Follow Us on Google News
In a groundbreaking development, the Sindh government has granted permission for women to lead exclusive prayer congregations for women in mosques under its jurisdiction.
Caretaker Sindh Minister for Religious Affairs, Omer Soomro, chaired a meeting addressing the establishment of women’s sections in mosques, marking a significant step towards gender-inclusive religious practices.
Regarding the role of women leading prayers, Islamic scholars recognize two scenarios:
- Woman Leading Men or Mixed Groups: It is deemed incorrect for a woman to lead men in prayers, whether obligatory or supererogatory.
- Woman Leading Women: If a male is not available, then It is encouraged for women to pray together in congregation, with one woman leading others. However, she should stand in the middle of the row. Leading other women in prayer is permissible and correct.
This move by the Sindh government challenges traditional norms, allowing women to take on leadership roles in guiding prayers exclusively for other women. Minister Soomro directed the Auqaf Religious Affairs Zakat & Ushr Department to designate women-only sections in the 77 mosques under its supervision, aiming to provide women with dedicated spaces for congregational prayers and fostering inclusivity within religious settings.
While women in Pakistan currently attend mosques with designated sections, this directive opens the door for them to actively lead congregational prayers for other women.
The decision is a response to the limited number of mosques in the country that provide designated areas for women, aiming to create more opportunities for women to actively participate in religious activities.
The meeting under Minister Soomro also discussed matters related to the registration of mosques and madrassas, indicating a comprehensive approach to the organization and oversight of religious institutions in the region.
It is feared that sections of the Pakistani religious leadership would strongly oppose this step by the Sindh Government.