A’isha’s Legacy

Amina WadudThe second article I want to post is an article “A’isha’s Legacy” by Amina Wadud who is one of the founders of the modern Islamic feminist movement. By way of introduction to the article I want to cite the last part of the Wikipedia article about her.
Friday prayerWadud was the subject of much debate and Muslim juristic discourse after leading a Friday prayer (salat) of over 100 male and female Muslims in the Episcopal Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York on March 18, 2005, breaking with the tradition of having only male imams (prayer leaders). Three mosques had refused to host the service and the museum that had agreed to host it pulled out after a bomb threat. (The event was not the first time in the history of Islam that a woman had led the Friday prayer. See Women as imams for a discussion of the issue.)

In August 1994, Wadud delivered a Friday khutbah(sermon) on “Islam as Engaged Surrender” at the Claremont Main Road Mosque in Cape Town, South Africa. At the time, this was largely unheard of in the Muslim world. As a result, there were attempts in Virginia by some Muslims to have her removed from her position at Virginia Commonwealth University.

There has been objection and some support from Muslims around the world to Wadud’s imamate. In spite of the criticism, Wadud has continued her speaking engagements, and has continued to lead mixed-gender Friday prayer services. On October 28, 2005, following her talk at the International Congress on Islamic Feminism in Barcelona, Spain, she was invited to lead a congregation of about thirty people.

The majority of the Islamic community, whether laymen or Islamic scholars, are opposed to the idea of women leading mixed-gender congregations, but allow women to lead women only.[1]However, some jurists, such as the Iranian Shi’i jurist Mohsen Kadivarhave espoused her view on the permissibility of female imams. It must be clarified, however, that most Shi’is do not agree with Kadivar’s views.[citation needed]

[edit] Media appearance

She was interviewed on WNYC radio on July 14, 2006, to discuss her book Inside the Gender Jihad. She responded to questions and comments about other activities including women in gender-mixed Friday prayer service.

[edit] Controversy

Wadud’s stance on issues such as women’s rights have generated outrage among Muslims such as Yusuf al-Qaradawi, who has issued a fatwa, published in the Qatar press, in which he called upon Wadud’s death. Wadud, a leader of the progressive organization Muslim WakeUp!, has defied the fatwa on many occasions, such as holding a mixed-gender prayer in a conference hall at the Anglican Cathedral of St. John the Divine following a bomb threat. Three mosques and an art gallery had previously refused to hold the prayer because of the perceived danger.

Wadud published a book in 1999, Qur’an and Woman, which has caused controversy among Muslims due her extrapolation of women’s rights from the Qur’an, such as an example that the prophet Mohammad allowed a woman to lead prayer.

Enclosed is the beginning of the article A’isha’s Legacy.

A’ishah’s legacy

Amina Wadud looks at the struggle for women’s rights within Islam.

“I converted to Islam during the second wave feminist movement in the 1970s. I saw everything through a prism of religious euphoria and idealism. Within the Islamic system of thought I have struggled to transform idealism into pragmatic reforms as a scholar and activist. And my main source of inspiration has been Islam’s own primary source — the Qur’an. It is clear to me that the Qur’an aimed to erase all notions of women as subhuman…………”


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