Validity of Friday prayers at women’s mosque of America is questioned

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Ms. Muslema Purmul in an article at Muslim Matters of the same title wrote that the Jumuah prayers led by women is legally invalid, “I have immense respect for the organizers and for Sis. Edina Lekovic who will be leading this effort, though it is legally invalid insofar as it counting as a fard prayer.” And further adds, “As an American Muslim Azhariyyah from the College of Shariah I state that an all women’s Jumuah is legally invalid according to all the opinions I know about.” Ms. Purmul “completed the bachelor’s program in Shariah from Al-Azhar University in Cairo and also completed almost two years of graduate work at the American University in Cairo in Islamic Studies.”

Interesting swapped positioning of names of Allah and Muhammad

First of all God did not create a technical manual to pray, and nowhere has he specified that a woman cannot lead Friday prayers. Quran calls for prayers, but does not specify how for a purpose, and that is because it is a book of guidance, and not a technical manual. 
Furthermore, it has built-in room to accommodate diversity that the prophet predicted his followers will regroup into many tribes (72/73 was a metaphor to mean many). Men dominated cultures have serious problems in denying any and everything to women; they need to learn and understand Prophet’s life and his inclusive attitudes.
The most important element of prayers is Niyya- our intention to sincerely fulfill the duty of being a part of the Friday congregational prayers. Islam is guidance and not a technical precision manual to go to Mars. God hears those who call on him, and God, mind you, does not discriminate between men and women, neither today nor on the Day of Judgment.

With all due respect to the scholarship of Muslema Purmul, calling the woman led Friday congregational prayers invalid is preposterous. I would say she has gone through rote learning. Whatever is taught, she is parroting it back. Mind is a gift to think and not programmed to function mechanically. 

I urge Muslema Purmul to purge her memory and start thinking Islam as a common sense inclusive, kind. caring and a gentle faith. Alhamdu Lillah, the Friday prayers of the women who prayed will be valid. Do we know all our prayers and Hajj’s are accepted? We do our Dharma with sincerity and let that be a God’s decision. He does not have a partner, assistant or associate to tell us otherwise.

When God created the world, he broadly created matter and life. The matter was programmed and life was not, instead he gave us the free will to determined our own course of a conflict less, harmonious world.

55:5-6 (Asad) “[At His behest] the sun and the moon run their appointed courses; [before Him] prostrate them­selves the stars and the trees.” 
Indeed, they were “designed” to do precisely what they were programmed to do. 
Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) in his last sermon said, “Reason well, therefore, O People, and understand words which I convey to you. I am leaving you with the Book of God (the QUR’AN*) and my SUNNAH (the life style and the behavioral mode of the Prophet), if you follow them you will never go astray.”
Didn’t the prophet assign you and me the responsibility to read the book and “understand” and not just memorize? Didn’t he want us to understand? Did he not tell us that we are individually responsible for our actions? 
Furthermore, did the prophet not know that each one will understand through his or her own experience?  Didn’t he communicate God’s words? 49:13 (Asad) “O men! Behold, We have created you all out of a male and a female, [15] and have made you into nations and tribes, so that you might come to know one another….” 
I clearly see the uniqueness bestowed to each one of us, and it is our duty to know each other – and for what? Knowledge leads to understanding and understanding to appreciation of another point of view. 
What are my qualifications? I am a Muslim and I have questioned the Quran, and have understood it to be a book of guidance to create cohesive societies, where all humanity (Aalameen) can understand each other and live in harmony and peace as God has created it.   
Did I go to Al-Azhar? No, I did not, even if I were, I would still prefer to ‘understand’ as prophet told us rather than become a programmed binary robot and toggle between YES and NO. 
On the Day of Judgment, would God evaluate you on your deeds or a degree from Al-Azhar, Nahdatul Ulama, Deoband, Qom, Rabwa, Barelvi or Madinah? Would we not stand in the same line as equals before the accounting begins?  Whether you are a learned scholar or an ordinary Muslim like me, we will be judged by our deeds – i.e., how we treat fellow beings and pray, don’t know in what proportions but deeds will get a lot more weight. 
I am a Muslim who believes in simplicity of the Islam, I further add that if it is not common sense, it is not Islam. 

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Mike Ghouse  is a public speaker, thinker and a writer committed to shining the light on Pluralism in Islam and runs the World Muslim Congress, a think tank based in Dallas. More about him in 63 links at He is committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. 

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