My question is about a woman being Imam in congregational Salah. I watched a video of Mr. Ghamidi recently and he mentioned that there was no Quranic verse or Hadeeth which specifically makes this an issue and declares its prohibition. With regards to that video, I would like your detailed response on the following issues:
1. Mr. Ghamidi, in that video, gave example of Umm-e-Waraqah who had been made the "Imam of Masjid of Daar" i.e. she used to lead the people of a particular small area. He then quoted a recent scholar, Dr. Hameedullah, who proposes that she led both men and women especially considering the fact that the Mo'azzin was a man. Please give me a detailed account of the validity and authenticity of this narration (riwayat). Because, in a question answer response given by Mr. Saleh Al-Munajjid he writes: "With regard to the evidence presented by those who refer to the reports which say that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) gave Umm Waraqah permission to leed her household in prayer (narrated by Abu Dawood, 591), they say that she used to lead the people of her house in prayer, among whom were men and boys. The scholars have given several answers to that:
The hadeeth is ḍaeef (weak). Al-Haafiz said in al-Talkhees (p. 121): Its isnaad includes Abd al-Rahmaan ibn Khallaad who is unknown." End quote.
2. Mr. Ghamidi gave example of a woman named Ghazzala in the Khwarij who led people in Salah. Please give me a detailed account of the validity and authenticity of this.
3. Mr. Ghamidi gave example of Umm-e-Waraqah being appointed by Sayyidina Umar during his caliphate to watch over some state matters. Please could you give a detailed account of its authenticity?
Some doubts regarding Imamat of woman that require clarification:
1. I see that a large number of prominent scholars over the course of the history of Islam have unanimously agreed upon this issue that a woman cannot lead men in prayer. To give a few examples I can quote the following two (among many):
Ibn Hazm said in Maraatib al-Ijmaa, p. 27 "They are unanimously agreed that a woman should not lead men in prayer when they know that she is a woman. If they do that then their prayer is invalid, according to scholarly consensus." End quote.
Al-Nawawi said in al-Majmoo (4/152): "Our companions are agreed that it is not permissible for an adult man or a boy to pray behind a woman. The prohibition on a woman leading men in prayer applies equally to obligatory prayers, Taraweeh and all supererogatory prayers. This is our view and the view of all the scholars from the earlier and later generations (may Allaah have mercy on them).
Al-Bayhaqi narrated this from the seven fuqaha the Taabi’i fuqaha of Madeenah. It is also the view of Maalik, Abu Haneefah, Sufyaan, Ahmad and Dawood" End quote.
My question is that is there any prominent scholar in the history of Islam who believed in the permissibility of a woman leading men in prayer? If not, then will it not surprising that throughout the history of Islam, no major scholar was able to figure out the permissibility? Does this not tend to imply that the correct interpretation of this matter is what the scholars have unanimously agreed upon? Please comment.
2. We can only worship Allah by the specific ways given by Allah and by his Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), for example Allah asked us to establish salah, so now if someone says look Quran says establish prayer and I dance around saying see this is salah, will that be acceptable? Of course not! Because for that, one has to prove that dancing is Salah. One can't say prove to me where the Quraan says I can't dance around for praying? Actually its opposite. One has to prove that what he/she is doing is some thing that is Ibadah, that this is something that is acceptable to Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala ....this is the general rule in fiqh. One can't say prove to me where the Quraan or Sunnah says that woman can't lead the prayer to men in Islam, in Islam you have to prove that you should do this, not prove that you can't do it, its the other way round. Please comment.
3. There are many ahadeeth, which state that the row of women must stand behind the row of men in congregational prayer. E.g. Muslim (440) narrated that Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: The best rows for men are those are the front and the worst are those at the back, and the best rows for women are those at the back and the worst are those at the front. al-Bukhaari (684) and Muslim (421) narrated from Sahl ibn Saad al-Saaidi that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, Whoever notices anything amiss during the prayer, let him say tasbeeh, for if he does so it will be noticed; and clapping is only for women. Muslim (658) narrated from Anas ibn Maalik that he prayed behind the Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and with him was his grandmother and an orphan. He said: "The orphan and I stood in a row behind him, and the old woman stood behind us." If a woman is encouraged in a hadeeth to pray in her house and keep away from men, and the worst rows for women are the front rows, because they are closer to the men, then how can it be befitting for Islam to allow a woman to pray as an imam, leading men in prayer? Please comment.
4. In the time of Prophet there were no rulings that are present today such as Mustahab, Makruh, Sunnat Muakkidah, Ghair Muakkidah etc. etc. These are our ulama who put ruling seeing the whole matter. So is it not enough to find the attitude of Prophet about a certain issue and then find the ruling of ulama (collectively) about the matter?
5. Can we not make an analogy of this matter with that of slavery? Islam did not prohibit slavery but the general attitude of Islam and its followers eventually led to its elimination. Many things are implied in religion and the way I see it, Islam uses some fundamental things and their understanding to creates a character, a personality that can then relate everything in his life to those fundamental things and infer what would be the correct and wrong action (in other words, Islam makes the Fitrah (that was inherent inside a person) expressive in its most pure and uncorrupted form). I believe that Quran and Sunnah do not need to give a Haraam or Halaal ruling about everything that is Haraam and Halaal or am I wrong? They generate a character that can then very well judge new things on his own, in light of the fundamentals taught to him. Please comment.