Cleric: Women may not lead prayer

It is wrong for a woman to lead an Islamic prayer service that includes both men and women, Egypt's highest Islamic law authority has said.

    Amina Wadud (R) led men and women in a prayer service

    The office of Egypt's chief interpreter of Islamic law announced its position on Tuesday in response to the actions of Amina Wadud, who led men and women in an Islamic prayer service in New York on Friday.

    "As for the call to prayer by a woman, giving the Friday sermon or leading the Friday prayer ... it is not allowed," the office of Ali Gumaa, the Grand Mufti of Egypt, said in a statement.

    It is mandatory for Muslim men to attend communal Friday prayers whereas attendance for women is optional.

    "As for women leading men in other communal prayers, the vast majority of scholars say it is forbidden," said the mufti's
    office, also known as Dar al-Ifta.

    Wadud's service was covered in front-page reports in several Egyptian newspapers, some of which said the service challenged Islamic principles.

    "As for men and women praying in one row mixed together, this is not permissible in any situation," the Gumaa's office said.

    Typically, Muslim women sit behind men in worship services, or pray in another part of the mosque.

    SOURCE: Reuters


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