Her Turn to Pray

A historic service signals a new push by Muslim women to reclaim their rights in the mosque

The worshippers face Mecca. "Allahu akbar." Hands lift heavenward. "God is great." They bow as a voice leads them through the litany. "Alhamdulillah." From the familiar words to the leader's call and the 100-strong congregation's murmured response, the prayers sound much as they always do. "Praise be to God." Except that the voice leading them is a woman's.

The prayer leader is Amina Wadud, an Islamic scholar at Virginia Commonwealth University, and the organizers who invited her claim that she is the first woman to have presided over a mixed-gender prayer service in public since Islam's earliest days. The event was...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!