Connect with us

#Society

Guarding the Validity of the Prayer: Women’s Mosque of America

Published

By Muslema Purmul

A lot of people have been asking me about the all women’s Jumuah that is supposed to be held tomorrow in Los Angeles. As someone who has been actively involved in teaching and mentoring Muslims at the grassroots level in mainstream Muslim institutions for over 10 years, I understand and support the idea of creating an all women’s space that would nurture the spiritual and intellectual growth of the women in our community. There are countless experiences I and other women have faced in these mainstream institutions that have been so disempowering as a woman, that there were times where it felt like there was no physical space or sanctuary that I could turn to in order to preserve my faith and strengthen my connection to Allah. So trust me, I *really* understand.

That being said, I’m compelled to say something about the legal validity of an all women’s Jumuah. Basically, there is no opinion in any of the madhahib which recognizes the legal validity of such a prayer. However, women can lead women in the five daily congregational prayers. Women can address large audiences of women (and men) in delivering lectures or classes. But these two allowances together are not sufficient to constitute the validity of an all women’s Jumuah led by a woman. It would count at most as nafl, an extra non-obligatory prayer. My advice to the organizers is either ask everyone to pray Dhuhr afterwards, or simply have the female imam lead the other women in four rakahs of Dhuhr prayer.

Help Us End Ramadan with 1000 Supporters!

Alhamdulillah, we're at 900 supporters. Help us get to 1000 supporters before Ramadan ends. All it takes is a small gift from a reader like you to keep us going, for just $2 / month.

The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

I say this not to destroy the energy or creativity of the organizers, because I support the idea of all women’s programming and spaces. My main concern is that 200 women will be praying tomorrow and may miss the obligation of Dhuhr because they think an all women’s Jumuah will take its place. Since prayer is the second pillar of our faith, what separates us from disbelief, it is worthy of our attention to make sure its conditions are met and understood at an individual and community level. If you are attending the Jumuah tomorrow and Dhuhr is not prayed in congregation, I encourage you to get up afterwards and pray it by yourself individually.

I have immense respect for the organizers and for Sis. Edina Lekovic who will be leading this effort, though it is legally invalid insofar as it counting as a fard prayer. I would love to discuss this further with any of the amazing women involved. My words of caution in guarding the validity of the prayer is not an attempt to sever ties or ostracize anyone. I am open and eager to work with the organizers in areas of mutual agreement. As a community that hopes to move forward and grow together, having a healthy dialogue is necessary as we negotiate solutions for the problems that affect us all. As an American Muslim Azhariyyah from the College of Shariah I state that an all women’s Jumuah is legally invalid according to all the opinions I know about. A more detailed Fiqh and Usul al Fiqh discussion citing and responding to the hadith of Umm Waraqah that is sometimes misunderstood and misused is forthcoming Insha’Allah for increased education and awareness. That being said, I love the sisters behind this for Allah and would love the opportunity to better understand where they are coming from. I hope everyone understands this is not a condemnation. This is an invitation. Let’s engage. And don’t forget to pray Dhuhr.


 

Muslema Purmul was born in Raleigh, North Carolina and raised in San Diego, California. She graduated from the University of California, San Diego with a double major in Religious Studies and Middle Eastern Studies. After graduating she left to study in Egypt where she spent the better part of the next 7 years. She completed the bachelor’s program in Sharia from Al-Azhar University in Cairo and also completed almost two years of graduate work at the American University in Cairo in Islamic Studies. Currently she serves the Muslim students at UCLA as a chaplain with Institute of Knowledge and is the Co-Founder and Scholar-in-Residence at Safa Center for Research and Education.

Help Us End Ramadan with 1000 Supporters!

Alhamdulillah, we're at 900 supporters. Help us get to 1000 supporters before Ramadan ends. All it takes is a small gift from a reader like you to keep us going, for just $2 / month.

The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Pingback: Are Women Only Masajid the Answer? | Lanterns

  2. Fritz

    February 7, 2015 at 6:03 AM

    The “womens masjid” and MLI are 2 of the most depressing stories of the year.

    I can understand sister’s have a hard time in many ways, but this is really a dangerous slope to go down. We have already seen the standards on hijab relaxed and poor standards of modesty in many areas. We dont need the “haram police” to shame people individually but its still a valid general observation. we need to be careful not to adopt the feminist/liberal victim mentality where women are perennial victims who are above any criticism and can simply do what they like.

    Having said that, I hope that we can continue to improve the standards of womens prayer spaces – which is certainly happening (albeit a little too slowly)

  3. shagoofa

    March 2, 2015 at 11:04 AM

    Prayer is not making motions and saying verses which probably 80% do not understnd it is a connection with God so what matters who leads or not . God made humans society created man and woman ,Fiqh written centuries ago needs to be given its due place in history we need to move on. Prayer is prayer ,and cannot be legal or illegal , such toxic interpretataions damage muslim minds focus is shifted from progress development (both wordly and moral) to such trivial matters

  4. AH

    May 3, 2015 at 12:34 PM

    Assalamu alaykum,
    Thank you for this article and may Allah reward you all for the work you are doing at Muslim Matters. Could you direct me to the article mentioned above that covers a fish discussion of the issue, please?

    • AH

      May 3, 2015 at 12:57 PM

      *fiqh, not fish!

  5. Zia-e-Taiba

    October 18, 2016 at 2:31 AM

    This Website is very popular.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

..
..
.
.

Ramadan Video Series

MuslimMatters NewsLetter in Your Inbox

Sign up below to get started

Trending