Answered by Ustadh Salman Younas
Question: There was some controversy amongst our student body as to whether it was permissible to elect a female head of the MSA. Some people took the position that it was religiously unacceptable while others fought for the right of a female to be president. My question is, what is the actual Islamic legal position regarding female leadership?
Answer: assalamu `alaykum
It is permitted for a woman to assume such leadership positions.
The common hadith that is cited to justify the ruling of impermissibility is the statement of the Prophet (God bless him) that, “No nation shall prosper who consign their affairs to a woman.” [Bukhari, Muslim] However, leading scholars have stated that this only applies to a particular form of political authority, namely one that is autocratically exercised over a people that properly constitute a ‘nation’ (qawm). [al-Quduri, al-Tajrid; al-Thanawi, Imdad al-Fatawa]
Clearly, the MSA is not a ‘nation’ and nor is the head of an MSA an autocrat. Therefore, a woman being head of the MSA does not enter into the prohibition of the hadith mentioned previously.
Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani