Monday 28 June 2010

Egypt: Women reciting Quran in spotlight

Egypt's women have already made inroads into several one-time domains of men. But a suggestion to allow women to recite Islam's holy book the Quran in public has triggered sharp differences among Muslim clerics in this country recently swept by a wave of Islamism.

"Such calls echo a Western agenda," said Mohammad Al Barri, a cleric at Al Azhar, Sunni Islam's influential seat of learning. "There is no clear text in the Quran or the Prophet Mohammad's [PBUH] sunna [traditions and sayings] that women recited the Holy Quran in front of men. Should this happen, there would be a big sedition, which we should avoid by all means," Al Barri told a seminar at the Egyptian Press Syndicate this week.

More than two years ago, Egypt appointed its first women judges. However, a vigorous campaign to empower women, led by Mubarak's wife, has faced stiff opposition from Muslim fundamentalists, say observers.

"The only place where women can read the Holy Quran is in the presence of other women," Al Barri, the Al Azhar scholar, said. "Letting a woman read in front of men would tempt them, thereby earning her and them God's wrath instead of His contentment."

Official ceremonies are usually opened with verses from the Quran, which are always recited by male shaikhs.

Likewise, Egypt's Muslims usually hire male reciters to read from the Holy Quran in the presence of male mourners in memory of their departed relatives. Never have women reciters been seen doing this.

"Women should have the right to recite the Holy Quran in public," said Souad Saleh, a well-known woman Muslim preacher. She told the same seminar that women's voices are not enticing and as such should not be suppressed.


  1. I don't think so that women can only read Quran in-front of a women. Please explain more about this sentence. Women and every person should have right to read Quran where ever and whenever they want.

  2. I think the reasoning for the conservatives/fundies is simply the same as why women are not allowed to preach/lead prayer for mixed congregations. Only women for women.

    In my opinion clearly the males feel threatened and such views are insulting to both women but also men.

    Men are not sexually charged animals on the prey 24/7.

    Yes we have instincts. So Allah intended.

    But we also function just fine in intimate gatherings, work places, schools, outside the home, on the streets without mass rapes taking place in broad daylight.

    That said until women themselves object and protest and fight for their rights, things will remain like this. No change.

    Rights are not served on a silver platter. You have to take them. By all means nessecary. You have to fear Allah, not man. And men who constantly seek to sexualize women in every possible context, need to get their head examined.

    Women can recite the Quran as they please in front of whom they please. No man or woman can restrict this right.

  3. learning and reading the holy quran is wajib/necessary on every muslim, and quran can be learnt from the man and women both.

  4. The holy book of Islam was certainly sent by Almighty. Just imagine how much amazing a book would be if it is authored by Almighty. Undoubtedly it is the substantial book ever created. Furthermore this book contains valued information answering essential questions with humans in mind, like why we were created and what happens after death.