Fatwa by Dr. Abou El Fadl: On Women Leading Prayer
Dear Brother Khaled,
We here at [Name Withheld for Privacy] have a small problem which I hope you can advise us on. Having met you when you did a NPR program at the MIT auditorium, and being a frequent distributor of the book, “The Place of Tolerance in Islam,” to friends, I believe you might be able to offer some guidance in the following matter:
For the past two years the young students here, male and female, have been guided in prayer by a young man, Egyptian, raised in Saudi Arabia, who led Jummah prayers and offered the Khutbah.
He is graduating this spring. This leaves three girls (Afghan, Lebanese and Pakistani) as the students most informed about Islam and able to lead prayer. There are two young boys, just past puberty. All together will be eight Muslims. I am their advisor. I believe that the girls should be able to lead prayer and are competent to do so.
I believe that given the small size of the group the imam can be in the center with girls on one side and boys on the other with no one behind.
Is this acceptable? The girls are very willing. The boys are very hesitant, including this year’s Imam, who believes I am offering something that is very Haram.
Could you please help use through this conundrum? If the girls do not lead we might not have a Jummah Prayer.
For years I have been trying to train the students to lead their own prayers so that when they go off to college they will be leaders in their own right. I don’t want them to be dependent on me to lead prayers and solve problems – except this one.
[Name withheld for privacy]
By the name of God the most Merciful and Compassionate
Thank you for contacting me, and I pray that you are in the best of health and spirit.
As you know, you raise a very controversial issue. First, I will say something about the purpose of an imam in prayer, and second, I will comment on the gender issue.
In general, there has been two main orientations regarding the qualifications of an imam at prayer–especially Friday services–the first more liberal than the second. The first orientation practically demands nothing of an imam other than the ability to pray. As long as a man could perform the requisite set of acts and oral recitations required in prayer, the first orientation argued, he was deemed qualified to lead prayer.
The second and more demanding orientation set out what can be called a priority or preference system for an imam. This orientation saw the imam as a sort of teacher to the community–someone who could perform an educational or instructional role during the Friday services. Therefore, the second orientation gave preference to the person who memorized more of the Qur’an compared to others in the community, so that he could recite various portions and expose the community to a wider selection of the Qur’an. The second orientation gave preference to the person who could pronounce and vocalize the words of the Qur’an the best. Importantly, it also gave preference to the person who was the most learned in religion and also the most learned about the affairs of the community. During the khutba this person would be able to educate the community about the meaning of the Qur’an and Sunna and apply the teachings of Islam to the specific issues that are relevant to the community of worshippers. The first orientation practically expected nothing of the khutba–it was deemed sufficient for the imam to remind people of a few religious obligations and exhortations and then move on. The second orientation, relying on the precedent set by the Prophet and al-Khulafa’ al-Rashidun, expected the khutba to be an opportunity for inspiring a discourse in the community about the most pressing or pertinent issues confronting the imam’s own community. Therefore, it is not enough that the imam be able to recite a few suras from the Qur’an. Rather, the imam should be able to provoke the love of learning in the community, and should set an example as to how the teachings of Islam should and can inform and affect real-life challenges. The way these scholars used to put it is that the imam should play a leading role in creating a community bonded by enjoining the good and forbidding the evil (i.e. bonded by an ethical and moral discourse).
Between the two orientations, I believe, and God knows best, that the second is by far the more correct and the most true to the spirit of jumu’a.
Now, as to the gender issue.
There is no question that the vast majority of jurists excluded women from ever leading men in prayer. Many jurists, however, permitted women to lead women in prayer, if no male is available to lead the prayer. Some jurists said women may lead women even if a male is available to lead as long as women lead only women.
The Qur’an itself does not mandate that only men be allowed to lead prayer. The Sunna is indecisive on the issue. There is evidence that the Prophet on more than one occasion allowed a woman to lead her household in prayer–although the household included men–when the woman was clearly the most learned in the faith.
Up to the fourth Islamic century, there were at least two schools of thought that allowed women to lead men in prayer, if the woman in question was the most learned. In such a case, the men stood to the side so that they were not praying behind the woman imam. However, these schools (al-Thawri and Ibn Jarir) became extinct. So it is fair to say that since the fourth century all schools of thought did not allow women to lead men in prayer.
In my view, I look at the evidence and ask the following question: if a female could better teach and instruct the community about the Islamic faith should she be precluded from doing so because she is a female? Now, there is no dispute that a female could hold a class (halaqa) and instruct women and men about Islam. I think everyone agrees on that point. But the question is: Is there a specific exclusion against women when it comes to prayer? It seems to me that if there is such an exclusion the evidence in favor of this exclusion ought to be strong, if not unequivocally so. But the legal evidence in favor of such an exclusion is not very strong–it is more an issue of customary practice and male-consensus than direct textual evidence. Consequently, in my opinion, priority ought to be given to what is in the best interest of the community, and knowledge is the ultimate good. It seems to me that if a female possesses greater knowledge than a male–if a female is more capable of setting a good example in terms of how she recites the Qur’an and also in terms of teaching the community more about the Islamic faith, a female ought not be precluded from leading jumu’a simply on the grounds of being female.
I do agree with your position that the community of students should learn to depend on themselves. I also agree that if a female leads prayer, the males should not stand directly behind her–she could stand ahead of the lines with the men standing to her side.
This is a controversial issue, and so I do not offer this advice lightly. Ultimately, God knows best, and I might be wrong. So please read what I have written, reflect on the matter, pray on it, and then do what your conscience selflessly dictates. It is the conscience that is the ultimate protector from liability before God. I pray that God guides us both to what pleases Him, and leads us to His straight and just path.
I pray this has been of some assistance to you, and please remember me in your prayers.
Shaykh Abou El Fadl
Scholar of the House is dedicated to providing a path to peace through education and understanding. Please join our cause!
Is there a specific exclusion against women when it comes to prayer?
issue of customary practice
best interest of the community,
if a female possesses greater knowledge than a male
Can a Woman lead prayer?
Here we refer to the Islamic Web site Islam online where the following fatwa (religious opinion of Muslim scholars) was published. For Further readings on this issue please refer to : http://www.islamonline.net/fatwa/english/FatwaDisplay.asp?hFatwaID=122868
Details of Fatwa
Title of Fatw Are Women Too Inferior to Lead Men in Prayer?
Date of Fatwa 21/ March/ 2005
Date of Reply 21/ March/ 2005
Topic Of Fatwa Women’s Issues
Question of Fatwa
As-Salamu `alaykum. Recently the issue of women leading men in Prayer in the mosque has raised a great controversy over the role of women in Islam. Are women too inferior to lead men in public Prayer?
Name of Mufti Dr. Muzammil Siddiqi
Content of Reply
Wa `alaykum As-Salamu wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.
Thanks for this interesting question, which reflects part of the misconceptions that some people have about Islam and the way it deals with women. We really commend your efforts in pursuit of truth. This is what is required of all people, to seek truth and not to give in to anything that may cloud their minds with fake ideas about Islam.
In fact, the status of woman in Islam constitutes no problem. The attitude of the Qur’an and the early Muslims bear witness to the fact that woman is as vital to life as man himself, and that she is not inferior to him nor is she one of the lower species. Had it not been for the impact of foreign cultures and alien influences, this question would have never arisen among the Muslims. The status of woman was taken for granted to be equal to that of man. It was, of course, a matter of fact, and no one then considered it as a problem at all.
As for the `ibadat (acts of worship), we have to carry out them in the same and exact way prescribed by Allah Almighty and taught by the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). There are some slight differences in carrying out some acts of worship between men and women, in a way that best suits their different natures. For example, in Hajj women are allowed to wear their normal clothes or attire regardless of whether they are with seams or not, while men are not allowed wear clothes with seams. This is, of course, in favor of women’s nature and need to cover their entire body with the exception of the face and hands.
Focusing more on the question at hand, Dr. Muzammil H. Siddiqi, former president of the Islamic Society of North America, states:
Islam places no restriction on women to teach, preach, and guide both women and men. The Qur’an says, (Men and women are supporters of each other. They command what is right and forbid what is wrong) (At-Tawbah 9:71). There are many women today who are fully qualified to be jurists (faqihah) and give religious opinions (fatwas). They do issue fatwas and teach Qur’an and Hadith in schools, colleges, and universities all over the world. Many Islamic organizations, Islamic centers, and mosques in America also have very learned and knowledgeable sisters who participate in their masjids’ boards and involve themselves in administration, teaching, preaching, and counseling. Muslims should give them more opportunities, allow them and encourage them to become full partners in Islamic work.
Leading salah (Prayer), however, is restricted to male imams only when the congregation consists of men and women, whether the Prayer is performed in the mosques or outside mosques, whether they are daily Prayers or Friday and `Eid Prayers. Women are not allowed to lead such Prayers. This has also been the practice of Muslims all over the world since the time of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). This Shar`i ruling is not because of any notion of spiritual deficiency among women. Men and women both are equal in the sight of Allah and both of them must be fully respected and honored. Women are allowed to lead the Prayer when the congregation is all women. They are also allowed to lead the Prayer in their homes among their family members, if they are more knowledgeable of the Qur’an and Islamic rules.
Recently some people have started a controversy about this matter of Shari`ah. Questions are being asked about the Islamic reasons why women are barred from leading the Prayers of men and women both. In order to understand the rules and wisdom of Shari`ah in this matter, following points are in order:
1. There is a difference between salah and du`aa’ (supplication) in Islam. Salah is a fixed and formalized form of prayer. Its timings, positions, postures, style including the wording and recitations were all fixed by the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). It is not permissible to introduce any new style or liturgy in salah.
Du`aa’, however, is another form of Islamic prayer that is informal and there is no restriction as to who performs it and how and when it is performed. It can be performed in any language. It can be done individually or collectively. It can be led by males or females. In salah we are supposed to follow the Sunnah. We cannot add or delete anything from the salah if we want our salah to be valid and acceptable to Allah. About du`aa’ one can say that since we are not forbidden to do our du`a’ in a particular manner, we are allowed to do it the way we want it; but in salah everything is forbidden unless it is allowed.
For example, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) did not say that salah cannot be performed in English. He did not say that you cannot have salah in congregation six times a day. Now, based on this argument, we cannot start having our salah in English or six times every day.
2. In our salah, we stand very close to each other or as we say “shoulder to shoulder and ankle to ankle” almost touching each other. We stand in straight lines. We make ruku` and sujud. We are supposed to pray with sincerity and devotion concentrating our heart and mind towards the Prayer. For this reason the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) told us that men and women should have separate lines. The lines of men should be in the front area, then the lines of children and then women. The imam should stand in front of the congregation and should make ruku` and sajdah before the congregation and they should follow the imam.
The ideal way in this structure of Prayer service is to separate men from women and not allow a woman to be ahead of all men and bow and prostrate in front of them. Haya’ (modesty) is a special character of Islam. It is emphasized that men and women both must observe haya’ always and especially in their places of worship. The Prophet’s wife `A’ishah and his Companion Ibn `Abbas are reported to have said that a woman leading other women in Prayer should not stand in front of them like a male imam, but in their midst.
3. Some people refer to the hadith of Umm Waraqah who was allowed by the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) to lead the salah. According to the Sunan of Abu Dawud, the hadith says: “Umm Waraqah wanted to accompany the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) to the battle of Badr, but the Prophet told her to stay in her home.” Further in this hadith it is said that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) used to visit her in her home. He appointed a person to give the Adhan (call for Prayer) for her and he told her to lead the Prayer for the people of her house. `Abdur-Rahman ibn Khallad (the reporter of this hadith) said, “I saw her muezzin who was a very old man” (Abu Dawud 500). In other reports of this hadith it is said that the Prophet told her to lead the Prayers of the women of her house (Ad-Darqutni).
This hadith does not give permission to women to lead the salah of men in the masjid; it is restricted to home and according to some versions only for the women of the home. Most of the scholars of Hadith and fiqh did not use this as a general permission of the Prophet for women to be imams of the mosques and lead men and women in Prayers. If this would have been the general case, then many other very able and qualified women in the time of the Prophet and after him would have been leading salah in the mosque.
We pray to Allah Most High that we sincerely follow His religion without any innovation or exaggeration. Ameen.
Please check also the following Fatwa by Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi
Fatwa Question Details
Name Abu Ahmad –
Title Woman Acting as Imam in Prayer
In an unprecedented step in history, a Muslim woman announced that she will lead a public, mixed-gender Friday Prayer on March 18, 2005, in New York City.
The sister said that she will call for giving women the right to some religious duties as men, such as the right to lead people in Prayer and stand in any row in the Prayer, not only in the rear rows behind men. She considers that confining leadership in Prayer and standing in the first rows to men is no more than outdated social customs that have nothing to do with religion.
The researches that she made on the question in hand state that there is nothing in the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) that indicates that women are prevented from leading people, male and female, in Prayer. She sees that denying women the right to lead in Prayer is a social attitude long ago, followed in the Muslim communities without there being attempts made to put it right.
Could we please have the opinion of Dr. Yusuf Al-Qaradawi on this issue, as he is known for his moderate opinions? Jazakum Allah Khayran.
Mufti Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.
Brother, we really do appreciate your question, which shows how interested you are in becoming well acquainted with Islam and its teachings. May Allah bless your efforts in the pursuit of knowledge!
The vast majority of scholars agree that it is not permissible for a woman to lead men in obligatory Prayers. However, there is a minority of scholars who consider it permissible for a woman to lead members of her own household including men in Prayer, on condition that she is old and well-versed in the Qur’an and that she stands behind, not in front of them.
A woman is allowed to lead other women in Prayer, in which case she is to stand along with them in the row, not in front of them.
As for women’s leading men in general in Prayers, there is a scholarly consensus that it is impermissible. So is also the case with women’s leading people in the Friday Prayer and delivering them the Friday sermon, though they may give other religious lessons in general to people.
In his response to your question, the eminent Muslim scholar Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi states:
Throughout Muslim history it has never been heard of a woman leading the Friday Prayer or delivering the Friday sermon, even during the era when a woman, Shagarat Ad-Durr, was ruling the Muslims in Egypt during the Mamluk period.
It is established that leadership in Prayer in Islam is to be for men. People praying behind an imam are to follow him in the movements of prayer—bowing, prostrating, etc., and listen attentively to him reciting the Qur’an in Prayer.
Prayer in Islam is an act that involves different movements of the body; it does not consist merely of saying supplications as it is the case with prayer in Christianity. Moreover, it requires concentration of the mind, humility, and complete submission of the heart to Almighty Allah. Hence, it does not befit a woman, whose structure of physique naturally arouses instincts in men, to lead men in Prayer and stand in front of them, for this may divert the men’s attention from concentrating in the Prayer and the spiritual atmosphere required.
Islam is a religion that takes into account the different aspects, material or spiritual, of man’s character. It does not treat people as super angels; it admits that they are humans with instincts and desires. So it is wise of Islam to lay down for them the rulings that avert them succumbing to their desires, especially during acts of worship where spiritual uplifting is required.
Hence, it is to avoid the stirring the instincts of men that the Shari`ah dictates that only men can call for Prayer and lead people in the Prayer, and that women’s rows in Prayer be behind the men. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) was reported to have said, “The women’s best rows (in Prayer) are the last ones, and the worst of theirs are the first ones, while the men’s best rows (in Prayer) are the first ones and the worst of theirs are the last ones.”
Rulings pertaining to leadership in Prayer are established by evidence of authentic hadiths as well as the scholarly unanimity of Muslims. They are based on religious teachings, not on social customs as it is has been claimed.
The different juristic schools agree that it is not permissible for women to lead men in the obligatory Prayer, though some scholars voice the opinion that the woman who is well-versed in the Qur’an may lead the members of her family, including men, in Prayer on the basis that there is no room for stirring instincts in this case.
However, there is no single Muslim jurist ever heard to have agreed to the woman’s leading people in the Friday Prayer or delivering its sermon, though if we review the religious texts pertaining to the rulings of Prayer, we will not find a text that states pointblank that women are not permitted to lead people in Prayer or deliver the Friday sermon.
There is only one hadith, which is not well-authenticated, reported by Ibn Majah on the authority of Jabir ibn `Abdullah in this connection; it is to the effect that “A woman may not lead a man in Prayer, nor may a Bedouin lead a believer of the Muhajirun or a corrupt person lead a committed Muslim in Prayer.” The eminent scholars of Hadith say that the chain of reporters of this hadith is extremely weak, and hence, it is not to be taken as evidence in the question in hand.
Furthermore, there is another hadith that contradicts this one. It is reported by Imam Ahmad, Abu Dawud, and others on the authority of Umm Waraqah, who said that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) appointed a muezzin for her, and ordered her to lead the members of her household (who included both men and women) in Prayer.
Though scholars of Hadith also regard the chain of reporters of this hadith as weak, yet it has to do with a special case in which a woman well-versed in the Qur’an led the members of her family in Prayer where usually would be no place for arousing instincts among them.
Furthermore, Ad-Darqatani reported that the order the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) gave to Umm Waraqah here was that she lead the women among her household in Prayer.
Commenting on this report of Ad-Darqatani, Ibn Qudamah said in his book Al-Mughni, “This addition of Ad-Darqatani must be accepted even if it had not been mentioned pointblank in the hadith in question. It is to be logically deduced from the hadith that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) ordered Umm Waraqah to lead the women of her household in obligatory Prayer, for (according to the hadith) he (peace and blessings be upon him) appointed her a muezzin, and the Adhan is practiced only in the obligatory Prayer; besides, there is no scholarly disagreement regarding it being impermissible for women to lead men in obligatory Prayers.”
Ibn Qudamah then said, “Even had Umm Waraqah been ordered to lead both men and women of her household in Prayer, this would have been peculiar to her, for no other woman was appointed a muezzin (by the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him) as was the case with her, and hence, it would have followed from this that leading men of her household in Prayer had been peculiar to her.”
Ibn Qudamah, moreover, supported his view by saying that since women are not permitted to call the Adhan for Prayer for men, they are also not allowed to lead them in Prayer.
But I do not agree with Ibn Qudamah that it is probable that the permission given to Umm Waraqah to lead her household, including men, in Prayer was peculiar to her. I believe that any woman well-versed in the Qur’an like Umm Waraqah may lead her family members, including men, in both obligatory and supererogatory Prayers, especially the Tarawih Prayers.
There is a dependable opinion in the Hanbali School of jurisprudence that says that women can lead men in the Tarawih Prayers.
Az-Zarkashei said in this respect, “According to Imam Ahmad and the majority of his followers, it is permissible for women to lead men in the Tarawih Prayers.”
This has been also reported by Ibn Hubairah to have been held by Imam Ahmad. (Al-Ifsah `an Ma`ani As-Sihah, vol. 1, p. 145.)
But it is to be kept in mind that this applies only to women who are well-versed in the Qur’an when it comes to leading their household and relatives in Prayer. Moreover, some scholars see that this is confined to women who are advanced in age.
In addition, the author of Al-Insaf said, “A woman may lead (her household of) men in Prayer, (but) in which case, she is to stand behind them, to be on the safe side (with regard to arousing instincts).”
Standing behind men in leading Prayer in this case is an exception from the rule that states that the imam of Prayer is to stand before the people he leads, but it should be done here to avoid stirring seduction as far as possible.”
A Woman Leading Other Women in Prayer
Regarding a woman leading ONLY women in Prayer, there are a number of hadiths such as these:
The hadith of `A’ishah and Umm Salamah (may Allah be pleased with them). `Abdur-Raziq (5086), Ad-Daraqutni (1/404) and Al-Bayhaqi (3/131) reported from the narration of Abu Hazim Maysarah ibn Habib from Ra’itah Al-Hanafiyyah from `A’ishah that she led women in Prayer and stood among them in an obligatory Prayer. Moreover, Ibn Abi Shaybah (2/89) reported from the chain of narrators of Ibn Abi Layla from `Ata’ that `A’ishah used to say the Adhan, the Iqamah, and lead women in Prayer while standing among them in the same row. Al-Hakim also reported the same hadith from the chain of narrators of Layth Ibn Abi Sulaim from `Ata’, and the wording of the hadith mentioned here is Al-Hakim’s.
Furthermore, Ash-Shafi`i (315), Ibn Abi Shaybah (88/2) and `Abdur-Raziq (5082) reported from two chains of narrators that report the narration of `Ammar Ad-Dahni in which he stated that a woman from his tribe named Hujayrah narrated that Umm Salamh used to lead women in Prayer while standing among them in the same row.
The wording of `Abdur-Raziq for the same hadith is as follows: “Umm Salamah led us (women) in the `Asr Prayer and stood among us (in the same row).”
In addition, Al-Hafiz said in Ad-Dirayah (1/169), “Muhammad ibn Al-Husain reported from the narration of Ibrahim An-Nakh`i that `A’ishah used to lead women in Prayer during the month of Ramadan while standing among them in the same row.
Further, `Abdur-Raziq reported (5083) from the narration of Ibrahim ibn Muhammad from Dawud ibn Al-Husain from `Ikrimah from Ibn `Abbas that the latter said, “A woman can lead women in Prayer while standing between them.”
Would that our sisters who are so enthusiastic about women’s rights revive this act of Sunnah—a woman leading other women in Prayer—instead of innovating this rejected novelty: a woman leading men in Prayer.
The following is stated in Al-Mughni:
The narrations differ as to whether it is desirable for a woman to lead other women in congregational Prayer. It is reported that the matter is desirable, as the following scholars said that a woman can lead other women in Prayer: `A’ishah, Umm Salamah, `Ata’, Athawri, Al-Awza`i, Ash-Shafi`i, Ishaq, and Abu Thawr. Furthermore, it is narrated that Ahmad ibn Hanbal (may Allah be merciful to him) said that the matter is desirable. However, ahul ar-ra’i (scholars who mostly depend on reason in deducing rulings) regard the matter as undesirable, but if such congregational Prayer is done, it will be sufficient for the women who perform it. As for Ash-Sha`bi, An-Nakh`i and Qatadah, they say that women can perform Prayer this way in supererogatory Prayers but not in obligatory ones.
It is important here to state that the original judgment concerning acts of worship is that anything not prescribed in Shari`ah in explicit texts is prohibited, so that people may not innovate matters in religion not ordained by Allah. Thus, people may not innovate a certain act of worship, change or add things in the ordained ones according to their own fancies or only because they think such matters are desirable. Whoever innovates anything in religion or adds to it whatever is not in it—that addition or innovation is rejected.
That is exactly what Allah has warned us from in the Qur’an when He dispraised the disbelievers saying, (Or have they partners (of Allah) who have made lawful for them in religion that which Allah allowed not?) (Ahs-Shura 42: 21)
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) also warned against the same wrongdoing in the hadith which states, “Whoever innovates in this matter of ours (i.e., in our religion) whatever is not in it, that innovated thing is rejected” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim). The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) also said, “Beware of innovated matters, for every novelty is perversity” (Ahmad in his Musnad and regarded as authentic). All scholars are resolved that acts of worship are unchangeable and must be taken exactly as Allah has ordained them.
Other religions were distorted and their acts of worship and rituals were changed when people innovated in them, and their men of religion did not stand against innovators.
However, as regards matters like transactions and worldly affairs, the original judgment concerning them is that they are permitted, for the Islamic rule is following in religious matters and innovating in worldly matters. This was the rule to which Muslims adhered during the times of their superiority in civilization. They followed in religion and innovated in life, and that was how they created a lofty civilization. But when their condition worsened, they reversed the matter; they innovated in affairs of religion and kept the worldly affairs.
A last word to conclude this issue: What is the necessity of making all this fuss? Is that what the Muslim woman lacks—to lead men in Friday Prayer? Was that one of the Muslim women’s demands at any time?
We see other religions specifying many matters for men and their women do not protest. So why do our women do so, exaggerating in their demands and arousing what will cause dissension among Muslims at such time when they need their unity the most to face afflictions, hardships, and major plots that aim at their complete destruction?
My advice to the sister referred to in the question is that she should revert to her Lord and religion and extinguish this strife which is unnecessary to be lit. I also advise my Muslim brothers and sisters in the United States not to answer this stirring call and to stand as one in front of these trials and conspiracies woven around them.
I ask Allah to inspire our sons, daughters, brothers, and sisters everywhere sound judgment in speeches and right guidance in deeds. I also ask Him to make them all see what is right and grant them to abide by it, and see what is wrong and grant them to avoid it. Ameen.
(Our Lord! Cause not our hearts to stray after Thou hast guided us, and bestow upon us mercy from Thy Presence. Lo! Thou, only Thou art the Bestower) (Aal `Imran 3:8).
From the above Fatwa we deduce that prohibiting women from leading prayer was not because she was regarded inferior to man but because it is not right to make a woman bow and prostrate in front of men as this may raise desires in them which is totally not acceptable especially when standing between the hands of God.