In conservative Muslim communities, women are not allowed to lead congregations or deliver sermons.
However, one woman is challenging the status quo in Tamale by delivering sermons during this Ramadan.
Her congregation is made up of women who she teaches the principles of Islam and also encourages them to lead prayers at their various mosques.
She explained that she seeks to empower women with knowledge through her teachings.
“My mission is simple. The reason I am teaching my fellow women is that I know the Quran and I want to empower them with knowledge. I have learnt the Quran and there is no need keeping it to myself when I can teach other women to also know what their religion says about women.”
Ayshietu Adams, one of the women who attends her sermons regularly, is convinced.
“She teaches us how to humble ourselves. If you are too proud and disrespectful, here, she will teach you that there is a day you will die. If fighting is your habit, she will let you know it is bad. If you are financing conflict by buying weapons to supply fighters, when you come here, she will ask you to stop it.”
A curtain divides the men from the women in this mosque as Imam Mustapha Abdullai leads the prayer for the day.
He says women are not allowed to mix with the men at the mosque, neither can they lead prayers.
“A woman’s body is attractive. That is why they are not allowed to mix with men for prayers. When you stand by her, you may not be able to concentrate when praying.
“That is why a religion does not support it especially when the woman is not your own wife. Keeping women isolated at the mosque has been the norm across many parts of the world.”
For Imam Mustapha, the woman preacher is overstepping her bounds.
“It is not allowed for a woman to teach in public let alone leading the prayer. It is against religion. She can only guide her colleague women not read the law.”
Muslims all over the world are observing thirty days of fasting and prayers which is one of the basic requirements of Islam. During the period they offer prayers for blessings for their families, communities and the country.