Author Topic: can a woman be a leader according to quran?  (Read 5713 times)

princess

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can a woman be a leader according to quran?
« on: July 22, 2010, 02:36:34 pm »
salam everyone!

i just came across this article: http://www.imranhosein.org/articles/women-in-islam/79-can-muslims-choose-a-woman-to-rule-over-them.html
it says that women cannot be chosen as leaders, that it is a grave sin. moreover, it states that solomon waged war against sheba only because she was a woman in a position of power!
Quote
Nor did the Queen of Sheba dismiss Solomon’s letter with disrespect and arrogance. Rather she praised it as “noble” and sought to appease him with gifts. Yet he firmly rejected her very friendly response and delivered his declaration of war instead. He even went on to spell out the fearsome consequences of such war for Sheba. The very clear implication of this event has unfortunately been obscured by the growth of fairy tales. In fact, Solomon acted as he did because divine guidance did not for one moment tolerate the rule of a woman over society or the state. There is no other possible explanation for Solomon’s extraordinary conduct.
  :yeah:

i am only beginning my research on this topic, but i was wondering if there is any basis in quran to assume that females may not be in the position of power over a society, and why?
what about all the empresses and queens of the past or more recent female leaders such as Indira Gandhi, Janet Jagan, Tansu Penbe Çiller, Benazir Bhutto, Margaret Thacher etc etc, was there then anything lacking in their work compared to male leaders?

is there anything in quran to prohibit females from being elected into such positions? :-\
thanks, your input is appreciated :peace:

Wakas

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Re: can a woman be a leader according to quran?
« Reply #1 on: July 22, 2010, 02:54:50 pm »
peace,

AQ=al quran

No, there is nothing in AQ against it as far as I know, thus it is possible.

In the story of Queen of Sheba in AQ it does not mention any negative about her being a female leader. In fact, Solomon shows her legitimacy as a leader.
All information in my posts is correct to the best of my knowledge only and thus should not be taken as a fact. One should seek knowledge and verify: 17:36, 20:114, 35:28, 49:6, 58:11.

www.studyQuran.org

abdalquran

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Re: can a woman be a leader according to quran?
« Reply #2 on: July 22, 2010, 04:03:47 pm »
The war waged on the Queen of Saba was because she owned them and it seems the focus of the nation's capacities were on her (27/23). This is what it means by 'worshipping the sun' in exclusion to Allah (27/24)
Farouk A. Peru

Leyna

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Re: can a woman be a leader according to quran?
« Reply #3 on: July 23, 2010, 01:46:42 am »
Salam princess,

I didn't read the article you linked to, but I have read countless texts claiming that it's Islamically forbidden to have a woman as a head of state, or in any leading position for that matter.

Usually, they ignore the story of the queen of Sheba though and refer to 4:34 and to the much-quoted hadith that a nation being led by a woman will never prosper. And then they usually get into all this crap about women's supposed intellectual deficiencies, menstruation, duty to care for kids, lack of logic etc. pp.

What the author of your above quote writes about the queen of Sheba is absolute rubbish. There is nothing in that story in the Qur'an to conclude that Solomon attacked her because of her gender, or that God disapproves of a woman as a leader of a nation. The queen of Sheba is praised for her intelligence, intuition etc.; her people and her advisors trust her ability to make decisions regarding the benefit of her people, she is depicted as a very strong and positive personality.

So that story in fact proves that if we look at the Qur'an for guidance, there is nothing to ban women from leading positions.


Btw., I highly recommend Fatima Mernissi's "The Veil and the Male Elite". It addresses this and other, related, issues, is well-researched and a really good read if you're interested in women's rights in Islam.
 :peace:



And Solomon's soldiers were gathered, comprising of humans and Jinn and birds, for they were to be spread out.

Until they came to a valley of ants, a female ant said: "O ants, enter your homes else you will be crushed by Solomon and his soldiers while they do not notice."

He then smiled, amused by what she said. And he said: "My Lord, help me to be thankful for the blessings You have bestowed upon me and upon my parents, and that I may do good work that pleases You, and admit me by Your Mercy with Your righteous servants."

And he inspected the birds, then said: "Why do I not see the hoopoe, or is he among those absent?"
"I will punish him severely, or I will kill him, else he should have a clear excuse."   

But the hoopoe did not stay away long, then he said: "I have seen what you do not know, and I have come to you from Sheba with news which is certain."
"I found them ruled by a woman, and she was given all possession, and she had a great throne."
"And I found her and her people prostrating to the sun instead of God! And the devil had made their work appear good to them, so he kept them away from the path, for they are not being guided."
"Will they not prostrate to God who brings out what is hidden in the heavens and the Earth, and He knows what you hide and what you declare?"

"God, there is no god but He, the Lord of the great throne."

He said: "We will see if you are being truthful or are one of those who lie."
"Take this letter of mine and deliver it to them, then withdraw from them and observe what they respond with."

She said: "O commanders, a noble letter has been delivered to me."
"It is from Solomon, and it reads: "In the name of God, the Almighty, the Merciful""
""Do not be arrogant toward me and come to me as submitters""

She said: "O commanders, advise me in this matter of mine, for I will not take a decision until you give testimony."

They said: "We are people of strength and mighty in power. But the decision is yours, so see what you will command."

She said: "When the kings enter a town they destroy it and make its most noble people humiliated. It is such that they do."
"And I will send to them a gift, then I will see with what the messengers will return."

So when they came to Solomon he said: "Are you providing me with wealth? What God has provided for me is far better than what He has given you. Now you are happy with your gift!"
"Return to them. For we shall come to them with soldiers the like of which they have never seen, and we will drive them out humiliated, while they are feeble."

He said: "O commanders, which of you can bring me her throne before they come to me in submission?"

A powerful being from among the Jinn said: "I will bring it to you before you rise from your station. For I am strong and trustworthy."

And one who had knowledge from the Scripture said: "I will bring it to you before you blink." So when he saw it resting before him, he said: "This is from the grace of my Lord, so that He tests me whether I am thankful or whether I reject. As for he who is thankful, he is thankful for himself, and as for he who rejects, then my Lord is Rich, Bountiful."

He said: "Disguise her throne so we may see if she will be guided or if she will be of those who are not guided."

So when she came, it was said: "Is your throne like this?" She said: "It appears to be similar." And we were given knowledge before her, and we had submitted.

And she was prevented by that which she served besides God. She was of the people who were rejecters.

It was said to her: "Enter the palace." So when she saw it she thought there was a pool, and she uncovered her legs. He said: "It is a palace paved with crystal." She said: "My Lord, I have wronged myself; and I submit with Solomon to God, the Lord of the worlds."


27:18-44



Leyna

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Re: can a woman be a leader according to quran?
« Reply #4 on: July 23, 2010, 01:50:39 am »


The Glorious Throne

According to the Quran, God created human beings as his trustees (khilafa) on Earth: “And remember when your lord said to the angels, ‘Verily, I am going to place a vicegerent on earth’ ” [2:7]. The ideal form of leadership involves realizing God’s will in one’s personal life and within one’s society. As rulers generally have control over what their society does, they have the additional role of morally guiding their society.

The only Quranic reference to female leadership (as in head of state) involves Bilqis, the Queen of Sheba. Few Muslims would contest that the Quran holds Bilqis in high esteem. Amina Wadud emphasizes the implications of the Quran’s favorable treatment of Bilqis for female leadership: “Despite the fact that she [Bilqis] ruled over a nation, most Muslims hold leadership as improper for a woman. The Quran uses no terms that imply that the position of ruler is inappropriate for a woman. On the contrary, the Quranic story of Bilqis celebrates both her political and religious practices” (40). Rafiq Zakaria, in his allegorical Trial of Benazir Bhutto, provides the historical context of the story:

Yusuf Ali: Saba was the name of the inhabitants of South Arabia. The capital city Ma’rib, was situated about 80 kilometers from the present Sanna, the capital of North Yemen. Saba was a flourishing people, adept in commerce; they reached the height of prosperity during the reign of a woman, named Bilqis, the legendary Queen of Sheba. During the same period (about 1100 to 800 BC) there ruled over the present Palestine, Jordan, the West Bank and part of Syria, Solomon who was mightier than any ruler of his times. . .One day he found one of his favorite birds, called Hoopie, missing; on enquiry Solomon was told it had just returned, bringing information about another kingdom where people worshipped the sun but whose ruler was a noble lady, ever solicitous of the welfare of her subjects. She ruled by consulting her Council, consisting of the local leaders (106).

Upon hearing about this queen, her ‘great throne,’ and her sun-worshiping nation, King Solomon sends a messenger with a letter to Sheba to enjoin her to submit to Islam: “In the name of God, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful: Be you not exalted against me, but come to me as Muslims” [Quran 27:30-31]. Bilqis reacts to the letter by telling her advisors she has received a ‘noble’ letter from King Solomon, reading it to them, and then asking them what she should do.

Her reaction reveals Bilqis’s ability to make independent decisions as well as her political tactfulness. Although the letter asks her to make her nation abandon its religion, its wording does not provoke a negative reaction in her; in fact, she describes it as “noble” [27:29]. When she asks her advisors for their opinion, she does so not because she is incapable of formulating a decision (she has already articulated her personal appreciation of the letter), but in accordance with norms of diplomacy and protocol (Wadud 41). Prophet Mohammed himself held consultation and consensus in high esteem: “My community will never agree on an error” (Muslim). By relegating the decision to Bilqis, her advisors show their confidence in her wisdom and willingness to submit to her decision-making: “They said: We have great strength, and great ability for war, but it is for you to command: so think over what you will command” [27:33]. While her advisors mention war as a possibility, Bilqis seeks a peaceful resolution to the conflict. She realizes an invasion by Solomon’s army would entail devastation for her nation: “She said: ‘Lo! Kings, when they enter a township, ruin it and make the honor of its people shame. Thus will they do! But lo! I am going to send a present to them, and see with what (answer) my messengers return’” [27:33-35]. Thus, to safeguard her people’s honor and safety, she refuses to engage in open hostility in spite of her advisors’ confidence in her nation’s military power.

Instead of declaring war against Solomon and causing bloodshed, she resorts to pacifist diplomacy and tries to appease him by sending a gift. Solomon rejects the gift saying: “Will you help me in wealth? What God has given me is better than which He has given you! Nay, you rejoice in your gift!” [27:36]. Instead of taking offence, Bilqis decides to go to Solomon herself: “As she is a ruler, such a decision carries importance. It means that she has determined that there is something special and particular about this unusual circumstance which warrants her personal attention and not just that of ambassadors. Perhaps it is his first letter which is written ‘In the name of God’ or because he rejects her material gift” (Wadud 41). Thus, Bilqis has the wisdom to sense the singularity of Solomon’s message.

Solomon prepares two tests for her. While she is on her way to him, Solomon asks for someone to volunteer to bring her throne to him: “One with whom was knowledge of the Scripture said: ‘I will bring it to you within the twinkling of an eye!’” Solomon orders the throne, a symbol of the queen’s power and glory, to be disguised to test whether she has the wisdom to recognize it: “Disguise her throne for her that we may see whether she will be guided (to recognize her throne) or she will be one of those not guided” [27:41]. She does recognize the throne and proves herself to be among the guided. When she mistakes an area of glass covering water as a pool, she realizes she has been fooled by the material world and has attached excessive importance to created objects like the sun: “My Lord! Verily, I have wronged myself and I submit, with Solomon, to God, Lord of the Universe” [27:44]. By accepting Islam, Bilqis shows evidence of her wisdom and ability to terminate her disbelief:

She was amazed. She had never seen such things before. Bilqis realized that she was in the company of a very knowledgeable person who was not only a ruler of a great kingdom but a messenger of God as well. She repented, gave up sun worship, accepted the faith of Allah, and asked her people to do the same. It was finished; Bilqis saw her people's creed fall apart before Solomon. She realized that the sun which her people worshipped was nothing but one of God's creatures (Ibn Kathir, Stories of the Prophets).

As God alone can guide human beings to Islam, He clearly favors Bilqis as she comes to Islam. Wadud argues that the story of the Queen of Sheba shows that women can possess judgement and spirituality above the norm:

I place both her worldly knowledge of peaceful politics and her spiritual knowledge of the unique message of Solomon together on the same footing to indicate her independent ability to govern wisely and to be governed wisely in spiritual matters. Thus, I connect her independent political decision –despite the norms of the existing (male) rulers – with her independent acceptance of the true faith (Islam), despite the norms of her people. In both instances, the Quran shows that her judgement was better than the norm and that she independently demonstrated that better judgement (42).

In the context of the Quran’s repetitive emphasis on the superiority of those who recognize the truth of God, at the expense of their prior beliefs and attachments, Bilqis proves herself capable of looking beyond material wealth and glory to find greater reward in submission to God. She stands out in the Quran as one of those whom the material world failed to blind from recognizing the oneness of God and submitting to Him. Her story fails to convey any negative connotations with regard to female leadership.


http://www.irfi.org/articles/articles_401_450/female_leadership_in_islam.htm


Leyna

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Re: can a woman be a leader according to quran?
« Reply #5 on: July 23, 2010, 01:53:35 am »



Saudi Women as Political Leaders?

 
In a heated debate with a male relative about one of my articles, he snaps: “Next you’ll be asking to be a minister!” I stop for a second: “Why not?” What is so shocking about a woman minister, political consultant, a member of the Shoura Council, ambassador or judge? I still cannot understand why men in my country insist on viewing women as inferior. I still cannot believe that they do not see that women have proven their capabilities in many fields. Political leadership is no exception.

When Muslim men are asked why they object to women in politics, they usually quote one particular Hadith: “A nation which places its affairs in the hands of a woman shall never prosper!” Let us examine this Hadith first in its context. If the Prophet (peace be upon him) actually did say this, it was upon hearing that the Persians had appointed Chosroe’s daughter as ruler. He was probably predicting the fall of the dynasty — not disenfranchising women.

Scholars will agree that there are several Hadiths of this type; i.e. limited to certain events which do not include any kind of later application. If he was undermining the role of women as leaders, would he contradict himself by telling his followers that a third of their religion could be learned from Aisha (his wife)?

I say “if the Prophet actually said this,” because several scholars have found reasons to reject its authenticity. First of all, the narrator of the Hadith is Abu Bakrah, a man who was convicted of, and flogged for, false testimony during Caliph Omar’s reign. Hence, according to Islamic law, his narration of Hadith should not be accepted. Moreover, the context in which he first mentions the Hadith is even more perplexing: Abu Bakrah had sided with Aisha and her troops against Ali in the “Battle of the Camel.” After her defeat and return to Madinah he narrated the Hadith.

Scholars who reject this Hadith say that this companion could not have understood the Prophet’s words as an injunction against female leadership. If that were the case, then he would be in an awkward position. It is not possible that a true companion would remember an injunction of the Prophet and proceed to disobey it. Nor would he be so disrespectful as to announce subsequently the recollection without explaining why he ignored it.

Leaving that Hadith aside, let us examine the Prophet’s political history with women. Actions speak louder than words, and Islamic history is rich in women leaders. Two women were among the first people to come and secretly pledge their allegiance to the Prophet. Later, after the Prophet returned to Makkah, he was approached by dozens of men pledging allegiance, and many women came as well. He did not turn them away or ask them to send their male guardians to pledge allegiance on their behalf.

The Qur’an says: “O Prophet! Whenever believing women come unto thee to pledge their allegiance to thee... then accept their pledge of allegiance.” (60:12) This is the equivalent to voting today. Over 1,400 years ago, Muslim women were already allowed to vote. They continued to do so during the reigns of subsequent rulers. What has become of us today? Not one Saudi woman is a member of the Shoura or has a say in any political matter.

What about women who were even more politically active in Islamic history? The first martyr in Islam, Sumaya, was a woman. Moreover, women fought in battles, side by side even with the Prophet. Two prominent examples of this are Umm Imara and Nasiba bint Kaab. Omar, the second Caliph, narrates: “I heard the Prophet saying: ‘On the day of Uhud, I never looked right or left without seeing Umm Imara fighting to defend me.’” As for Nasiba bint Kaab, she fought alongside both the Prophet and the first caliph, Abu Bakr. She was such a distinguished and courageous warrior that the caliph himself attended her reception on her return to Madinah.

If women in Islam were meant to lead the kind of marginalized lives we lead today, why didn’t anyone tell these women to stay home? Are we claiming to know better than the Prophet and his companions?

The Prophet’s wives were also politically active. Umm Salamah was instrumental in advising the Prophet during the crisis of Hudaibiyah. Her advice prevented disunity and prevailed over the advice of other men including Omar ibn Al-Khattab. Aisha was a rich source of religious knowledge and the first Muslim woman to lead men into battle. She is the epitome of a woman leader. If women were not meant to be leaders, why are some of the Prophet’s wives so politically inspiring?

The earliest woman actually to hold a governmental position was probably Al-Shafa bint Abdullah ibn Abd Shams whom the second caliph appointed manager of the market at Madinah. She supervised men and women and had authority over both. Could the Prophet’s close companion be wrong in giving such an example? Are we better and more pious than Omar? If not, then why don’t we have a single politically appointed position where a woman has authority over a man? Even in our purely female academic institutions, the chain always goes back to a man who has the last word. Islam is not a chauvinistic religion; it never was and never should be.

And what about women as religious authorities? One of the most powerful positions in early and contemporary Islam is that of judge. Why does the mere mention of such a topic cause such problems? What do our early religious scholars think of women being judges? Ibn Hazm, a prominent traditional scholar, was of the opinion that women could be judges in all kinds of cases. He relied on the following Qur’anic verse “Behold, God bids you to deliver all that you have been entrusted with unto those who are entitled thereto, and whenever you judge between people, to judge with justice. Verily, most excellent is what God exhorts you to do: verily, God is all-hearing, all-seeing!” (4:58); Ibn Hazm said that since this verse addressed both men and women, there was no need to discriminate between the two.


Imam Abu Hanifah similarly believed that women could be judges but only on issues regarding domestic/family law. Despite these examples, we do not have a single female judge in Saudi Arabia. Are these imams not the same religious authorities that we resort to in other religious matters? Why are we selective in what we use and what we refuse? And, if this is the case, who decides what to use and what to refuse?

Perhaps the strongest proof that a woman can hold a political position as leader of an entire nation is the fact that Allah Himself, in the Qur’an, portrays Bilquis, Queen of Sheba, in a favorable light. We are told the story of a strong woman who is a democratic ruler, consulting her people before making important decisions. After witnessing Solomon’s power, she becomes a believer and remains the Queen of Sheba. We as Muslims know that when we are told a story in the Qur’an, it is not for entertainment but for our education. If it was wrong for a woman to be a leader, would Allah fail to mention that crucial point?

In conclusion, I must admit that my relative was absolutely right: I am asking for the right to be a minister. I am asking for the right to be whatever my abilities may enable me to be.
* * *


(Moodhy Al-Khalaf is a Saudi writer. She is based in Riyadh.)




Leyna

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Re: can a woman be a leader according to quran?
« Reply #6 on: July 23, 2010, 02:03:51 am »


"AS YOU ARE, YOU WILL BE LED": KHALED ABOU EL FADL LEADS A TOWN HALL MEETING ON WOMAN-LED PRAYER IN LOS ANGELES


Since the March 18th prayer led by Amina Wadud in New York and co-sponsored by muslimwakeup.com and the Muslim Women’s Freedom Tour, the Muslim community’s excitement, confusion, and even outrage led the Progressive Muslim Union of North America (PMU), which endorsed the prayer, to take two concrete actions in an attempt to alleviate our community's confusion. First, we started a Prayer Initiative which houses information about female-led prayer, including arguments for and against it and first hand accounts of the New York prayer. Secondly, we committed ourselves to organizing as many town hall meetings around the country as we could on the subject of female led prayer. PMU put on its first such town hall meeting in Los Angeles on June 5, and invited UCLA Law Professor Khaled Abou El Fadl to give the keynote speech.

Our goal was to act as a conduit of information to the Muslim community in order to encourage Muslims to make informed decisions about this issue. The goal of the New York City woman-led mixed gender prayer was not to impose this particular style of prayer on others, but to be part of a challenge of the current status quo, which attempts to dictate one style of prayer on everyone, namely where men lead, and women stay behind. Our point in endorsing woman-led prayer and launching the Prayer Initiative is not so much to dictate how people should pray, but rather to insist that a wide spectrum of interpretations be respected and discussed.

El Fadl spent the first 45 minutes or so of his two-hour presentation making precisely this point. Calling Muslims a “lost” people due to the depth of alienation from our rich intellectual traditions, and decrying the lack of quality and high standards in our religious leaders’ reasoning and intellectual integrity; it was as if El Fadl felt he needed to engage in a collective deprograming of the 70+ in attendance before he could start to lay down his research on female-led prayer. Why? We believe part of El Fadl’s point was that the swift denunciation of female-led prayer by most of our religious leaders was quite likely more a product of knee-jerk polemics and an expression of deeply-held patriarchy than the product of intelligible legal reasoning.

At one point in his introduction, El Fadl reminded the audience that “sharia is supposed to be a fountain of God’s wisdom from which we can all draw from.” The image of sharia as a fountain was one that we had some difficulty with, as we are more used to sharia being represented as a quasi-mysterious, unyielding code of conduct usually regarding the most obscure, mundane, and deeply personal of issues. Moreover, this mysterious code is usually dictated to us by self-appointed religious gurus who somehow possess one of few keys available to its decoding, and whose decisions tend to reflect their interests as men and authority figures. Yet the statement set a tone. El Fadl took us through this kaleidoscope by focusing on the one issue of female-led prayer and led the audience into different schools of thought, including extinct ones, different debates that took place within those schools, different geographical locations, different centuries, and finally highlighted the influence of politics on these debates.

In his survey of the history of discussion of the issue of female led prayer in Islam, El Fadl divided the arguments against female led prayer into two categories: ones that questioned women’s intellectual capacity to lead prayer, and others that argued that women led prayer would create fitna due to the potential to sexually excite men.

Intellectual Capacity of Women

Um Salama, a woman of the Prophet’s time, enjoyed a very high degree of religious authority, as did A'isha, the Prophet's wife. In fact, according to El Fadl, “About 30% (if not more) of Islamic jurisprudence was created by these two women.” When jurists later wrote about these two women, many “exceptionalized” them in order to get around the potential legal implications of the fact that these two women were certainly of the highest intellectual capacity at the time of the Prophet. Jurists later argued that the status of A’isha and Um Salama could not be instructive for laws regarding women, since these women were close to the Prophet, and it is therefore impossible to find any women of comparable intellectual ability in any other period.

Sexuality

The other major reason jurists gave for a prohibition on woman-led prayer is the potential for fitna caused by sexual distraction. El Fadl emphasized that on this point, what is needed is an understanding of the sexual anthropology of Muslims during that period, and a recognition that sexual mores – including what is considered sexually enticing – changes over time. It may well have been that in certain Islamic societies in certain geographical locations at certain times to bend over would be too close to a sexual act; and it may well be that such prostrating does not produce the same effect or have the same symbolic place in our culture today. Ironically, El Fadl told us that A’isha, the Prophet’s wife, at one time slept next to the Prophet as he led prayers.

Not all jurists, by any stretch, argued absolutely against female-led prayer, and some believed female-led prayer was permissible at all times, including the five daily prescribed prayers and for “extra” prayers, such as tarawih prayers during Ramadan. Al Tabari for example, is one such scholar who believed woman-led prayer to be acceptable at all times. He and other jurists created schools of thought that were powerful in the 10th, 11th and 12th centuries – at one time their power surpassed that of the Hanbali school – but that later became extinct.

Politics

One of the oft-repeated refrains supporters of woman-led prayer hear is that the Muslim community in general, and Muslim women in particular, are facing “more important issues,” and that woman-led prayer is, at best, cosmetic. What it takes to disprove this assertion is to demonstrate that not only is female spiritual leadership in itself important, but that female spiritual leadership has implications beyond the realm of the spiritual. Is it possible that women are being kept from positions of spiritual authority in order to limit their power in other arenas?

El Fadl argued that from early on in Islamic history, leadership of prayer was recognized as a form of social and political leadership. This view is consistent with a particularly revealing quote from Nasr Fareed Wassel, the former mufti of Egypt, who told Egypt Today in their January, 2005 issue, "In order to lead Muslims in their worldly affairs, the ruler must be eligible to lead them in their prayers, and since by consensus of the Muslim community women never lead men in prayers, they cannot rule them.” El Fadl also observed that women rights issues tend to surface in contexts of political oppression.


We believe it would have been hard to walk out of that lecture without a renewed appreciation of the kaleidoscope of conversations, debates and legal rulings, all influenced by political and social factors, that make up the corpus of Islamic intellectual history. Islamic intellectual histories, like all historical narratives, are first and foremost human products, in this case the product of the sum total of Muslim attempts to uncover the essence of the divine. Indeed, there is not one system of human endeavor that has not grown, evolved or been shaped by the challenges of their day, be it other religious laws such as Jewish law or Canon law, or the legal history of the United States with its constitutional amendments, countless rulings and laws, trends and lasting social movements. To deny this history in Islam and instead advocate for some kind of ahistorical, salafi approach to texts as literal guidebooks or cookbooks for Muslims (a pinch of this good deed here, ½ a cup of prayer there will lead to heaven…) is to ignore basic truths about how social norms and truths are shaped in human history.

Why can we Muslims no longer afford this salafi approach? Because external problems we are facing starkly remind us that we must become more politically and intellectually sophisticated, and we must do it fast. Interestingly, when we asked El Fadl his advice about what contemporary Muslims can concretely do with the picture he painted for us that day, El Fadl replied that we absolutely had to demand the highest possible quality from our political and spiritual leaders.

Educating ourselves about our own tradition is an important first step in the imperative to transform our community into a more internally tolerant and just one. We believe that only when we make these strides internally will we be able to more strongly advocate for justice from external forces, forces that exert too much influence over our lives, livelihoods and even our intellects.

As human beings, it is easier to just continue with the Islam we think we know. Learning and debating is often too much work and too much effort. Some people are too afraid to take the time to learn because then they as Muslims are required to speak up for what is right – not necessarily what they are familiar with. By launching the Prayer Initiative and organizing these townhall meetings on the issue, PMU hopes to become a reliable and constant source of information and knowledge. What individual Muslims choose to do with that knowledge is up to them.



Leyna

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Re: can a woman be a leader according to quran?
« Reply #7 on: July 23, 2010, 02:07:21 am »



The Holy Quran: Concept of leadership with regard to gender 


Any discussion of an Islamic point-of-view on a matter begins with a study of relevant verses (if any) from the Quran. Most Muslims consider the Quran the unaltered word of God as revealed to Prophet Mohammed in the seventh century of the Common Era. It is the primary source of Islamic jurisprudence, followed by the Prophet’s example or sunnah (a combination of biographies and compilations of records of his sayings and actions), the consensus of scholars, and derivation of law through analogy. Unlike the last two sources of jurisprudence, Quranic ordinances are binding on all Muslims, as is the Prophet’s Sunnah. We will therefore confine our discussion of the scriptural treatment of female leadership to the Quran and Sunnah.

Does the Quran designate women as the unconditional followers of men within the family and/or within society? Two Quranic verses seem to acknowledge men’s leadership over women:

1. Men are in charge of women, because God has made some excel (faddala) some of the others [4:34].

2. And they (women) have rights similar to those (of men) over them in kindness, and men are a degree above them [2:228].


Conservative Muslims frequently quote these verse to promulgate the view that a man is the head of the Muslim family and that a woman may never take charge of men. Syed Abul a’la Maududi, for example, extended the role of man as leader and woman as follower within the family to the public sphere. He upheld the translation: “Men are the managers of the affairs of women because God has made the one superior to the other” (cited in Wadud 71).

According to Amina Wadud, “an individual scholar who considers faddala an unconditional preference of males over females does not restrict qiwamah to the family relationship but applies it to society at large. Men, the superior beings, are qawwamuna ala women, the dependent, inferior beings” (72). This view opposes any possibility of female leadership as it claims the Quran prefers men as leaders both within the family and within society.

On the other hand, fundamentalists such as Sayyid Qutb restrict the applicability of the verses to the family. Qutb upholds that as men provide for women, they earn the privilege of being in charge of women within the conjugal relationship. Even some modernists, such as Rafiq Zakaria, concede that men are the leaders within the family even though they argue women can be leaders at the same time. Scholars such as Qutb and Zakaria restrict the privilege of men over women to within the family as the preceding and following verses deal with conjugal relations and not with the status of each sex in society at large.

At the opposite end of the spectrum from Maududi, Amina Wadud rejects the idea that the Quran relegates women to an inferior position within the family or society in Quran and Woman. She analyzes the first verse as follows: “Men are [qawwamuna ala] women [on the basis] of what God has [preferred] (faddala) some of them over others, and [on the basis] of what they spend of their property (for the support of women)” [4:34]. She defines the more ‘what’ God has given to men as inheritance, the only thing of which God gives more to men in the Quran; she therefore interprets the verse to mean men must use their inheritance and earnings to tend to the needs of women as females play an indispensable and arduous role in assuring the continuation of the human species:

The childbearing responsibility is of grave importance: human existence depends upon it. This responsibility requires a great deal of physical strength, stamina, intelligence, and deep personal commitment. Yet, while this responsibility is so obvious and important, what is the responsibility of the male in this family and society at large? For simple balance and justice in creation, and to avoid oppression, his responsibility must be equally significant to the continuation of the human race. The Quran establishes his responsibility as qiwamah: seeing to it that the woman is not burdened with additional responsibilities which jeopardize that primary demanding responsibility that only she can fulfil. Ideally, everything she needs to fulfil her primary responsibility comfortably should be supplied in society, by the male: this means physical protection as well as material sustenance (73).

Therefore, the verse, according to Wadud, does not establish women as inferior to men or that men are the divinely designated leaders of women. It ordains men to fulfil responsibilities toward women who bear children and thereby should not be expected to work and support the family as well.

With regard to verse 2:228, Wadud restricts it to the matter of divorce. The Quran allows men to divorce their wives without having to go to court whereas women have to seek the assistance of a judge. According to Wadud, this is necessary so that the judge can make sure the husband accepts the termination of the marriage without abusing the wife. Men therefore have to fulfill a greater financial responsibility toward women in return for the ease of initiating the divorce; they have a higher degree of financial responsibility toward women whereas a woman does not have to compensate a man if she initiates the divorce. For modernists such as Wadud, as women are not confined to being followers within the family, there is no prohibition against their assuming leadership roles within society.

Another verse occasionally used by conservatives warns against entrusting money to the “foolish” which many companions of the Prophet interpreted as a reference to women as well as children: “Give not unto the foolish (what is in) your (keeping of their wealth), which Allah has given you to maintain” [4:5]. If God has forbidden men to entrust their money to women, how can they even think of entrusting all of society to them? Al-Tabari, however, says that had God wished to denote women by “foolish” he would have used the feminine plural form of foolish instead of the masculine or gender-neutral one (Mernissi 96). The use of this verse to prohibit female leadership exemplifies the range of evidence both sides bring to support their views.

With regard to such verses, the decision on whether or not women may lead men and women depends on whether a nation accepts the fundamentalist or modernist interpretation. Through present day, the conservative view has generally received wider acceptance. Given the possible limitation of verses 4:3 and 2:228 to the conjugal relationship, does the Quran make any specific references to female leadership within society or a ‘nation’?



http://www.irfi.org/articles/articles_401_450/female_leadership_in_islam.htm


Leyna

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Re: can a woman be a leader according to quran?
« Reply #8 on: July 23, 2010, 03:27:28 am »



OK, now that I had my third cup of coffee, I took a look at the article you linked.     

Wow ... what a collection of rubbish, lies and utterly mysogyinstic thinking.



Quote
There is a very clear implication in the divine choice of men, 124,000 times in all, and never even once a woman, as divinely-appointed Prophets and Messengers. This implication is further confirmed in the divine choice of the masculine gender (and not feminine) for pronouns that refer to ‘Him’, even though ‘He’, Allah, is neither male nor female. The names of angels are all masculine, even though they are neither male nor female.




Quote
Why, we may ask ourselves, did Allah Most High choose only men as His Prophets and Messengers?

He writes a lot about this point in a desparate attempt to *prove* that their has never been a female prophet. But fact is, God says in the Qur'an that he sent messengers whose names we know and many whose names we don't know. So it is impossible to say whether they were all males or not.

Actually, even scholars differ on this issue. Many say that there has never been a female prophet, but there are also some who regard it as possible. Al-Andaluci wrote an interesting text about "nubuwa (prophethood) of women" more than 1000 years ago.


Quote
And why did Prophet Muhammad ordain two animals be sacrificed as thanksgiving for the birth of a baby boy, while only one was to be slaughtered for the birth of a baby girl.

This sounds like a pre-Islamic custom which found its way into hadith literature, rather than an order from the prophet.


Quote
Also, why did the Prophet order men occupy the front rows of the Masjid, while women were to occupy the back rows of the Masjid behind the men, hence making it impossible for a woman to ever lead the men in prayer?

I fail to see any logic behind this statement. Women praying in the back rows makes it impossible for women to lead men in prayer? How so?

The author seems to imply that the fact that women prayed in the back rows in the prophet's mosque means that men are not allowed to see a woman during their prayer because that will create *fitna*. This is a mysogynistic and perverted way of thinking, often used by traditionalists in order to justify banning women from doing all sorts of things. If we follow this thought further, the logical conclusion would be to tell women to cover themselves from head to toe with just one eye showing and not leave the house unless absolutely necessary. Which is exactly what the extremists have been doing.


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Let us first dismiss the notion that men are intellectually, morally or spiritually superior to women.

Oh, wow, nice to read that after he's done his best to establish the supposed superiority of men over women. 



Quote
Indeed he recognized the status of ‘mother’ to be thrice superior to that of ‘father’, and declared that “paradise lies beneath your mother’s feet”.

Ah, what a lovely hadith. And how nicely it reminds us of a Muslim woman's divinely ordained duty – being a mother, and only a mother. Nurturing kids and taking care of the home and the family is the only thing a woman should strive to excel in. That's what she's been created for; while the men have been created to be leaders and go outside in order to earn money, do politics, make decisions etc.

Being a mother is the most important thing in a woman's life, and should she have other plans and aspirations, she is clearly misguided and the subject of influence by Western feminists and misguided ideas. A woman's place is in the home, and that's what she will earn respect and rewards for.

I love it how in pamphlets about "Islam and Women", they always stress how "women are respected as mothers, daughters, sisters, wifes", thus displaying a very strange attitude – that a woman is only defined by those terms, always in relation to a man or family. Having aspirations outside of the domestic realm or striving for individuality, responsibility and power is not included in this definition.

Sure enough, in another article from the "women in Islam" section on the same site, we read:
Quote
Since women have a basic function of bearing and rearing children it was necessary that they be freed of an obligation to earn their livelihood. Thus the Qur’an obliged men to maintain, as well as to guard and protect them, and, in turn, obliged a woman to be obedient to her husband or guardian.
...

The Prophet prophesied 1400 years ago that women would “… dress like men”. This is already manifesting in the modern feminist revolution. He also prophesied, “… women would be dressed and yet be naked”, indicating that the feminist revolution would spawn a sexual revolution that would culminate with people committing “… sexual intercourse in public like donkeys.
...

“The sun rising from the West”, which is a major sign of the Last Day, appears to represent modern Western civilization's ‘upside down’ world in which, among many other things, women abandon their primary responsibility of rearing children in order to dress like men and go out to work full-time the way men do.

and here:
Quote
When this philosophy of gender was applied to Muslim society the ‘night’ never attempted to become ‘day’. Rather ‘night’ and ‘day’ eternally longed for each other. And so we were never subjected to the abominable phenomenon (that European civilization is now exporting to the rest of the world) of the ‘day’ mating with ‘day’ and vice-versa. Women in such a society not only fulfilled all their sacred functional duties as wives and as mothers, and thus contributed in a significant way to preservation of the health, strength and stability of the family, but, in addition, they preserved both their femininity as well as their fertility. And so the Muslim woman remained truly and enchantingly a woman! An age that produced the celibate priest had obstinately insisted that one had to turn away from woman in order to turn to God. Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah Most High be upon him) responded by declaring “Three things have been made dear to me in this world of yours – perfume, women and prayer.” And so Islam rejected both celibacy and the ‘object’ while recognizing woman, like prayer, to be a medium through which a man might journey to paradise.



Quote

Rather, the implication is clearly recorded in the declaration of Prophet Muhammad himself (peace and blessings of Allah Most High be upon him) when he learnt that the Persian people had chosen their Emperor’s as their new ruler. He declared: “No people would ever be successful who choose a woman to rule over them” (Bukhari, Nisai, Tirmidhi and Ahmad).

Ah, and of course here we have it – the famous hadith. 



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Re: can a woman be a leader according to quran?
« Reply #9 on: July 23, 2010, 03:37:20 am »
peace abd,

I have no idea what you're referring to. The word is MLK which primarily means to control, and of course, control can imply a degree of mastery or ownership but that is an inference. What else have you got that substantiates this view? The rest of the story implies otherwise.
All information in my posts is correct to the best of my knowledge only and thus should not be taken as a fact. One should seek knowledge and verify: 17:36, 20:114, 35:28, 49:6, 58:11.

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Haroon

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Re: can a woman be a leader according to quran?
« Reply #10 on: July 23, 2010, 04:12:13 am »
I agree with Wakas. There is nothing in the Quran prohibiting women from leading in any context, that includes prayer.

I wonder when our mosques will turn into inclusive spaces for men, women and children.

princess

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Re: can a woman be a leader according to quran?
« Reply #11 on: July 23, 2010, 10:08:14 am »
thanks for the replies!

leyna, good read - i'm just going through all the articles right now. i agree that imran hosein's "conclusion" in the originally posted article is baseless at best as it is preposterous to assume that solomon, a man of great wisdom, would wage war based on GENDER of a nation's leader. since hosein has nothing to support his claim with he resorts to adding his ideas in the brackets:
Quote
(Solomon) said: We shall see whether you speak the truth (concerning the rule of a woman over Saba, and their worship of the sun) or whether you are a liar.
i did my best writing as neutral OP as i could, but in reality this article got me boiling from the beginning :voodoo:  ;D


Leyna

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Re: can a woman be a leader according to quran?
« Reply #12 on: July 23, 2010, 10:44:50 am »



leyna, good read - i'm just going through all the articles right now.

Hope I didn't spam your thread too much. :peace: But you caught me on a subject I've done a lot of thinking about. I've collected those texts over time since I find the texts that are usually found in mainstream literature about the subject quite frustrating.



since hosein has nothing to support his claim with he resorts to adding his ideas in the brackets

I noticed that too.  ::)

This dude is lacking in logic, caught up in his narrow-minded view of the world, and he seems to hate people standing up for women's rights with a vengeance.

I love how he links "the feminist revolution" to people committing "sexual intercourse in public like donkeys."

   




Alen

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Re: can a woman be a leader according to quran?
« Reply #15 on: August 27, 2010, 06:51:19 am »
Peace,
Respect.

In UK, today, the prime minister is the leader and many other countries and the Queen here almost ha sno authority, I hear from people telling me that she is only a sa symbol and nothing else. I wonder hoe the message got lost. Queeen should be in charge, yes? Not Prime minister.

God know sbest.
Peace.
39:53 Say: “O My servants who transgressed against themselves, do not despair of God\'s mercy. For God forgives all sins. He is the Forgiver, the Merciful.”

MUNZIR ALI

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Re: can a woman be a leader according to quran?
« Reply #16 on: August 27, 2010, 06:57:44 am »
Peace,
Respect.

In UK, today, the prime minister is the leader and many other countries and the Queen here almost ha sno authority, I hear from people telling me that she is only a sa symbol and nothing else. I wonder hoe the message got lost. Queeen should be in charge, yes? Not Prime minister.

God know sbest.
Peace.
In a constutional Monarchy the prime minister is in charge. EG:- Thatcher

Alen

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Re: can a woman be a leader according to quran?
« Reply #17 on: September 01, 2010, 11:21:10 am »
In a constutional Monarchy the prime minister is in charge. EG:- Thatcher
Peace,
Respect.

I'd much rather see Cheryl Cole here as the PM then Thatcher, Blair, Borwn and Cameron together.
God knows best.

Peace.
39:53 Say: “O My servants who transgressed against themselves, do not despair of God\'s mercy. For God forgives all sins. He is the Forgiver, the Merciful.”

umzy01

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Re: can a woman be a leader according to quran?
« Reply #18 on: September 05, 2010, 06:47:08 pm »
Peace,
Respect.

In UK, today, the prime minister is the leader and many other countries and the Queen here almost ha sno authority, I hear from people telling me that she is only a sa symbol and nothing else. I wonder hoe the message got lost. Queeen should be in charge, yes? Not Prime minister.

God know sbest.
Peace.

the Queen has no authority, years of inbreeding leading her to be born of royal blood isnt enough to give her right to rule, i'd say the same when/if prince charles becomes king too.

but as for women leading im all for it, i remember at my college islamic society women werent even allowed to talk, even if it was to ask a question let alone have any leading roles. how lame.

'What is wrong with you? How do you judge?
Or do you have another book which you study?
In it, you can find what you wish?'

QURAN 68:36-38

Emil

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Re: can a woman be a leader according to quran?
« Reply #19 on: September 06, 2010, 02:03:06 am »
Goodmorning all

Forgive my ignorance, but is this the consensus of mainstream muslims? A woman cannot rule? I know female imams are like totally impossible it seems, but political rulers? Honest question here.

Because are they not putting themselves in a real pickle? hypothetical scenario; A muslim living in a secular state goes to vote in the election. He sees the Social Democrats want a system that looks after the sick and weak and not let a few get rich. The social democrats believe that, as a muslim, he has the right to practice his religion, they want to help minorities, they believe in equality etc. etc.

A lot of the social democratic philosophy is pretty much close to what he believes in as a muslim. So he wants to vote for them, but he can't....because the leader of the Social Democrat party is a WOMAN.

What is the scholaric ruling on that? Is he supposed to withdraw from the rest of society and not vote? What happens if the Social Democrats win the election? Is he supposed to just ignore the new political ruling because the leader is female, even though he agrees with what she is saying?

SarahY

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Re: can a woman be a leader according to quran?
« Reply #20 on: September 06, 2010, 03:57:27 am »
Emil he would be a fool if he voted against his beliefs.

Once upon a time women ruled in the Maldives..
We all have blind spots.
Follow your heart but take your brain with you.
ambiguity is there for a reason, why do you think?
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Emil

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Re: can a woman be a leader according to quran?
« Reply #21 on: September 06, 2010, 05:26:34 am »
Emil he would be a fool if he voted against his beliefs.

Once upon a time women ruled in the Maldives..

Tell me something I don't know  ;D

The question is hypothetical. Does mr Imram Hosein, born in Trinidad, object to the Prime Minister of Trinidad because she is a woman, even though he might believe she is good for his country? Does mr Imram Hosein's view of female leadership mirror the belief of mainstream muslims? I don't know, because I have never talked politics with a muslim before, hence my question.


afridi220

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Re: can a woman be a leader according to quran?
« Reply #22 on: September 06, 2010, 08:08:21 am »
Goodmorning all

Forgive my ignorance, but is this the consensus of mainstream muslims? A woman cannot rule? I know female imams are like totally impossible it seems, but political rulers? Honest question here.

Because are they not putting themselves in a real pickle? hypothetical scenario; A muslim living in a secular state goes to vote in the election. He sees the Social Democrats want a system that looks after the sick and weak and not let a few get rich. The social democrats believe that, as a muslim, he has the right to practice his religion, they want to help minorities, they believe in equality etc. etc.

A lot of the social democratic philosophy is pretty much close to what he believes in as a muslim. So he wants to vote for them, but he can't....because the leader of the Social Democrat party is a WOMAN.

What is the scholaric ruling on that? Is he supposed to withdraw from the rest of society and not vote? What happens if the Social Democrats win the election? Is he supposed to just ignore the new political ruling because the leader is female, even though he agrees with what she is saying?

Once upon a time I saw a imam riding a  jenny ;)
Peace


People are often unreasonable, illogical and self-centered; forgive them anyway

Emil

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Re: can a woman be a leader according to quran?
« Reply #23 on: September 06, 2010, 08:21:41 am »
Once upon a time I saw a imam riding a female jenny ;)

jenny  ???

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Re: can a woman be a leader according to quran?
« Reply #24 on: September 07, 2010, 04:14:39 am »
Tell me something I don't know  ;D

The question is hypothetical. Does mr Imram Hosein, born in Trinidad, object to the Prime Minister of Trinidad because she is a woman, even though he might believe she is good for his country? Does mr Imram Hosein's view of female leadership mirror the belief of mainstream muslims? I don't know, because I have never talked politics with a muslim before, hence my question.



TBH only the Prime Minister of Trinidad could answer that. people can be prejudice which can cause them to be unjust but not necessarily it's all individual. You might do something that you hate for the benefit of others, or do something you love for your own selfishness. it depends on peoples values/beliefs and how strongly they hold to them.

Sorry I don't have the answer you want but to assume that no one will be bias and unjust is wrong and to assume that because a mainstream may prefer a male he won't vote for a women is also wrong. it's all individual and we'd be speculating if we had a concrete answer, unless of course they openly say so.

Aisha supposedly led an army regretfully, if people listened to her i'm sure women had some sort of power

Peace
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Follow your heart but take your brain with you.
ambiguity is there for a reason, why do you think?
We're all different, so how can we all be equal?

Wakas

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Re: can a woman be a leader according to quran?
« Reply #25 on: September 07, 2010, 05:56:54 am »
As a side note, many people in the UK are under the mistaken impression that the Queen has no power.

Whilst this is true for the most part, what many do not know is that in rare cases when the prime minister or ministers want to push through controversial decrees they use archaic/ancient/royal law, "signed off" by the Queen, so they do not need to go through parliament and have an open discussion about it.

As unjust and undemocratic as that seems, it is 100% true and those educated about it know. The most despicable example of this in action is when they used it to throw people out of their homes/land in Chagos (now known as Diego Garcia) to make way for a US military base, see here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Order-in-Council
http://links.org.au/node/746

If you live in the UK and this is the first time you are hearing about this, it's ok, many are unaware these archaic laws exist.
All information in my posts is correct to the best of my knowledge only and thus should not be taken as a fact. One should seek knowledge and verify: 17:36, 20:114, 35:28, 49:6, 58:11.

www.studyQuran.org

Emil

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Re: can a woman be a leader according to quran?
« Reply #26 on: September 07, 2010, 06:57:48 am »
TBH only the Prime Minister of Trinidad could answer that. people can be prejudice which can cause them to be unjust but not necessarily it's all individual. You might do something that you hate for the benefit of others, or do something you love for your own selfishness. it depends on peoples values/beliefs and how strongly they hold to them.

Sorry I don't have the answer you want but to assume that no one will be bias and unjust is wrong and to assume that because a mainstream may prefer a male he won't vote for a women is also wrong. it's all individual and we'd be speculating if we had a concrete answer, unless of course they openly say so.

Aisha supposedly led an army regretfully, if people listened to her i'm sure women had some sort of power

Peace

I agree...It just baffled me. I always thought that non-fundamentalist countries see politics and religion as somewhat separate, otherwise women like Tansu Çiller, Benazir Bhutto and Megawati Sukarnoputri could never have been allowed to lead. I always thought that, according to mainstream muslims, a woman is not allowed in religious leadership, hence the very limitied amount of female imams. I thought this was a sure thing, but apparentaly it also extends to other kinds of leadership according to Imram Hosein. He may be very alone in his thoughts, but like I said, didn't know it existed at all outside the fundamentalist ways.

BTW, I cannot find anything in the Quran about women not allowed to lead, in any kind or sort. And using the queen of Sheeba as argument against female leadership is just tooo easy to rebute. Mr Hosein, nice try but sorry, I don't buy it.

Layth

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Re: can a woman be a leader according to quran?
« Reply #27 on: September 18, 2010, 06:54:40 am »
Salam,

I would say that the answer is "yes" based on the example of Sheba that has been given to us. However, I wold also point out that a woman or even a normal man do not appear to be the first/best choice as in the example of the Isralites when they asked for a King...God made "Saul" king over them, when they asked "why?" they were told: "because God favored him in his size and knowledge".

Interstingly, this teaches us that the best person for the job is not always the obvious one.

- The Isralites had a prophet in their midst, yet God chose Saul for his qualities - physical stature projects power.
- Moses was the one chosen as prophet, yet God allowed Aron to be the spokesperson for the message because he was more elequent.

`And when God Alone is mentioned, the hearts of those who do not believe in the Hereafter are filled with aversion; and when others are mentioned beside Him, they rejoice!` (The Quran 39:45)