Karimah bint Dawood, muslim chaplain, well being writer.

As salaam alaikum, I was recently sent this excellent paper, SHOULD A WOMAN SPEAK IN PUBLIC? by the Da‟wah Institute of Nigeria, I have emailed them to ask permission to copy on to my blog but their email address is not valid any more.

This is an exert from the paper which presents pro and cons for this theme, I am forwarding this as a little taster of a paper worth reading mashallah. 

A Woman Speaking in places of worship

In a well-known incident during the Caliphate of „Umar ibn al-Khattab, a woman openly disagreed with him in the mosque over the issue of limiting the value of the bridal gift (mahr) given in marriage. Being convinced of her argument, „Umar agreed with her and publically reversed his opinion. He even went so far as declaring, “… everyone‟s knowledge is better than mine”.10 In another version, „Abdul-Razaq cites „Umar as saying, “A woman debated with „Umar and outdid him in the debate.”11

Had the voice of a woman been part of her „awrah, and had women been prohibited from speaking in public, or in the mosque, the lady would surely have been corrected by „Umar or any of the several Companions present.12

10 Tafsir Ibn Kathir 1/468

11 Tafsir Ibn Kathir 7/180. A similar narration is found in Ibn Hajr‟s Fath al-Bari, vol.9, p.191; cited in Afzalur Rahman, The Role of Muslim Woman in Society (London: Seerah Foundation, 1986), p.79

12 Prohibiting women from speaking in church is a teaching found in early Christianity, as observed in the New Testament of the Bible, 1Corinthians 14:34-35 that, “As in all the Churches of the Saints, the women should keep silence in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be subordinate, as even the law says. If there is anything they desire to know, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church.” This is a view that is not found in any of the two foundational sources of Islamic Law (i.e. the Qur‟an and Sunnah


Da‟wah Institute of Nigeria

Islamic Education Trust Headquarters

PMB 229, Ilmi Avenue, Minna, Niger State, Nigeria.

Phone: +234-803-600-5535



3 Comments Add yours

  1. Umer J says:

    I think there are are “dawabit” conditions as to when women can/should speak. You cannot narrate the incident happened with Umar as proof, because in that shows when Umer was wrong on the subject matter, she corrected him, but did not go beyond that by giving Kuthba or lectures in mix gatherings. This shows the edge where she should speak up. Check also the incident with “Khawla bin al-Azwar” in lifetime of the prophet.
    During the life time of the companions and after the death of the Prophet PBUH, Aisha radia-Allaho unha was the most knowledgeable person among all companions. And in several occasions companions were referring to her to know the correct ruling of Islam. Yet she did not claim her self to be Imam or gave lectures in the mosque.

    Finally, let’s ponder upon this verse from the holy Quran in Surat al-Ahzab verse 53:
    “…And when you ask (his wives) for anything you want, ask them from behind a screen, that is purer for your hearts and for their hearts….”

  2. Gia Daniel says:

    The hadeeth quoted is fabricated, and so it cannot be used as daleel.
    Let us, therefore, look at incidences which are confirmed in the Sunnah. We have the example of the woman who presented herself to Rasul Allaah, sall’Allaahu alayhe wa sallam, for marriage. She spoke in front of not only him, but in front of other men who were accompanying him. It is not recorded that he censured her for speaking in public, much less on a personal and private matter. Also, there is the occasion of the women requesting that a day be set aside for their religious classes, classes that the men also attended, which were held in the masjid. The masjid being a public place, and the women being free to ask questions as they needed, this also disproves the injunction of women not speaking in public.
    There are other instances of the women speaking freely in public, without being censured for the speaking nor of being in public for their needs.
    Having said all of this, it is not for the women to be a’immah, nor to stand or sit at the minbar to give a khutbah. Women are not to be invisible, but are to be accorded the ability to function with haya’, modesty, something that is also prized in men but, due to the fact that they are the heads of households and the communities, a matter where there is leeway.

  3. Nuruddeen Lemu says:

    Assalamu alaikum sister,
    Sorry our email changed to
    You have our permission to use our material, as you are also using it for the purpose of enlightenment of others about Islam.
    Sorry I only just bumped into your work 🙂
    Congratulations, and may Allah bless all your efforts.
    Nuruddeen Lemu
    (Asst. Director and Research Coordinator, Da’wah Institute of Nigeria, Islamic Education Trust.)

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