Imamin in Germany – a matter of course or unbelievable? | – Culture – Broadcasting

Status: 16/09/2022 06:00 am

In Germany there are only a few female imams in the Muslim community – and they are often controversial. Because Islam is formed by people. How natural are female imams today?

Women pray in front of a colorful window in a mosque.  © photo alliance / photo library Photo: Thomas Trutschel

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5 minutes

by Bita Shafi Neya

Women imams: yes or no – this is still debated. But women in important positions have a long tradition, emphasizes Imam Benjamin Idriz. Here is how a wife of the Prophet Mohammed is said to have led the prayer:

“The Prophet Muhammad’s wife was a businessman before Prophet Muhammad even came to the world with his revelation. His wife was the one who supported him financially and economically. The other wife of the Prophet was an intellectual. It means that we come back to that The origin is not encouraged and emphasized anymore and how important it is for women to be present in business, in science, in politics. This is the role of women, “stressed Imam Idriz.

“Women must be active in society”

Benjamin Idriz is a liberal imam. He wrote the book “The Qur’an and Women” and led a church in Penzberg, Upper Bavaria. Muslim communities still find it difficult to treat women equally, Idriz complains: “Women must become active in society, in mosque communities, in social life, in politics, in the economy – just like in the time of the Prophet. No only. at home, but in society. They should have the right to work and contribute to the development of the world just like men do.

Woman sitting in a mosque and praying © picture alliance / photothek Photo: Thomas Trutschel

Traditionally, Muslim women pray separately from men. An imam meets with resistance from many believers.

The imam is the prayer leader or spiritual leader of a Muslim community, the title is not protected. Anyone who is knowledgeable and accepted by a community can assume the role of Imam. It is still rare for a woman to lead a mosque these days, Idriz regrets: “The question of whether an imam can also lead a community in Germany today depends on many factors. It is important that there is harmony and acceptance in the community If a congregation. is determined to have a woman as imam and if all members agree, I don’t think it’s a theological problem at all.”

The majority of believers reject female imams

But many men find it difficult to pray behind women. Because according to classical Islamic theology, women are only allowed to lead prayers in women-only communities. They are forbidden to pray in front of people. Opponents give several reasons: Because of the rules, women cannot guarantee the ritual purity required for prayer. Furthermore, as a prayer leader, he could distract the men standing behind him. For example, female imams are rejected by the majority of believers and scholars.

Critics rely on certain traditions or statements in the Koran, explains Islamic theologian Esma Demir: “There is nothing that can be found in the texts of revelation, that is, in the Koran or in the Sunnah, it is not allowed for a Muslim woman to lead a prayer in front . in a mixed congregation,” explained Demir.

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There are only a few mosques where men and women can pray together in one room. Women’s rights activist Seyran Ateş is founding the liberal Ibn Rushd-Goethe Mosque in Berlin. more

Seyran Ates – Imam under police protection

Berlin lawyer Seyran Ates founded the first liberal mosque in Berlin in 2017 and leads prayers himself as an imam. There was a lot of approval for this, but also a lot of disapproval, including death threats. Today women’s rights activists live under police protection. Esma Demir also criticizes the fact that some women call themselves imams: “If a woman says I am an imam, then I cannot imagine that she is doing it for religious reasons, but for emancipatory reasons. But that is not easy religious. support.”

Whether for emancipatory or religious reasons: the debate about female imams has sparked.

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NDR Culture | Friday Forum | 16/09/2022 | 3:20 p.m

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