Opinion, June 2003, Al-Jazeerah.info



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Nothing Prevents a Woman Attaining High Level of Scholarship

 Adil Salahi


Arab News

Q.1. I have been told that no woman is allowed to attain a high standard in Islamic learning so as to give rulings on matters that may be put to her. Is this true? If so, how can we account for the position of Aishah, the Prophetís wife, who used to giver rulings on different matters?

N. Siddiqui

A.1. Men and women are equal in Godís sight. There are some differences of what God requires of them in worship, but these are minor and take care of differences in their make-up or responsibilities.

To say that a woman is not allowed to attain a high level of scholarship is to accuse Islam of discrimination which it does not condone.

As you say, Aishah was far more learned than many of the Prophetís companions, and practically more than anyone else in later generations.

In Islamic history there was a long tradition of women scholars who studied up to a very high degree. Many of them had their circles in which they taught whoever wished to read under them. Among their students were some men who attained a high standard. Imam Ibn Hazm, for example, was taught by several women. We recently carried several articles introducing some women scholars who attained wide fame in different periods of Islamic history.

Q.2. Can a group of women offer Friday prayer on their own, with one of them giving the khutbah or sermon and then leading the congregation?

A.2. Women are not required to offer the Friday prayer. Instead, they offer the zuhr prayer in the normal way.

However, if a woman, or a group of women, attend the Friday prayer in a mosque, it is perfectly appropriate and compensates them for zuhr prayer. But the situation you are considering is not right. Why would women offer the Friday prayer instead of zuhr when what is required is zuhr? There is no advantage in that. Besides, God has exempted women from Friday prayer because it is easier for them to offer zuhr, particularly when they have to attend to young children.

To establish something that Islam does not require is to create an imposition. This is not acceptable.


Earth, a planet hungry for peace


The Israeli apartheid (security) wall around Palestinian population centers (Ran Cohen, pmc, 5/24/03).
The Israeli apartheid (security) wall around Palestinian population centers in the West Bank (Ran Cohen, pmc, 5/24/03).



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