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What is the religion’s ruling concerning a woman leading men in prayer?

Answered as per Hanafi Fiqh by Qibla.com

Answered by Shaykh Ali Jumu`a

What is the religion’s ruling concerning a woman leading men in prayer; is their prayer correct? What is the religion’s ruling concerning the permissibility of a Friday prayer in which a woman leads the congregation? Is it permissible for men and women to pray in the same row mixed together? What is the ruling concerning a woman giving the adhan and calling Muslims to the Friday prayer or any other congregational prayer? What is the ruling of religious law concerning the new dissenters who want to change fixed elements of the religion?

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

Official Fatwa from Shaykh Ali Jumu`a (Grand Mufti of Egypt) – http://www.dar-alifta.org/

Note: This is  the official position of Shaykh Ali and Dar al-Ifta al-Misraya.  As I  mentioned previously, the Dubai based Arabayia report about Shaykh Ali’s opinion on this matter is completely false, as is the subsequent post on the muslimwakeup site, and a number of scholars and students of knowledge confirmed personally with Shaykh Ali.

Shaykh Ali Jumu`a makes clear that it is not permitted for women to lead men in prayer, and affirms that the position permitting it–ascribed to some scholars–is an aberrant position (ra’y shadhdh); and states that there is no difference of opinion regarding the fact that it is impermissible and invalid for women to conduct the Friday khutba or to lead the Friday prayer.

Islam commands chastity and virtue and it forbids adultery and fornication. It is because of this that we find Islam has commanded both the male and female believers to lower their gaze in the same fashion, and it has forbidden seclusion that leads to temptation. Islam has commanded for men to cover themselves between their navels and their knees, and for women to cover themselves entirely save the face and hands: Allah exalted is He said, “Tell the believing men to lower their gaze and be modest. That is purer for them. Lo! Allah is Aware of what they do.” (Q:24:30).

And the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Oh Asma’, if a woman reaches the age of puberty it is not fitting for her to be seen except for this and this” and he pointed to his face and hands (Abu Daud).

One of the Islamic rulings with this intention behind it is that Allah exalted is He has commanded women to stand behind the rows of men in prayer. This was done in order to honor women, because the prayer of the Muslims is comprised of prostration. Thus the command is like the saying of the Arabs “He only held you back so he could put you forward.”

Putting the prayer lines for women behind the prayer lines for men is not a form of degradation, rather it is a means of raising their station and upholding high manners and virtue, and it is a means of mutual cooperation for the believing men and women to follow the command of lowering their gaze. It is for this reason that we see that the Muslims in the East and the West, during the times of the Pious Forebears and their successors, have unanimously agreed in practice that women are not assigned to give the adhan, or be the imam of Friday or [mixed-sex]-congregational prayers.


As for men and women praying in one row mixed together: this is not permissible in any situation.

As for a woman giving the adhan and giving the Friday sermon and leading the Friday prayer: we do not know of a single difference of opinion between the Muslims – scholars and laymen alike – concerning its impermissibility and the fact that should such a prayer and adhan be performed, it would be incorrect.

As for a woman being the Imam of men in an unscheduled prayer: the overwhelming majority of scholars have said that it is forbidden and the prayer is invalid. However al-Tabari, and Abu Thawr, and al-Muzani from the Shafi’i School and Muhyi al-Din ibn Arabi from the Dhahiri School held the opinion that it is permissible for a woman to lead men in prayer and that their prayer is valid. However, some scholars have her stand behind the men – even if she were to lead them – taking into consideration the principles mentioned above. The evidence these scholars used is the hadith from Abu Daud and al-Darqutni stating that the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, allowed Umm Waraqa to lead her household in prayer. The majority of scholars have understood this hadith as referring to supererogatory prayers, or to leading the women of her household, or as being specific to Umm Waraqa. In spite of this, not a single Muslim from the East or West has followed this anomalous (shadhdh) opinion.


As for what the entire world and we see happening today in the mixing between two issues: the issue of leading a prayer and the issue of delivering the Friday sermon: the latter was never permitted by anyone. These confused people who adhere to schools of dissent are divided into various movements: some deny the Sunna and consensus, some tamper with the significations of words in the Arabic language, and others call for the permissibility of homosexuality, fornication, alcohol, abortions, and changing the prescribed portions of inheritance.

These movements appear in almost every age. Then they disappear, and the Muslims follow the path Allah has made incumbent upon them, bearing the standard of felicity to all the worlds “Then as for the foam, it passeth away as scum upon the banks, while, as for that which is of use to mankind, it remaineth in the earth.” (Q:13:1)

Editor notes: It bears emphasis that Shaykh Ali Jumu`a has supported the position–clear in the works that relate scholarly consensus (like Ibn Hazm’s Maratib, and al-Fasi’s Iqna`)–that the position reported from a small number of scholars that it is valid for women to lead a congregation is anomalous (shadhdh). Shaykh Gibril Haddad, and others, explained this position–with supporting evidence–to refer to exceptional situations (e.g. if a man prayed behind an female imam unknowingly)–and even then, it remains contrary to what scholarly consensus, and the sunna of the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him), who commanded us to, “Pray as you have seen me pray.”

رقم الفتوى: 4278
الموضوع: حكم إمامة المرأة للرجال فى الصلاة.
تاريخ الفتوى: 20/03/2005
نوع الفتوى: عام
المفتي: فضيلة الأستاذ الدكتور علي جمعة محمد


ما حكم الدين في إمامة المرأة للرجال ؟ وما مدى صحة صلاتهم ؟ وما حكم الدين في جواز أداء صلاة الجمعة وتؤم القوم امرأة ؟ وهل يجوز أن يصلي المسلمون ذكورًا وإناثًا في صف واحد على هيئة مختلطة ؟ وما حكم حجاب المرأة ؟ وما حكم الدين في أذان المرأة تدعو به المسلمين إلى الصلاة في الجمعة أو الجماعات ؟ وما حكم الشرع في المنشقين الجدد الذين يريدون أن يغيروا ثوابت الدين ؟

أمر الإسلام بالعفة والعفاف ، وحرم الزنا والفاحشة ، ولأجل هذا نراه قد أمر بغض البصر للمؤمنين والمؤمنات على حد سواء ، ونهى عن الخلوة التي تـؤدي إلى الفتنة ، وأمر بستر العورة للرجل فيما بين السرة والركبة ، والمرأة في كل بدنها إلا الوجه والكفين ، قال تعالى : ( قُلْ لِلْمُؤْمِنِينَ يَغُضُّوا مِنْ أَبْصَارِهِمْ وَيَحْفَظُوا فُرُوجَهُمْ ذَلِكَ أَزْكَى لَهُمْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ خَبِيرٌ بِمَا يَصْنَعُونَ ) ( النور:30 ) ، وقـال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم ( : ” يَا أَسْمَاءُ ، إِنَّ الْمَرْأَةَ إِذَا بَلَغَتِ الْمَحِيضَ لَمْ تَصْلُحْ أَنْ يُرَى مِنْهَا إِلاَّ هَذَا وَهَذَا ” وَأَشَارَ إِلَى وَجْهِهِ وَكَفَّيْهِ رواه أبو داود. ، ومن أوامر الإسلام لهذا الغرض أيضًا أن الله تعالى أمر النساء – تكريمًا لهن – أن يقفن خلف صفوف الرجال ؛ لأن صلاة المسلمين قد اشتملت على السجود ، فكان ذلك من قبيل قول العرب : إنما أخرك ليقدمك ، فتأخير النساء في صفوف الصلاة ليس نوعًا من أنواع الحط من كرماتهن ، بل ذلك إعلاء لشأنهن ، ومراعاة للأدب العالي ، وللحياء ، وللتعاون بين المؤمنين ذكورًا وإناثًا على الامتثال للأمر بغض البصر ، ولذلك نرى المسلمين شرقًا وغربًا سلفًا وخلفًا قد أجمعوا فعليا على عدم تولي المرأة للأذان ولا توليها لإمامة جماعات الصلاة ولا توليها لإمامة الجمعة. وأمَّا صلاة الرجال والنساء في صف واحد فلا تجوز بحال . أمَّا الأذان من المرأة وتوليها خطبة الجمعة وإمامتها فلا نعلم خلافًا بين أحد من المسلمين علمائهم وعوامهم على عدم جوازه ، وعلى بطلان الصلاة وبطلان الأذان إذا ما فُعل. وأمَّا إمامة المرأة للرجال في جماعة عارضة ، فذهب جماهير العلماء إلى حرمة ذلك وإلى أن الصلاة تقع باطلة ، على أنه قد ذهب الطبري وأبو ثور والمزني من الشافعية ومحيي الدين بن العربي من الظاهرية إلى أنه يجوز للمرأة أن تؤم الرجال وتصح معها الصلاة إلا أن بعضهم قد جعل موقفها خلف الرجال حتى ولو أمتهم ؛ التفاتا للمعنى الذي قدمناه، فاستدلوا بحديث أبي داود والدارقطني أن أم ورقة سمح لها النبي ( أن تؤم أهل بيتها، ورد الجمهور على هذا الاستدلال بأن ذلك كان في النافلة ، أو بأن المقصود منه أهل بيتها من النساء ، أو بأنه خاص بأم ورقة ، وعلى الرغم من ذلك فإن أحدا من المسلمين في الشرق والغرب لم يقلد هذا الرأي الشاذ. أمَّا ما يحدث في العالم الآن مما نراه ويراه كل أحد من الخلط بين مسألتي إمامة الجماعة ومسألة خطبة الجمعة، فالأخيرة لم يجزها أحد ، فهؤلاء المخلطون ممن ينتمون إلى مدرسة المنشقين ، وهي تشتمل على تيارات عدة : بعضها ينكر السنة والإجماع ، وبعضها يتلاعب بدلالات الألفاظ في لغة العرب ، وبعضها يدعو إلى إباحة الشذوذ الجنسي والزنا والخمر وإلى الإجهاض وإلى تغيير أنصبة الميراث ، ونحو ذلك مما نراه يبرز كل قرن تقريبًا ثم يخبو ويسير المسلمون في طريقهم الذي أمرهم الله به حاملين رسالة سعادة الدارين للعالمين ؛ ( فَأَمَّا الزَّبَدُ فَيَذْهَبُ جُفَاءً وَأَمَّا مَا يَنْفَعُ النَّاسَ فَيَمْكُثُ فِي الأَرْضِ ) ( الرعد : 18


This answer was indexed from Qibla.com, which used to have a repository of Islamic Q&A answered by various scholars. The website is no longer in existence. It has now been transformed into a learning portal with paid Islamic course offering under the brand of Kiflayn.