Can a woman be the leader according to Islam?
Fatwa No: 82079

  • Fatwa Date:6-6-2001 - Rabee' Al-Awwal 15, 1422
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Question

Can a woman be the leader according to Islam? Cite references from the quran and hadith on this matter. I read a book in which a hadith was quoted from the sahih al-bukhari narrated by abi bakr that during the battle of camel he benefited from hadith in which the prophet Muhammad(pbuh) said that a nation will never prosper whose leader is a woman. The author of the book further said that this Hadith contradicts the actions of the sahabi Abu Bakr because he did participate in the battle of the camel, so it must be rejected. Moreover he writes that if a woman's leadership was not accepted in Islam then why would have Hazrat Zubair and Talha take part in the battle under the leadership of Hazrat Ayesha, r.a. Could you please enlighten me with the teachings of Islam on this matter?

Answer

Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds; and blessings and peace be upon our Prophet Muhammad and upon all his Family and Companions. A woman should not take the position of the Khalifa or the president or head of State because of the common agreement among all the scholars of Islam, who established that manhood is a pre-condition for any person who would be in charge of such very difficult and sensitive positions. The woman is not, most of the time, prepared to take such roles. This is due to the state in which Allah has created her. This doesn’t lessen in any way her role. In fact, she is supposed to do what fits her nature, otherwise, things will fall apart because of her neglecting what she would do and failing to carry out what she can not properly do. As for the Hadith you mentioned, it is a sound Hadith narrated by al-Bukhari and it says that “Abu Bakrah ( may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him) returned after having gone to fight backing up al- Zubair (may Allah be pleased with him) and Talhah ( may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him) who left Madina in search for those who killed Uthman bin Affan (May Allah be pleased upon him) to kill them (to revenge him). The reason why Abu Bakrah returned back was that Umm al-Mu‘minun (mother of the believers) Aisha ( may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  her) the honest woman and the daughter of the honest man Abu Bakr ( may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him) was among the army. But she was not their leader neither was she the decision-maker. But she was prominent. So, Abu Bakrah remembered the Prophet’s Hadith: “A nation which gives its leadership to a woman will not prosper”. Abu Bakrah had understood this Hadith as a general rule concerning any nation and any woman even if that woman was Aisha ( may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  her) the mother of the believers. All the scholars of Islam and Muslim leaders who believe that the woman should not be posted as the general leader of all the Muslims everywhere in the world or even the leader of a portion of the Muslims, have taken this Hadith as their evidence. Only a few groups deviated from this point of view viz. (the Khawarij), and their opinion is of no weight. And Allah knows best

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