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What does Islam say about a woman leading a regular prayer?
Praise be to Allaah.
With regard to a woman leading the prayers and acting as an imaam, one of the two following scenarios may apply:
1 – A woman leading men, or a mixed group of men and women. It is not correct for a woman to lead men in prayers at all, regardless of whether it is a fard (obligatory) prayer or a naafil (supererogatory) prayer.
2 – A woman leading women in prayer. It is mustahabb for women to pray together (in jamaa’ah) when they get together in a place. One of them should lead the others, but she should stand with them in the middle of the row. It is permissible and correct for a woman to lead other women in prayer.
It is worth noting that it is not prescribed for women to recite the adhaan and iqaamah as it is for men. If a woman does recite the adhaan and iqaamah, it may be one of the three following scenarios:
1– She recites the adhaan and iqaamah for a group of men only, or for a mixed group of men and women. This is not prescribed in Islam and her adhaan and iqaamah for a group of men do not count
2– She recites them for a group of women only.
3– Or she recites them for herself when she is alone.
It is permissible for her to recite the adhaan for a group of women or for herself, but it is not like the case with men. For men it is more emphatically required, whereas for women, if they give the adhaan it is permissible, and if they do not, it is also permissible. If a woman does recite the adhaan, she must keep her voice low and make it just loud enough for her companions to hear.
If a woman says the iqaamah for herself or for a group of women, that is better and is closer to what is mustahabb, but if she does not do that, the prayer is still valid.
From Wilaayat al-Mar’ah fi’l-Fiqh al-Islami
Question Date: 2010-12-07
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