Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
In a fiqh book by Muhammed Yusuf Islahi it was said that women are allowed to pray in jammat i.e. a woman can lead prayer for women, however I always thought that it was ‘hated’ for women to do this in hanafi madhab. What is your opinion. Also have you heard of this scholar before. Can you recommend authentic fiqh scholars’ books please.
Walaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu,
We have taken the ruling for women praying in congregation several times. The book you mention by Mawlana Yusuf Islahi, while generally useful, has the unfortunate tendency of taking ‘reformist’ positions that are in opposition to the school. It is not correct to say, “Well, he is a Hanafi scholar, so why can’t we follow his opinion?” because we have to realize that we do not follow individuals. What we have been commanded to do, and been made morally responsible for, is to follow the Qur’an and Sunnah properly. For those of us who are not mujtahids, we have to follow one of the four sunni schools of Islamic law, each of which is a highly evolved and sophisticated methodology of interpreting the primary texts, based on centuries of effort, checking, and verification from great fuhaqa (jurists), hadith experts, and specialists in the bases of sacred law (usul al-fiqh).
Despite its relatively poor English, Taleemul Haq is a very good, clear book, whose rulings are sound, as Sidi Shaykh Ashraf Muneeb and others confirm. It is available online (check www.google.com), and is easy to acquire. Similarly, Imam Ashraf Ali Thanawi’s Heavenly Ornaments is a very good, useful book. It is very comprehensive and covers not only the fiqh of worship, but also trade, marriage, and other matters, while giving useful sections on the virtues of the various deeds mentioned, and proper manners of a Muslim in all aspects of their daily life. Yes, some of it may seem contextual or dated, but it is an invaluable and mubarak book. If you buy it, get the Zam Zam Publications edition. This is available through http://www.alrashad.com/ ‘s bookstore. Thebook A Gift For Women, also available there, is very useful as well. You may have heard some controversy about the authors; ignore it. In these times, we must adopt a constructive approach, as traditionally held by our scholars, of accepting that which is reliable and beneficial, and overlooking that which is otherwise.