world. In some mosques in the US, women may enter, but are often forced to pray in separate rooms – leading some to call it the “penalty box”. Spiritual leaders who have pushed boundaries – by running mixed congregation mosques or running an LGBTQ mosque – have received death threats.

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