Breaking centuries of Shariat convention, a Muslim woman led the jumma prayers at a remote village in Kerala’s Malappuram district.
Jamida K., popularly known as ‘Jamida Teacher’, became the first Indian Muslim woman Imam to lead jumma prayers at Cherukode village, near Wandoor, on Friday.
Aware of impact
“I did it knowing well the consequences it is going to have,” Ms. Jamida told The Hindu.
She led the prayers for a mixed group of around 50 men and women at the central committee office of the Quran Sunnath Society. The movement was set up by Chekannur Moulavi, a radical Muslim scholar, who disappeared in 1993 and is believed to have been murdered by orthodox elements.
The group has more recently called for a ban on the book Fath-ul-Mueen by Sheik Sainuddin Makhum, who lived in Ponnani in the 16th century. The Society said the book, prescribed in universities in Arab countries and religious institutions in India, has been instrumental in inciting Muslim youths to terrorism.
“We follow the Koran. It addresses humankind as men and women, and does not discriminate between them. Both men and women have an equal role in religion,” said Ms. Jamida.
She said her group had challenged a male-dominant religious practice followed for over 1,400 years. “We will continue the practice of women leading the prayers when it meets our convenience,” she added.
Though a first for India, scholarly Muslim women Imams, such as Ghazala Anwar and Amina Wadud, have led jumma prayers in New York as early as 1999.
Though no religious group or scholar has reacted to the event so far, Ms. Jamida has faced a barrage of criticism on social media.
Quran Sunnat Society says it believes men don’t own Islam and that women have equal rights to this religion, according to the Quran.
“We started discussing this through deliberate discussions as well as Friday Jumu’ah’s for almost five-six months. People had different opinions. But we based our discussions solely on the Quran and brought everyone on board. It should not be about which faction teaches what, but about Quran teaches.”