USA: First Muslim woman on record to lead mixed-gender prayer

Muslim WakeUp!
On Friday 18th March 2005, Dr Amina Wadud will lead Jumah/Muslim Friday Prayer.
Dr. Amina Wadud, professor of Islamic studies at Virginia Commonwealth University, will be the first woman to lead a public, mixed-gender Friday prayer. She will also deliver the Friday sermon.
Dr. Wadud, the author of the groundbreaking book Qur'an and Woman: Rereading the Sacred Text from a Woman's Perspective, is an esteemed scholar of Islam who affirms the right of Muslim women to be prayer leaders. It is a generally held view in the Muslim world and in the American Muslim community that women cannot lead mixed-gender prayer. This custom is pervasive and goes unchallenged.

Research from the Qur'an and the customs of Prophet Muhammad demonstrate that there is no prohibition precluding women from leading mixed-gender prayer and, further, that Prophet Muhammad approved the practice of women leading mixed-gender prayer. Over the centuries, Muslim women have lost their place as intellectual and spiritual leaders.

On March 18, 2005 Muslim women will reclaim their right to be spiritual equals and leaders. Women will move from the space tradition has relegated them in the back of the mosque and pray in the front rows.

Our effort will be part of a broader campaign to create communities in that rise to the highest principles of Islam's teachings on tolerance, justice, equity, and compassion. In the 7th century, the Prophet Muhammad built a model community in the city of Medina, earning it a place in history as "the City of Illumination" because of its progressive values. In the 21st century, we are committed to creating modern day "Cities of Light" in that value inclusion and women's rights.

About Dr. Amina Wadud

Amina Wadud is an Islamic studies professor in the department of philosophy and religious studies at Virginia Commonwealth University. She is nationally and internationally known for her ground breaking book Qur'an and Women: Rereading the Sacred Text from a Woman's Perspective, the first interpretive reading of the Qur'an by a woman. Dr. Wadud seeks to validate the female voice in the Qur'an and bring it out of the shadows. Dr. Wadud will deliver the sermon and lead the prayer.

Event Venue:

The Sundaram Tagore Gallery was established in 2000 and is devoted to examining the confluence of Western and non-Western cultures. They focus on developing exhibitions of intellectual rigor and showcasing artists who are engaged in spiritual, social and aesthetic dialogues with traditions other than their own. Their interest in cross-cultural dialogue extends beyond the visual arts into many other disciplines, including poetry, literature, performance art, film and music. They host non-profit events that stimulate the exchange of ideas and push the envelope of artistic, intellectual and cultural boundaries.


The Muslim Women's Freedom Tour educates and empowers Muslim women to reclaim their God-given right to lead self-determined lives.

In 2004, we took on the issue of Muslim women gaining access to space and voice in American mosques where they have traditionally been banned or relegated to isolated areas of the mosque. On June 4, 2004, a group of seven Muslim women marched to the mosque in Morgantown, W.V., to reclaim the right of women to use the front door and the main hall of mosques; as in many mosques in the United States, women had been told to take a back door and pray in a secluded balcony. Our historic march was the shot heard around the world. Images and reports from the march swept across the globe, and we have documented a positive shift in the participation of Muslim women in mosques and communities globally as a result of the march and the dialogue it sparked.

This year we are affirming the right of women to be spiritual leaders, including imams, or prayer leaders. In a historic Friday prayer on March 18, 2005, in New York City, women will go from the back of the mosque to the front of the mosque.

Jumah Agenda

1:00 pm
-- 1st Call to Prayer, Welcome, Zikr, Worship
-- 2nd Call to Prayer
-- Jumah Sermon (Dr. Wadud)
-- Jumah Prayer (Dr. Wadud)
-- Solitary Prayer/Meditation
-- Fellowship with reception