Women not allowed to call athaan or iqaamah for men
Fatwa No: 318619

  • Fatwa Date:22-3-2016 - Jumaadaa Al-Aakhir 13, 1437
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Question

Islam forbids women from calling the azan and reciting the Quran in the presence of men. Is that true? Can a woman recite the Quran in front of her husband or other male family members?

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

It is permissible for a woman to recite the Quran loudly – even by beautifying her voice – in front of her husband and all other mahram (permanently unmarriageable) relatives. However, it is not permissible for her to recite it in front of non-mahram men, as has been clarified in fatwa 85517. This ruling applies to all non-mahram men regardless of whether those are relatives or strangers.

As for the athaan and the iqaamah (call for the establishment of the prayer) – which is also an athaan – called by a woman, then the scholars differed in opinion in regards to her athaan and iqaamah if she prays with women.

Some of them said:

There is no athaan nor iqaamah to be given by women (i.e. it is not required); the evidence for this is what was reported by Al-Bayhaqi and narrated by ‘Abdullaah ibn ‘Umar, who said, 'Women are not required to call the athaan or iqaamah,' because the athaan, in principle, is to inform the people, and she is not permitted to do that. Also, it is recommended to raise one’s voice with the athaan, while she is not permitted to do that. A person who is not permitted to call the athaan is also not permitted to call the iqaamah, such as a person who is not going to pray or a person who catches up with part of the congregational prayer (because of coming late).

However, Ash-Shaafi’i and Is-haaq said, 'If women call the athaan and the iqaamah, there is nothing wrong with that.'

Moreover, the following was reported from Ahmad: 'If women call the athaan or the iqaamah, then there is nothing wrong with that, and if they do not do so, then this is also permissible, because ‘Aa’ishah  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  her used to call the athaan and the iqaamah and lead women in prayer while she stood in the middle of them.'” [Al-Bayhaqi]

The Fiqh Encyclopedia reads:

The jurists agreed on the impermissibility of the athaan  and the iqaamah of a woman for a congregation of men because the athaan, in principle, is for informing the people, and she is not permitted to do so. Also, it is permissible for the one calling the athaan to raise his voice, while it is not permitted for a woman to do so. A person who is not permitted to call the athaan is also not permitted to call the iqaamah.

As regards when she is alone or in a group of women, then there are some different views on it:

1- Desirability: This is the view of the Maaliki and Shaafi'i Schools, and it is also one of the views of the Hanbali school.

2- Permissibility: It is one of the narrations from Ahmad.

3- Dislikeability: It is the view of the Hanafi School.

Based on what we have mentioned above, it is permissible for a woman to call the athaan and the iqaamah when she is with other women or alone.

Allaah knows best.

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