Why Can’t Women Lead Men in Prayer?

Question: Why aren’t women allowed to lead prayer? I read an answer on this site about why women pray behind men and how it’s not about submission or inferiority, but about paying attention, but being an imam is a really respected thing. So I was wondering why women aren’t allowed to do it.

Answer: Assalamu alaykum,

Thank you for your question. The answer that you mention is here:

The above answer doesn’t say that a woman cannot lead the prayer because of paying attention. The article mentions that a woman has different God-given roles and responsibilities from men, which does not take away from her status or rank in Allah’s view. Allah, Most High, tells us in His book, “O humanity! Indeed, We created you from a male and a female and made you into peoples and tribes so that you may ˹get to˺ know one another. Surely the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous among you. Allah is truly All-Knowing, All-Aware.“ [Qur’an, 49:13]

Rather, the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, taught us that men were given the role of being imams, and this is part of the stewardship that they have been burdened with. Women, in their own right, have been given many respected positions in the world. As an ummah (Muslim nation), it is up to us to educate ourselves and understand the value of the role that every member plays in it, instead of trying to muscle our way into roles that were not meant for us. The grass always looks greener from the other side, but it seldom is.

May Allah give you the best of this world and the next.
[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria, for two years, where she studied aqidah, fiqh, tajweed, Tafseer, and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her Master’s in Arabic. Afterward, she moved to Amman, Jordan, where she studied fiqh, Arabic, and other sciences. She recently moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.