Why can't females become Imams in mosques?

Can females become head of an Islamic country?

  • 3
    Women can be imams of an all-female congregation. I believe there are narrations about at least three female sahabiyat having done that.
    – UmH
    Mar 13, 2018 at 9:38

1 Answer 1


Wikipedia has a list of Muslim female political leaders:

The most prominent Muslim female leaders are former prime minister of Pakistan Benazir Bhutto (served 1988-1990 and 1993-1996), Indonesian President Megawati Sukarnoputri (became president 2001), former Turkish Prime Minister Tansu Ciller (served 1993-1995), former Senegalese Prime Minister Mame Madior Boye (appointed 2001), Bangladeshi Prime Ministers Begum Khaleda Zia (served 1991–96 and 2001–06) and Sheikh Hasina Wajed (served 1996-01, 2009–present), former Iranian Vice President Masoumeh Ebtekar (served 1997–2005), Malian president Cissé Mariam Kaïdama Sidibé (elected in 2011), Kosovan President Atifete Jahjaga (served 2011–16), current President of Mauritius Bibi Ameenah Firdaus Gurib-Fakim (elected in 2015) and Current President of Singapore Halimah Yacob (elected in 2017).

So this is definitely allowed and even happens in Muslim-majority countries. However, in stricter climates, you're probably not going to see women leadership justified through the hadith:

It was narrated that Abu Bakrah said: "Allah protected me with something that I heard from the Messenger of Allah [SAW]. When Chosroes died, he said: 'Whom have they appointed as his successor?' They said: 'His daughter.' He said: 'No people will ever prosper who entrust their leadership to a woman.'"
Sunan an-Nasa'i 5388 [grade: sahih]

There's fatawa that use this justification (IslamWeb and Islam Q&A). However, there's some fatwa that interpret this as meaning women cannot be in other positions, such as imams (e.g. SeekersHub).

  • 3
    The hadith is interpreted by the majority that women can not be a Caliph however they can be head of an office or company. The examples you mentioned might be from countries with a Muslim majority but don't necessarily express the view of Islam. And some of these women are bad representatives of Muslims.
    – Medi1Saif
    Mar 14, 2018 at 12:19

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