Top Islamic body issues edict forbidding women from preaching at Friday prayers

Detik News – June 22, 2023
MUI Fatwa Division Chairperson KH Asrorun Niam Sholeh – Undated (Jurnal Islam)

Jakarta – Indonesia's top Islamic body the Majelis Ulama Indonesia (MUI) has issued fatwa (edict) Number 38/2023 on laws concerning women being mosque preachers (khatib) in the context of Friday prayers (salat Jumat).

The fatwa explains that the laws on sermons (khotbah) and Friday prayers is that women acting as preachers in front of men is invalid.

Uploaded on the MUI website on Thursday June 22, the fatwa was issued by the MUI Fatwa Commission in response to questions by the public about the law on women becoming preachers at Friday prayers.

The questions arose following a statement in a video by the leader of the Al Zaytun Islamic boarding school (pesantren), Panji Gumilang, stating that women are allowed to be preachers during Friday prayers.

"Therefore, the MUI considered it necessary to enact a fatwa on the law concerning women becoming preachers in the context of Friday prayers as a guide", said MUI Fatwa Division chairperson KH Asrorun Niam Sholeh.

This fatwa also explains that Friday prayers are the obligation of Muslim men and it is mubah (neither forbidden nor recommended) that it be conducted by women. Mosque sermons are one of the pillars of Friday prayers. Therefore, the position of the sermon is important and cannot be left unaddressed.

"The sermon is part of obligatory (mahdlah) worship that must follow the stipulations of the sharia [Islamic law] including that it must be done by men, Friday sermons carried out by women in front of male worshipers [according to] the law on sermon are invalid", said Sholeh.

The MUI explained that sermons carried out by women in front of men made the law on Friday prayers invalid because the position of the sermon is as a pillar of Friday prayers.

"Believing that women may be preachers in the context of Friday prayers in front of male worshipers is a wrong belief, it must be straightened out, and the person concerned is obliged to repent (bertaubat)", said the Jakarta Islamic State University (UIN) professor.

For this reason, the MUI is urging Muslims to hold fast to religious teachings that are correct and be aware of various forms of deviations.

"Muslims are expected to be careful in choosing a place of education for their children and the state must guarantee the protection of religious teachings from deviations, desecration and blasphemy", said Sholeh when conveying the contents of the fatwa. (knv/dhn)

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Fatwa MUI: Khotbah Jumat oleh Wanita Tak Sah".]