Another event that has got the bloggers blogging is Dr. Amina Wadud’s attempt to lead Friday prayers again, this time in England.
UmmahPulse has an investigative piece on the people organizing it and the actual event.
Despite attempts by the organisers to whip up controversy with the help of the local (Oxford Mail) and national media (The Times), the event was a total flop – hardly anyone attended. An evening news report broadcast on the ITV Thames Valley programme (17.10.08) commented on “the media far outnumbering the congregation” and “the historic moment being underwhelmed by the turnout from both sides of the debate, with the majority of Muslims in Oxford having simply decided to ignore the event”.
Indigo Jo of Blogistan criticizes it and provides textual basis for mainstream scholars’ opposition.
As for the proof of the invalidity of the prayer of anyone who “prayed” behind Wadud, here is a collection of opinions by some modern scholars of Islam who are not ranting extremists (PDF, I’m afraid); I also wrote a few articles tackling not only the “prayer” itself but the media response to it and some of Wadud’s other antics (, , ). I wonder if she is aware (or if she cares) about Hargey’s well-documented deviations, such as believing that the hadeeth contain so many forgeries and fabrications that they should not be used to derive legal rulings, but rather that Muslims should use the Qur’an alone?
Shahrzaad asks a question on her blog and set off a response by Achelois.
So if muslim women can be the jurisprudent, i’d like to know why not the prayer leading then?
We need to hear from another woman and not a man what lies for us in religion. Blogosphere is not our khutbah place. We need to connect with women in the real world. At least I need that. I want to hear what a Muslim woman like me thinks about politics, religion, feminism, marriage, child-bearing and child-raising. I want to know what God says about women. I want to know what lies in Heaven for women. I want to know how God feels about lesbians. I want to know what should be done to men who rape their wives. Sorry but the khutbahs don’t tell me all that. I want to do more than swap recipes and talk about fashion with women.
But I wish I could look forward to it as a day when the entire family can go out and meet like minded people; where we can spend a good hour or so praying and talking about what is important to both men and women in Islam.
Therefore, I feel that it is important for women to be included in Friday sermons.
In a similar vein, Progressive Muslima wonders why something supposedly as relatively inane as this excites traditional conservative Muslims while more serious social issues don’t rally them.
Also, I find interesting that some Muslims who had intended to attend the prayers in Oxford were told they would no longer be welcome in their own mosques if they did so. I wonder if adulterers, wife beaters, child abusers, “honor” killers and folks who force their children to marry receive the same intimidating visits from these “concerned” Muslims.