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Friday first: Woman who led prayer in Kerala faces backlash – Times of India
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Friday first: Woman who led prayer in Kerala faces backlash – Times of India

KOZHIKODE: In a first for Kerala and perhaps the country, a Muslim woman led Friday prayers on January 26+ in Malappuram. Jamida, who goes only by her first name, said she wanted to question a custom imposed by the male clergy. “Nowhere does Islam stipulate that only a man can be an imam (one who leads the prayers),” Jamida, state general secretary of Qur’an Sunnath Society, told TOI.
The society is a revisionist Muslim sect in Kerala which believes that the Quran alone matters and the Hadith (sayings and acts of Prophet Muhammad) are essentially extrapolations. The prayer was held at the organisation’s head office at Vengara, where a small group of men joined Jamida though there were no women in the congregation.

Her action has predictably provoked an angry reaction from conservative sections of the community who alleged a conspiracy by “anti-Islamic forces”. “Women can lead prayers for women but there is no tradition of a woman acting as imam for men. Islam has prohibited such male-female mingling to prevent chances of some wrong happening between them,” said Abdul Hameed Faizi Ambalakkadavu, state general secretary of Sunni Yuvajana Sangham (Sunni Youth Front).

Quran Sunnath Society was established by Islamic scholar P K Abdul Muhammad Hassan Moulavi alias Chekannur Moulavi, who was known for his unconventional reading of Islam. He was murdered in 1993, allegedly by extremists in the community.

Jamida revealed that following Friday’s developments, threats against her have increased manifold but she has decided to go ahead and organise such prayers in other parts of the state too. She hails from Thiruvananthapuram but lives at Kappad in Kozhikode. Jamida, who used to be a teacher, has received threats earlier for speaking out against triple talaq and forced conversions.

C P Saleem, spokesperson of Wisdom Global Islamic Mission, a Salafi organisation, said: “The purpose of this gimmick is just to insult Islam and become an instant celebrity.”

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